Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Honors Researchers Making a Difference

A group of innovative and influential tycoons came together to form the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions in the life sciences field. The most lucrative prize offered for any academic achievement in the world, the first group to receive the annual Breakthrough Prize included 11 recipients, all scientists, in February. The awardees received $3 million and recognition for their “excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.”
Lauretes included:

  • Cornelia I. Bargmann – For the genetics of neural circuits and behavior, and synaptic guidepost molecules.
  • David Botstein – For linkage mwp-contenting of Mendelian disease in humans using DNA polymorphisms.
  • Lewis C. Cantley – For the discovery of PI 3-Kinase and its role in cancer metabolism.
  • Hans Clevers – For describing the role of Wnt signaling in tissue stem cells and cancer.
  • Napoleone Ferrara – For discoveries in the mechanisms of angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases.
  • Titia de Lange – For research on telomeres, illuminating how they protect chromosome ends and their role in genome instability in cancer.
  • Eric S. Lander – For the discovery of general principles for identifying human disease genes, and enabling their wp-contentlication to medicine through the creation and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome.
  • Charles L. Sawyers – For cancer genes and targeted therapy.
  • Bert Vogelstein – For cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes.
  • Robert A. Weinberg – For characterization of human cancer genes.
  • Shinya Yamanaka – For induced pluripotent stem cells.

Russian venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Yuri Milner, established the prize along with additional founding sponsors Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki and Mark Zuckerberg. All accomplished Internet and business gurus in their own right, the group has already guaranteed that the prize be presented for the next 5 years.

Life sciences companies including those involved with biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and biomedicine are coming up with innovative and effective ways to treat different types of cancer. Academic and health care institutions are leading research efforts to use genomics to identify personalized medicine. With all of the developments taking place on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus alone, it is easy to understand why it is important to recognize the individuals making life-enhancing discoveries. The Prize is public validation that the work being done in labs, under the microscopes, in the manufacturing companies and during simulations is highly valued and respected.

“I believe this new prize will shine a light on the extraordinary achievements of the outstanding minds in the field of life sciences, enhance medical innovation, and ultimately become a platform for recognizing future discoveries,” said Art Levinson. In addition to his current position as Chairman of both the Apple Inc. and Genentech Boards, Levinson will serve as the Chairman of the Board of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.

Bound to spark an influx of submissions for consideration since any third party can nominate a researcher or scientist for the Prize, the major qualification is that it must recognize a major achievement, with special attention to recent developments. A person can win the Prize any number of times and there are no age requirements. The Prize can also be shared amongst a group of people.

In realizing that the next generations will lead the development of the next big breakthrough, the Prize is a recognition well-deserved for those whose jobs may not be as glamorous or well-known. It will serve as one more way to shed light on how impactful and relevant scientists and researchers are and will open the door for more students to take interest in pursuing those career paths.

Roswell Park in Top 6% of U.S. Centers for Blood and Marrow Transplant

RPCI’s BMT patient results superior to expected outcomes

For the third consecutive year, outcomes for patients receiving blood and marrow transplants through the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) are among the best in the nation. The latest report compiled by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) puts RPCI in the top 6% of U.S. centers performing allogeneic blood and marrow transplants, based on patient survival rates.

Allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) involves infusion of bone marrow or blood cells from a donor, and is commonly used to treat many blood cancers, including some forms of leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. The CIBMTR (website: http://www.cibmtr.org) is an international research organization that collects and publishes data from centers that perform blood and marrow transplants. Its 2012 report includes outcomes data for 169 U.S. centers. The report, which analyzed related and unrelated donor BMTs performed between 2008 and 2010, places RPCI among 10 centers whose one-year survival results were above what could be expected based on the level of acuity or risk represented among the transplanted population.

The RPCI population was once again assigned to the highest risk category, indicating that the Institute’s BMT cases during the period covered were among the most complicated. Factors such as degree of tissue match/mismatch between donor and recipient and the type of transplant being performed can add risk to these already-complex procedures.

“These outcomes, which have been consistently high for the last three years, are a direct product of the multidisciplinary interaction on which our care is based,” noted Theresa Hahn, PhD, an Associate Professor of Oncology at RPCI and Director of Quality Assurance for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. “Our outstanding clinical team has put every effort into constantly improving the experiences of our patients, and that work involves many of Roswell Park’s teams, including our Department of Medicine clinicians, nursing staff, case management, our blood cell apheresis and processing lab, the departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, Radiation Medicine, Radiology and Psychosocial Oncology, our clinical pharmacy staff, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and housekeeping staff.”

