The New York University Langone Health medical center is naming its Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at the Grossman School of Medicine in honor of Dr. Jan T. Vilcek. Dr. Vilcek’s transformative influence has led to groundbreaking discoveries and vast improvements in human health. The newly named Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences will continue its long tradition of preparing graduate students for careers in biomedical research.
A professor emeritus in the Department of Microbiology and a trustee of NYU Langone since 2012, for more than five decades Dr. Vilcek has devoted his scientific career to the study of cytokines—hormone-like proteins produced in the body that control the immune system and host defenses. His contributions to the understanding of proteins that control the body’s defenses were instrumental in the development of the anti-inflammatory drug Remicade®.
“My first appointment as assistant professor of microbiology at NYU School of Medicine in 1965 made it possible for my wife and me to pursue successful careers in the United States,” said Dr. Vilcek. “I have long been grateful for the remarkable opportunities that NYU enabled me to have, and it is a great honor to have my name affiliated with the Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.” He continued, “I am thrilled about the opportunities it will continue to provide to scientists from around the world.”
The Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences trains PhD and MD/PhD candidates to study some of today’s most urgent biomedical problems under the mentorship of renowned faculty members. Its open program model, which encourages students to rotate among different laboratories in their first year and follow their curiosity wherever it leads them, inculcates the abiding love of science that has been a touchstone for Dr. Vilcek’s career.
Students come from all over the world to study at the institute, which makes the naming all the more appropriate: Dr. Vilcek is an outspoken advocate for immigrants’ contributions to science and society at large, and with his wife, Marica F. Vilcek, is cofounder, CEO and chairman of the Vilcek Foundation.