Classnotes - 1990s

Beth Netter.

Beth Netter, MD ’90

My work in anesthesiology, including high-risk obstetric anesthesiology, inspired me to study holistic mind/body medicine to see what could be done to help people optimize their health and decrease pain. I also wanted to find out what could help physicians deal with the stress and burnout they were experiencing—often unspoken, but the obvious side effects of training, medical practice and life.

I practiced mind/body holistic medicine for a number of years and I am now on the teaching faculty and serve as chair of the Department of Medical Education at the American Meditation Institute (AMI) in Averill Park, New York. I studied a number of holistic modalities, and what I learned and trained in at AMI was clearly the best “advanced life support” I had come across. It has benefited me, my patients and the people I have taught.

I help to coordinate and teach at AMI’s annual CME-accredited Physicians Conference, which is focused on providing physicians and people in health care with a comprehensive understanding of yoga science as holistic mind/body medicine. Practical, user-friendly tools are taught for relieving burnout, tools that can be used throughout the day and even at 3 a.m. if you wake up with a rolodex of worries. It is helping physicians rediscover a love for medicine, their lives and for themselves. Another UB Medical School alum, Anthony Santilli, MD ’99, is also on the teaching faculty at the conference.

Year after year of study, training, patient care, dealing with technology and simply living life can be depleting enough. Then add the burden of guilt over even one poor outcome or the fear of making a mistake and not being perfect. It certainly and understandably can lead to troubles with sleep, quality of life, mental and emotional distress and physical disease.

Every person I know who went into medicine was very sensitive and chose this field because she or he truly cared and wanted to help people feel better. It is my goal to offer my colleagues ways of relieving those burdens that are preventing them from being the physicians and the happy, healthy, loving beings they've always wanted to be.

People can find out more about this conference for themselves and their partners at:, or by calling 518-674-8714.

Ngozi Osuagwu, MD ’90, clinical director of OhioHealth-Doctors Hospital Women’s Health Center and clinical professor at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, writes: “In the last couple of months, two of my books were released. Clinical Examination Handbook in an Obstetrics and Gynecology Ambulatory Setting, is a book for intern physicians and medical students doing their ob/gyn rotations. Letters to Our Sisters, co-written with Dr. Nathan Thagana, an ob/gyn in Kenya, was written to educate women about different medical issues that affect them. The third book, Cartas a Mis Hermanas is a translation of the award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters, originally released in 2006.

Life is interesting with two of my three children in college, and the youngest a very active junior in high school.

Favorite memories: The fun times with my study group after grueling examinations and watching the boxing matches of Mike Tyson.

Class of 1991.

The Class of 1991 celebrated a mini-reunion in September 2014 in Orlando, FL, on Terry Peppy’s birthday. Pictured are Drs. Kinga Tibold Huzella, Terry Peppy, Ingrid (Cruse) Helmer, Michelle (Skretny) Susco, Colleen (Mason) Zittel, Elissa (Jaffe) Bookner, Jenny Henkind Ferraro and Greg Zittel

portrait of Paulette Smart, MD.

Paulette Smart-Mackey, MD '92 writes, "Knowledge is power. It's an attitude of gratitude that brings altitude. Everything has an expiration date so live in the moment. Celebrate your successes and failures; the later builds perseverance."

Statement: "I am grateful for my medical degree from UB. I use it to serve patients in my area of specialty (PMR & EMGs) and as a platform to give back to the community.""

"I give back by using my passion for teaching to engage scientifically curious kids in learning more about the human body."

"The confidence that comes from their posture and the brightness of their eyes have given me the zeal to publish a science book for kids, 'Meet Skulle'. It's a resource through many milestones."

Favorite Memories: "The anatomy lab after hours...with my colleagues...and stepping aside to have a snack."

Affiliation: The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) 

Dr. John A. Bogdan, Jr.

John Bogdan, PhD '93 is a Principal, Biology and Senior Technical Consultant for Logistics Management Institute (LMI) reporting through the Chief Technology Office (CTO) at Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) at Fort Detrick, MD.  He is a vaccine and therapeutic development SME for botulinum toxin, plague and filovirus medical counter measures (vaccines and therapeutics) and perform scientific outreach through interactions with other federal agencies (FDA, NIAID, BARDA) and product developers to advance vaccines and therapeutics programs including COVID-19 and drug repurposing efforts for the military through proof-of-concept studies, advanced development in phase 2/3 testing and licensure.

