CTRC grand opening marks move of med school researchers downtown
By ELLEN GOLDBAUM
Published September 20, 2012
The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences today held the grand opening of its Clinical and Translational Research Center in the joint UB-Kaleida Health building at Goodrich and Ellicott streets in downtown Buffalo.
The new CTRC is an important step in the relocation of UB’s medical school to downtown Buffalo, made possible by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY 2020 law, which is enabling the university to implement the next phase of its UB 2020 strategic plan. When it is completed, by 2016, the new medical school will bring approximately 1,200 people to downtown Buffalo. In total, both the CTRC and new medical school projects will create more than 3,000 jobs.
The CTRC is a unique 170,000-square-foot research facility that allows UB’s physician-scientists to do their research upstairs in the CTRC and to see patients and work with clinicians downstairs in Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute and at Buffalo General Medical Center, the new planned Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The CTRC was designed by Cannon Design with significant input from UB researchers to maximize the kind of collaboration that leads to medical breakthroughs and innovative treatments.
The CTRC’s offices and laboratories occupy the building’s top four floors, providing panoramic views of Lake Erie and Buffalo’s waterfront. While visitors are enthralled by the sweeping views outside the CTRC’s labs, President Satish K. Tripathi noted that what’s happening inside the facility will ultimately have the greatest impact on Buffalo.
“As remarkable as this building is—and it truly is extraordinary—what we are really celebrating today are the opportunities it creates for the faculty, researchers, clinicians and students who will work here; for the people of our community who will experience this building’s role in revitalizing Buffalo and our region; and for the people here in Western New York and around the world whose lives will be transformed by the cures developed and discoveries made here,” Tripathi said at the grand opening ceremony.
“This is a historic time of progress and investment from the state, helping to create great opportunities for UB and the region,” Tripathi said. “From NYSUNY 2020, to the governor’s billion-dollar pledge for Buffalo and the work of the Regional Economic Development Councils, New York State’s investments are advancing significant progress for our university and region. The opening of the CTRC is an important step in the relocation of UB’s medical school to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, under the UB 2020 plan and with the support of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation.”
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy pointed out that Cuomo enacted the NYSUNY 2020 legislation “to help transform our universities and the communities they are in.”
“UB’s new Clinical and Translational Research Center is a clear example of this. The new center will grow the university while helping to revitalize Buffalo’s economy through the creation of good-paying, sustainable jobs throughout the region,” Duffy said.
“Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership and with the NYSUNY 2020 funding, the SUNY system is becoming a leading catalyst for regionally focused economic development and improving academic quality for all students. Today’s grand opening of the CTRC is a clear example of the historic impact the NYSUNY 2020 initiative is having on the University at Buffalo, the city of Buffalo, Western New York and beyond,” he said.
Michael E. Cain, UB vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, called CTRC “an invaluable research facility for UB’s physicians, researchers and medical students.”
“The health and vitality of our citizens and the economic vitality of our community will be greatly enhanced through the collaborations that will happen in the CTRC, with our research and health care partners at the Gates Vascular Institute downstairs and with all of our partners throughout Western New York,” Cain added.
John M. Canty Jr., Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and UB’s chief of cardiovascular medicine, is one of the CTRC’s earliest occupants. He said the center will make the progression from promising research discoveries to an actual health care product or innovative therapy much easier.
“Basic research has typically been conducted in an environment removed from where clinical research is carried out,” Canty explained. “The advantage we have within CTRC is we can span both the clinical and preclinical aspects of translational research in the same building. Clinical research in the CTRC also will be greatly enhanced by having the investigators and research facilities located immediately above a hospital. Taken together, it forms a unique environment to advance innovative, cutting-edge therapies.”
In addition to Canty’s group, which develops bench-to-bedside personalized treatments for heart disease patients, UB’s CTRC houses the laboratories of some of UB’s highest-profile researchers, who collectively have more than $25 million in research funding. They are conducting research to develop treatments for a broad range of diseases and conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s and memory disorders, stroke, ear infections in children and autoimmune disorders of the skin.
Several of the researchers recently were recruited to UB and more new hires are on the way, according to Timothy F. Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the CTRC. When the CTRC is fully occupied, it will house between 250 and 300 physician-scientists and staff.
“With five health sciences schools—rare among academic health centers—UB is in a very strong position to best leverage research collaborations, both inside the university and with external partners,” Murphy said.
“UB also is home to a range of high-profile national research programs, including the Women’s Health Initiative, the world’s longest running COPD trial, cutting-edge cardiovascular research, development of innovative devices for treating vascular disease and others.”
Physician-scientists at UB and Roswell Park also play leadership roles in developing national guidelines for key clinical questions, he added.
In addition to custom-designed laboratories and common spaces, the CTRC includes a Biosciences Incubator to assist UB researchers with the commercialization of new medical therapies. Operated by UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR), the Biosciences Incubator already is home to two life science firms that will benefit from their location on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, near potential research and clinical partners such as UB, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Kaleida Health. The companies are AccuTheranostics, which has developed a method for personalizing chemotherapy treatments, and AndroBioSys, which is developing novel ways to detect, image and treat early prostate cancer.
Also located in the CTRC is the Jacobs Institute, which will catalyze medical collaboration and innovation through partnerships between UB, Kaleida Health, community physicians and industry.
The JI’s chief executive officer is L. Nelson Hopkins, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at UB, board chair of the Gates Vascular Institute and director of the Toshiba Stroke and Vascular Research Center, which also is housed in the CTRC. A $10 million gift from Jeremy M. Jacobs, his wife, Margaret, and family was used to create the Jacobs Institute and honor Jeremy Jacobs’ late brother, Lawrence D. Jacobs, a UB neurology professor and world-renowned medical pioneer whose research led to the development of Avonex, which today is the most prescribed treatment for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
Following the opening ceremony, a SUNY Honorary Doctorate in Science was conferred on former UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute scientist J. Craig Venter, the pioneering biologist who developed the tools and techniques that allowed his team at Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome. Venter gave a keynote address titled “From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code.”