UB to Receive $4.9 Million in Stem Cell Research Funds from New York State

Release Date: March 11, 2009

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Jian Feng is one of several UB researchers who will receive funding to conduct research on stem cells.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will receive $4.9 million in funding to conduct research on stem cells, part of a new investment in stem cell research announced yesterday by New York State Governor David A. Paterson.

"I am extremely pleased that so many of our faculty successfully competed for these awards," said Kenneth M. Tramposch, Ph.D., associate vice president for research at UB. "It demonstrates that leading-edge research is being proposed by UB scientists. UB's vibrant interdisciplinary environment helped our scientists develop innovative projects that will allow us to understand the basic biology of stem cells and provide a platform for future therapies.

"These new awards build on our prior NYSTEM Institutional Capabilities Award, which is just ending this month," he said.

Tramposch noted that the successful UB proposals were reviewed and recommended to the New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM) board by experts from outside of New York State.

In addition, he said, the awards demonstrate the value of UB's formation last spring of a new initiative in biomedical engineering, joining the strengths of researchers in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and in the School of Medicine and Biomedicine Sciences.

All of the funded scientists also are active at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

The principal investigators are:

Stelios Andreadis, Ph.D., professor of chemical and biological engineering, who was funded on two grants, will develop a high throughput technology to monitor changes in gene expression in real-time as living stem cells undergo differentiation. He also will study hair follicle stem cells as a source of functional smooth muscle cells for use in cardiovascular therapies.

Jian Feng, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and biophysics and director of the Neurodegenerative Disease Group in UB's Center of Excellence, whose work will focus on generating stem cells from patients with Parkinson's disease who have parkin mutations.

Sriram Neelamegham, Ph.D., professor of chemical and biological engineering, who will study changes in the activities of specific enzymes that are involved in the formation of carbohydrate/sugar structures on stem cells.

Gen Suzuki, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, who will study how cardiac stem cells can affect cardiac repair in ischemic cardiomyopathy -- a type of congestive heart failure -- and how statins might play a beneficial role.

E.S. (Manolis) Tzanakakis, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, who will develop strategies for generating from stem cells insulin-producing cells useful for diabetes therapies.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
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Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
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