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Sen. Clinton Visits the Cornell Veterinary College
Veterinary College faculty gives a briefing on the avian flu and breast cancer research projects at Cornell

FOR RELEASE: March 6, 2006

ITHACA, N.Y. - N.Y. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) visited Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine March 3 in addition to her scheduled meeting of the Democratic Rural Conference of New York State in Statler Hall. Clinton spent Friday afternoon at Cornell's Schurmann Hall, where she heard from Vet College faculty about the animal-human interface of disease, the leading research on that topic at Cornell and ways to prevent or mitigate a pandemic or other potential public health crisis.

Clinton had visited Cornell several times, but this was her first stop at the Vet College. "I've been trying to get here for a couple of years," she told the attendees in Schurman Hall. "I have a very high regard for the work you do here."

Edward Dubovi, director of virology at the Vet School's diagnostic lab, began the meeting by summarizing Cornell's research, education and outreach work toward preventing an outbreak of avian influenza. Gary Whittaker, associate professor of microbiology and immunology and Cornell's primary researcher on avian influenza, discussed the efforts and hurdles involved with creating vaccines and antiviral medications. "Cornell is well set up to do wide-reaching, big science," he said. "That's where we can play a big role," said Whittaker.

In a second meeting, Clinton heard (via videoconference) how researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute are collaborating with Cornell scientists to study cancers and cancer treatments. By investigating naturally occurring cancers in such animals as woodchucks, chickens and cats, she learned, researchers are making new discoveries about cancer in humans.

Rodney Page, chair of clinical sciences at the Vet College and director of Cornell's Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research, said Cornell is one of only two universities to have a vet school working closely with a cancer center. "Our pets live in our environments," he said. "This whole concept that environment influences cancer doesn't apply only to ourselves."

Cornell President Hunter R. Rawlings said such cooperation across disciplines is a valuable trend. Clinton agreed by saying she was particularly impressed by the interdisciplinary collaboration at Cornell. Clinton thanked Rawlings and the participating researchers at a later press conference: "Vet colleges are moving into the lead in cancer research," she said. "There's a lot that we can learn."

"I am incredibly impressed with the work that is occurring . . . with the potential for breakthroughs in public health," she added. "A land-grant university like Cornell is essential to our quality of life. Cornell is one of our world leaders. The work being done here is essential."

For full version of the article, visit Cornell Chronicle <TBA>.

Related World Wide Web sites:
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: /
The Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors (BCERF): http://envirocancer.cornell.edu
Senator Hillary Clinton: http://clinton.senate.gov/