Published in the August 2017 issue of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center Alumni Association Newsletter
SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s commitment to research and education goes beyond the Downstate campus, including all the way to the Brooklyn harbor, where its venture BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal is working to strengthen the city’s scientific community.
Space is always a pressing concern for NYC’s researchers. Prior to BioBAT, finding affordable locations within easy reach of the city’s academic and financial centers was a challenge. Through the creation of affordable wet lab and office space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, BioBAT has expanded the options for scientific firms seeking to operate in the city.
BioBAT stands six miles from the Downstate campus and Downstate’s Biotechnology Incubator, where two of BioBAT’s anchor tenants got their start. BioBAT tenants can take advantage of the partnership with SUNY Downstate, granting access to the school’s library, research personnel, and other resources.
An educated workforce and a culture of entrepreneurship benefit not just the city’s researchers, but New York as a whole. SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn’s only academic medical center, appreciates the importance of workforce development. The school has fielded initiatives such as biotechnology job-training programs in collaboration with Hunter College, and entrepreneurship programs for startup founders.
Downstate’s Dr. Eva Cramer, BioBAT and the incubator’s founder, has been a leading force in these workforce development efforts. BioBAT has launched its own initiative to create a STEM career pipeline and develop a 21st century working waterfront in Brooklyn. Among the initiative’s cornerstones is a series of extracurricular STEM educational programs which will inspire and engage students of all ages. The center is seeking sponsors and volunteers, and has enlisted SUNY Downstate’s support. Volunteer graduate students from SUNY Downstate’s School of Graduate Studies are guiding elementary through high school students in a fun-filled science summer program.
Since their inception, these ventures have received government support. SUNY Downstate President Dr. Wayne J. Riley said, “When I came to Downstate in April, I met with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and shared my appreciation for his strong support of our biotechnology initiatives, including the Biotech Incubator and BioBAT facilities, and for our pipeline programs.”
These ventures are helping to transform Brooklyn and the city as a whole into a global science and technology hub. Thanks to Downstate’s and BioBAT’s initiatives, researchers from every corner of the world will be able to find space, resources, personnel, and a thriving startup community at their fingertips. Under Dr. Riley’s leadership the borough can become as much of a magnet for scientific and commercial talent as SUNY Downstate is for outstanding students. SUNY Downstate’s students come from all over the world, and its alumni go just as far afield. But the best place to take part in the future of innovation may be back in Brooklyn.