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UAlbany's RNA Institute Applying New Tools toward Enhanced Drug Discovery and Design

The RNA Institute's researchers use high-end computer equipment to challenge cancers, neuromuscular diseases, drug-resistant infections, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 14, 2012) – The RNA Institute at the University at Albany and Dell are making state-of-the-art computational equipment available to model ribonucleic acid (RNA) for potential drug discovery and design.

"This high-end computer equipment affords our researchers greater speed and precision in their efforts to challenge such afflictions as breast and colon cancer, neuromuscular diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and drug resistant viral, HIV/AIDS, and bacterial infections, MRSA and tuberculosis" said The RNA Institute Director Paul F. Agris.

Dell’s computational equipment provides researchers with enhanced computation and visualization of RNA using 3-D imaging, further aiding the understanding of the function of RNA and how it can be targeted for drug design. It also allows scientists to visualize the existing structure of RNA and predict structure as molecular changes occur.

Using high resolution imaging, the equipment offers The RNA Institute researchers the ability to visualize molecules in cells to see how RNA moves through the tissue. The new computers allow the Institute to move from central processing unit (CPU) imaging to the faster, more efficient graphics processing unit (GPU) imaging.

Dell is a member of The RNA Institute Partners (RNAIP), comprised of organizations and companies recognizing the societal benefits of the Institute’s work in early phase drug discovery and technological applications, as well as its growing potential as an economic engine for the state of New York.

"This computational equipment from Dell will be extremely important for our work with computer modeling and computational imaging, and the visualization of molecular interactions," said Agris. "We will achieve much faster identification of novel RNA targets and candidate therapeutics in drug discovery and the high resolution imaging of cells in microscopy."

“We’re proud to work with the University of Albany – this is great work and has the potential to make a difference not just in the field of science, healthcare and research, but in people’s lives.” John Mullen, Dell VP, Education, State and local Government

About The RNA Institute

The RNA Institute, launched in June 2010 at the University at Albany, leverages a new paradigm for development and delivery of innovative medicines, vaccines and diagnostics. It brings together leading researchers from higher education and other institutions with private corporations in partnerships, and offers advanced facilities for RNA science and its applications. It provides the critical resources needed to advance innovation in technologies, and the development of drugs for the most serious and difficult to treat human diseases in the areas of infectious disease, including bacterial (MRSA) and viral (HIV), cancer, and neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders.


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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.