NU opening research lab in Erie County

Jun. 28—Niagara University is reconnecting with part of its history for its latest venture, a new science research lab on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

NU's president, the Rev. James Maher, CM, joined U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Niagara Falls and Buffalo, in announcing plans for the new lab, which will open inside the former Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute at 75 High St., Buffalo. The building is in the same area where Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo General Hospital and Oishei Children's Hospital are all located.

The project is being funded with $750,000 secured through a federal budget request made by Higgins and a fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

"Opening the lab will not only complement the on-campus research, it will elevate our excellence in the field of science, and will provide our students to do this work within Buffalo's medical campus, collaborating with university partners and leaders in healthcare from our region, which begins to develop their career pathway into a career in the sciences," Higgins said.

The bio-medical lab will allow faculty and students to conduct research under the management of Dr. Mary McCourt, a professor of chemistry at NU.

Part of the research will involve continued work on one of McCourt's areas of expertise, a drug-delivery system known as Cholestosome, which she said is being developed to improve treatment of diabetes and viruses as well as a potential means to eliminate lead poisoning in the cells of children. McCourt, a recipient of the 2020 Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal, which recognizes "pioneering contributions" in the development of drug delivery methods for treatment, holds 14 patents for Cholestosome.

Under the program, undergraduate students will receive hands-on experience in science research. The students will assist McCourt and other researchers from NU in carrying on work being conducted at the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences on the university's Lewiston campus.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for our students and for our researchers," McCourt said.

Maher noted that the project represents a return to Buffalo for NU, which was started in 1856 on Best Street by Father John Lynch and six seminary students.

"Niagara University is back in Buffalo and we are incredibly blessed and glad to be here," he said.