RNA Center of Excellence to Develop New Treatments, Train Future Scientists

May. 9, 2024
Joint Venture Will Drive Economic Development Through Research, Partnerships with Industry

The field of RNA biology has catapulted to the forefront of health and medicine over the past decade as the work of scientists like Lynne E. Maquat, PhD, director of the University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology, and others revealed the role that RNA plays in a multitude of diseases. Myotonic dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, fragile X syndrome, and many other inherited disorders can be targeted with RNA-based treatments.

Building on this knowledge and momentum, the University of Rochester and University at Albany are partnering to create a new Center of Excellence in RNA Research and Therapeutics to develop RNA-based therapies and train the next generation of New York’s biotechnology workforce. Home to renowned scientists with decades of experience and millions of dollars in external funding for RNA-based research, the institutions will work together to promote economic growth through continued scientific discovery and partnership with industry.

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester) led the charge to secure funds in the 2024-25 New York State Enacted Budget to establish the new Center of Excellence, known as CERRT.

“This new center is a win all around,” said David C. Linehan, MD, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Patients and families will benefit from groundbreaking work carried out between researchers in Rochester and Albany; our trainees will gain invaluable experience working with experts in university labs and in industry; and New York will emerge as a leader in this vital field. We are grateful to Assemblymember Bronson for his efforts and the Governor for her support.”

Maquat will co-lead the CERRT at the University of Rochester with Eric J. Wagner, PhD, professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a member of the University of Rochester Center for RNA Biology. Andrew Berglund, PhD, director of UAlbany’s RNA Institute, and Thomas Begley, PhD, distinguished professor of Biological Sciences, will co-lead the CERRT at Albany.

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