Aarti Agarwal.

Aarti Agarwal’s research on oncological and functional outcomes of robot-assisted radical prostatectomies tied for first place at the Medical Student Research Forum.

Medical Students Share Original Research Study Results at Forum

Published February 17, 2017 This content is archived.

story by dirk hoffman

At the 2017 Medical Student Research Forum, aspiring physician-scientists showcased 46 original research projects they conducted at the University at Buffalo, its partner health care agencies and institutions nationwide.


Overall, 47 medical students shared their projects with peers and faculty members through diverse poster presentations.

Two Class of 2019 students from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences shared the top prize for their presentations.

Aiming to Encourage Physician-Scientist Careers

The annual forum is one way the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences can directly address the critical shortage of physician-scientists at many health care agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, says Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education.

“This proactive program exposes these dedicated medical students to many different areas of basic and translational research early in their training, thus potentially influencing their decision to pursue a career in medical science,” he says.

Top Posters Study Oncology of Prostate, Throat Cancers

A faculty panel selected four outstanding projects for special recognition, including two for first place.

David A. Milling, MD, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs, handed out certificates to all participants and Alan J. Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum, presented certificates to the award-winning students (listed below) during the Jan. 26 event in the atrium of the Biomedical Education Building.

First Place (tie)

Aarti Agarwal, Class of 2019

“Evaluation of Oncological and Functional Outcomes After Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy: Validation of the Proposed Survival, Continence, and Potency (SCP) System”

Agarwal’s study sought to quantify robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) outcomes to validate survival, continence and potency (SCP) in a large cohort of Americans followed for more than five years after undergoing the procedure.

The research concluded that SCP classification offers a tool for objective assessment of oncologic and functional outcome after RARP.

Mentors/collaborators: Nikki Dodge, Gaybrielle James, James L. Mohler, MD; Alexandr Pinkhasov, Ruben Pinkhasov, MD; and Elena A. Pop, MD.

Austin Iovoli.

Austin Iovoli’s research involved a review of all the tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma patients treated at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center during the past 10 years.

Austin Iovoli, Class of 2019

“Unilateral vs. Bilateral Radiation for Tonsillar Squamous Cell Carcinoma”

The purpose of Iovali’s study was to evaluate unilateral radiation treatment outcomes for risk of contralateral failure and compare these results with patients previously treated bilaterally.

This was achieved through a retrospective review of all tonsillar SCC patients treated at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center between 2007 and 2016.

The study’s results support the use of unilateral radiation in tonsillar SCC patients with tumors lateralized at the midline, including advanced cases with soft palate or base of tongue involvement.

Mentors/collaborators: Alexis Platek and Anurag K. Singh, MD, professor of radiation oncology.

Second Place

Kristine Lacuna.

An international clinical trial involving prostatectomy patients formed the foundation of Kristine Lacuna’s research project.

Kristine Lacuna, Class of 2018

“Androgen Deprivation Therapy With or Without Docetaxel for Men With Non-Metastatic, Castration Sensitive Prostate Cancer Who Biochemically Relapse After Prostatectomy (TAX3503): A Randomized, Open-Label, Phase 3 Trial”

The optimal treatment of patients with non-metastatic, castration sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC) who biochemically relapse following a radical prostatectomy (RP) is unknown.

Lacuna’s study examined the effects of adding docetaxel to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in non-metastatic CSPC patients.

The study concluded the clinical benefit of adding docetaxel to ADT in non-metastatic CSPC patients with biochemical recurrence following an RP appears to be marginal. However, there is a statistical trend toward improved progression-free survival.

Mentors/collaborators: Ilyse Acosta, Andrew J. Armstrong, MD; Michael Anthony Carducci, MD; Erica Simone Dayan, Julie Filipenko, Martin Edwin Gleave, MD; Glenn Heller, PhD; Patrick Hilden, Michael J. Morris, MD; Fred Saad, MD; and Howard I. Scher, MD.

Third Place

Kailyn Violanti.

