$10 Million Gift from Clyde & Helen Wu Endows World-Class Research Center
Columbia Trustee and cardiopulmonary specialist Clyde Wu, M.D., a 1956 graduate of Columbia Medical School, and his wife, Helen, have given $10 million to permanently endow the Clyde and Helen Wu Center for Molecular Cardiology. This extraordinary gift allows the Center to move forward aggressively in the search for a cure for diseases of the heart.

“I’ve always believed that to advance clinical medicine you must dig a little deeper into basic science,” Dr. Wu says. “I hope that by increasing our involvement and commitment to basic science other people will see the logic and follow suit.”

As a practicing physician since the “Dark Ages” of cardiology, Dr. Wu has witnessed a revolution in the treatment of heart disease. “When I first started my internship, the only thing we had for heart attack survivors was morphine for the pain, and they had a high rate of mortality,” Dr. Wu recalls. “Now advances such as clot-busting drugs, angioplasties, and stents have reduced mortality to around 5 percent to 7 percent. Those advances came from basic science.”

But despite the great strides made in cardiology in the past 50 years, cardiovascular disease is still the nation’s leading cause of death.

A New Paradigm
“Most state-of-the-art treatments for heart disease target symptoms,” says the Center’s director, Andrew Marks, M.D., the Wu Professor of Molecular Cardiology and chairman of the Department of Physiology. “The Clyde and Helen Wu Center for Molecular Cardiology is devoted to an entirely new treatment paradigm that targets the underlying cause of the illness. Dr. Wu has been a great supporter of the center in the past and with this generous gift we will be able to turn what we’ve learned in the past few years into better

Eventually, the Center hopes to develop treatments that will end the need for heart transplants and invasive devices, such as pacemakers. One such drug developed by Dr. Marks is in clinical trials now.

“I have all the confidence in Andy and his staff and I’m sure they will open new doors in understanding cardiology,” Dr. Wu says. “Their work is classic translational research, in which you enter an area for knowledge’s sake and then you see the possibility for applications. This is what great centers do.”

A History of Giving
Dr. Wu’s gift to the Center is the latest example of a long history of philanthropy. In the 1980s, he and his wife, a former concert pianist, presented a gift to construct a piano practice room in Bard Hall, a Medical School residence. They later established an interest-free student loan endowment fund, to ease the burden of education and training on worthy students.

Over the years, the Wus have made gifts to establish four Clyde and Helen Wu Professorships in Clinical Oncology, Immunology, Molecular Cardiology(currently held by Dr. Marks), Chemical Biology (held by Dr. James Rothman, Professor of Physiology).

Dr. Wu is the chairman of the Health Sciences Committee and serves on CUMC’s new Board of Visitors. He is a cardiopulmonary specialist and serves on the clinical faculty of Wayne State University College of Medicine in Detroit.

"Wu Endowment Puts Columbia
in Cardiology's Forefront"

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