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

Roswell Park Recognizes Staff, Community Supporters at 5th Annual Eva M. Noles Progra

RPCI LogoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 12, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

Roswell Park Recognizes Staff, Community Supporters at 5th Annual Eva M. Noles Program
Scholarship awarded to RPCI employee in tribute to Buffalo’s first African-American nurse

BUFFALO, NY — DeMarco Ogletree, a cashier in the Nutrition & Food Service Department at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), earned the $2,000 Eva M. Noles Scholarship Friday, December 7 at the fifth annual Eva M. Noles Scholarship and Community Recognition Breakfast at RPCI. The annual program honors the legacy of Eva M. Noles, RN, Buffalo’s first African-American registered nurse and a longtime RPCI employee who served in many leadership roles at the Institute, including as Director of Nursing.

Ogletree joined the Roswell Park staff in the spring of 2012. He is presently pursuing degrees in both nursing and theology at Erie Community College and plans to continue his work in healthcare, helping to fight health disparities in the Buffalo area. “From his first days with us, DeMarco has committed himself wholeheartedly to the Roswell Park mission,” said David Scott, RPCI Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “He has contributed greatly as an employee, and now we have a great opportunity to reward that commitment — which embodies the work, spirit and legacy of Ms. Noles — and help him achieve his career goals by providing a scholarship toward his studies.”

Darius G. Pridgen, Pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo and Ellicott District Councilmember for the City of Buffalo, gave the keynote address at the program, during which several RPCI staff members and volunteers were recognized for their role in providing cancer education and preventive outreach to underserved communities throughout Western New York. Among those recognized were Georganne Alexander, a volunteer with the Buffalo/Niagara Witness Project; Ramon Luciano Jr., a volunteer with  Minorities Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate Cancer (MAN UP); Carmen Sepulvedad, a volunteer with the Esperanza y Vida Project; and Gloria Quarles, a volunteer who serves on Roswell Park’s Community Advisory Steering Committee.

Staff and volunteers were also recognized for their contributions to Cruisin’ for a Cure, a prostate cancer education and screening event held at RPCI in September, and to the African American Roswell Employee Network, whose activities include year-round community outreach on behalf of RPCI.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

RPCI Receives Leapfrog Top Hospital Recognition for 3rd Straight Year

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has been named to The Leapfrog Group’s annual Top Hospitals list for a third consecutive year. One of only three National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York state, RPCI is the only New York facility to be named a Leapfrog Top Hospital for 2012.
The Leapfrog Top Hospital designation puts RPCI in a class representing less than 8% of eligible hospitals. In all, 67 urban facilities, 13 rural institutions and 12 children’s hospitals earned the designation this year. The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of public and private employers, selects hospitals for the designation based on an annual national survey measuring performance in areas such as error prevention, Intensive Care Unit staffing and complex, high-risk procedures.

“The Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction is by far the most competitive award a hospital can receive. Leapfrog holds hospitals to the highest standards on behalf of our purchaser members and their employees,” said Leah Binder, President & CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Roswell Park Cancer Institute has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. This hospital stands out as one consistently providing safe, high quality care, and I would be comfortable sending my family to Roswell Park for care.”

RPCI has frequently been recognized for high-quality care and overall excellence. The Institute was again recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-13 Best Hospitals list for Cancer Care and also this year was re-certified for a three-year period by the Joint Commission, an independent accrediting body.

“We are extremely proud to receive the Leapfrog award for the third consecutive year. Roswell Park participates in a number of quality assessment programs every year — many of them, like the annual Leapfrog survey, on a voluntary basis,” said Roswell Park Medical Director Judy Smith, MD. “Through this process we can evaluate the work we do and look for opportunities for further improvement; it is an invaluable opportunity for a thorough, unbiased review by an informed outside organization.”

Annie Deck-Miller; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

UB Ranked One of the World’s Best Universities by Times Higher Education

UB Ranked One of the World’s Best Universities by Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education has named the University at Buffalo as one of the world’s top 200 universities.

UB is ranked 198th in the 2012-13 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, up from last year’s ranking among the top 201 to 225 universities worldwide. The assessment uses 13 performance indicators to analyze how well a university is doing in core missions including teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

“This is very good news. Moving into the top-200 will enhance UB’s already-strong reputation overseas and help us attract outstanding students from around the world,” said Stephen C. Dunnett, PhD, UB professor and vice provost for international education.

“International students are particularly conscious of university rankings, and UB’s steady ascent in various international rankings in recent years — a reflection of our strong institutional commitment to excellence — is certainly well recognized and wp-contentreciated by students and their families overseas.”

Times Higher Education is a leading higher education magazine, and the recognition of UB as a top-200 university demonstrates UB’s growing global reputation. The data for the rankings were collected by Thomson Reuters, which considered about 700 institutions in 69 countries.

In recent years, UB has invested in recruiting additional high-quality faculty, attracting researchers from around the world to Western New York. These faculty members conduct research on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and provide students with an excellent education in the classroom.

Under President Satish K. Tripathi, UB has embarked on the next phase of its UB 2020 plan for academic excellence.  With the support of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation, signed into law last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, UB is in the midst of a historic transformation.  The university is hiring 250 new faculty over the next five years, offering new programs to enrich students’ academic experiences and opening new facilities on its three campuses, with the goal of becoming one the world’s leading public research universities and increasing its regional economic impact.

