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Baker Institute |  Public Information



About the Baker Institute

Located in Ithaca, NY, the Baker Institute is a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Today, the Institute serves society through discoveries that will have both an immediate effect and long term implications. Along with their historical strength in the study of infectious disease and immunology, the Institute's medical geneticists have gained prominence in recent years through the development of practical tests for detecting carriers of defective genes and strategies for control of genetic diseases. These researchers also investigate a variety of diseases affecting both animals and humans, including osteoarthritis, diseases of the eye, and reproductive disorders. Institute scientists have advanced our understanding of immune defenses against parasitic worms, which are significant causes of disease in animals. Additionally, recent Institute discoveries regarding the expression and therapeutic use of erythropoietin (a protein that regulates red blood-cell production) will have practical applications in this decade for the treatment of anemia in cancer patients and in cases of kidney failure. Recognizing the complexity of 21st century science, other research programs at the Institute carefully lay the scientific building blocks that will be the foundation for new discoveries about the nature of disease and how to control its spread.

Central to the success of the Institute is a commitment to cooperation and collaboration with other researchers. For many years, Baker Institute faculty have enjoyed active and fruitful collaborations with faculty from other units in the College of Veterinary Medicine and with Cornell University biologists. Specifically, Institute faculty are currently working with the newly formed Comparative Cancer Program at Cornell to investigate whether the transferrin receptor which is bound by the parvovirus capsid (i.e. the covering of the virus particle) could serve as a marker for tumor cells. More broadly, equine genetics studies at the Institute have played a critical role in the international collaboration of the Horse Genome Project. Similarly, canine geneticists here have been working closely with the Fred Huchinson Cancer Research Center in the construction of a linkage map of the canine genome. This in turn led to a partnership between Cornell and Ralston Purina to establish the Canine Reference Family DNA Distribution Center, making panels of DNA samples available to the international community of canine geneticists. The Baker Institute values this tradition of collaboration, and continues to be an active proponent of increasing basic knowledge of domestic species as a platform for practical advances in animal health, with broad implications for human health as well.