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Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, delivers opening remarks at the inaugural white coat ceremony for students in the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences.

First PPBS White Coat Ceremony Recognizes Student Advancement

Published June 27, 2017

The PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) held its first white coat ceremony to recognize 13 students from the Class of 2016-2017 who completed their first year in the program and are moving on to their research laboratory match.

“Graduate students are the backbone of every good research laboratory.”
Senior associate dean for research and graduate education

During opening remarks, Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, noted “graduate students are the backbone of every good research laboratory.”

“I look forward to following your career as you proceed on and thank you for joining us here at UB,” he said.

Awards were presented to top students. Faculty and staff who have supported the program were also recognized.

Student Awards Recognize Excellence in Lab, Class

One of the event’s sponsors, Laboratory Product Sales, presented two awards handed out by Frank Meleca, the company’s vice president.

Sarah Metcalfe, an Elmira native who earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Saint Bonaventure University, won the LPS Rotation Award, which recognizes a student for exceptional performance in a PPBS laboratory rotation.

The LPS Highest GPA Award, which recognizes the student with the highest cumulative grade point average at the end of their first year, was awarded to William Mangione, a North Tonawanda native who completed his bachelor’s degree in biology at Boston College.

Network of Support Guides Doctoral Candidates

Another event sponsor, the Office of Medical Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, was represented by Jennifer Britton, director of constituent and alumni engagement, and Daniel W. Sheehan, PhD ’89, MD, associate dean for medical curriculum, and a member of the Medical Alumni Association board.

“On behalf of the Alumni Association, I want to congratulate you on your program matches,” Sheehan said.

“We are thrilled to kick off this new tradition for our school with such an impressive group of smart, creative and dedicated students,” he said. “It’s really your research that is going to allow us to take health care and medicine to the next level.”

As a 1989 graduate of the doctoral program in physiology, Sheehan said he fondly remembers the wonderful mentorship he had from his thesis adviser, thesis committee, and the entire Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

“I know that you too will experience this great guidance here as you travel through your program,” he said. “There is an incredible network here to support you.”

Cloaking Symbolizes Match into Research Laboratory

The PPBS students were cloaked by the faculty members into whose research labs they have matched.

The table below lists the students, their departments and mentors:

Student Department Mentor
Lauren Boehnke Pathology and Anatomical Sciences Scott T. Doyle, PhD
James Catlin Biochemistry Christine E. Schaner Tooley, PhD
Megan Heaney Biochemistry Christine E. Schaner Tooley, PhD
Steven Lewis Pathology and Anatomical Sciences Scott T. Doyle, PhD
William Mangione Biomedical Informatics Ram Samudrala, PhD
Sarah Metcalfe Oral Biology Jason G. Kay, PhD
Johan Nakuci Neuroscience Sarah F. Muldoon, PhD
Alasteir Ong Biochemistry Mark O’Brian, PhD
Sailee Rasam Biochemistry Jun Qu, PhD
Benjamin Rein Neuroscience Zhen Yan, PhD
Isabella Schember Biochemistry Marc S. Halfon, PhD
Anna Stovall Microbiology and Immunology John C. Panepinto, PhD
Anna Young Biochemistry Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD

Program Allows Exploration of Range of Disciplines

The PPBS provides an entry portal and a common first-year curriculum, mentoring, hands-on opportunities and financial support.

With its laboratory rotation system, students can explore a variety of disciplines before committing to their specific area of research.

The white coat ceremony was conducted June 19 in Hayes Hall.