Abroad, the university has cultivated relationships with distinguished educational institutions throughout the world, cooperating with international partners on student exchanges, joint research projects and the delivery of degree programs overseas.

At home, UB consistently places in the top 20 in the United States for international student enrollment, according to annual data published by the Institute of International Education. In 2010-11, for instance, UB had 5,185 foreign students, the 17th largest population in the nation.

John DellaContrada; dellacon@buffalo.edu; 716-645-4601

J. Craig Venter Receives Honorary Doctorate, Extols Virtues of the CTRC, UB's Newest Research Facility

[ photograph ]“I’m actually jealous,” said J. Craig Venter, speaking of UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, after receiving the SUNY Honorary Doctorate in Science.

World-renowned genomic researcher calls UB facility “some of the most beautiful lab space I’ve seen.”

J. Craig Venter, PhD, the pioneering biologist who led the first team to sequence the human genome, received a State University of New York Honorary Doctorate in Science at the University at Buffalo on Sept. 20. The honorary degree was conferred on him at a ceremony that followed the grand opening of UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center in the joint UB-Kaleida Health building in downtown Buffalo.

UB President Satish K. Triapthi called Venter “one of the 21st century’s most influential scientists and widely regarded as the world’s foremost leader in the field of genetic research.” He said he couldn’t think of a more fitting individual to honor on the occasion of the CTRC opening.

The degree was conferred on Venter by Angelo Fatta, UB Foundation board of directors chair, and SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin.

Venter, a former UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute scientist, developed a revolutionary strategy for rapid gene discovery while working at the National Institutes of Health. He later founded The Institute for Genomic Research and, in 1995, he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism. At Celera Genomics, which he founded in 1998, Venter sequenced the human genome using new tools and techniques he and his team developed. The successful completion of this research culminated with the February 2001 publication of the human genome in the journal Science.

Speaking before the audience that gathered in the fifth floor atrium of the CTRC, Venter expressed his honest admiration for UB’s newest research facility.

“I’m actually jealous,” he said, after accepting the SUNY honorary degree. “This is some of the most beautiful lab space I’ve seen and the views are always improving.” Venter then described his newest building, now under construction on the University of California San Diego campus, which, he conceded, will have even better views because it is located right next to the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to the CTRC’s physical assets, Venter praised UB and Buffalo for committing to the creation of a life sciences economy. “I’m a strong believer that the future does rest in a bioeconomy,” he said.

Venter also gave an update on genomics, describing the massive amounts of digital information that the research has produced and the challenge caused by this “digitizing of biology.” While the mammalian genome has largely been completed, he said, there is plenty of genetic diversity on the planet that has yet to be discovered.

“By sequencing the microbiome, we find we are not alone,” he said. “In addition to the 2 million human genes we have, each of us also contains about 10 million additional microbe genes. We live in a microbial world; we are visitors here.”

He and his colleagues are also looking at the vast genetic diversity in the ocean. “Every time we take a sample of seawater, we see between 1 and 3 million genes that haven’t been seen before,” he said.

While noting that the idea that it’s possible to sequence your own genome for about $1,000 may be an overstatement, he said that personalized medicine based on a patient’s genetic information “will be a standard part of medicine within a few years.”

Venter is founder and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a not-for-profit, research and support organization dedicated to human, microbial, plant and environmental genomic research, the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics, and alternative energy solutions through genomics. He and his team continue to blaze new trails in genomics research and have published numerous important papers covering such areas as the first complete diploid human genome, environmental genomics and synthetic genomics.

Venter also is founder and chief executive officer of the company Synthetic Genomics Inc., a privately held company commercializing genomic advances.

 

Ellen Goldbaum; goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716-645-4605; @egoldbaum

All in One Day: Three Awards for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) received three honors on the same day this week: the BNMC was named 2012 Outstanding Research/Science Park by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP); its Four Neighborhoods, One Community: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Master Plan Update has been awarded the 2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning by the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (NYUAPA); and the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center, owned and operated by the BNMC, Inc., received the Innovative Design Award by international trade organization Global Workspace Association.

2012 Outstanding Research/Science Park Award by Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Patrick J. Whalen, Chief Operating Officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., was on hand to accept the award at AURP’s annual conference in Madison, WI.

“The Association of University Research Parks is pleased to announce the 2012 Awards of Excellence recipients and has named the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus the 2012 Outstanding Research Park,” said AURP President Kevin Byrne. “BNMC is a world-class medical campus that has created a strong community of innovation in Buffalo and throughout the region. We congratulate them for their outstanding achievements.”

AURP is a professional association of university related research and science parks. The association’s mission is to foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth through university, industry and government partnerships. More online at www.aurp.net.

Previous parks honored as Outstanding Research/Science Park of the Year include the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center; Innovation Place (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada); Sandia Science & Technology Park (Albuquerque, NM); and Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University.

