The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has entered into an agreement with three world-renowned French research institutions—the University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités in Paris, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm), and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)—to focus on collaborative research and education in the fields of medicine and biomedical sciences.
The agreement will enable researchers of all four institutions to cooperate on fundamental research, development of novel therapeutics, and clinical trials, with an initial focus on ophthalmology, vision, and neuroscience. Along with joint research, the agreement also emphasizes exchange of academic personnel, joint academic conferences, and exchange of scientific, educational, and scholarly materials.
The agreement, signed on July 12 at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, highlights an important partnership between Pitt and the French institutions that was spurred by the recent recruitment of José-Alain Sahel, MD, one of the world’s top experts in retinal diseases, as the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, director of the UPMC Eye Center, the Eye and Ear Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology, and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member. Dr. Sahel retained his connections to Paris as the founder and director of the Institut de la Vision in Paris and as a professor at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie of the Sorbonne Universités (which co-incidentally also is referred to by the acronym UPMC), a top ranked medical school and the largest scientific and medical complex in France.
Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, is the only public research institution solely focused on human health and medical research in France and a leading medical research agency worldwide; and CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research, is the largest governmental research organization in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe.
“This agreement will further strengthen the robust scientific and educational partnerships between Pittsburgh and Paris, bringing to bear our outstanding intellectual capacities to address some of the most significant diseases that lead to blindness and vision impairment through basic and translational research,” said Dr. Sahel
“Taking on an immense challenge like the quest to cure blindness requires that we not only have bold ideas, but also the brightest minds to work on them. The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be a part of this international partnership that will bring together the world-class scientific community at Pitt with researchers from France under the able leadership of Dr. Sahel,” said Arthur S. Levine, MD, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.
Illustration: Signatories of the agreement between Pitt and the French research institutions pose for the cameras at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. (L to R) Dr. Sidney Wiener, Scientific Officer, International Affairs, CNRS; Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Gérard Araud, ambassador of France to the United States; Dr. Jean Chambaz, President, University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités; Dr. Yves Levy, President and CEO of Inserm; Dr. Arthur Levine, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine. UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.