Paul and Irma Milstein Family Foundation and American Skin Association support development of automated melanoma detector for skin cancer screening

Researchers at The Rockefeller University have developed an automated technology that combines imaging with digital analysis and machine learning to help physicians detect melanoma at its early stages. This work was supported by the Paul and Irma Milstein Family Foundation, with additional support from American Skin Association, whose chairman is Howard P. Milstein, and the National Institutes of Health.

Even experts can be fooled by melanoma. People with this type of skin cancer often have mole-looking growths on their skin that tend to be irregular in shape and color, and can be hard to tell apart from benign ones, making the disease difficult to diagnose. “There is a real need for standardization across the field of dermatology in how melanomas are evaluated,” says James Krueger, D. Martin Carter Professor in Clinical Investigation and head of the Laboratory of Investigative Dermatology. “Detection through screening saves lives but is very challenging visually, and even when a suspicious lesion is extracted and biopsied, it is confirmed to be melanoma in only about 10 percent of cases.”

In the new approach, images of lesions are processed by a series of computer programs that extract information about the number of colors present in a growth, and other quantitative data. The analysis generates an overall risk score, called a Q-score, which indicates the likelihood that the growth is cancerous.

Published in Experimental Dermatology, a recent study evaluating the tool’s usefulness indicates that the Q-score yields 98 percent sensitivity, meaning it is very likely to correctly identify early melanomas on the skin. The ability of the test to correctly diagnose normal moles was 36 percent, approaching the levels achieved by expert dermatologists performing visual examinations of suspect moles under the microscope.

“The success of the Q-score in predicting melanoma is a marked improvement over competing technologies,” says Daniel Gareau, first author of the report and instructor in clinical investigation in the Krueger laboratory.

The researchers developed this tool by feeding 60 photos of cancerous melanomas and an equivalent batch of pictures of benign growths into image processing programs. They developed imaging biomarkers to precisely quantify visual features of the growths.

As previous studies have shown, the number of colors in a lesion turned out to be the most significant biomarker for determining malignancy. And some biomarkers were significant only if looked at in specific color channels—a finding the researchers say could potentially be exploited to identify additional biomarkers and further improve accuracy.

“I think this technology could help detect the disease earlier, which could save lives, and avoid unnecessary biopsies too,” says Gareau. “Our next steps are to evaluate this method in larger studies, and take a closer look at how we can use specific color wavelengths to reveal aspects of the lesions that may be invisible to the human eye, but could still be useful in diagnosis.”

SOURCE: Rockefeller University

Milstein Family Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Hall of Ocean Life

It seems like yesterday, but apparently it was 10 years ago. My family was honored to help return the Museum’s legendary blue whale to a spectacularly renovated home, named in honor of my parents, Irma and Paul Milstein. The grand refurbishment of this legendary gallery was led by my mother, Irma Milstein, a longtime Museum Trustee, and my father, Paul. Inspired by memories of their time with children and grandchildren in the so-called Whale Room, our family became dedicated to keeping this hall and its iconic exhibitions accessible, relevant, and enriching for today’s visitors. We hope that the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life continues to awaken a lifelong love of nature, curiosity about science, and enthusiasm for learning in the millions of visitors who pass through its doors each year.

We also have collaborated with the Museum in expanding public understanding of science and sustainability through innovative programming that draws connections between the content of the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life and relevant areas of active scientific research. Each year, the Hall hosts the Milstein Science Series. These free weekend programs use the extensive resources and exhibits of the Museum to offer families a day of hands-on learning with talks by expert researchers, opportunities to examine specimens from its unparalleled collections, and other activities that make current scientific research accessible to family audiences. The Hall remains one of the most popular destinations for the nearly 500,000 New York City schoolchildren and their teachers who visit the Museum each year.

Over the past 10 years, the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life has hosted a wide variety of scientific gatherings and conferences. These range from the Urban Advantage Science Expo, where middle-school students from across New York City present their unique scientific investigations, to the recent 2013 Milstein Science Symposium, “Understanding Ecological and Social Resilience in Island Systems.” As with previous Milstein symposia, this one brought together world-class scientists and policy leaders from across the globe to discuss findings and share recommendations on pressing scientific topics. The Hall has also served as a dramatic venue for high-profile gatherings of world leaders and countless celebrations of weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

We are delighted to join the Museum in celebrating this landmark anniversary of the iconic Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life. We are proud that it continues to serve as a unique venue for educating the children of New York City and the public about basic principles of ocean science and conservation, while revealing new discoveries and tools that transform scientific understanding of the marine world. And most of all, that it has remained true to our inscription at its entrance: “Dedicated to understanding and appreciating the wonders and the beauty of the oceans.”

