Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a Award

Each year we present a Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a Award to an MD, PhD, Resident and Volunteer of our school who are recognized nationally or internationally for his or her outstanding contributions to medicine and the biomedical sciences, the arts or the humanities.  This event takes place annually during Reunion Weekend.

We are proud to recognize our 2018 Distinguished Medical and Biomedical Alumnus/a for their outstanding accomplishments and the distinction they bring to our school.

2018 Recipients

Lynda M. Young, MD '73

Distinguished Medical Alumna

Lynda M. Young, MD ’73, FAAP

Lynda M. Young, MD ’73, FAAP, has provided pediatric primary care for 34 years in a three-physician independent practice in Worcester, Mass., and is currently continuing her teaching and advocacy work on the local, state and national levels. She also has served as the pediatric ambulatory physician leader at the Children’s Medical Center, UMass Memorial Medical Center, University Campus in Worcester and as a clinical professor of pediatrics at UMass Medical School.

Young has a long and distinguished record of activity in organized medicine. She is a past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), serves as chair of the AAP Committee on Federal Government Affairs and is a past member of the AAP National Nominating Committee.

Young was the first woman president of the Worcester District Medical Society. From 2011 to 2012, she served as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and is currently chair of their Committee on Publications. She is a delegate to the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates and serves on their Council on Medical Service.

A native of Snyder, N.Y., Young earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at UB and completed her residency at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

Thomas J. Colatsky, PhD

Distinguished Biomedical Alumnus

Thomas J. Colatsky, PhD ’77

Thomas J. Colatsky, PhD ’77, is a national leader in biomedical innovation and regulatory science. After receiving his doctorate in physiology at UB, he served a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. He then joined the faculty of Cornell Medical College, where he conducted research on the electrophysiology of the heart.

In 1982, Colatsky joined Wyeth Research (now Pfizer) as head of its cardiac arrhythmia drug discovery unit. Over the course of a 17-year career at Wyeth, he rose to become vice president of the Division of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases and later, vice president for scientific evaluation, clinical research and development.

In 1999, Colatsky left Wyeth to become executive vice president and chief scientific officer (CSO) for Physiome Sciences, a start-up company developing computer models of the heart and other biological systems for use as tools in drug development. After overseeing the successful launch of the company, he became senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Icoria, a company focused on biomarker discovery, target validation and predictive toxicology.

 From 2009 to 2016, Colatsky held numerous leadership positions at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he directed research aimed at improving drug development and the regulatory review process.

Colatsky, who was elected an AAAS Fellow in Pharmaceutical Sciences, currently serves as founder and principal consultant for Marshview Life Science Advisors LLC, helping small companies develop new drugs and medical technologies.

Distinguished Resident

David M. Holmes, MD

David M. Holmes, MD

David M. Holmes, MD, is a family physician who has devoted his career to working in medically underresourced communities on Buffalo’s east side and in Haiti and other countries around the world.

He co-founded two faith-based, free clinics in Buffalo: Good Neighbors Health Care and the clinic at Cornerstone Manor.

Holmes also serves as a clinical associate professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Department of Family Medicine, where he teaches and directs the Global Health Education Program. He and the department received a Templeton Foundation grant to develop a spirituality-in-health-care curriculum for several courses at the Jacobs School.

Holmes also conducts research on global health, as well as on the role faith plays in addiction recovery.  In addition, he serves as a mentor and faculty advisor for students and residents engaged in research projects involving global health or addiction medicine.

In 2007, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians named Holmes the New York State Family Physician of the Year.

Born in Kenya, East Africa, to missionary parents, Holmes was raised on Long Island, N.Y. He earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, and his medical degree at the University of Vermont, after which he completed his residency in family medicine at UB. Holmes and his wife, Lucy, also a physician, liked Buffalo so much they chose to stay and have raised their four children here.

Charles R. Niles, MD '83

Distinguished Volunteer of the Year

Charles R. Niles, MD ’83

Charles R. Niles, MD ’83, generously volunteers his time, energy and expertise to a variety of endeavors that support academic medicine, education and the medically underserved.

A clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Niles is co-founder of Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York, and the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Western New York.  

An exemplary alumnus and ambassador for UB, Niles played a lead volunteer role in the Build the Vision campaign, serving as co-chair of the Circle of Visionaries giving society. Members of this giving society made gifts of $100,000 or more to the Jacobs School during the campaign. In this key role, Niles identified, engaged and encouraged others to give at this special time in the school’s history, helping to secure numerous leadership gifts from alumni and members of the community.

Niles is a past president of the UB Medical Alumni Association; the Buffalo Ophthalmologic Society; the Maimonides Medical Society; and the Kadimah Academy, for which he co-chaired its capital campaign to expand its facilities. In addition, he has conducted international mission work with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.  

A native of Kenmore/Tonawanda, N.Y., Niles earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at UB. He recalls how, when he was young, his parents would drive down Bailey Avenue, point to the medical school, and say: “That is where you will go to medical school one day.”

After completing his residency in ophthalmology, also at UB, Niles served a glaucoma fellowship at the University of Toronto. He was recruited back to Buffalo with a full time position at the Jacobs School, where he was chief of the glaucoma service, before entering private practice. Niles is a past recipient of the Ophthalmology Residency Teaching Award at the Jacobs School.

His wife, Ellen, is a 1982 graduate of UB School of Management, CEO of Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York and co-chair of the Circle of Visionaries giving society. The couple has three sons: Philip (a local retina specialist); Robert (Harvard JD/MBA, clerk for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan 2019); and Eric (a third-year student in the UB Dental School).