Published September 27, 2012
The UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences held the Sept. 20 grand opening of its Clinical and Translational Research Center in the joint UB-Kaleida Health building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The 170,000-square-foot research facility is a major step in the relocation of the medical school to downtown Buffalo, made possible by Gov. Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 law, which enables the university to implement the next phase of its UB 2020 strategic plan.
When completed in 2016, the new medical school will bring approximately 1,200 people to downtown Buffalo. In total, the CTRC and new medical school projects will create more than 3,000 jobs.
The CTRC allows UB physician-scientists to research on the building’s top four floors and see patients and work with clinicians downstairs in Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute, at nearby Buffalo General Medical Center and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, which is relocating to the medical campus.
During the ceremony, UB President Satish K.Tripathi celebrated the impact the CTRC will have on the region and beyond.
“What we are celebrating are the opportunities the CTRC creates for the faculty, researchers, clinicians and students who will work here, for the people of our community who will experience this building’s role in revitalizing Buffalo and our region, and for the people here in Western New York—and around the world—whose lives will be transformed by the cures developed and discoveries made here.”
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and medical school dean, described the CTRC as an “invaluable research facility” for UB physicians, researchers and medical students.
“The health and vitality of our citizens and the economic vitality of our community will be greatly enhanced through the collaborations that will happen in the CTRC, with our research and health care partners at the Gates Vascular Institute downstairs, and with all of our partners throughout Western New York.”
The CTRC houses the laboratories of some of UB’s highest-profile researchers, who collectively have more than $25 million in research funding.
Among them is John M. Canty Jr., MD, Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine and chief of cardiovascular medicine. The CTRC will ease the progression from promising research discoveries to health care products and innovative therapies, he said.
“Basic research has typically been conducted in an environment removed from where clinical research is carried out,” said Canty, whose group develops bench-to-bedside personalized treatments for heart disease patients.
“The advantage we have within CTRC is we can span both the clinical and preclinical aspects of translational research in the same building.
“Clinical research in the CTRC also will be greatly enhanced by having the investigators and research facilities located immediately above a hospital. Taken together, it forms a unique environment to advance innovative, cutting-edge therapies.”
Other researchers in the CTRC are conducting research to develop treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s and memory disorders, stroke, ear infections in children and autoimmune disorders of the skin.
Several researchers have recently been recruited to UB and more new hires are on the way, according to Timothy F. Murphy, MD, CTRC director and SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology. When the CTRC is fully occupied, it will house between 250 and 300 physician-scientists and staff.
“With five health sciences schools, rare among academic health centers, UB is in a very strong position to best leverage research collaborations both inside the university and with external partners,” Murphy said.
“UB also is home to a range of high-profile national research programs, including the Women's Health Initiative, the world's longest running COPD trial, cutting-edge cardiovascular research, development of innovative devices for treating vascular disease and others.”
Physician-scientists at UB and Roswell Park also play leadership roles in developing national guidelines for key clinical questions, he added.
In addition to custom-designed laboratories and common spaces, the CTRC includes a Biosciences Incubator to assist UB researchers with the commercialization of new medical therapies. Operated by UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR), the Biosciences Incubator houses two life science firms: AccuTheranostics, which has developed a method for personalizing chemotherapy treatments, and AndroBioSys, which is developing novel ways to detect, image and treat early prostate cancer.
Both will benefit from their location on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, near potential research and clinical partners such as UB, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Kaleida.
Also located in the CTRC is the Jacobs Institute, which will catalyze medical collaboration and innovation through partnerships between UB, Kaleida Health, community physicians and industry.
The JI’s chief executive officer is L. Nelson Hopkins, MD, professor and chair of neurosurgery, board chair of the Gates Vascular Institute and director of the Toshiba Stroke Research Center, also housed in the CTRC.
Following opening ceremonies, pioneering biologist J. Craig Venter, Phd, received a SUNY honorary doctorate in science.
A former UB and Roswell Park scientist, Venter developed the tools and techniques to sequence the human genome.
He gave a keynote address titled “From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code.”