Ashley Jeanlus and Timothy Murphy at poster presentation.

Ashley Jeanlus discusses her project, “Role of Uric Acid in Neutrophilic Extracellular Traps as Host Defenses,” with Timothy Murphy, MD.

Student Scientists Showcase 2014 Buffalo Summer Research Projects

Published August 21, 2014 This content is archived.

Story by Suzanne Kashuba

Nearly 100 student-scientists from across the country showcased their original biomedical research during the 2014 Buffalo Summer Research Day.


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 from the University at Buffalo and partner institutions to explore cancer, infectious disease, neuroscience, pharmacology, protein expression and other topics.

The event took place Aug. 1 at the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute in downtown Buffalo.

Posters, Talks Highlight Student Projects

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

Keynote speaker and UB alumnus Anthony A. Campagnari, MS ’81, PhD ’84, presented “Did I Choose Science or Did Science Choose Me?”

An internationally recognized expert in bacterial pathogenesis, Campagnari is senior associate dean for research and graduate education and professor of microbiology and immunology as well as medicine.

Projects Reflect Diverse Interests

The 2014 summer programs drew participants from as near as Western New York and as far as Puerto Rico.

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

  • “Validation of ETS2 Antibodies for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Studies”
    Student: Lauren Johengen
    Mentor: Satrajit Sinha, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry
  • “Cellular Gene Expression in Toxoplasma gondii-Infected Mice”
    Student: Joseph Perez 
    Mentor: Ira J. Blader, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology
  • “Phagocytic Activity in HIV-Infected THP-1 Macrophage-Like Cells”
    Student: Myrielis Rivera
    Mentor: Amy Jacobs, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology
  • “Conditional RNA Interference in the Brain Using AAV”
    Student: Chhime Sherpa
    Mentor: Caroline E. Bass, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology
  • “Mechanisms of Opiate-Induced Plasticity”
    Student: Samantha Stein
    Mentor: David Dietz, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Mentoring Undergraduate Research Initiative

  • “Knockdown of Pre-Synaptic D2 Receptors From Mesolimbic Terminals: An mRNA Analysis”
    Student: Daniel Yun Beom Lee
    Mentor: Bass
  • “Role of SOX10 in the Induction of Oligodendrocyte Lineage Cells From Human Neural Precursor Cells”
    Student: Joseph Noble
    Mentor: Fraser J. Sim, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology

School of Medicine Summer Research Program – MD Candidates

  • “Analysis of Electrical Stimulation as a Novel Antimicrobial Approach for the Treatment of Orthopedic Infections”
    Student: Lindsay Kosinski
    Mentor: Campagnari

Brain Network of Excellence Summer Scholars Program

  • “Bioinformatic Analysis of FAIRE-seq Data of SOX10 Expression in NPCs”
    Student: Erich Horeth
    Mentor: Sim
  • “The Effects of Oxygenation on Retinal Markers of Oxidative and ER Stress”
    Student: Aatman Makadia
    Mentor: Sarah X. Zhang, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology
  • “The Use of Conditional RNAi to Knockdown HCRT1 Receptor Specifically on Dopaminergic Neurons in the Ventral Tegmental Area”
    Student: Evan Yu
    Mentor: Bass
  • “Evaluation of a Potential Virulence Factor in Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae”
    Student: Caressa Chen
    Mentor: Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases
  • “Role of PGE2 in Impairment of Dendritic Cell Differentiation”
    Students: Kevin Frodey and David Hoekstra
    Mentor: Kelvin P. Lee, MD, research professor of medicine and chair of immunology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • “Streptococcus pneumoniae Biofilm Responses to Low pH Exposure – Implications for Bacterial Pneumonia Secondary to Acid Aspiration”
    Student: Jay Amin
    Mentors: Paul R. Knight III, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of anesthesiology and microbiology and immunology and Bruce A. Davidson, PhD, research associate professor of anesthesiology
  • “Role of Uric Acid in Neutrophilic Extracellular Traps as Host Defenses”
    Student: Ashley Jeanlus
    Mentor: John K. Crane MD, PhD, professor of medicine
  • “Effect of HIV Infection on Macrophage Polarization in Human Macrophage-Like THP-1 Cells”
    Students: Sarina Meikle and Priyanka Saminathan
    Mentors: Jacobs and Hyun Ah Yi, PhD, postdoctoral associate
  • “Mechanisms of Neutrophil Activation in the Tumor Microenvironment of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer”
    Students: Samuel Racette, Anm Nazmul Khan, Andrew Siaw-Asamoah, Kassondra Grzankowski
    Mentor: Brahm H. Segal, MD, professor of medicine
  • “Expression and Purification of Arenavirus Z-Proteins”
    Student: Ryan O’Connor
    Mentor: L. Wayne Schultz, PhD, research assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Expression of the Membrane Protein Cyclooxygenase-2 With Recombinant Baculovirus”
    Student: Lauren Yacobucci
    Mentor: Michael G. Malkowski, PhD, assistant professor of structural biology
  • “An Analysis of Ribosomal Protein S3”
    Student: Michael Disare
    Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology

The following projects were funded through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics):

  • “Celecoxib and Cardiac Abnormalities: A Biostatistical Analysis of Adverse Side Effects”
    Student: Kathleen Rusnak
    Mentor: Satpal Singh, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology
  • “The Role of Postsynaptic Accumbal D2 Dopamine Receptor in Cocaine Self-Administration in Rats”
    Student: Shannon Tierney
    Mentor: Bass
  • “The Role of Voltage-Operated Calcium Channels in Astrocyte Reactivity”
    Student: Jessie Smith
    Mentor: Pablo M. Paez, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology
  • “Molecular Modeling Predicts Affinity of Environmental Toxins for Human and Mouse MT1 and MT2 Melatonin Receptors”
    Student: Alexandra Van Hall
    Mentor: Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of pharmacology and toxicology

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

  • “The Effects of Simulated Inflammation on the Mechanical Properties of Magnesium Alloy AZ91E”
    Student: Stephanie Der
    Mentor: Mark Ehrensberger, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering
  • “Functionalizing HUVECs with Microparticles to Control Cell Phenotype”
    Student: Dominique Saddler
    Mentor: Debanjan Sarkar, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering
  • “Assessment of Chlorpyrifos Exposure in Adolescent Egyptian Agricultural Workers and Factors That Contribute to Variability in Exposure Between Workers”
    Student: Mobolanle Adebesin
    Mentor: James R. Olson, PhD, professor of pharmacology and toxicology

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

  • “Food Intake and Adaptation to the Food Environment by Refugees Living in the United States”
    Student: Kisa Harris
    Mentors: Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, clinical professor of pediatrics and professor of epidemiology and environmental health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, and Hong Xue, PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology and environmental health
  • “Defining the Pathobiology of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Through Non-Coding RNA in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells”
    Student: Erica Poe
    Mentor: James N. Jarvis, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics and chief of allergy/immunology and rheumatology
  • “The Expression of Growth Associated Protein 43 and Nerve Growth Factor Following Cardiosphere-Derived Cell Treatment After Subendocardial Infarction”
    Student: Henry Uran, Jr.
    Mentor: Stanley F. Fernandez, MD, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine
  • “Localization of AlphaV Integrin in Schwann Cells During Axonal Sorting”
    Student: Clementine Namba
    Mentor: M. Laura Feltri, MD, professor of biochemistry and neurology
  • “CD11b is Protective in Complement-Mediated Immune Complex Glomerulonephritis”
    Student: Maria Ritchie
    Mentor: Jessy J. Alexander, PhD, research associate professor of medicine

The following projects were funded by the Biology With X-ray Free Electron Lasers Summer Undergraduate Research Experience:

  • “MbTH-Like Protein Dependence of NikP1 for Amino Acyl-Adenylate Formation”
    Student: Alyssa Aldridge
    Mentor: Andrew M. Gulick, PhD, assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Cytochrome B5 and Cytochrome B5 Reductase in Electron Transport”
    Student: Emily Kwan
    Mentor: Malkowski
  • “Exploring Natural Product Formation With Structural Biology”
    Student: Kyle Sherbert
    Mentor: Gulick
  • “Crystallization of Deactivated Viruses”
    Student: Nicole Coloney
    Mentor: Edward H. Snell, PhD, assistant professor of structural biology
  • “Tracing the Evolutionary History for the Ribosomal Subunit S7”
    Student: Shivani Mohan
    Mentor: Duax
  • “Study of Lamprey Transthyretin as a Model for Binding Site Function of Transthyretin-Like Proteins”
    Student: Brandon Wyman
    Mentor: Vivian Cody, PhD, professor of structural biology

Other UB Schools, Affiliated Institutes Participated

The UB biomedical research day also included students from the UB School of Dental Medicine’s Student Research Program and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’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.

Terry D. Connell, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, coordinates the Research Day event and directs the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).