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School News Archive: 2016


A medical student and fellows in cardiovascular medicine, hematology-oncology and pediatric endocrinology-diabetes have received a trio of prestigious school awards.

Satyan Lakshminrusimha, MD

Satyan Lakshminrusimha, MD, has received the 2016 Mentor of the Year award from the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR) in recognition of his excellence in developing trainees’ research skills and launching productive research careers.


G. Richard Braen, MD, associate dean for graduate medical education, has received the 2016 National Leadership Award from the New York State chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Student Clinician Ceremony

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Class of 2018 was honored during the 14th annual Student Clinician Ceremony recognizing the transition of rising third-year medical students from the academic to the clinical years.

Ira J. Blader, PhD

Ira J. Blader, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, is using new grant funding to build on prior research aiming to identify how the infection-causing parasite Toxoplasma gondii triggers seizures and other neurological complications in AIDS and cancer patients as well as fetuses.


Long white coats were donned by 185 new doctors in a ceremony marking the critical milestone of being officially inducted as medical residents in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


Fourteen faculty members, including two new division chiefs, with varied research and clinical expertise have joined the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences during the past several months.

Laura Feltri, MD

UB researchers led by M. Laura Feltri, MD, professor of biochemistry and neurology, have discovered that mechanical forces play a critical role in the formation of myelin.


A record number of residents, fellows, junior faculty and medical students presented their research results in areas including new treatments for endocarditis, overcoming cardiovascular health disparities and boosting mitochondrial health during the Department of Medicine’s fourth annual Research Day.

Christine Robertson and Jessica LaPiano

First-year medical students Jessica LaPiano and Christine Robertson have been awarded $30,000 annual tuition scholarships for their education in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


Sunshine, butterflies and heartfelt tributes ruled the day as 600 family members of individuals who donated their bodies to medical science gathered for the UB Anatomical Gift Program Memorial Service.


Three residents and a generalist scholar received honors for outstanding poster presentations at the 19th Annual Graduate Medical Education Scholarly Exchange Day.

More than 100 high school students from 22 area schools presented projects on genomics and bioinformatics at a May 20 capstone event.
Peter L. Elkin, MD

Department of Biomedical Informatics researchers have developed a smartphone app to help overcome common obstacles to gaining clinical trial participants.


Three students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were honored for outstanding achievements at the University at Buffalo’s 2016 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence.

 John J. Leddy and patient

John J. Leddy, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics, has received the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine’s (AMSSM) Best Overall Research Award for determining predictors of recovery from concussion in adolescents.


Vasvi Singh, MD, a first-year trainee in the cardiovascular disease fellowship, won the “Best Fellow in Training” poster award for her presentation at this year’s Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology.


Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, has received a $7 million grant to develop an effective way to treat drug users with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).


A pioneering researcher and others who have made significant contributions to their fields and to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were honored with 2016 Faculty-Staff Recognition Awards.

Kevin J. Gibbons, MD

Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, associate professor and vice chair in the Department of Neurosurgery, has been named senior associate dean for clinical affairs and executive director of UBMD Physicians Group.

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, ’84

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD ’84, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, has received the 2016 Stockton Kimball Award for outstanding scientific achievement and service.

 Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD

Department of Biomedical Engineering researchers have developed a new drug-making technique that could lead to safer forms of injectable medicine.

Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD

Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD — with first author Kirstie A. Cummings, a candidate in the biochemistry doctoral program — has published a paper in Scientific Reports showing that an elusive brain receptor may play an important role in the death of neurons from neurological diseases.


Twenty-five doctoral, 22 master’s and 178 baccalaureate candidates were eligible to receive degrees in biomedical science fields during the May commencement ceremony.


Three Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members have been named State University of New York Distinguished Professors.

Jason Edwards, MD ’16

Jason Edwards, MD ’16, feels fortunate he did not have to leave Buffalo to attend medical school, and once his training is complete, he intends to practice medicine in Western New York.

Sarah Budik and David Holmes, MD

UB medical trainees are gaining valuable clinical and cultural experiences during trips to Haiti and Honduras while their patients are receiving much-needed medical care.


Department of Medicine researchers found a smartphone app can track palpitations in heart patients as effectively as 14-day event monitors that are the current standard of care.

Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD

Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD, professor of biochemistry, has been awarded a four-year, $1.37 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study modulation mechanisms in fast neurotransmitter brain receptors.

Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD

A study led by Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, and published online in Diabetes Care shows overweight and obese Type 1 diabetics saw the most significant improvements — including a reduction in blood sugar — in a randomized clinical trial of liraglutide.


The inaugural Jacobs Arts Festival showcased works by Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences students and faculty alike in celebration of where art and medicine meet.


The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences graduated 143 medical students during its 170th commencement on April 29.

Top members of the Class of 2016 received special recognition during the medical school’s Honors Convocation, held April 29.

Researchers in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Neurology shared their findings through 30 presentations at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting.


Kevin J. Gibbons, MD, associate professor and vice chair in the Department of Neurosurgery, has been named senior associate dean for clinical affairs and executive director of UBMD Physicians Group.

Jun-Xu Li, MD, PhD

Jun-Xu Li, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, has received the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award from the College of Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) for his research on pharmacotherapy for stimulant abuse.


Forty-four exemplary medical students, residents, fellows and faculty members have been inducted into the University at Buffalo’s Richard Sarkin Medical Emeritus Faculty Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS).


Graduate-level researchers and faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology presented in-depth studies and lectures at the 2016 Experimental Biology meeting and related forums.

Mark D. Parker, PhD, and Evan Myers

Evan Myers, a candidate in the physiology doctoral program, has been recognized by the American Physiology Society for his research in the area of blindness caused by dysregulated pH homeostasis in the cornea.

Ashkan Mowla, MD

Fourteen medical school teachers, three residents and a fellow received 2016 Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards or honorable mentions for excellence in teaching.

John J. Leddy, MD

Researchers in the departments of Orthopaedics and Psychiatry have been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant to study how the brain changes following a concussion and how that information may be used to predict recovery time.

Lauren Jepson, Kim Griswold and Sarah Riley

Through a unique intersection of medicine, the justice system and the human rights field, medical students are advancing their training by assisting survivors of torture and political violence seeking asylum in the United States.

Medical students in a Lackawanna mosque

Eleven first-year medical students participated in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ inaugural community immersion program through a weeklong series of activities during spring break.

Richard D. Blondell, MD

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is among medical schools nationwide at the forefront of fighting the opioid epidemic.

Beatrice L. Wood, PhD; Bruce D. Miller, MD; and Heather K. Lehman, MD.

Researchers in the departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics have received a $3.1 million National Institutes of Health grant to study how treating a depressed caregiver may improve a child’s asthma.

Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD

Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, and Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, are recipients of the 2015-16 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award.


Daniel R. Schlegel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, has been named to the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) Student Editorial Board.

Winnie Tsao, MD

Family medicine resident Winnie Tsao, MD, has developed a mobile app that helps primary care practitioners and trainees determine the most appropriate imaging test for a range of medical conditions.

Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD

Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD, professor and chair of surgery, has been honored with the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Distinguished Service Award for 2016.

Jun-Xu Li, MD, PhD and pharmacology graduate students and trainees.

Graduate student and trainee researchers and their mentors in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology received positive feedback on in-depth studies they presented at the 2016 Behavior, Biology and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction meeting.