Following in a Giant's Footsteps

In 1955, Dr. Irving M. London was among Einstein’s founding faculty members, heading up the new medical school’s department of medicine. He helped establish a multidisciplinary approach to research at Einstein that fostered interactions and investigative collaboration among bench scientists, physicians and clinical researchers that continues to this day. In the early 1960s, along with colleague Dr. Saul R. Korey, he was instrumental in convincing then Dean Dr. Marcus Kogel of the need for further research space, resulting in the construction of the Ullmann Research Center for Health Sciences, which opened in 1964.

Fast-forward 50 years to the laboratory of Dr. Allan Wolkoff, located in the Ullmann building, where, this summer, Danielle London assisted with research, working closely with Dr. John Murray in Dr. Wolkoff's lab. The grand-daughter of Dr. London, Ms. London studied movement along microtubules of vesicles that had been purified from rat liver.

“Microtubules are like railroad tracks that vesicles move along within cells. We tested how different levels of a fluorescent stain called rhodamine affected vesicle movements along microtubules,” she explained. “It’s important to know so that researchers planning experiments can make sure to use a proper amount of rhodamine. Using too much or too little can adversely affect an experiment’s outcome, requiring the experiment to be done over.”

Ms. London, who will be a senior at Mamaroneck High School this year, is considering research or a pre-medical track when she goes to college. “My grandpa would like me to do both, but I’m not so sure yet,” she said. “When I was looking to work in a lab this summer, he did mention Einstein would be a good option, and he was right about that. I learned a lot about the process of research, the trial and error and need to re-do experiments. It was rewarding to have results at the end and to go through the whole process.”

“It was a pleasure to have Dani work with us this summer. She demonstrated exceptional enthusiasm and insight into her project,” said Dr. Wolkoff, director of the Marion Bessin Liver Research Center and Herman Lopata Chair in Liver Disease Research.I first met her grandfather when I was a student at Einstein, and I was honored to be able to help continue this family tradition. I actually began my career in liver research in the Ullmann Building working with Dr. Irwin Arias, one of Dr. London's former trainees.”

Reflecting on her Einstein experience, Ms. London said, “I’m grateful to Dr. Wolkoff for the opportunity to take part in actual research.”

She added, “Being at Einstein, in Ullmann, it felt special, especially knowing my grandfather had worked there, too. I had the sense that what I was doing was made possible by what he had done.”

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, Einstein will mark the 50th anniversary of the Ullmann Research Center for Health Sciences with a special symposium. The event will take place in Robbins Auditorium from 1 to 5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow.

Danielle London with mentor Dr. John Murray
Danielle London with mentor Dr. John Murray
Ms. London with Dr. Allan Wolkoff, director of Einstein’s Marion Bessin Liver Research Center
Ms. London with Dr. Allan Wolkoff, director of Einstein’s Marion Bessin Liver Research Center
Dr. Irving M. London, Einstein’s founding chair of medicine
Dr. Irving M. London, Einstein’s founding chair of medicine
 

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