The Center for Structural Biology and Metabonomics at Miami University is one of 14 Health Care/Biomedicine Centers of Excellence (CoE) statewide announced today by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
The center builds on 10 years of NIH funding in structural biology and participation in the Protein Structure Initiative in an effort to establish a unique State of Ohio resource for protein structure-function studies. The center also offers state-of-the-art capabilities for metabonomics research, which is the study of metabolic (describing life-supporting chemical processes) responses to genetic modifications, external stimuli and diseases.
Miami’s Center for Structural Biology and Metabonomics is led by Michael Kennedy, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Structural Biology and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Work performed by researchers in Miami’s center, including 20 undergraduates and four doctoral students this semester, involves developing metabolic profiling databases for children’s diseases targeting gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and obesity. Students also contribute to isolating proteins to make them available for disease research.
Research is done in a collaborative consortium with physicians at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Rainbow Babies Hospital in Cleveland, through a network Kennedy established soon after arriving at Miami in 2006.
“This center houses one of the top metabonomics facilities in the world,” said James Oris, associate dean for research and scholarship and professor of zoology at Miami.
Oris said that the designation of this Center of Excellence by the state allows Miami to further develop tools for early cancer detection and diagnosis of childhood diseases via comprehensive and interdisciplinary research approaches.
“This recognition will help us to advance and accelerate the pace of biomedical research in Ohio. Further, it helps to establish our center as a world-class site for medical researchers and collaborators who have a need and interest in research related to children’s diseases,” Oris added.
Kennedy and his team are engaged in securing additional research grants for the center with other academic institutions and medical researchers at regional hospitals, and in recruiting more undergraduate and graduate students into these fields of study.
For more information about the Miami center go to http://chemistry.muohio.edu/kennedy/. The announcement from the governor's office is here.