First Niagara's Foundation Supports UAlbany Cancer Research Center

First Niagara's Foundation presented $50,000 today to the University at Albany's Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics. The funds will be used to purchase high-tech laboratory equipment for genomics and biomedical sciences research. The check was presented by First Niagara's Eastern New York Regional President, Carl Florio, and Senior Vice President, Peter Cosgrove, accompanied by Kevin O'Bryan, Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, First Niagara Bank, and Daniel J. Hogarty Jr., Vice Chairman, First Niagara Financial Group.

"Finding a cure for cancer is one of the most important missions of our time," said First Niagara's Eastern New York Regional President, Carl Florio. "In addition to the benefits this project will have on cancer related research, this project was also important to us because it promotes growth and development in our community with the creation of new jobs. We are pleased to be able to support the University at Albany's Gen*NY*Sis Center."

The University at Albany's Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics officially opened its doors on October 18, 2005, combining UAlbany research expertise in genomics and biomedical sciences with state-of-the-art technology in a new 113,000 square foot facility. The Center, which hosts scientists committed to discovering the genetic origins of cancer and who conduct research into finding a cure for the disease, is part of New York State's Gen*NY*Sis (Generating Employment Through New York Science) program, a $500 million initiative in government and private investment to lure new life science industries to the state and make New York a leader in creating science and technology jobs.

"Supporting our scientists with cutting-edge technology and other resources in biotechnology and biomedical sciences is crucial to the success of the Gen*NY*Sis Center's mission," said University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall. "The University is grateful to the First Niagara Bank Foundation for its generosity and for helping us foster that mission, with no less a goal than discovering the genetic origins of cancer -- and finding a cure for the disease."

The following scientists have joined the Center since its inception and embarked on ground-breaking research.

  • Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, is studying ways to stop the metastatic growth of cancer cells.
  • Thomas Begley, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, is researching cellular responses to chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat cancer.
  • Douglas S. Conklin, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, is identifying new genes that contribute to the tumorigencity of breast cancer cells.
  • Richard P. Cunningham, professor of biological sciences, is studying DNA damage and responses to DNA damage.
  • Chittibabu Guda, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, is developing computational algorithms, databases and web servers for DNA and protein data analysis.
  • Igor Kuznetsov, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, is applying a variety of statistical and classification methods to biological sequences related to human diseases.
  • Paulette McCormick, professor of biomedical sciences, is studying biochemical signals that encourage tumor growth and genes that are involved in embryonic development.
  • Scott Tenenbaum, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, is studying how and why genes are regulated in human cells.

"The generosity of First Niagara and other community leaders enables us to recruit top-notch researchers to the area and equip them with an array of technology typically found only at the world's premier research institutions," said Dr. Paulette McCormick, Director, Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Research. "First Niagara's donation today is an investment not only in the grants and jobs that it may help to bring to the region, but is also a critically important investment in the future health of our community."

Established in 1998, First Niagara's Foundation continues a legacy of giving in the communities they serve. It awards grants to non-profit organizations and contributes leadership, time, talent and treasure to community-minded agencies through corporate donations, sponsorships and volunteerism.

First Niagara Bank is a subsidiary of First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., (NASDAQ: FNFG). It is a full-service, community-oriented bank that provides financial services to individuals, families and businesses through more than 120 branches, a loan production office, several financial services subsidiaries, and 160 ATMs across New York State.