On Capitol Hill, UB Will Highlight Bioinformatics and School of Public Health and Health Professions

Release Date: May 15, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo faculty, administrators and staff will head to the nation's capitol on May 20 to meet with legislators and update them on developments concerning the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and the university's School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The group will visit with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Jack Quinn, Rep. Tom Reynolds, Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Louise Slaughter, as well as with chairs of key congressional committees. Their itinerary also will include an evening reception at the U.S. Botanic Garden hosted by President and Mrs. William R. Greiner.

The past year has seen a number of major advancements for the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics: Gov. George E. Pataki announced last May the appointment of Jeffrey Skolnick, Ph.D., world-class scientist in computational biology and bioinformatics, as director of the center and last fall, the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics officially opened its doors at 901 Washington St., where it will remain until its permanent home on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is completed in 2005.

Also last fall, Michael Dell, chief executive officer of Dell Computer, traveled to UB to unveil the Dell supercomputing cluster that supports Skolnick's pioneering research. Valued at approximately $13 million, it's one of the largest clusters of Linux servers ever installed at an educational institution in the U.S. While on campus, Dell presented UB with the first Dell Centers for Research Excellence Award.

Norma Nowak, whose research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, as well as to microarray-based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer, recently was named the center's director of scientific planning and will direct its integrated experimental component.

Since its establishment by Governor George E. Pataki in 2001, the center has garnered more than $290 million in support from New York State, the federal government, foundations and corporate partners, including more than $10 million in direct congressional appropriations. Researchers at UB have been awarded more than $64 million in competitive bioinformatics-related federal grants over the past 14 months.

The UB School of Public Health and Health Professions will be working with the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics on what university officials call the next level of public health, using supercomputers to integrate epidemiology with disciplines such as genetics, geographic information science and telemedicine.

The school, which was formed by merging UB's former School of Health Related Professions, which has a strong track record in allied-health education and research, with the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, which has been part of UB's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and is a national leader in research into the epidemiology of disease.

A vital component of the school will be a Western New York Population Health Observatory, a regional health- and disease-surveillance system that could serve as a model for such systems throughout the U.S.

The observatory will be a regional network capable of data collection, analysis and decision support regarding critical public health data, providing the regional Western New York health and safety community with a valuable tool for critical early identification, detection and warning of attacks involving bioterrorism or of other epidemiological events, such as the SARS outbreak.

In addition to Greiner and Nowak, those participating in the Washington event will include Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi, Maurizio Trevisan, M.D., interim dean of the School of Public Health and Health Related Professions, Janet Penksa, associate vice president for government affairs, and Michael Pietkiewicz, director of federal relations.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager
Tel: 716-645-4605