GVN Center and Member Spotlight

July 31, 2020 – GVN SPOTLIGHT ON:

Gene Morse
Professor
University at Buffalo HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory
Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo, State University of New York

What are you and your institution currently working on regarding COVID-19? (One paragraph)

The GVN Center in Buffalo includes researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB) and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (RP). Since April 2020, Dr. Gene Morse, GVN Center Director, has been the co-leader, with Dr. James Mohler (RP), of the Western New York COVID-19 Research Collaborative, a network of regional hospitals jointly led by UB and Roswell Park. Another GVN Center researcher, Dr. Mark D. Hicar of UB Department of Pediatrics, is leading a clinical study that investigates why the novel coronavirus is so potentially devastating for adults but well tolerated in most children by examining stimulation of B cell responses during infection with COVID-19. Dr. Sanjay Sethi and Dr. Timothy Murphy are coordinating UB’s site for the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.

Please describe your research with SARS-CoV-2 investigational drugs, genomics and antibody testing?

In April, Roswell  Park (Dr. Igor Puzanov, PI) and UB (Dr. Gene Morse Co-PI) collaborated to provide a Buffalo site for the Regeneron-sponsored protocol titled an adaptive phase 2/3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessing efficacy and safety of sarilumab for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.  The Buffalo GVN Center is also collaborating with Dr. Kunle Odunsi, (Deputy Director: Roswell Park) on a regional project to investigate Immunogenomic Factors In COVID-19 disease progression. Dr. Morse is also leading the Western New York COVID-19 Serology Implementation Research Project to investigate lateral flow rapid testing assays and microfluidics/chemiluminescence quantitative serology assays in a regional and national program.

Professional Summary

Gene D. Morse, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, is a tenured, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences. He is also the Co-Director of the SUNY Global Health Institute. Dr. Morse has been actively involved in drug development research since the introduction of antiretrovirals for HIV in 1986, with more recent emphasis on HCV infection and drug development. He has National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases support for the UB AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory and a contract for the HIV Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance Program. These programs integrate with the NIH Fogarty International Center HIV Research Training Program, which Dr. Morse directs with Professor Charles Maponga at the University of Zimbabwe, a UB Affiliate GVN Center and home to the Center of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Innovation. Dr. Morse is co-founder of the Buffalo Jamaica Innovation Enterprise, a partnership between UB the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Jamaica Ministry of Health. This project has established the Jamaica Center for Infectious Diseases Research and the UWI Affiliate GVN Center. Dr. Morse is the program director for the UB,SUNY-UWI Global Infectious Diseases Research Training Program with Professor Timothy Endy, SUNY Upstate and  Professor John Lindo, UWI, Mona Campus, Jamaica.

Overview of the University at Buffalo HIV and HCV Pharmacology Laboratory

The UB HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory and the UB Translational Pharmacology Research Core have gained an international reputation for antiviral bioanalysis, pharmacokinetics, and translational pharmacology. Dr. Andrew Talal, Dr. Charles Venuto and Dr. Qing Ma conduct NIH sponsored clinical and translational research focusing on new therapeutics and diagnostics for Hepatitis C, viral disease modeling and HIV-associated neurocognitive disease and pharmacogenomics, respectively. The laboratory is located in the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and has been conducting antiviral research since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. The laboratory provides a global antiviral proficiency testing program through an NIH contract and is a training site for numerous national and international faculty through awards from the NIH Fogarty International Center that includes pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows and residents.

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