As a Principal, Biology at LMI he is widely recognized leader and SME in vaccines and therapeutics for infectious disease and provides significant thought leadership to LMI Health Science, proactively supports projects/initiatives from LRI and/or Fellows, assists in Capture Management, acts as a Solution Architect for pro-posals/opportunities, provides robust value add for a diverse portfolio of clients, engages with market leads and BD to share ideas and innovations, investigates emerging market trends and opportunities, promotes entirety of LMI services, helps Senior Leadership Directors grow their portfolios and identifies trends in marketplace and develops LMI points of view in response

Prior to join LMI, John led a consulting firm that assisted companies developing therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics and offering preclinical and clinical services in developing grant applications and contract proposals submitted to government funding opportunities and provided advice and strategies to optimize successful submissions.

He has significant experience as a Scientific Review Officer and Program Officer at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where he helped build review and project teams to review applications and proposals for complex scientific initiatives and solicit, negotiate, award, and manage novel therapeutic development programs from lead candidate selection through preclinical and clinical testing. He has significant experience managing comprehensive programs for anti-toxins from therapeutic candidate selection, manufacturing and formulation development, good manufacturing practices, investigational new drug (IND)-enabling preclinical (pharmacokinetics, toxicology, immunogenicity and efficacy) and Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. These resulted in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-licensed mono-clonal antibody product (Anthim to treat anthrax and several that received additional and advanced product development funding, including monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktails to treat exposure to botulinum neurotoxin serotypes A, B, C/D, and E. One formulation consisting of mAbs to botulinum neurotoxins A and B (Bot MAB A/B) being developed by DTRA/JSTO and JPEO CBRN Medical to prevent and treat expo-sure to aerosolized botulinum neurotoxin.

At NIAID/NIH, Valtech and JPEO, he has reviewed programs for developing plague and botulinum neurotoxin vaccines,  combination monoclonal antibodies, directed and agnostic therapeutics to prevent/ treat ebola and viruses of pandemic potential has presented internally on using monoclonal antibodies to treat infectious diseases and championed companies to rapidly implement therapeutics that are agnostic to the pathogens and platform therapeutics/vaccines to prevent/control pandemics like COVID. His role with NIAID and JPEO and relationship with BARDA has led him to either organize and/or attend meeting with over 1000 product development companies and review of meeting requests from 1000s of companies.

His experience in industry and undergraduate/graduate school include: identification and POC studies for vaccine candidates, development of immunoassays for vaccines (Prevnar-7), implementation of genetic screens for identification of novel therapeutics targets for cardiovascular disease and cancer (cell-cycle regulators), and basic research and product development (manufacturing, assay development) to support pediatric vaccines against pneumococcus, meningococcus, and pertussis.


The 2003 National Institute of Health (NIH) Director’s Award in recognition of exceptional initiative or leadership in carrying out activities to improve NIH program operations for the national biodefense infrastructure The 2005 Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award in recognition of an out-standing role model for the students of biology and the Rensselaer campus as a whole The 2011 NIAID Merit Award in recognition of outstanding contributions and efforts in support of the NIAID mission The NIAID Special Service Awards: in Recognition and Appreciation of Special Achievement in Support of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Dis-eases –Multiple Years 2003-2016 The 2021 Edison Award for Innovative Services to repurpose licensed therapeutics to treat COVID-19 as part of JPEO CBRND Medicals Rapid Acquisition and Investigation of Drugs for Repurposing (RAIDR) team.

The 2021 Luminary Award for “Meeting the Moment” for work on the JPEO CBRND Medicals COVID19 response for programs to develop and assess therapeutics, vaccines and therapeutics.

The 2021 JPEO Award for Team Excellence – JPEO CBRND The 2021 DoD/Army Packard Award for Acquisitions Excellence – JPEO CBRND The 2021 1st Annual Chemical Biological Defense Program (CBDP) Award for organizational excellence - JPEO CBRND

 I performed research for Michael Apicella along with Timothy Murphy, Stanley Spinola and Anthony Campagnari and other graduate and medical students in a one story cement block building we affectionately called the "Pink Palace" behind Erie County Medical Center. In the winter to keep warm, we kept the door to the autoclave open and the Bunsen burners on to keep warm as the air came through the cracks in the walls. We had a great group there and I have a lot fond memories of holiday parties and happy hours at local taverns. We shared tickets to the Sabres game and tailgated at Bills games. More importantly we learned to become scientists and this passion in me continues today.

