BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Hon. Professor Heneri Dzinotyiweyi,
Zimbabwe minister of science and technology development, visited
Buffalo on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to tour two University at Buffalo
research facilities and discuss the vision and implementation
strategy for the Zimbabwe International Nanotechnology Center
(ZINC) with officials at UB, its primary academic partner.
Dzinotyiweyi visited the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and
Biophotonics (ILPB) and then toured UB’s New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
His visit was coordinated by Paras Prasad, PhD, SUNY
Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Chemistry, Physics,
Medicine and Electrical Engineering; Samuel P. Capen Chair of
Chemistry; and executive director of the ILPB, and Gene D. Morse,
PharmD, professor of pharmacy practice and associate director of
the Center of Excellence and director of the Translational Pharmacy
“Professor Dzinotyiweyi’s visits to the ILPB, as
well as the center, provided an opportunity for faculty leaders,
regional scientists and public officials to discuss the recently
announced international collaboration of UB and ZINC,” says
In 2009, Morse received a National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center AIDS International Training and
Research Program (AITRP) Award. The program consists of a
partnership with the University of Zimbabwe and establishes an
international HIV Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship program. This
award has energized the faculty and students at the University of
Zimbabwe and has become a centerpiece for capacity building in the
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.
ZINC emerged from the UB-UZ AITRP collaboration with the ILPB
and COE, and was launched as a national nanotechnology research
program with the University of Zimbabwe and Chinhoyi University of
Technology to address the need for new pharmacological approaches
to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
UB’s role in the ZINC partnership will be to provide
training to young scientists and students in Zimbabwe in multiple
areas within nanotechnology.
Nanoparticles have become important to the equation of new
HIV/AIDS drug development because they can provide effective
treatment options with shortened duration of therapy, reduced
systemic side effects and limited development of drug
“In other words,” says Morse, “the development
of nanoparticle formulations will target TB medications to be
preferentially delivered to lung tissue (where the infection is),
while reducing systemic exposure that is associated with drug
The next steps in the UB-ZINC partnership will include
identifying research areas of common interest to Zimbabwe and
prioritizing them according to the country’s needs.
“In order to assess those needs, we are having a public
symposium in Harare on March 18 and 19 that will include
representatives from government, academia and the community,”
He adds that among the challenges UB researchers face in working
with any group like ZINC, which is on the other side of the globe,
is establishing a good collaborative environment and funding the
To address this, Morse says multiple meetings are being
scheduled in Buffalo and Harare to allow participants from all
institutions to meet. For funding, Morse notes that government and
privately sourced funding initiatives are being organized.
“ZINC represents a significant advance in UB’s
involvement with Zimbabwe research training and capacity building,
especially with the addition of Dr. Prasad and Dr.
Cartwright’s expertise,” Morse says.
“Also, having ZINC collaborate with UB’s ILPB and
Center of Excellence creates a synergistic initiative that will
have an impact on Western New York research and development, as
well as economic development locally and globally”