Howard P. Milstein
Paul & Irma Milstein Foundation

Milstein Science Symposium 2013 Presented at American Museum of Natural History

On April 9, 2013, Howard Milstein welcomed participants to the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Science Symposium 2013. The subject of the Symposium was “Understanding Ecological and Social Resilience in Island Systems: Informing Policy and Sharing Lessons for Management.” The American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and its partners organized the three-day symposium that brought together local resource managers, researchers, educators, island leaders, policy makers, and other leading conservation practitioners to present and analyze real-world resilience case studies.  Central to the symposium was understanding resilience: the ability of ecological and social systems to absorb, resist, or recover from stressors and adapt to change while maintaining critical ecosystem functions and benefits.

In his remarks before the program began, Howard Milstein recalled the Milstein family’s long association with the Museum. “I’ve always felt at home here, ever since my mother brought us as kids to the Whale Room, a long time before it was the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. And we’ve been privileged to support this museum for two generations,” he said. “Given that long history, it’s a special joy to welcome such a distinguished group of speakers. You’ve come from around the globe to address the theme of islands, a topic that takes on urgency with each shift in climate and ecology, and each shift of the major and minor tectonic plates that undergird many of world’s major islands.”

Island ecosystems present unique challenges for conservation due to distinctive ecological and evolutionary processes and vulnerability to threats.  The Milstein Science Symposium explored case studies that exemplify responses to disturbance of change in order to elucidate patterns and processes that foster resilience. Through sharing lessons learned and fostering networks of island managers who are addressing similar challenges, the symposium deepened manager insight into how to promote the resilience of coastal systems, particularly in tropical small island nations, as well as strengthen networks among island leaders, international scientists, and policy makers, paving the way for ongoing collaboration in the future.

The Milstein Science Symposium is proudly sponsored by the Irma and Paul Milstein Family.

Source: American Museum of Natural History

The 2014 Irma and Paul Milstein Program for Senior Health Fellowship and Translational Project Awards

In connection with the commitment to support outstanding medical research related to geriatric medicine and aging research, the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation (MMAAP) invites the submission of applications from mainland China for:

1) Irma and Paul Milstein Program for Senior Health Fellowship Award to support one year of training at a prominent sponsoring institution in the US for one Chinese scholar in geriatric medicine and aging research

2) Translational Research Project Award of the Irma and Paul Milstein Program for Senior Health to support one such project with potential for immediate impact on improving senior health in China.

The aim of this program is to build an enduring partnership between the United States and Asia through the training of future Chinese academic leaders, and to encourage long-term collaborations between the two regions. The fellowship award will provide support for the fellow in the amount of $60,000, accompanied by a grant of $25,000 to the hosting U.S. institution. The translational project award will provide support for the project to be conducted at applicant’s home institution in China in the amount of $50,000, and support for the U.S. partner institution in the amount of $10,000.

The 2013 Fellowship Award was given to Genxiang Mao, MD, of Zhejiang Provincial Key Lab of Geriatrics at Zhejiang Hospital, for a project entitled “A New Strategy for Delaying Cellular Senescence: Modulating Mitochondrial Biogenesis.” The Translational Research Project Award was given to Peking Union Medical College Hospital, with principal investigator Xiaohong Liu, MD, PhD, for a project entitled “Development of a Chinese At-Home Senior Care Model for Community-Dwelling Disabled Older Adults.” For this first round of MMAAP Foundation awards, Johns Hopkins University will serve as both the hosting institution for the fellow and the partner institution for the translational research project.

The 2014 award application deadline is November 1, 2013. For detailed information including application guidelines and eligibility, please visit

Click here for a Chinese language version of this announcement.

Contact: Victor Ning, Project Manager, MMAAP Foundation
Phone: 212-850-4505

SOURCE: The American Geriatrics Society

Milstein Family Recognized for Generations of Philanthropy

The Milstein family was recently recognized for its long tradition of philanthropy in New York City by The Real Deal: New York City Real Estate News. In the illustration of the connections between the city’s nonprofit institutions and the real estate community accompanying “The Charity Web,” the Milstein family was given a central position. The Real Deal reporter Leigh Kamping-Carter traces the family’s involvement to the founding of Milstein Properties by Paul and Seymour Milstein, which was the basis for “several family foundations that control tens of millions of dollars in charitable wealth.” Kamping-Carter highlights Irma Milstein’s membership on the board of the American Museum of Natural History, where the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life is located. Paul and Irma’s son, Howard, chairs the boards of the New York Blood Center and American Skin Association and is a member of the boards of Weill Cornell Medical Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Other family members are represented on the boards of the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Opera, New York University, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

For the complete story, click here.