Read more about the award here.

2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association

In addition, NYUAPA announced that the Four Neighborhoods, One Community: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Master Plan Update has been awarded the 2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning.  The 2012 NYUAPA Awards recognize outstanding work that is being done by planners and planning firms in Upstate New York.  Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning recognizes plans that advance the science and art of planning.

“The Four Neighborhoods, One Community plan used a visionary wp-contentroach that engaged stakeholder groups in a significant way and leveraged their collective knowledge to shape the final product,” said NYUAPA Awards Committee Chairman Mark Castiglione, AICP. “What’s more, not only does the plan include excellent analysis, writing, and graphics, but it builds on and seeks to implement existing community and neighborhood plans.  In doing so, the NYUAPA feel this plan is a model for others to emulate and is well deserving of this prestigious award.”

2012 Innovative Design Award by the Global Workspace Association 

This new, annual award was given out at GWA’s annual convention today in Baltimore, MD. The award is given to a member with a center who developed an innovative or unique design that positively affected client retention or center ‘sale-ability’ by addressing a particular challenge presented by the building or the environment. The Innovation Center was honored for tenant amenities such as exercise balls, Xbox Kinect, pool table, electric car chargers, and more.

 

 

 

The BNMC, Inc. is the umbrella organization created in 2001 by the institutions located within the Medical Campus. Our not-for-profit organization fosters conversation and collaboration among our member institutions, their 12,000 employees, and the community; coordinates activities related to sustainable planning, development and enhancement of our 120-acre space; and works to create a distinct, innovative environment that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and active and healthy living.

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Receives Three Honors in One Day by Different International & State-Wide Organizations

Banner Letterhead
 

For Immediate Release  
Thursday, September 20, 2012                                                                  

For more information:
Contact Kari Bonaro
kbonaro@bnmc-old.local, 716-218-7157

 

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Receives Three Honors in One Day by Different International & State-Wide Organizations

Received Outstanding Research/Science Park, Planning Excellence, and Innovative Workspace Awards

(BUFFALO, NY) – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus received three honors on the same day this week: the BNMC was named 2012 Outstanding Research/Science Park by the Association of University Research Parks; its Four Neighborhoods, One Community: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Master Plan Update has been awarded the 2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning by the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (NYUAPA); and the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center, owned & operated by the BNMC, Inc.,  received the Innovative Design Award by international trade organization Global Workspace Association.

2012 Outstanding Research/ Science Park Award by Association of University Research Parks (AURP)

Patrick J. Whalen, Chief Operating Officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc., was on hand to accept the award at AURP’s annual conference in Madison, WI. The BNMC has submitted a proposal to host the group’s 2014 meeting here in Buffalo.

The Association of University Research Parks is a professional association of university related research and science parks. AURP’s mission is to foster innovation, commercialization and economic growth through university, industry and government partnerships. More online at www.aurp.net.

Previous parks honored as Outstanding Research/Science Park of the Year include the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center; Innovation Place (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada); Sandia Science & Technology Park (Albuquerque, NM); and Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University.

2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association

In addition, the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (NYUAPA) announced that the Four Neighborhoods, One Community: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Master Plan Update has been awarded the 2012 Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning.  The 2012 NYUAPA Awards recognize outstanding work that is being done by planners and planning firms in Upstate New York.  Planning Excellence Award for Comprehensive Planning recognizes plans that advance the science and art of planning.

“The Four Neighborhoods, One Community plan used a visionary wp-contentroach that engaged stakeholder groups in a significant way and leveraged their collective knowledge to shape the final product,” said NYUAPA Awards Committee Chairman Mark Castiglione, AICP. “What’s more, not only does the plan include excellent analysis, writing, and graphics, but it builds on and seeks to implement existing community and neighborhood plans.  In doing so, the NYUAPA feel this plan is a model for others to emulate and is well deserving of this prestigious award.”

2012 Innovative Design Award by the Global Workspace Association

This new, annual award was given out at GWA’s annual convention today in Baltimore, MD. The award is given to a member with a center who developed an innovative or unique design that positively affected client retention or center ‘sale-ability’ by addressing a particular challenge presented by the building or the environment. The Innovation Center was honored for tenant amenities such as exercise balls, Xbox Kinect, pool table, electric car chargers, and more.

About the BNMC

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is dedicated to the cultivation of a world-class medical campus for clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship on 120 acres in downtown Buffalo. It is home to the region’s top clinical, research, and medical education institutions, including: the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Olmsted Center for Sight, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Buffalo Medical Group, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Unyts, and the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care. There are over 40 public and private companies on the BNMC. More than 12,000 people come to work at the Medical Campus every day, and BNMC institutions see over one million patients and visitors annually. The Campus has an annual economic impact of $1.5 billion on the region. The Medical Campus consists of more than 6 million square feet of research, clinical, and support space.  bnmc-old.local

About the BNMC, Inc.

