VOLUME 33, NUMBER 23 THURSDAY, April 4, 2002

UB to partner with Irish universities

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Contributing Editor

The university has entered into a new high-technology partnership with Biopharma Ireland, Ireland's new national institute focused on biopharmaceutical research and development, giving the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics an important international connection.

UB and Columbia University were named as Biopharma Ireland's first U.S. partners at an announcement hosted on March 27 in Athlone, Ireland, by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Biopharma Ireland was established by Dublin City University and Athlone Institute of Technology to promote research that will lead to the discovery of new pharmaceuticals and to the creation of new companies and new investments based on that research in both Ireland and New York State.

"As a true Center of Excellence, we need not only national, but international connections and recognition," said Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi. "Ireland has strong computer and pharmaceutical industries and is an ideal partner for our bioinformatics effort. We are pleased to be able to have Biopharma Ireland as a partner."

Bruce Holm, senior vice provost and UB's representative at the announcement, noted that "it only makes sense that as a center of excellence, Buffalo's bioinformatics center should be linked with other centers of excellence."

"In particular, Ireland has made substantially more of an investment in pharmaceutical research than most other places in the European community. With our partners in Ireland, as well as with Columbia, this is a natural, complementary partnership for UB," Holm added.

The pharmaceutical companies Elan; Wyeth, a subsidiary of American Home Products, and Schering-Plough recently have made major investments in Ireland.

Biopharma Ireland also is putting resources into developing spin-off biotech companies that will benefit both Ireland and New York State.

UB's partnership with Biopharma Ireland has its roots in previous research collaborations with Irish institutions facilitated initially by the Atlantic Corridor USA, a Buffalo-based, non-profit alliance created to link the NAFTA and European Union markets.

Last semester, the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute hosted visiting researchers from the University of Galway and the Athlone Institute of Technology.

UB has been partnering with Columbia University on the Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium, a $25 million project involving nine institutions to study structural genomics, a new field dedicated to determining gene function by defining the protein structure encoded in a gene's DNA sequence. UB's Center for Computational Research, one of the world's leading academic high-performance computing sites, serves as the computational backbone for the National Institutes of Health-funded project.



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