BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With 14 percent of Zimbabwe's population living
with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis as a co-infection, the need for new
drugs and new formulations of available treatments is crucial.
To address these issues, two of the University at Buffalo's
leading research centers, the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and
Biophotonics (ILPB), and the New York State Center of Excellence in
Bioinformatics and Life Sciences have signed on to launch the
Zimbabwe International Nanotechnology Center (ZINC) -- a national
nanotechnology research program -- with the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) and the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).
This collaborative program will initially focus on research in
nanomedicine and biosensors at UZ and energy at CUT. ZINC has grown
out of the NIH Fogarty International Center, AIDS International
Training and Research Program (AITRP) that was awarded to UB and UZ
in 2008 to conduct HIV research training and build research
capacity in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries in southern
UB faculty and research directors in the ZINC partnership
include Paras N. Prasad, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of
Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering, the Samuel
P. Capen Chair, executive director of ILPB; Gene D. Morse, PharmD,
Professor of Pharmacy Practice, associate director of the New York
State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and
director of the Translational Pharmacy Research Core; Alexander N.
Cartwright, PhD, UB vice president for research and economic
development and interim executive director of the New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences , who will
work with Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ vice chancellor; Professor
David T. Simbi, CUT vice chancellor, and Dr. Charles Maponga,
PharmD, UZ pharmacy school director.
ZINC will establish a long-term international research and
training platform in the field of nanotechnology, focused in areas
that promote Zimbabwe's strength, and advance the development of
nanotechnology as an avenue for Zimbabwe's commercial growth.
The UB ILPB and TPRC collaboration recognized that the fields of
pharmacology and therapeutics have increasingly developed links
with emerging areas within the field of nanosciences in an attempt
to develop tissue/organ targeted strategies that will lead to
disease treatment and eradication. Research teams will focus on
emerging technologies, initially focused in nanobiotechnology and
nanomedicine for health care.
"Developing nanoformulations for HIV and tuberculosis
diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as new tuberculosis drug
development, are just a few of the innovative strategies to address
these co-infections that this research collaboration can provide,"
"In addition, the development of new nanotechnology-related
products will jumpstart the economy and foster new economic
initiatives in Zimbabwe that will yield additional private-public
Morse says that the current plans for a "Center of Excellence"
in clinical and translational pharmacology in Harare at UZ will
create a central hub in Africa, not just for Zimbabwe but for other
countries to gain new training and capacity building in many
exciting aspects of nanotechnology as well.
Morse adds that this initiative creates an opportunity for
additional involvement from a number of UB centers such as those
represented by UB's Strategic Strengths in areas such as Health and
Wellness across the Lifespan, Integrated Nanostructured Systems,
Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics and
Information and Computing Technology.
"With an international program like ZINC, we are hoping to
attract pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms who will
have similar interests in joining this unique partnership that will
enhance the likelihood of economic success through efficient,
"Locally, these efforts will be linked to the growing Buffalo
Niagara Medical Campus resulting in a truly global partnership with
one anchor in Buffalo -- a comprehensive 'UB matrix' of innovation
and excellence," says Morse.