The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program’s (SATOP) newest Alliance Partner, Binghamton University, State University of New York, first opened its doors in 1946 in response to the educational needs of local veterans returning from World War II. At that time, the university established itself as a liberal arts college, setting up numerous Quonset huts in which to hold classes for the returning GIs.
Through the intervening years, Binghamton University has grown to become a premier university, with outstanding faculty and diverse academic programs. The faculty includes a Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Book Award winner and Fullbright, Ford and Guggenheim scholars. The university also is represented by fellows in professional affiliations such as the National Academy of Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Often referred to as the crown jewel of the northeast, Binghamton University consistently has been ranked as one of the top public institutions in the country by US World and News Report. In addition, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has ranked Binghamton University as a doctoral extensive school, meaning that the university offers a wide variety of baccalaureate programs and is committed to graduate education through the doctorate. Binghamton University has awarded 50 or more doctoral degrees per year across 15 disciplines.
In response to the interdisciplinary nature of today’s research questions, Binghamton University has formed 23 organized multi-disciplinary research centers, which bring together researchers from different academic backgrounds and offer both expertise and equipment for use by faculty from any discipline as well as members of the community. The university’s facilities range in academic fields, including Mathematical Sciences, Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Physics, Nursing and Psychology.
Gerald Sonnenfeld, Binghamton University’s Vice President for Research and a prominent researcher in immunology, feels that, as part of the university’s mission, it is paramount to foster economic growth and development in the community. “We hope to help achieve economic development throughout the area, the state and the entire country as a SATOP Alliance Partner,” said Sonnenfeld. “We want to help small businesses that need the specialized expertise our faculty and students possess.”
Sonnenfeld’s research focuses on the regulation of the immune system by the neuro-endocrine system, and how stress affects various reactions. In addition, his research investigates how space flight affects the immune system. Sonnenfeld has won numerous awards and has been recognized with The Founders Award by the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology.
Sonnenfeld also is the program director of a highly competitive postdoctoral training program for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. The Institute was established by NASA to develop countermeasures against the deleterious effects of space flight on human health. The postdoctoral program provides funding for fellows at any laboratory in the United States carrying out space-related biomedical or biotechnological research.
According to Sonnenfeld, as a SATOP Alliance Partner Binghamton University will, in part, fulfill all of the goals and objectives of the university including research enhancement and economic development, increase support for investments in new areas of research, community partnership and increased economic outreach.
Binghamton University’s partnership in SATOP follows that of SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Both are Bronze level Alliance Partners, a commitment of up to 250 man-hours per year. Binghamton University’s longstanding relationship with NASA is marked by many significant projects, including research in the life sciences, such as infectious diseases, as well as studies involving wellness of the crew in space.
“We look forward to establi