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Veteran scientist Nowak named executive director of UB bioinformatics hub

Norma J. Nowak, an experienced researcher and entrepreneur in the area of personalized medicine, has been named executive director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

Nowak has served as the center’s director of science and technology since 2003, shortly after its founding, and she is a professor of biochemistry at the university. Nowak is considered a pioneering researcher in human genomics, and her work contributed to the Human Genome Project, according to UB.

She is a founder and chief scientific officer of Empire Genomics, a molecular diagnostics company that grew out of her research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. From 1999 to 2012, she was director of the Genomics Shared Resource, a research lab shared by UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Roswell Park. Nowak has authored or co-authored 144 research papers.

The bioinformatics center, located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, hosts life-sciences researchers and startup companies and supports the commercialization of ground-breaking science. The center expanded its initial focus on bioinformatics research, which uses supercomputers to sift through vast amounts of genetic data to seek medical drugs tailored to individual patients.

Nowak replaces Alexander N. Cartwright, who had served as interim executive director since taking the place of the late Bruce A. Holm, the center’s long-time executive director.