Archive for February, 2012

To Address Shortage of Medical Lab Workers in New York State, UB Partners with ASCP and CGI

The University at Buffalo is partnering with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) for a Commitment to Action through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that will create more medical laboratory job opportunities in New York State by expanding educational access to laboratory science programs.

The goal of the ASCP, UB and CGI commitment is to increase the number of graduating laboratory professionals in New York by 10 percent during the five-year project, from an annual graduation rate of 237 to 355.

In addition to UB, ASCP also is partnering with Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, all part of the State University of New York, as well as with a coalition of clinical laboratory organizations, government agencies and industry partners.

The plan will develop classrooms and distance learning curricula, create a coordinated network of clinical rotation sites, create an accelerated technician-to-technologist program and develop an electronic-instrumentation simulation laboratory.

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UB Makes Four-Year Graduation Pledge to Incoming Freshmen

The University at Buffalo has announced the launch of a new program, Finish in 4, which pledges to provide entering UB freshmen with the academic resources they need to graduate in four years.

To participate, students must sign a pledge that they will adhere to program requirements.

Students who fulfill all obligations of the Finish in 4 plan, but who are not able to graduate within four years, will be given the opportunity to complete the UB courses required for their degree free of any tuition and comprehensive fee charges.

If students are unable to adhere to their Finish in 4 requirements, UB will continue to work with them to develop an appropriate plan to graduate.

“At UB we have made a commitment to creating a robust, academically rigorous and supportive educational environment,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “Our goal is to provide our students with a transformative education — through unique undergraduate research experiences, undergraduate academies, interdisciplinary freshman seminars and innovative living/learning communities.

“UB’s Finish in Four initiative builds on that overarching effort by providing our undergraduates with the faculty resources and academic support they need to thrive academically — and to graduate in a timely way.”

Finish in 4 will be offered to freshmen at UB in the fall of 2012. All undergraduate majors are eligible, except double degrees and those that include a graduate or advanced professional component such as doctor of physical therapy, doctor of pharmacy, occupational therapy or other combined degrees.

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Major in Jewish Studies to Debut in Fall 2012

Beginning in the fall of 2012, the University at Buffalo will be offering a new undergraduate degree in Jewish studies.

The major in Jewish studies provides a comprehensive view of the historical and intellectual development of Jewish life. The program explores the thought, history and culture of Jews, in addition to examining Judaism as a living and dynamic religion. Because the experience of Jews has spanned millennia and many cultures, students must develop interdisciplinary skills for analyzing Jewish lifestyles while pursuing this major.

A minor in Jewish studies will also be available.

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UB, Buff State Pool Resources to Train a Smart Grid Workforce

A new joint effort by the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College will improve green jobs training for undergraduate and graduate students at both institutions as part of a federally funded program to transform the electrical grid into a “smart grid.”

The courses, which will likely be offered by UB and Buffalo State starting in the fall, will leverage each schools’ strengths and expertise, and will be delivered online to students from the other consortium institutions, as well as to industry personnel who register for smart grid retraining.

By synchronizing the teaching of topics in electrical power systems engineering fields related to the construction of a smart grid, UB and Buffalo State are improving the quality of education, boosting graduates’ chances of finding jobs while also lowering the cost of education and training for students.

The partnership between UB and Buffalo State is part of a larger consortium headed by Syracuse University and including the University at Rochester, Clarkson University and Onondaga Community College, part of the Strategic Training and Education in Power Systems (STEPS) program of the U.S. Department of Energy.

In spring 2010, the consortium received a $3 million grant from the DOE to implement the STEPS program, which is designed to quickly train a workforce for smart grid development by reducing redundancy and allowing students to travel between participating campuses for access to the most advanced technologies.

“While this approach is contrary to the traditional model where each institution hoards its own resources, our institutions are committed to overcoming bureaucratic obstacles to help address the expected nationwide shortage of smart grid practitioners and developers,” ¬†says Mohammed Safiuddin, research professor emeritus of electrical engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and UB principal investigator..

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UB Ranked Among ‘Best Values for 2012′ By Princeton Review

The University at Buffalo is among the nation’s top 75 “best value” public colleges and universities, according to The Princeton Review’s annual national survey of American colleges and universities.

In its profile of UB, the editors at The Princeton Review said UB is “one of the nation’s premier public research universities,” and praised the university’s excellent academics, array of student clubs and affordable cost.

The review stated UB offered “more academic programs per dollar than any other university in the state. (UB) is able to provide great education at a low price. And at a fraction of the cost of comparable private colleges and universities, a UB education is also an exceptional value.”

“The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition’ or “The 150 Best Buy Colleges and What It Takes to Get In,” features profiles of 75 public and 75 private colleges with detailed information about the campus culture, facilities and financial aid offerings. Of the 75 schools in each group, the top 10 colleges are ranked one to 10, and the remaining 65 are listed in alphabetical order.

UB students quoted in the review said UB’s “programs are all of the highest quality, translating into a best-value education for students” and “there is always something to do” on campus.

Students also praised UB’s internship and experiential education programs and said UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in particular “is well respected” and “works with corporate partners in a variety of ways that range from joint-research ventures to continuing education to co-op work arrangements for our students.”

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UB Played Key Role in Development of new Cystic Fibrosis Drug Approved by FDA

The Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Center of the University at Buffalo and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo played a critical role in the development of the new breakthrough drug called Kalydeco, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for the treatment of a less-common mutation of cystic fibrosis.

“We enrolled the first patient in this Phase 3 study, which began in 2009, so there is a patient in Western New York who has been on this drug longer than anyone in the world,” says Drucy S. Borowitz, clinical professor of pediatrics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and director of the CF Therapeutics Development Center of UB and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

The Buffalo center was the first site in the world to begin recruiting patients for the Phase 3 clinical trial.

The drug repairs a specific genetic defect that affects approximately 4 percent of CF patients; this mutation happens to be more common among patients of Irish descent, explains Borowitz.

“This drug demonstrates the promise of the human genome project because it proves that you can use high throughput screening to develop drugs for genetic diseases,” says Borowitz.

She says that Kalydeco, developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, is the first of its class, a small molecule that “repairs” mutated proteins so that they function normally.

The drug provides the critical “proof of concept” for another drug in clinical trials that promises to treat the majority of patients with CF. This concept for drug development may also benefit people with diseases other than cystic fibrosis, says Borowitz.

“At our CF center, we are actively involved in the development of another treatment which combines Kalydeco with a second drug to make the most common CF mutation function more normally,” says Borowitz.

That treatment, says Borowitz, is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial and is several years away from FDA approval.

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