C. David Allis, Alan Alda, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, James and Marilyn Simons. On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, The Rockefeller University hosted its fourth annual CELEBRATING SCIENCE benefit lecture and dinner, sponsored by the Parents & Science initiative. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and special guest Alan Alda co-hosted the evening, which honored James and Marilyn Simons.
This year’s featured lecturer was internationally renowned Rockefeller scientist C. David Allis, Ph.D., recipient of a 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, who presented a lecture entitled, “Epigenetics Changes Everything: Revisiting the Nature vs. Nurture Debate.” Dr. Allis’s research has been especially important in the field of cancer biology. His investigations of epigenetic processes have led to a therapeutic breakthrough for certain leukemias and, more recently, to clinically relevant insights into the causes of specific classes of pediatric brain tumors.
Four hundred guests enjoyed an elegant tented dinner on the University’s esplanade following the lecture, where Alan Alda paid tribute to Jim and Marilyn Simons for their roles in transforming math and science education and advancing biomedical research. Through the initiatives of the Simons Foundation, founded in 1994, they are furthering the understanding and treatment of autism spectrum disorders and improving math and science education.
The evening raised over $2.2 million, including $200,000 from an auction conducted by distinguished Sotheby’s auctioneer Hugh Hildesley. The proceeds from this event support the Parents & Science initiative, which funds research on children’s health and development at Rockefeller, as well as the University’s Science Outreach Program.