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DNA helix

UB to receive $48M from New York State for genome research

By CORY NEALON

Published July 18, 2014

State economic development officials last week approved spending $48 million to create a genome research center in Buffalo, part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.

The approval, voted on by Empire State Development’s board of directors, also included $57 million for a partner center in New York City. It comes after Cuomo announced the initiative in January.

“Genomic medicine is the next frontier in modern medicine, and we want Buffalo and Western New York to be the international center for genomic research and lead the way in revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases,” Cuomo said in a press release. “With today’s approval by the ESD Board, the NY Genomic Medicine Network is one step closer to getting off the ground.

“This exciting new partnership between the New York City Genome Center, University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will create hundreds of new jobs both in Buffalo and New York City, and put the state in the forefront of this new industry while saving lives and improving public health.”

The initiative is modeled after Cuomo’s successful blueprint for nanotechnology innovation in Albany, which has produced groundbreaking research, attracted significant private investment to the region and created thousands of new jobs.

UB was selected to co-lead the genome effort with the New York Genome Center because of its expertise in high performance computing, combined with recognized national leadership in genomics and medical research and analysis of patient data using the vast capabilities within its Center for Computational Research, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Each of these UB research centers resides on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Leveraging UB’s faculty research in biomedical sciences, as well as the expertise of partner institutions and firms in Buffalo and throughout the state, the initiative has the potential to usher in a new era of personalized medicine, leading to breakthrough treatments in serious diseases, ranging from diabetes, to heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. Genomic medicine also should improve doctors’ ability to identify individuals at risk of disease.

The $48 million will be used to build out additional capacity at UB, especially at its Center for Computational Research. The governor’s investment in UB builds on other significant investments from the state to support the growth of UB’s biomedical research and supercomputing strengths.

Already, four companies will benefit from the partnership by gaining access to the research and supercomputing resources. They are Computer Task Group, Empire Genomics, AESKU.Diagnostics and Lineagen.