Distinguished Alumni

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

2017 Distinguished Medical Alumnus  

Martin Brecher, MD '72
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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Martin Brecher, MD ’72, former chief of pediatric hematology-oncology at UB, served for more than 25 years as chair of pediatrics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and chief of pediatric hematology-oncology for Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

Thousands of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer and their families have benefited from Brecher’s care and compassion.

When Brecher retired from active practice in 2014, Teresa Quattrin, MD, A. Conger Goodyear Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at UB, said: “We are most grateful to Dr. Brecher for the great care and dedication he has demonstrated to our community and patients.”

Extensively published, Brecher has numerous research articles, abstracts and book chapters to his credit. He has held many active leadership roles at the institutions he served, including 2005 president of the UB Medical Alumni Association.

A dedicated and patient teacher, Brecher received many academic awards, including UB’s Frederick B. Wilkes Teaching Award in Pediatrics, the 2005 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, the Louis A. & Ruth Siegel Excellence in Teaching Award, and a combined UB and Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo John Paroski House Staff Teaching Award in Pediatrics.

Brecher also has been recognized in the community for his contributions. He is the recipient of the Burt Flickinger Jr. Physician’s Award from the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of WNY Service Award, the Spirit of Teddi Humanitarian Award from Camp Good Days and Special Times, and the New Era Champion for Children Award presented by Brian Moorman’s P.U.N.T. Foundation.


2017 Distinguished Biomedical Alumnus

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD ’84
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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Anthony Campagnari, PhD ’84, is a professor of microbiology and immunology, as well as medicine. He completed a doctoral degree in tumor immunology and a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious disease at UB. In 1996 joined the microbiology and immunology faculty as a tenured associate professor.

Campagnari’s long-term research focuses on bacterial virulence factors, biofilm-associated components and putative vaccine antigens for two gram-negative human pathogens: Moraxella catarrhalis and Acinetobacter baumannii. More recently, he has expanded his research into the area of gram-positive bacteria. His latest publication in MBio describes a novel murine colonization model that has provided insights into the pathogenesis of secondary bacterial pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This work was featured in an American Society for Microbiology press release in 2016. In addition, his group is currently involved in a collaborative project focused on the development of a novel antimicrobial treatment for orthopedic-related infections.

Continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, industry and private foundations for more than 25 years, Campagnari’s research has led to 75 publications, five U.S. patents and over $10 million in extramural funding.

Campagnari has been honored with the UB Sustained Achievement Award from the Exceptional Scholar Program (2002), the UB Visionary Innovator Award (2008), the UB Inventor and Entrepreneur Award (2009), the UB Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award (2015), the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Dean’s Award (2016) and Stockton Kimball Award (2016).

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Microbiology elected Campagnari a Fellow. This honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality and leadership in the microbiological sciences.

2017 Volunteer of the Year

Rose Berkun, MD ’92
Circle of Leaders, Chair
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

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Rose Berkun, MD 92, generously volunteers her time, energy and expertise to a wide variety of endeavors in academic medicine, the field of anesthesiology and the community.

A clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Berkun is president of Northeast Ambulatory Anesthesia, PLLC, an office-based anesthesia practice that she founded.

A consummate teacher, mentor and ambassador for UB, she plays a lead volunteer role in the Build the Vision campaign, serving as chair of the Circle of Leaders recognition society.

She is a cofounder of UB DoctHERS, a network of women physicians, scientists, residents and students that works to promote equal opportunities for future generations of women in medicine and science.

Since 2012, she has served on the board of the UB Medical Alumni Association.

In addition to being on faculty in the UB Department of Anesthesiology, Berkun is program director for the annual Comprehensive Workshop on Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management, conducted at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Currently, Berkun is president the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists. She also serves in a number of leadership capacities with other medical societies, including the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association.

2017 Distinguished Resident

Kinga Szigeti MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center
Co-principal Investigator, Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease, New York State

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Kinga Szigeti MD, PhD, is the founding director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center and the Translational Genomics Research Laboratory in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The Center was recently designated a Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s disease by the New York State Department of Health.

The clinical mission of Szigeti’s team is to provide compassionate, state-of-the-art care for patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. Their research mission is to employ genetic tools to identify novel risk factors and potential pathways that can be targeted with medications to prevent or modify the course of disease.

Szigeti’s group has made a number of discoveries, including the identification an olfactory receptor CNV association with age at onset of Alzheimer’s disease. They are now applying a novel method to study the olfactory subgenome in relation to smell sensation and cognition and are participating in a related multicenter study funded by the National Institute of Aging. The group also has identified a human-specific fusion gene, CHRFAM7A, as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Their lab is modeling Alzheimer’s disease in a dish to understand the mechanism by which this fusion gene confers disease susceptibility.

After serving her neurology residency at UB from 1999 to 2002, Szigeti completed a genetics fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. She earned her medical degree at the University of Pecs, Hungary, and her PhD in clinical neuroscience at the University of Szeged, Hungary, both summa cum laude.