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December 7, 2012
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Academic drug discovery and development is topic of Upstate symposium Dec. 11

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Four university biomedical researchers will discuss their studies and how their findings can lead to the discovery and development of more effective therapies to fight cancer and other diseases at an Upstate Medical University free, public symposium Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the ninth floor auditorium in Weiskotten Hall.

The symposium spotlights the role that universities play in furthering drug discovery and development and in supporting the growth of regional and global bioeconomy. Sponsored jointly by the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund and Upstate’s New York Center for Drug Discovery and Development (NYCD3), it is held in conjunction with the opening of the NYCD3.

Before the presentations, remarks will be offered by Upstate President David R. Smith, M.D.; David Duggan, M.D., interim dean of the College of Medicine; John McCabe, M.D., senior vice president and chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital; and Steven Goodman, Ph.D., vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Highlights of the symposium are below:

• Ziwei Huang, Ph.D., director of the Upstate Cancer Research Institute (CRI), and NYCD3, will offer an overview of NYD3 and drug discovery and development at Upstate at 1:45 p.m. The CRI is the hub of Upstate’s cancer research with ongoing work, such as cancer biology, structural and chemical biology and bioinformatics, viral oncology, stem cell research and drug discovery and translational research. The NYCD3 assists in developing academic research discoveries into clinical and commercial applications through collaboration with regional and global medical, business and industrial communities. Huang’s other affiliations at Upstate include professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and associate vice president for Research Partnerships and International Collaborations.

• Wayne Hendrickson, Ph.D., of Columbia University, will discuss his use of biochemistry and x-ray crystallography in the study of viral proteins and HIV infection at 2:30 p.m. Hendrickson has invented new techniques for uncovering the structures of biomolecules and applied them to problems ranging from AIDS to worm respiration. Hendrickson is University Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Violin Family Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

• Victor Hruby, Ph.D., Regents Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arizona, will speak at 3:30 p.m. Hruby’s research interests include the discovery and development of new peptide-based therapeutics for a wide range of diseases and biological effects such as pain, addictions, feeding behaviors, pigmentation, sexual behavior and motivation, glucose homeostasis, and cancer using de novo ligand design, synthetic chemistry, and analysis of conformation-biological activity relationships.

• Gen-Sheng Feng, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego, will present Shp2 in Health and Diseases: From Mechanism to Therapy at 4:15 p.m. Feng is professor of pathology in the School of Medicine, and the Molecular Biology Section, Division of Biological Sciences. The main thrust of  Feng’s research is to decipher the molecular signaling mechanisms in stem cells, metabolism and cancer, using both genetic and chemical biology approaches.

For more information about the symposium, contact Kay Magnarelli at magnarek@upstate.edu, 464-7949. For complete speaker biographies visit Symposium.

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