Robert J. Genco to Head UB's New Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach

Office to strengthen UB's work in tech transfer, economic development

By Arthur Page

Release Date: October 9, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo is bolstering its efforts in the areas of technology transfer and economic development with the creation of a new Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach.

Robert J. Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Oral Biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine, has been named a vice provost and appointed to head the new office by UB Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi.

"The new office," Capaldi said, "will strengthen the university's existing partnerships with the business community and foster the creation of new businesses and commercialization of the university's intellectual property. This will position UB and Western New York for economic growth in the months ahead."

Capaldi praised Genco, noting that he "is an ideal choice to head this office because he is an outstanding scientist who has a commitment to technology transfer and demonstrated success in commercializing his own discoveries and those of others."

Capaldi said the Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach will replace the UB Business Alliance, created in 1998 to enhance UB's partnerships with industry and provide a central focus for the economic-development and industrial-outreach activities of the university. The new office will incorporate offices and functions previously under the direction of the UB Business Alliance, as well as include a new Industrial Liaison Partnership, which will focus on relations with corporations involving economic development issues, and a new Research and Venture Funding Division.

The Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach will have three divisions:

o Intellectual Property Division, formerly the Office of Technology Transfer and Licensing, specializing in identifying, patenting and licensing to the private sector inventions developed at UB.

o Research and Venture Funding Division, consisting of two offices: UB Technology Transfer Funding and the Center for Advanced Technology (CAT).

o Services and Commercialization Division, consisting of the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) Program, UB Technology Incubator, The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) and the Industrial Liaison Partnership. The Services and Commercialization Division will do consulting with industry, help commercialize intellectual property, start an industrial partners program, assist faculty in starting businesses and help develop spin-offs in general.

Capaldi noted that the Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach will receive guidance from a board of directors comprised of representatives from local economic development agencies and biotech firms, as well as a scientific and industrial advisory board to include nationally known leaders in science and industry.

She added that Kenneth M. Tramposch, Ph.D., UB associate vice president for research, will serve as the liaison between the Intellectual Property Division and UB's Office of the Vice President for Research.

A member of the faculty of the UB dental school since 1967 and director of the school's Periodontal Disease Clinical Research Center, Genco is the principal investigator on a $7.3 million, three-year grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to plan and conduct a multi-center pilot study of the relationship between the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. He also is the principal investigator or an investigator on nine other major grants.

A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Genco is a trustee of the American Academy of Periodontology and editor-in-chief of its Journal of Periodontology. Past president of the American Association for Dental Research and the International Association for Dental Research, he is a past member and chair of the American Dental Association's Council on Dental Research. He is chair of the Dental Products Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A graduate of Canisius College, Genco earned his dental degree cum laude from the UB dental school and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from the University of Pennsylvania.

He has held editorial positions with 11 scientific journals, edited or co-edited nine books and authored or co-authored more than 320 scientific articles and publications.

Genco has received many awards, including the George W. Thorn Award from the UB Alumni Association (1977); William J. Gies Foundation Award from the American Academy of Periodontology (1983); Samuel P. Capen Alumni Award, the UB Alumni Association's most prestigious award (1990); American Dental Association Gold Medal for Excellence in Dental Research (1991), and the American Academy of Periodontology Gold Medal (1993).

He is a resident of Buffalo.