Kevin Maharaj, PhD ‘12

Kevin Maharaj and his mentor Dan Gewirth.

The PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences helped Kevin Maharaj, right, find his niche in structural biology.

In 2006, Kevin Maharaj attended a presentation by the Department of Structural Biology. Intrigued, he signed up for a lab rotation.

The research was so fascinating that he never left.

“I didn’t know about structural biology before I came here,” Maharaj says, “but during the lab rotations it became my clear-cut first choice.”

In his PhD research Maharaj used cutting-edge techniques to investigate the role that molecular chaperones play in tumor progression—research that could lay the foundation for new cancer therapies.

To introduce students to the spectrum of biomedical science at UB, every department hosts informational luncheons like the one Maharaj attended—one of many ways the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences helps students make educated decisions about their research.

“The advantage for our PhD students is that they’re exposed to fields they might not have considered, possibly because these disciplines weren’t represented in their undergraduate curriculum,” says Maharaj’s mentor, Dan Gewirth, PhD, senior research scientist and associate professor of structural biology.

Maharaj presented posters at international research conferences and received a highly competitive graduate research fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.

“I had learned a little about molecular chaperones from my undergraduate classes,” Maharaj says, “but I didn’t understand how they worked until I joined this lab.”