Paul Milstein Hall Receives Prestigious Architecture Award

Paul Milstein Hall at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) received a 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture. Awarded annually by the American Institute of Architects, the Institute Honor Award is “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture, and urban design.”

The award citation said of Paul Milstein Hall, “Milstein Hall is the first new building in over 100 years for the renowned College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. Rather than creating a new freestanding building, Milstein Hall is an addition to the AAP buildings, creating a unified complex with continuous levels of indoor and outdoor interconnected spaces. Enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass and a green roof with 41 skylights, this ‘upper plate’ cantilevers almost 50 feet over University Avenue to establish a relationship with the Foundry, a third existing AAP facility.”

One jury member said about Milstein Hall that is “praised by users for its ‘transactional’ qualities: The college’s activities have become far more visually accessible within the Cornell campus; spaces created are connective between Sibley and Rand Halls; and functional relocations—such as the design library—have enhanced communication between student cohorts within the college.” And another said, “The exposed systems and relaxed social ambience tolerate and celebrate the creative clutter created by students.”

“We’re delighted that Milstein Hall has received this high honor,” said Kent Kleinman, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP. “It is gratifying to all who worked so hard on this project to have the effort validated by this national jury.”

Construction of Paul Milstein Hall, completed in 2012, was made possible by a grant from the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation. Architect for the project was Rem Koolhaas and the Office of Metropolitan Architecture.

The AIA page devoted to Milstein Hall can be seen here.

SOURCE: Cornell Chronicle, American Institute of Architects

Paul Milstein Hall Celebration Draws Record Number of Cornell Alumni

Paul Milstein Hall of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) was the focus of a weekend celebration by alumni, faculty, and students in early March to mark the building’s completion. The highlight of the weekend was a talk on March 9 by internationally renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, who designed Milstein Hall with his Office of Metropolitan Architecture. AAP Dean Kent Kleinman introduced Koolhaas and moderated a Q&A for a capacity audience of nearly 300 in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium and Boardroom.

The building “is both a remarkable accomplishment architecturally and a transformative pedagogical tool,” Kleinman told the Cornell Chronicle. “It is by design that Milstein Hall functions as connective tissue uniting students and faculty across departments. … No contemporary architect, in my mind, other than Rem Koolhaas could have embodied in space and material our complex needs and our aspirational spirit. The transformation of the college is already profound.”

Nearly 500 AAP alumni (a record for a college gathering) were on hand for the weekend’s events, which included an evening dance party on March 10 held in the Sibley Dome and the Milstein Dome, exhibitions by alumni, and a talk on the origins of the Savannah, Georgia, city plan by AAP emeritus professor John Reps and planning professor Michael Tomian.

Milstein Hall Opens for Students

Milstein Hall of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) welcomed architecture students to their new studios on August 24, 2011. The studios are set up on the building’s second floor, which contains 25,000 square feet of open space as well as a presentation/critique area where students can show their work. AAP Dean Kent Kleinman said that Milstein Hall “allows a new architecture studio culture to unfold,” and links other AAP buildings in a way that will encourage interactions between the school’s departments.

Milstein Hall incorporates numerous sustainable features—a cooling system using water from Cayuga Lake, 41 skylights, radiant floor heat, and a green roof—and is expected to qualify for LEED silver certification. The building was designed by Rem Koolhaas, who received architecture’s top award, the Pritzker Prize, in 2000, and architects from the New York office of his firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Construction began in August 2009, and a 250-seat auditorium on the first floor will open in October. A walk through of the second floor studios can be seen here. Milstein Hall was named in honor of Paul Milstein by his wife and children.

YIVO Launches A Website About Milstein Family Jewish Communal Archive Project

The YIVO Institute launched a new website sponsored by the Milstein Family Foundation and its successor, the PIM foundation. The website,, reflects the work accomplished during YIVO’s three-year, $225,000 pilot project funded by the PIM Foundation and Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation to preserve and document the historic legacy of Jewish New York with emphasis on the histories and archival treasures of five agencies serving the needs of Jewish community in New York.