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Buffalo's role in cutting-edge biological research and the Main-High Medical Corridor are both about to get a boost from an announced collaboration between the University at Buffalo and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

UB will establish a department of structural biology in the High Street institute, combining Hauptman-Woodward's internationally known expertise in X-ray crystallography -- an ultra-high-tech method of discovering protein structures -- with the university's expertise in biology, biochemistry and biophysics, as well as its supercomputing capabilities.

The planned 10-year collaboration "positions Buffalo to play a lead role" in structural biology research, according to officials of both institutions.

The new department will be a unit of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It will be centered at Hauptman-Woodward, with additional laboratory space in the Biomedical Research Building on UB's South Campus.

The union will produce "groundbreaking research in structural biology" and give UB students a "unique opportunity" to study at both institutions, UB President William R. Greiner said.

The venture will not only accelerate the institute's rapid growth, but "add a new teaching element to the Main-High medical corridor," said Christopher T. Greene, chairman of the Hauptman-Woodward board.

Also under the agreement:

The nonprofit Hauptman-Woodward will remain independent and continue to conduct research outside projects undertaken by UB faculty members in the department.

Herbert A. Hauptman, institute president and 1985 Nobel laureate in chemistry, will join the department as distinguished professor.

George A. DeTitta, institute executive director and chief operating officer, will join the department as a professor and department chairman.

Fifteen Hauptman-Woodward researchers will assume faculty positions in the department.

DeTitta said the agreement "cements a relationship that has been 40 years in the making" and will yield research important "for its impact on our health and on our local economy."

The agreement calls for UB to staff the new department with at least four full-time-equivalent faculty positions. Two of those will be filled by six current Hauptman-Woodward research scientists and two by new faculty members hired to work exclusively in the department.

A number of faculty members from UB's graduate school division at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and other UB departments will be affiliated with the structural biology department.

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