$1.5 Million Grant to Establish UB Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine

Release Date: February 3, 2003


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The John R. Oishei Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to establish a highly interactive, multidisciplinary Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine that will lead to better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for sudden cardiac death (SCD) in ischemic heart disease.

Thomas Baker, executive director of the Oishei Foundation, said "The foundation's directors were impressed with the level of cooperation among departments and investigators working on this critical area of cardiac research. UB has taken the lead in research that could prove extremely beneficial in saving many lives."

UB President William R. Greiner thanked the Oishei Foundation for "its leadership, foresight and generosity in supporting this exciting new multidisciplinary research center at UB.

"This $1.5 million grant will enable the UB Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine to lead the way in sudden cardiac death research, establishing UB as one of the world's foremost locations for discovery in the field, and ultimately leading to revolutionary new developments in cardiovascular healthcare," Greiner said.

"The Oishei Foundation, with its distinguished history of fostering progress and cooperative development in our region, has long understood the importance and potential of collaboration, especially in regards to research efforts," he added, "and we are very pleased and proud that the foundation has recognized this initiative at such an outstanding level of support."

John Canty, M.D. '79, Albert and Elizabeth Rekate Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will serve as principal investigator of the project. He will lead a team of 11 others, including clinician scientists from the Division of Cardiology in the UB Department of Medicine, and basic scientists from the departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Biochemistry, Genetics (RPCI), Pharmacology and Toxicology, and

the Center for Positron Emission Tomography.

"Our goal is to establish the University at Buffalo as a premier center of research in the area of sudden cardiac death," Canty said. "Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of mortality in the United States, and the aging of our population makes it a growing area of concern. Although great strides have been made in treating ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction and heart failure, the impact of these advances has been disappointing with respect to preventing other types of cardiovascular disorders, such as sudden cardiac death from ventricular arrhythmias."

Michael Bernardino, UB vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said the center is the logical next step.

"The school has provided a home for many distinguished alumni and faculty and has identified cardiovascular disease, proteomics and bioinformatics as areas of research emphasis."

He added: "This project ultimately will capitalize upon the available strength in each of these areas and provide a unique application of these tools in a translational research program."

The UB team initially will work on four synergistic research projects in ischemic heart disease, supported by a core laboratory in gene microarray and proteomic analyses:

o Project 1 will identify physiological and pathological triggers contributing to arrhythmic sudden death in chronic ischemic heart disease.

o Project 2 will study the role of the renin-angiotensin system in the pathophysiology of arrhythmias induced by ischemic heart disease.

o Project 3 will elucidate the role of cellular remodeling of calcium handling, depolarization and repolarization in chronic ischemic heart disease.

o Project 4 will characterize how inhomogeneous sympathetic innervation and (-receptor density in ischemic heart disease using positron emission tomography.

The John R. Oishei Foundation's mission is to enhance the quality of life for Buffalo-area residents by supporting education, healthcare, scientific research and the cultural, social, civic and other charitable needs of the community. The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation, one of the world's leading manufacturers of windshield wiper systems.

The foundation, a major supporter of UB and its community-focused activities, has given or pledged nearly $12 million to "The Campaign for UB" for programs ranging from the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics to the Toshiba Stroke Research Center.

The Oishei Foundation grant is one of the recent gifts in "The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation," now entering its final phase. The drive has raised $208 of its $250 million goal; funds raised will be used to enrich academic programs, support students ranging from undergraduates to post-doctoral students and to enhance university life.

For information on how you can support the University at Buffalo, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/giving.