The BNMC, Inc. is the umbrella organization created in 2001 by the institutions located within the Medical Campus. Our not-for-profit organization fosters conversation and collaboration among our member institutions, their 12,000 employees, and the community; coordinates activities related to sustainable planning, development and enhancement of our 120-acre space; and works to create a distinct, innovative environment that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and active and healthy living. Learn more at bnmc-old.local.

 

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Researchers Create Approach to Analyze Genetic Disease Data More Efficiently

Collaborating with the Center for Human Genome Variation at Duke University, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) researchers have developed a method to dexterously determine genetic factors that cause disease.
In a recent research study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, RPCI’s Dr. Qiangian Zhu and fellow researchers have established a computational method called the “preferential linkage disequilibrium” wp-contentroach to isolate causal variants, the genetic irregularities that suggest the presence of a particular disease.

Dr. Zhu is a biostatician who is also the Assistant Member of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and the Director of Statistical Genetics and Genomics Resource at RPCI. Her research interests lie in developing statistically sound and computationally efficient methods to find the causal genetic variants of human diseases and traits utilizing high-throughput genetics and genomics data.

Continuing her postdoctoral research after joining RPCI, Dr. Zhu, along with her research collaborators, used variants recorded from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) that analyze people’s DNA to capture genetic variations associated with a disease. The group of researchers cross-referenced variants with a comprehensive variant catalog generated through robust “next generation” sequencing in order to identify the causal variants.

The study examined the DNA from 479 individuals of European descent. “To test our method, we ran it on five diseases for which the causal variants are known, and in every case we did identify the real causal variant,” said Zhu. The group hopes to have the method wp-contentlied to GWASs related to diseases that do not have specific causal variants, resulting in advances towards the development of targeted wp-contentroaches to treating diseases.

Fellow author of the study, David B. Goldstein, Richard and Pat Johnson Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Human Genome Variation at DUMC stated that “This wp-contentroach helps to intergrade the large body of data available in GWASs with the rapidly accumulating sequence data.”

Learn more about the study: Prioritizing Genetic Variants for Causality on the Basis of Preferential Linkage Disequilibrium

Class of 2016 Participates in UB's Pharmacy Practice White Coat Ceremony

News Release

Class of 2016 Participates in UB’s Pharmacy Practice White Coat Ceremony

[ photograph ]
The PharmD class of 2016 at the White Coat Ceremony

Contact

Sara Saldi

saldi@buffalo.edu

716-645-4593

Release Date: September 4, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — One hundred and twenty-six students took their first, public step toward becoming pharmacists when they participated in the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual White Coat Ceremony 2012 in the Lippes Concert Hall on Aug. 23.

The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes passage into the initial stages of the profession of pharmacy practice and represents a contract for excellence in providing compassionate patient care.

This event also highlights the importance of scientific scholarship and emphasizes the highest principles of moral, ethical and legal conduct. UB PharmD students taking part in this tradition are welcomed to begin study among the ranks of pharmacy professionals.

During the “Calling of the Class,” each of the students in the Class of 2016 were called to the stage to be presented with their coat while their hometown was identified by Karl D. Fiebelkorn, RPh, MBA and UB associate dean for student affairs and professional relations.

Wayne K. Anderson, PhD, dean and professor of the UB’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, gave the welcome.

Keith Wagner, PharmD, ’00, MBA, ’03 and MBA director of trade and specialty accounts for Eli Lilly and Company, gave the keynote address.

At International Cardiology Meeting, UB Chair of Medicine is Honored for Her Distinguished Clinical Research

News Release

At International Cardiology Meeting, UB Chair of Medicine is Honored for Her Distinguished Clinical Research

[ photograph ]
UB’s Curtis is one of the world’s leading clinical cardiac electrophysiologists and an expert in cardiac arrhythmias.

Contact

Ellen Goldbaum

goldbaum@buffalo.edu

716-645-4605
twitter @egoldbaum

Release Date: August 22, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been awarded the Walter Bleifeld Memorial Award for Distinguished Work in Clinical Research. Bleifeld, considered one of the pioneers of modern cardiology, was a professor of medicine and cardiology at the University of Hamburg.

Curtis was presented with the award in July at the 17th World Congress on Heart Disease of the International Academy of Cardiology in Toronto.

The award recognizes Curtis’s outstanding contributions to clinical research. She is one of the world’s leading clinical cardiac electrophysiologists and an expert in cardiac arrhythmias. Her clinical research has significantly advanced knowledge of human cardiac electrophysiology and heart-rhythm abnormalities.

Curtis’s research interests include clinical trials in implantable device therapy for prevention of sudden cardiac death and management of heart failure, as well as clinical trials in atrial fibrillation. She has been principal investigator, co-investigator, sponsor or steering committee member on 85 research studies and clinical trials and has written more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, reviews and editorials. She also is author of a book on cardiac pacing.

Curtis received a 2010 Distinguished Fellowship Award from the International Academy of Cardiology.