Kailyn Violanti’s research compared the efficacy of faith-based intervention to secular intervention in opiate addiction recovery programs.

Kailyn Violanti, Class of 2019

“Spirituality in Opiate Addiction Medicine, Comparison of Faith-Based and Secular Committed to Recovery Programs”

The efficacy of faith-based intervention was compared to secular intervention among 73 patients receiving outpatient opioid addiction treatment at UBMD Addiction Medicine Clinic in the Committed to Recovery (C2R) Program.

In the C2R program, patients chose to participate in the faith-based or secular program and were required to meet program parameters, which included entering into a contract agreement, journaling, reading and completing workbooks.

Patients were administered a quality improvement questionnaire that queried efficacy of treatment strategies and other areas of functioning. Quantitative responses were analyzed using SPSS Statistics software.

Responses did not reveal a significant difference in performance in the queried areas of functioning between the two groups.

Mentor: David M. Holmes, MD, clinical associate professor of family medicine.

Exploring Skin Diseases, Street Medicine and More

A complete list of participants, their projects and their mentors/collaborators follows:

 Student(s)  Project  Mentors/collaborators
Laura K. Ackerman Colorectal Cancer Screening in Adults with Intellectual Disability

Michael J. Aronica, MD

Mark R. Zambron, MD


Aarti Agarwal Evaluation of Oncological and Functional Outcomes After Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy: Validation of the Proposed Survival, Continence, and Potency (SCP) System Nikki Dodge
Gaybrielle James
James L. Mohler, MD
Alexandr Pinkhasov
Ruben Pinkhasov, MD
Elena A. Pop, MD
Nabiha Ahsan Management of Breast Implant-Associated Infection in Reconstruction Peter Laub
Robert Lohman, MD
Wong Moon, MD
Can Ozturk, MD
Cemile N. Ozturk, MD
Mary Platek, PhD
Allison Soucise
Jay Amin A Systematic Approach to Differentiate Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma from Benign Oncocytoma Shervin Badkhshan, MD
Terry Creighton
Eric C. Kauffman, MD
Christine Murekeyisoni
Thomas Schwaab, MD, PhD
Bo Xu, MD
Alexander Becker Radiation-Associated Risk to Neuro-Interventional Surgeons: A Survey on Exposure and Prevention Hakeem Shakir, MD Hussain Shallwani, MD
Max Blumberg Influence of Eyelid Pigmentation on the Diagnosis of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Sangita P. Patel, MD, PhD
Sarah Budik

Exploring the Impairment of Myogenin Function in Pediatric Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma

Asoke K. Mal, PhD
David Wolff
Brittany Cesar

Effect of Trauma Simulation on Highest-Leveled Trauma Resuscitation Times

Ashley Beecher, MD
Jeffrey J. Brewer, MD Clairice A. Cooper, MD
Samantha Davidson Diagnosis of Psychotic Mood Disorders Elsa C. Daurignac, PhD Steven L. Dubovsky, MD
Sevie Kandefer, PhD
Jordan Serotte
Bradley Frate Defining the Role of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) in Non-Pulmonary Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Anna Henry
Diana L. Ramirez-Bergeron, MD
Tara Hogan Effects of Zinc as an Inhibitor of the SOS Response and Hypermutation Pathway in E. Coli John K. Crane, MD, PhD
Rogerio Huang Individualized Prediction of Return to Social and Perfect Continence After Radical Prostatectomy Kristopher Attwood, PhD
Nikki Dodge
Timothy Lee
James L. Mohler, MD
Alexandr Pinkhasov
Ruben Pinkhasov, MD
Elena A. Pop, MD
Moudi Hubeishy Establishing a Didactic Street Medicine Program: Towards Augmenting Homeless Health Care David A. Milling, MD
Austin Iovoli Unilateral vs. Bilateral Radiation for Tonsillar Squamous Cell Carcinoma Alexis Platek
Anurag K. Singh, MD
Audrey Kopot Miniaturized Phage-Display Antibodies for Scanning of Cancer Cell Surface Antigens Igor Mandric
Yurij Ionov, PhD
Rebecca Kuruvilla Blood Glucose Variability as a Predictor of Outcomes in Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy and Whole-Body Hypothermia Vasanth H. Kumar, MD
Satyan Lakshminrusimha, MD
Jayasree Nair, MD
Kristine Lacuna Androgen Deprivation Therapy With or Without Docetaxel for Men With Non-Metastatic, Castration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer Who Biochemically Relapse After Prostatectomy (TAX3503): a Randomized, Open-Label, Phase 3 Trial Ilyse Acosta
Andrew J. Armstrong, MD
Michael Anthony Carducci, MD
Erica Simone Dayan
Julie Filipenko
Martin Edwin Gleave, MD
Glenn Heller, PhD
Patrick Hilden
Michael J. Morris, MD
Fred Saad, MD
Howard I. Scher, MD
Janet Lee

