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John And Jodie Eastman Host NYSCF: Cocktails And Science

Originally Posted: August 08, 2011

Guests and scientists gathered at the home of John and Jodie Eastman on Friday in support of The NYSCF (New York Stem Cell Foundation). (Lisa Tamburini)

Host John Eastman with guest Bette-Ann Gwarthmey. (Lisa Tamburini)

East Hampton - The NYSCF (New York Stem Cell Foundation) was hosted with a cocktail party at the East Hampton home of John and Jodie Eastman on Friday, July 29, 2011. Along with cocktails and hors d'doeuvres guests also received an education from a group of young, bright and enthusiastic scientists.

In existence for only six years, the mission of The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) is simple: "To accelerate cures for the major diseases of our time though stem cell research." Programs include: NYSCF Research which supports and enables "The unrestricted pursuit of the most advanced stem cell research, both in [our] own laboratory and through collaborations with major medical research institutions; NYSCF Fellowship and Investigator Programs which support and train "The next generation of scientists, both at the postdoctoral level as Fellows, and as Investigators pursuing innovative work that translates reserach into cures; NYSCF Conference and Symposia: "Convening the preeminent annual translational stem cell research conference and an on-going series of programs for scientists, policy makers and the public, and the Robertson Prize which honors "The most siginificant achievement in stem cell research each year."

Caroline Marshall, PhD with Kevin Eggan, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer for NYSCF. (Lisa Tamburini)

Among Friday's guests were Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst with friends who relayed "I am here to listen and learn." One guest, Dr. Jesse Stoff who lives locally, revealed "I am a researcher and focus on all cancers, and I am very interested in interfacing with what NYSCF is doing." Others included researcher Dr. Jesse Stoff, Helene Burgess, Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes," author Jennet Conant, Marlene Hess, Peter Diamond, Toni Ross, Bob Devecchi, Alan Cohen, Barbara Dixon, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Katama Eastman, Jay Eastman, Victoria Gordon, Liz Robbins, Bob Alexander, Jim Zirin, Polly Kraft, Doug Johnson, Paul Dupee, Bette-Ann Gwarthmey, Caroline Marshall, Paul Goldberger, Dr. Dieter Egli, NYSCF's principal investigator for diabetes, who spoke with guests about his research, NYSCF's CEO Susan Soloman, who addressed the gathering to discuss the goals and accomplishments of the organization, and numerous other guests.

Host John Eastman explained "This organization presents and pursues scientific research as two-fold; (1) sustaining academic and laboratory on-going research, and (2) pursuing 'disruptive' research - or research that is pursued much as Dr. Jonas Salk pursued a cure for polio, or the discovery of insulin." Eastman further commented "By setting a paradymn active decisions can be made by complementing and supporting international research."

NYSCF's CEO Susan Soloman addresses attendees. (Lisa Tamburini)

Kevin Eggan, PhD, and the Chief Scientific Officer for NYSCF, revealed "There are 38 full time scientists working in New York City, and about 40 to 50 external scientists around the world. I'm based at Harvard Univeristy in Boston, and we distribute grants around the world. Obviously some countries are more primitive than others, and there is difficulty with other countries for obvious reasons, such as Italy, however, we have two major critical goals, (1) build inter-research programs, and (2) manage stem cell research grants to clinicians, researchers and collaborators around the world, and with the enthusiasm of our current Administration this is happening more and more." Continuing, Eggan relayed "Our transistional drive is similar to a patchwork quilt, combining all efforts to find a cure for diseases." Eggan's particular focus is currently on ALS-Lou Gehrig disease.

With enough PhD's in attendance to start a Pop-up university on the lawn of the Eastman's lovely home, many scientists moved about with their iPads as visual aids attempting to explain their research to guests - it became increasingly clear who the smartest kids in the room were! However, what was made clear immediately and was the most predominate aspect of their devotion is use stem cell research to find a cure for diseases - any disease.

NYSCF will hold their sixth annual gala and science fair on October 11 this year in New York City, honoring Julian H. Roberston, Jr. and Christo. The gala co-chairs are Chuck Close, Fiona and Stan Druckenmiller, and Dorothy Lichenstein.

Nicholas Stern with hostess of the evening Jodie Eastman. (Lisa Tamburini)

For more information, click here.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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