U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins today announced $2,298,508 in federal funding for the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). The funding was awarded in three separate grants through the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is under the purview of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins said these funds will allow UB to conduct ground-breaking research across diverse fields as well as increase access to primary care for rural and underserved patients in Western NY.
“New York is lucky to have groundbreaking research institutions like the University at Buffalo, which has a rich tradition of advancing the state’s economy through scientific innovation,” said Senator Schumer. “By investing in new research and bringing primary care access to our rural communities, we can both stymie the spread of global health crises and bring our underserved Western New Yorkers the healthcare access they need and deserve. This federal investment means we can now can look forward to years of increased care, groundbreaking research and untold scientific achievements.”
“These much-needed funds are a critical investment to increase the presence of medical personnel and research here in Western New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The University at Buffalo is at the forefront of research and development – its cutting edge programs would help expand access to families in rural communities in need of primary care services.”
“These significant federal awards, once again highlight the important work happening at UB,” said Congressman Higgins. “These investments will support the expansion of medical services in Niagara Falls and advance biomedical research taking place right here in Western New York that seeks solutions to disease and medical challenges around the world.”
Specifically, UB will receive its first grant in the amount of $239,250. This funding will allow the university to conduct research on parasites that are currently causing serious suffering and death in underdeveloped areas of the world. By understanding how these parasites modify their proteins during their life cycle, this research could lay the groundwork for new ways to treat these parasites, as well as develop new chemotherapy treatments and approaches.
Laurie Read, of UB’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences said, “We are thrilled that the NIH supports research on Neglected Tropical Diseases that devastate the lives of so many around the world.”
UB will use its second grant, in the amount of $1,846,662 over three years, to increase access to primary care services for rural and underserved patients in Western NY. UB will receive $615,554 in the first year, and then in the two years following, to establish a new academic clinical partnership with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC), through which they will provide primary care services at two Native American health care clinics, Tuscarora Health Center and Seneca Gaming Clinic, and the Golisano Center for Community Health. This first $615,554 installment will allow the university to hire two primary nurses in the area who will also serve as part-time UB faculty, as well as UB and NFMMC telehealth capabilities.
Tammy Austin-Ketch, PhD, clinical professor and assistant dean for MS/DNP Programs at UB said, “It’s critical that we provide nursing students at UB with stronger ties to underserved populations where they might seek employment after graduation.”
Finally, UB will use its third grant, in the amount of $212,596, to study ways to manipulate genes and the regulatory sequences of DNA in malaria-carrying mosquitos. This will allow scientists and researchers to better understand how they can control and manage the disease, as well as look at ways to prevent its spread.
Marc S. Halfon, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB said, “This grant is an exploratory, novel study that will break new ground in the field of mosquito genomics and genetics. Mosquitoes are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, but although we know the sequence of the mosquito genome, we have little functional information about what much of that genome sequence does. Our work will take important steps toward filling in this crucial missing information. Moreover, if successful, it will demonstrate our ability to functionally annotate the regulatory genomes of all insect disease vectors as they become sequenced without requiring extensive (and expensive) new genome-scale experimental data for each.”
NIAID conducts and supports research—throughout the United States and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, identifying, and treating these illnesses. The National Institutes of Health includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency responsible for conducting medical research, and for investigating the causes and treatments of diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.