January 31, 2012

Bioscientist Finds His Niche

By: Larry Rulison, Business Writer

Source: Times Union

ALBANY — Michael Fasullo has found a home at the The University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The former senior research scientist at the Ordway Research Institute in Albany, who has degrees in biology and biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, could have taken his cancer research almost anywhere after Ordway filed for federal bankruptcy protection last April and later sold off its operations.

But Fasullo, who has children at Albany High School, didn't want to leave the area, and he discovered that there were enormous opportunities — and cutting edge lab space — for his research at the NanoCollege and its growing bioscience department.

"I think it's great," said Fasullo. "There's a strong positive momentum and a can-do attitude."

Fasullo worked eight years at Ordway, which also had cutting edge lab space at the Center for Medical Sciences in the University Heights section of Albany. He says the technology he has access to at the NanoCollege — which is best known for its semiconductor research — is second to none, and he works side-by-side with many companies interested in biotechnology breakthroughs.

"There's obviously certain applications that could be used in commercial purposes," Fasullo said,

Earlier this month, Fasullo started at the NanoCollege as a senior research fellow. He is currently being funded through a National Institutes of Health fellowship program and has centered his research at the NanoCollege on using yeast to understand how cells respond to different carcinogens, a project that he is collaborating on with Thomas Begley, an associate professor of nanobioscience at the college who is also director of its NanoHeath and Safety Center.

Fasullo says that there has been a push by the federal government to fund more research into how consumer products affect health, and there has also been another push to move away from using mice for research. Yeast, which can be made to mimic human cells, can produce results cheaper and more quickly than when mice are used.

"They're trying to de-emphasize animal studies," Fasullo said.

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