kaila epps with her poster.

Kaila Epps displays her poster on juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the UB Biomedical Research Day.

Student Scientists Showcase Buffalo Summer Research Projects

Published August 30, 2013 This content is archived.

Story by Suzanne Kashuba

More than 100 student scientists from across the country showcased their original research during this summer’s University at Buffalo Biomedical Research Day.

“These students are getting a real taste for the state-of-the-art research being performed in Buffalo. ”
Terry D. Connell, PhD
Biomedical Research Day coordinator

The interdisciplinary research forum marked the culmination of diverse summer research projects that the undergraduate and graduate students conducted in Buffalo.

They worked with mentors to explore cancer, infectious disease, neuroscience, pharmacology, protein structure and other topics.

The event took place Aug. 2 at the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute in downtown Buffalo.

Posters, Talks Highlight Student Projects

During the forum, students from six summer research programs participated in a poster expo. One student from each program was selected to deliver an oral presentation.

Keynote speaker Charles Zukoski, PhD, UB provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, shared his experiences as a leading chemical engineering researcher.

Meaningful Experiences Spotlight Local Research

The summer programs—which this year drew participants from as near as Western New York and as far away as Puerto Rico and Hawaii—offer students meaningful research experiences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, explains Terry D. Connell, PhD,  professor of microbiology and immunology and coordinator of Research Day.

“These students are getting a real taste for the state-of-the-art research being performed in Buffalo,” says Connell, who also directs the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).

“Their level of excitement is one demonstration of how research is growing rapidly here on a national and international scale.”

Projects Reflect Diverse Interests

The research projects for the four summer programs involving the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were as follows:

  • “Role of ABC Transporters in the Pathogenesis of Moraxella catarrhalis Infections”
    Student: Madison Galasso
    Mentor: Timothy Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research
  • “Distinguishing Infecting (New) from Colonizing (Pre-existing) Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis Strains at Exacerbation of COPD by Molecular Assays”
    Student: Janice Kim
    Mentor: Sanjay Sethi, MD, professor of medicine and chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine
  • “The Role of Pim 2 in CD28 Cascade to Enhance Multiple Myeloma Survival”
    Student: Nancy (Kuanglien) Lin
    Mentor: Kelvin Lee, MD, research professor of medicine
  • “Co-Pathogenesis of HIV and Cryptococcus neoformans”
    Student: Everett Sinibaldi
    Mentor: Amy Jacobs, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology
  • “Contribution of CXCR3 Chemokine Receptor to T Cell-Mediated Immunity in Melanoma”
    Student: Nicole Gaulin
    Mentor: Sharon S. Evans, PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • “The Effect of Photodynamic Therapy on NF-kB Regulatory miRNA Expression”
    Student: Theresa Neiderer
    Mentor: Sandra Gollnick, PhD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • “Analysis and Comparison of the Ribosomal Protein S18p Family (RPS18p)”
    Student: Angela Lee
    Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology
  • “The Purification and Crystallization of Chorismate Synthase”
    Student: Nathan Roach
    Mentors: Jessica Kocsis and Timothy C. Umland, PhD, research assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Looking for the Last Universal Common Ancestor: a Bioinformatic Analysis of Ribosomal Protein S21”
    Student: Jocelyn Redlinski
    Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology
  • “Evolution of Ribosomal Protein S10 by Conserved Residues”
    Student: John D. Huck
    Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology
  • “Study of Evolutionary Relationships through Analysis of Ribosomal Protein S12/23 in All Organisms”
    Student: Jiaqi Liu
    Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology
  • “Analysis of the Linker Spanning the Adenylation and Carrier Protein Domains of the NRPS Protein EntF”
    Student: Thomas Makin
    Mentors: Brad Miller, Jesse Sundlov and Andrew Gulick, PhD, assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Preparation of Shikimate Kinase for X-ray Structure Determination”
    Student: Sean Mendez
    Mentors: Kristin Sutton, Jennifer Griswold and L. Wayne Schultz, PhD, research assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Study of Lamprey TTR as a Model for Binding Site Function of Transthyretin-Like Proteins”
     Student: Alexander W. Breeser
    Mentors: Jim Pace and Vivian Cody, PhD, professor of structural biology

The following projects were funded by the Zannoni Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow Award (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics):

The following projects were funded by the Institute for the Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity:

The following projects involved students in CLIMB-PRO, a division of CLIMB-UP for undergraduates interested in pursuing a medical degree or MD/PhD:

  • “Ascitocin: A Newly Discovered Antimicrobial Found in Human Ascites and Serum”
    Student: Brandon Anhalt
    Mentor: Thomas Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious disease
  • “Working Memory Deficiencies in Neuropsychiatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”
    Student: Rushell Dixon
    Mentor: David Shucard, PhD, professor of neurology and director of cognitive and behavioral neurosciences
  • “Immune Dysregulation in Pemphigus Vulgaris: What is a Flare?”
    Student: Shukri Dualeh
    Mentors: Animesh Sinha, MD, PhD, Rita M. and Ralph T. Behling Professor and chair of dermatology, and Kristina Seiffert, MD, research assistant professor of dermatology
  • “Sympathetic Remodeling Following Coronary Revascularization in a Porcine Model of Hibernating Myocardium”
    Student: Jesus Enriquez
    Mentor: Stanley Fernandez, MD, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine
  • “Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Insights from Functional Genomics”
    Student: Kaila Epps
    Mentor: James Jarvis, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics and chief of allergy, clinical immunology and rheumatology
  • “Characterization of Prostate Specific Antigen in the Serum of Prostate Cancer Patients”
    Student: Tekeydra Lee
    Mentor: Rajendram Rajnarayanan, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology
  • “The Effect of Sphingosine-1-Phosphate on the Translocation of Hormone-Sensitive Lipase and Perilipin in 3T3-L1 Mouse Adipocytes”
    Student: Kathleen Sellick
    Mentor: Lucy Mastrandrea, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics

Other UB Schools, Affiliated Institutes Participated

UB Biomedical Research Day also included students from UB School of Dental Medicine’s Student Research Program and Roswell Park’s Summer Research Experience Program in Cancer Science.

Faculty members and professionals from other UB schools and affiliated institutes also mentored students through the various programs.