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Herbert Hauptman would have turned 100 this month. Here's why he's important to Buffalo.

The Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute will mark what would have been the late Dr. Herbert Hauptman's 100th birthday on Feb. 14 with a visit from Nardin Academy students.

The institute will host Nardin Academy science students to honor the legacy of Hauptman, whose deep passion for math and science ultimately led him to become the first mathematician to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The institute, which was previously known as the Medical Foundation of Buffalo, was renamed the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in 1994.

In 1985, while swimming at the YMCA, Hauptman was informed he had been selected for a Nobel Prize in chemistry. He was recognized for his innovative mathematical techniques called “direct methods,” which set the foundation for generations of researchers to determine the shape of thousands of biological molecules. His work was recognized for its impact on drug discovery – work that is still relevant today, according to the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

His revolutionary methods were initially met with skepticism.

Hauptman, research director and later president of the institute, continued to work at the institute into his nineties. He died in October 2011.

As part of their visit, Nardin students will be introduced to the work of Dr. Daniel Gewirth.  Gewirth’s research examines how a patient’s immune system can be a powerful tool for fighting metastatic breast cancer. By studying how proteins extracted from tumor cells can lead to an immune response, they hope to help the patient’s immune system recognize and attack the cancer.

The institute is a founder institute of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

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