In 2011, she was a key contributor to guidelines on atrial fibrillation that are issued periodically by the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.

Earlier this year, she received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Heart Rhythm Society.

She lives in Buffalo.

UB CAT Awards More Than $415,000 to 16 WNY Companies Developing Life Sciences Technologies

News Release

UB CAT Awards More Than $415,000 to 16 WNY Companies Developing Life Sciences Technologies

Contact

Marcene Robinson

marcener@buffalo.edu

716-645-4650

Release Date: July 18, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) has awarded more than $415,000 to companies in Western New York to aid them in the development of new life sciences technologies.

The funding will support a range of projects in the 2012-13 fiscal year, from development of eye-controlled keyboards to development of a new cancer immunotherapy. Companies must work with a UB professor as principal investigator, and also get access to UB facilities and equipment.

Firms receiving an award, which typically ranges between $10,000 and $50,000, must match the funding with their own money.

The UB CAT is one of 15 centers across New York State that Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) funds to support university-industry collaboration in research, education and technology transfer. The focus is on linking academic research with commercial interests to help New York State-based businesses gain a technological edge on their competition.

UB received its most recent re-designation by NYSTAR as a Center for Advanced Technology in 2007. The designation lasts 10 years, during which the UB CAT receives nearly $1 million annually from NYSTAR.

Since 2005, the UB CAT has supported over 75 projects leading to more than $140 million in non-job economic impact. The center has also helped Western New York’s life sciences sector create over 280 new jobs.

“The UB CAT provides companies with funding and resources during a critical stage in the development of new technologies,” said Marnie LaVigne, UB associate vice president for economic development. “The projects we have supported over the years have helped create jobs in New York State, facilitated long-term partnerships between UB and industry, and led to the commercialization of new and improved life sciences products and services.”

This year, 16 businesses were chosen from a group of 22 wp-contentlicants, all vying for aid in creating new technologies that benefit the fields of health and medicine.

One such company, IMMCO Diagnostics Inc., will use its $40,000 award to develop a more sensitive and specific test for Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack the glands that produce tears and saliva.

The syndrome is the second most common autoimmune disease, affecting some 4 million Americans. Nine out of 10 patients are women, including tennis champion Venus Williams.

Williams was first diagnosed with this disease in 2011, but suffered with Sjogren’s for a while before doctors could determine the cause.

Current tests for Sjogren’s syndrome are not sensitive enough, missing almost two-thirds of cases. However, research by Julian Ambrus Jr., MD, rheumatologist, immunologist and an associate professor in UB’s Department of Medicine, led to the discovery of a diminished protein in those with the syndrome.

IMMCO, founded in Buffalo in 1971 by several UB professors, is one of the world’s first autoimmune disease diagnostic companies. Their lab will manufacture the new testing kits, which will detect the disease in 70 to 80 percent of patients.

“Most autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose, simply because we really do not know the exact causes for most of them,” said Lakshmanan Suresh, assistant vice president of lab services at IMMCO. “This collaboration between IMMCO and UB will help diagnose the disease earlier so treatment can be delivered sooner.”

He adds, “The grant also helps us get this test from the bench stage to the market quicker.”

Information regarding the UB CAT and the center’s award wp-contentlication process is available online at http://www.bioinformatics.buffalo.edu/cat.php.

UB Department of Medicine Names Head of Gastroenterology Division

News Release

UB Department of Medicine Names Head of Gastroenterology Division

[ photograph ]Andrew H. Talal, MD, MPH, has been named chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.Download JPEG

Contact

Sara Saldi

saldi@buffalo.edu

716-645-4593

Release Date: July 17, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Andrew H. Talal, MD, MPH, associate professor at the Weill Cornell Medical College has been named chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Medicine; he also has been wp-contentointed UB professor of medicine.

The announcement was made by Anne B. Curtis, MD, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine in UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Talal will join UB in September, when Thomas Mahl, MD, clinical professor, who recently served as interim chief, steps down; previously Michael Sitrin, MD, professor, had been leading the division.

Talal has an international reputation for his clinical and translational work in hepatology, the branch of medicine that deals with the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas, and management of these disorders. He has been recognized as an authority on viral hepatitis in HIV-infected individuals. A board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist, he is a physician-scientist in the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, a consortium between Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

His research interests include: the development of biomarkers of the progression and treatment outcomes in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection; the evaluation of hepatitis C virus-specific immune responses in injection drug users; treatment outcomes in special populations infected with hepatitis C virus (HIV/HCV co-infection, methadone maintenance, patients with bleeding disorders and thalassemia); and novel treatments for hepatitis C.

Talal currently is conducting research funded by such federal agencies as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on HCV evaluation and treatment among patients in drug treatment programs and risk factors for AIDS among IV drug users.

Talal was the recipient of a Clinton Global Initiatives award from the W.J. Clinton Foundation in 2006, which fostered the development of treatment algorithms for hepatitis viruses B and C.

