Tips on Genomics and Proteomics Research for Reporters

By Lois Baker

Release Date: February 13, 2001

For more information, please contact: Lois Baker, senior health sciences editor, 716-645-5000 ext. 1417 or Ellen Goldbaum, senior science editor, 716-645-5000 ext. 1415

Genomics and proteomics research in Western New York will play a significant role in the post-gene-mapping era. Here are some story lines and research initiatives that will be useful to you in your continuing coverage:

-- The majority of DNA sequenced through the human genome project came from volunteers in Western New York, thanks to the proficiency of genetics researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

-- The University at Buffalo's Center for Computational Research (CCR), one of the nation's leading academic supercomputing centers, serves as the computational backbone for the $25 million Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium, one of seven pilot research centers in structural genomics established by NIH. The members are UB, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Inc. (HWI) in Buffalo, Cornell University, Columbia University, Yale University, University of Toronto, Ontario Cancer Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and Rutgers University.

-- UB and HWI hold $2.75 million in grants from the consortium to develop new, super-high-speed methods to determine the molecular structure of proteins, using X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

-- "Shake-and-Bake," the algorithm underpinning a widely-used software package to determine the structure of proteins, was developed by Nobel Laureate Herbert Hauptman, president of HWI and distinguished professor in UB's Department of Structural Biology, and Russ Miller, director of the CCR. "Shake and Bake" was designated one of "The Top Ten Algorithms of the 20th Century" by Computing in Science & Engineering magazine. The software it spawned, also developed at HWI and UB, is used by scientists around the world engaged in protein crystallography for rational drug design.

-- UB's New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation, dubbed NYSCEDII, will complete a four-wall CAVE (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment) this summer, allowing researchers to take virtual reality trips within protein molecules to study their structure.