Building on 60 Years of History
by Edward H. (Eddie) Snell
Fall 2015

This is a memorable time at HWI with 2015 marking the 30th anniversary of Herbert A. Hauptman’s 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and 2016 being the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Medical Foundation of Buffalo, now known as the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. The methods developed from Prof. Hauptman’s Nobel Prize are still in use worldwide today and impact almost every pharmaceutical on the market. The 60th anniversary of the Institute is also remarkable; there are few research institutes around that date back to when Elvis released his first hit! Anniversaries such as this are a time to celebrate, a time to thank our supporters, and a time to take stock.

Sixty years ago, Dr. George Koepf had a vision of an Institute that would specialize in basic medical research related to endocrine problems, diabetes, thyroid problems, and obesity amongst others. His vision became a reality in 1956 when his patient, Helen Woodward Rivas generously donated funds to start the Medical Foundation of Buffalo (MFB): The Foundation’s fundamental purpose is to advance scientific research into the causes of human illness in the broadest sense.

In 1970, Dr. Herbert A. Hauptman was recruited to come to Buffalo, and he set the Institute on its course to become a world-renowned Structural Biology Institute.  In 1985, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Dr. Jerome Karle.  In 1995, to emphasize the fact that both dedicated scientists and dedicated philanthropists are required to make advances in medicine, the MFB was renamed the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI). Those scientists and philanthropists made our current iconic building possible and generated major research initiatives that even today maintain our scientific impact on the world.
We’ve come a long way since 1956, but we still strive to advance scientific research into the causes of human illness in the broadest sense. We work at the cutting edge of our area of science, with the most advanced X-ray source in the world, and we helped crystallize thousands of proteins resulting in profound fundamental structural knowledge. We have highly qualified investigators supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation; we are well known in the national and international science community but need your help to spread the word beyond this.

Basic research and developing the next generation of discoveries takes time, money and persistence. Much of our research is supported through federal grants, but that pot is getting smaller, and these grants do not support bringing new scientists to Buffalo.  During this anniversary year, we invite you to pay us a visit to see what we do, to help publicize our work to your friends and neighbors, but most importantly to help us grow. Biotech in Buffalo is blooming.  HWI was one of the initial seeds, and we will be part of the growth.  Help us celebrate another 60 years of research by supporting a new generation of scientists and continuing our impact in Buffalo and beyond.  We innovate, discover and educate – cures really do begin here!

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