Talal earned his MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and received his MPH from the University of North Carolina. He completed his medical residency at the University of Iowa and research and clinical fellowships in gastroenterology at the University of North Carolina.

Before joining the Weill Cornell Medical College, he was a research associate and clinical scholar at the Rockefeller University in New York.

Memorial Sculpture to Honor John E. Friedlander

As one of the community leaders and visionaries who helped to lay the foundation for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) in 2001, the late John E. Friedlander will be honored with an art sculpture to memorialize his leadership. The BNMC came to be after visionaries in the health care industry came together to help promote wellness and economic development in the Buffalo-Niagara region. It is now a leading biomedical, research, education, business, and clinical consortium helping to fuel economic growth in the area.
He was the first President and CEO of Kaleida Health, serving from October 1996 until June 2005. Friedlander is also the former Buffalo General Medical Center President and CEO. For more than 20 years, Friedlander contributed his skills and experience to build a strong health care delivery system in Western New York and now his former colleagues, friends and family are partnering with the BNMC to honor him.

He was a dynamic visionary and respected health care leader who was loved by the community, striving to make a difference. For members of the community who would like to support the campaign efforts to actualize the John E. Friedlander Memorial Art Sculpture and recognize his deep commitment to the health of Western New York residents, click here.

UB Medical School Names Dubocovich Senior Associate Dean for Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement

News Release

UB Medical School Names Dubocovich Senior Associate Dean for Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement

New post reflects UB medical school’s emphasis on attracting — and serving — culturally diverse populations

[ photograph ]
UB’s Dubocovich is the new senior associate dean for inclusion and cultural enhancement in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Contact

Ellen Goldbaum

goldbaum@buffalo.edu

716-645-4605
twitter @egoldbaum

Release Date: July 13, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, chair of the University at Buffalo’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has been named the inaugural senior associate dean for inclusion and cultural enhancement in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She will continue to serve as chair of the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

In making the announcement, Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the medical school, said: “In addition to being an outstanding scientist in molecular pharmacology and drug discovery, Dr. Dubocovich has the expertise, administrative leadership and visionary skills needed to develop and implement through the new Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement innovative programs that insure the school and the university are enriched through cultural enhancement.”

Cain explains that the new post was established in line with the school’s diversity policy, which seeks inclusion and cultural enhancement as a means toward achieving excellence for students and faculty, enriching the learning environment, strengthening the school’s ties to nearby communities and contributing in measurable ways to improving the health of the community.

“Diversity within medical school classes enhances the educational environment,” he said, “by helping students to break down stereotypes and racial biases and challenge assumptions; broadening students’ understanding of how language and culture affect medical care; teaching how embracing differences in race, ethnicity and other cultural experiences can enhance interactions between doctors, patients and their families; increasing students’ awareness of health and health care disparities in nearby populations; and increasing students’ interest in service to underserved communities and overall civic commitment.”

In 2008, Dubocovich was recruited to UB from Northwestern University, where she had founded and directed a highly successful professional development program for a diverse group of doctoral students in the biosciences.

In her first full year in Buffalo, she established a similar series of programs at UB, called Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences (CLIMB), which provides mentoring experiences for biosciences students at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. The goal is to provide students from diverse populations the support they need to adapt and thrive in the biosciences, in college, graduate school and beyond.

This year, the program for graduate students, led by Dubocovich, was awarded a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health Initiative for Maximizing Student Development grant.

Cain said that the CLIMB programs complement the medical school’s other innovative Post-Baccalaureate Program and Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) initiatives.

UB Medical School Names Chair of Gynecology and Obstetrics

News Release

UB Medical School Names Chair of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Barnabei has conducted research on postmenopausal women through the Women’s Health Initiative and other federally funded studies

[ photograph ]Dr. Barnabei will join UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on Oct. 1.

Download JPEG

Contact

Ellen Goldbaum

goldbaum@buffalo.edu

716-645-4605
twitter @egoldbaum

Release Date: July 10, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Vanessa M. Barnabei, MD, PhD, the Patrick and Margaret McMahon Endowed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has been named the

new chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Barnabei (pronounced Barnaby), who also will serve as medical director of Women’s Health Services at Kaleida Health, will join UB on October 1.

The hiring of Barnabei brings to eight the number of new chairs recruited by Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean of the UB medical school, in the past four years. These national hires, Cain says, are a critical piece of his strategic vision for the medical school’s future.

According to Cain, Barnabei rapidly emerged as the top candidate following a comprehensive national search, possessing all the skills needed to advance the UB department and expand its basic and clinical research programs in service of UB’s 2020 strategic goals. Under Barnabei, Cain says, the department will enhance the excellence of its graduate medical education and mentored research training programs. She will help develop and align a comprehensive clinical program at Great Lakes Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the community.

Barnabei has been an investigator on some of the most important clinical trials examining the effects of hormone therapy on postmenopausal women, including the Women’s Health Initiative, the Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) and the Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions (PEPI) trial. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and industry. Her early research focused on the genetics of the X chromosome as well as perinatal genetics.

Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Barnabei also is a certified menopause clinician. She provides obstetrical care in the low-risk setting and manages the gynecological care of women of all ages, with expertise in the care of the midlife woman and vulvar disorders.

Barnabei has held leadership positions at both George Washington University and The Medical College of Wisconsin in areas of women’s health and menopause. In recent years, she has been involved in hospital- and community-based activities aimed at lowering the infant mortality rate in inner-city African American children.

A native of Vineland, New Jersey, Barnabei received her PhD in biology and her MD from the University of Virginia. She did her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago. She served as an assistant professor and associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University in Washington, DC. In 2010, Barnabei received the Outstanding Faculty Award from The Medical College of Wisconsin. She holds leadership positions in the North American Menopause Society and the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Four Neighborhoods, One Community Receives Planning Award from American Planning Association

Four Neighborhoods, One Community was selected to receive the Outstanding Planning Award for Comprehensive Planning from the Western New York Section of the American Planning Association. Recognizing the planning efforts designed to create a collaborative partnership between City of Buffalo and the Fruit Belt, Downtown, and Allentown neighborhoods, the initiative integrates the shared vision of community leaders, residents, and business owners within the surrounding neighborhoods with the planning that takes place throughout the campus. These collaborative efforts are paving the way for the use of this initiative as a best-practice model as it continues to gain recognition.
“the Medical Campus is blessed to be surrounded by neighborhoods that are collaborative and active in shaping their future,” said Michael Ball, the Director of Planning and Implementation for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. “Four Neighborhoods, One Community will position Buffalo as a national model for how the Medical Campus as an urban campus and economic development engine can effectively develop and grow in conjunction with surrounding neighborhoods for the benefit of the greater community.”

Over 100 residents, business owners, employees, and community members gathered to discuss the changes they would like to see in their neighborhoods. As a strategic plan, Four Neighborhoods, One Community focuses on engagement that is designed to further integrate Medical Campus-wide planning efforts as well as those of the individual BNMC institutions with those occurring in the surrounding community.

It is the desire of all stakeholders involved that this initiative continues to produce tangible results as the dialogue moves forward identifying, addressing, resolving the issues that stifle economic development, neighborhood sustainability, and the improved health for all individuals that have connection to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and are in one of the near-by neighborhoods.

The outcome-goals manifesting from the planning include workforce development, streetscape improvements, increased transportation options, environmental sustainability changes, and policy improvements to help create healthy communities. The purpose of this initiative is not to keep growth within the Medical Campus, but to combine and improve resources in order that community goals might align with institutional goals to enhance the overall attractiveness of the City of Buffalo.

 

Roswell Park Graduate Student Earns Research Scholar Award from Nicolay Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 7, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org


Roswell Park Graduate Student Earns Research Scholar Award from Nicolay Foundation

BUFFALO, NY — Maryann Mikucki, a pre-doctoral trainee in the Department of Immunology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), has received a Research Scholar Award from the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF). As part of the JMNMF’s ongoing support for promising graduate students at major academic cancer centers, the competitive award includes a $10,000 grant toward Mikucki’s research on melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Mikucki is working toward a joint MD/PhD degree from the University at Buffalo (UB) and the Roswell Park Graduate Division of UB. One of nine graduate students to receive the awards this year, she works under the direction of Sharon S. Evans, PhD, whose internationally recognized laboratory investigates checkpoints controlling mobilization of blood-borne T cells to tissues during immune responses.

“The work I’ll be performing with the Nicolay grant aims to understand the mechanism by which tumor cells interfere with delivery of toxic T cells to melanoma tumor tissues, allowing them to evade destruction,” noted Mikucki, a native of Danbury, CT, who now lives in Amherst, NY. “These proof-of-concept studies are expected to uncover a novel mechanism of melanoma resistance to T cell-based immunotherapy and also lay the foundations for translational research.”

“Our Foundation’s Research Scholar Awards are invaluable at the grassroots level, to specifically grow interest in melanoma research at qualified cancer centers across the country,” said Robert E. Nicolay, JMNMF Chairman. “If we can attract the brightest minds that are considering, or already within, the nation’s cancer research pipelines, to pursue a career in melanoma research, we’re that much closer to better understanding the disease, identifying the means for effective treatments and, most importantly, finding a cure for this deadly and very prevalent disease.”

The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation is a nonprofit public charity founded in January 2004 to foster melanoma education, advocacy and research. In just eight years, the Foundation has grown dramatically to become an influential voice in the melanoma community and is now established as a national, and international, “voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure.”

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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Editor’s note: Photo caption, from left: Kelvin Lee, MD, Chair of the Department of Immunology, Sharon Evans, PhD, research mentor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Immunology, Nicolay Award winner Maryann Mikucki and Richard Hershberger, PhD, MBA, Chief Academic Officer.

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