Affiliation: Microbiology, Schussmeister's Ski club, UB softball team, Microbiology Department Softball Team, Microbiology journal Club

Besides my career highlights above, I have published/presented and patented my work, worked at 3 fortune 500 companies (Wyeth, DuPont-Merck, Baxter) as a research scientists on 3 licensed vaccines and for NIAID and DOD on several more licensed/soon to be licensed products and given over 20 talks to outside organizations on careers in science ranging from high school students to MD/PHD students. Universities I have presented at include: Notre Dame, Penn State, Rensselaer, University of Louisville, Southern Polytechnic, McDaniel College and University of Maryland. If invited I would love to present to UB students on my work and potential career paths in Science. 

Brian Krabak, MD '93

Dr. Brian Krabak will be a team physician for the US Swim Team at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Dr. Krabak's extensive experience and unwavering dedication will make him an invaluable addition to the medical support staff. With a focus on athlete well-being and performance optimization, Dr. Krabak embodies the ethos of excellence that defines team USA.

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Brian Krabak, MD, MBA, Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington, was a team physician for USA Swimming at the 2023 World Aquatics World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Dr Krabak was part of a multidisciplinary medical team consisting of physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists and chiropractors who provided sports medicine coverage for athletes and coaches during the pre-competition camp and throughout competition. He has served as a USA Swimming team physician through the High Performance Network since 2009.

The World Aquatics Championships are the World Championships for six aquatics sports: swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, artistic swimming, and water polo. Nearly 2,400 athletes from 195 nations gathered in Fukuoka, Japan, to compete in 75 events across the six disciplines.

Dr. Pilc with wife and friend.

James Pilc, MD ’93, founded and ran a private obstetrics and gynecology practice for 10 years in Williamsville, NY. He recently published his first book, titled Unstuck: The Enlightenment of Medicine.

In the book, Pilc shares his transformational journey as he describes firsthand his experiences with meditative self-healing. “My hope is to help those in need of physical, emotional, energetic or spiritual healing and to further investigate the connection between western medicine, eastern medicine and meditative self-healing,” he says. Unstuck: The Enlightenment of Medicine is available on

Wendy Weinstein, MD and Scott Banning.

Wendy Weinstein, MD '95 is affiliated with Bry Lin Hospital and owner of her own private practice. She recently married Scott Banning on November 27, 2020.


Gary Nielan and Patricia Krebs.

Gary Nielan, MD '95 writes, "I’ve been married 20 years to my classmate Dr. Patricia Krebs. Our two wonderful boys have left the nest and are doing well. I’m still playing hockey and trying to get outdoors everyday when work isn’t calling. I’m working as general pediatrician in Western Mass and, despite all of the challenges and changes in medicine, I still love my job."

Favorite memories: So many....meeting and marrying my wife Patty; Free Radicals hockey and all of the humorous insanity that went with our overzealous team; $1 Indian Breakfasts; The Towne; the friendship, kindness and support of my classmates; the endless humor; anatomy lab; The Pulse; Chevy’s, Seb’s clown drawing; Gorilla Suits; "for urine formation," which we all thought was "for your information" by Dr. Hong (I think); Sabres hockey events like Tux and Pucks New Year's Eve; skating at DN's; sailing with KZ; the parties; study lounge; the weddings of so many classmates...just too many to list.

I am so lucky to have experienced all of this...thanks to all who shared it with me. If I could do it all over I would...great times. I am looking forward to our 20 year reunion.

Joe Chow, MD ’97, EMBS '14, was recently elected president of the board of directors of the Urgent Care Association (UCA) for 2021-2022. Currently, he is the president elect. The UCA is the national trade association for urgent cares throughout the country, with over 3,000 centers represented.

“I was recently promoted to president of TeamHealth Urgent Care. TeamHealth is a publicly-traded company headquartered in Knoxville, TN.”

Favorite memories: camaraderie with fellow classmates. I still have maintained a strong friendship with many of them.

Sandra Block, MD '97.

Sandra Block, MD ’97, a neurologist who practices in Buffalo, has published a novel that explores the mysteries of memory and mental illness. Titled “Little Black Lies,” it is the story of a psychiatrist with ADHD who is determined to discover the truth about her past no matter the consequences. Photo by Brian Block.