NEW YORK, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, 24 world-renowned biomedical scientists met with New York City's brightest high school science students to help them realize their dreams of a career in medical research. The interactive program is sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company , the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and the American Museum of Natural History.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20041014/NYTH182 )
"Science's Next Generation" gives students the opportunity to interact first-hand with the scientists, all former grant recipients or Distinguished Achievement Award winners of the Bristol-Myers Squibb's "Freedom to Discover" Program, which provides unrestricted grants of a half million dollars each to support innovative scientific research, permitting recipients to use the funds as they see fit to advance their research or explore areas where funding is otherwise unavailable.
"We hear a lot about the United States lagging behind other countries in educating students about science. This is a way to showcase our best and brightest and bolster their knowledge about medical research, and inspire them -- we hope -- to pursue academic or professional careers in health care," said Peter R. Dolan, chairman and chief executive officer, Bristol Myers Squibb.
The program included a presentation by David Heil, host of the public television program "Newton's Apple," career advice and lively discussions on what the landscape of medicine and research will look like in 25 years. Students gathered in small groups for seminars with the scientists to discuss six key areas of medical research including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, metabolics, neuroscience, infectious disease and nutrition. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation presents grants and awards to leading researchers in each of these fields under the "Freedom to Discover" Program.
"Students and scientists could freely discuss what was on their minds, what they felt were the most serious health concerns of today and what they expect the concerns to be 25 years from now," said John L. Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
Students were selected by their schools based on their academic achievement interest and ambition. The participating schools were: Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education at CUNY, which helps prepare minority and low-income students for careers in medicine, science and engineering, The Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech High School and the American Museum of Natural History ASCEND program.
Since 1977 the "Freedom to Discover" has awarded more than $110 million to 370 recipients in 23 countries. The unrestricted grants of $500,000 for five years comprise the largest industry sponsored-program of its kind anywhere. The program recognizes significant achievement in each category. Seventeen "Freedom to Discover" Distinguished Achievement Award winners have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, including Dr. Richard Axel of Columbia University, who this month was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. Dr. Axel received the "Freedom to Discover" award for neuroscience research in 1998.
At a dinner scheduled for Thursday evening at the Museum, Bristol-Myers Squibb will announce the six new award winners and honor the 10 previously announced grant recipients.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.
Visit Bristol-Myers Squibb on the World Wide Web at http://www.bms.com/ and the
Freedom to Discover program at http://www.bms.com/freedomtodiscover
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