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Lawrence Wrabetz, MD

Lawrence Wrabetz, MD, director of UB’s Hunter James Kelly Research Institute, discusses the $50 million investment in UB’s genomic medicine research and supercomputing power.

UB Chosen to Co-Lead Major State Effort to Spur Genome Research

Published January 9, 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the University at Buffalo will co-lead a statewide effort to position New York State as a national leader in genomic medicine. 

“This important effort draws on many of our greatest assets as a premier research university.”
Satish K. Tripathi
UB President

At his State of the State address, Cuomo said UB will partner with the New York Genome Center (NYGC) in Manhattan to accelerate recent advances in genomic medicine directly into clinical care.

As part of this effort, UB will receive $50 million to increase research capacities.

UB will provide NYGC — a consortium of 16 educational and research organizations — with expertise and supercomputing power.

Effort Draws on UB Faculty, Research, Medical IT

“This important effort draws on many of our greatest assets as a premier research university — including our outstanding faculty, our reputation as a powerhouse in life sciences research and our considerable strength in supercomputing and medical information technology,” says UB President Satish K. Tripathi.

“With this trifecta of resources, UB is an ideal partner to transform medical diagnosis and treatment.”

UB was chosen based on its expertise in high-performance computing, its nationally recognized leadership in genomics and medical research, and its ability to analyze patient data through three UB research centers:

UB to Receive $50 Million from Billion-Dollar Pledge

As part of Cuomo’s designated $1 billion in state aid for the Buffalo area, UB will receive $50 million to build additional capacity, especially at its CCR.

The governor’s investment in UB builds on other significant state investments to support the growth of the university’s biomedical research and supercomputing strengths.

Key Resources for Data Storage, Complex Analytics

The NYGC will test new methodologies for the application of genomic medicine in hospitals in New York City. The information generated will initially be analyzed and stored at the genome center.  

Since genomic medicine requires the analysis of large amounts of information, UB’s CCR will provide resources for large data storage and complex analytics requiring high-performance computing.

As more patients are treated, all information will be stored at UB.

New Era for Personalized Medicine, Treatments

Leveraging UB’s research in biomedical sciences, as well as the expertise of local and state partners, the initiative has the potential to usher in a new era of personalized medicine.

Resulting advances could lead to breakthrough treatments for various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. 

Genomic medicine should also improve doctors’ ability to identify individuals at risk of disease.

Building Companies to Support Genomic Medicine

The governor’s investment is expected to spur the development of companies on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus that support genomic and personalized medicine, such as those focused on diagnostics and information technology. 

Five companies — including Empire Genomics, created by Norma J. Nowak, PhD, professor of biochemistry, a recognized leader in the field of genomics — will immediately benefit from the partnership.

These companies will gain access to research and supercomputing resources and, in turn, contribute to the creation of new approaches to personalized medicine, diagnostics and technologies in Western New York. 

“This is exactly the type of public-private partnership that can lead to medical breakthroughs and innovations originating from New York State,” says Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development.

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