Clinical Characterization of Bullous Pemphigoid and Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid Diseases: Analysis of a National and Local Dataset

Kristina Seiffert, MD
Animesh A. Sinha, MD, PhD
Julie J. Lee Age at Menarche and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes: Findings from the NHLBI-Sponsored Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD
Sarah L. Berga, MD
Glenn D. Braunstein, MD
Galen Cook-Wiens
B. Delia Johnson, PhD
Carl J. Pepine, MD
Chrisandra L. Shufelt, MD
Frank Z. Stanczyk, PhD
Timothy J. Lee Impact of Adrenal Androgens on CWR22 Growth and Recurrence During Androgen Deprivation Therapy Michael V. Fiandalo, PhD
James L. Mohler, MD
Elena A. Pop, MD
Rachel Longendyke Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Moderate Preterm Infants Satyan Lakshminrusimha, MD
Jayasree Nair, MD
Sung Jun Ma Thoracic Radiotherapy in Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Single Institution Experience Jorge Gomez, MD
Michael Mix, MD
Anurag K. Singh, MD
Katy Wang
Alex Macfarlane, Dylan Constantino Comparison of the Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test (BCTT) and Buffalo Concussion Bike Test (BCBT) for the Evaluation of Exercise Intolerance Nicholas Anderson
Brandon Brownell, MD
Andrea Hinds, PhD
John J. Leddy, MD
Barry S. Willer, PhD
Alex Manzella Investigation into the Therapeutic Potential of a Cancer Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Nazmul Khan, MD, PhD
Puja Sasankan
Brahm H. Segal, MD
James A. Miller

A Comparison of Conventional 2D-Fluoroscopy and 3D-Spinal Neuronavigation in Instrumented Spinal Tumor Surgery

Andrew J. Fabiano, MD


Denise Polaski Use of Cobalt Porphyrin-Phopholipid Bilayers Labeled with HIS-Tagged HIV Surface Proteins to Improve Antibody Titers and Neutralizing Efficacy Amy Jacobs, PhD
Christine Robertson

Core Muscle Size Assessment of Sarcopenia: Association with One-Year All-Cause Mortality in Elderly Orthopaedic Trauma Patients

Mark J. Anders, MD
Sonja Pavlesen, MD
Michael J. Sayegh
Xi Shen
Jason B. Smoak, MD
Basel M. Touban, MD
Jiwei Zhao, PhD
Michael J. Rodman Comparison of Circulating MicroRNAs and Cardiac Troponin I Following Brief Ischemia-Induced Myocardial Stunning John M. Canty Jr., MD
Brian R. Weil, PhD
Rebeccah F. Young
Mattie Rosi-Schumacher Functional Validation of Two Novel Gene Mutations Implicated in Pemphigus Vulgaris Nitasha Sehgal, PhD
Kristina Seiffert, MD
Animesh A. Sinha, MD, PhD
Priya Sasankan
Comparative Genomic Analysis in Autoimmune Clusters With Pemphigus Vulgaris Kristina Seiffert, MD
Animesh A. Sinha, MD, PhD
Andrew Sauvageau Electrostimulation of Titanium Implants as Treatment for Staphylococcus Epidermidis Periprosthetic Infections Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD
Mary Canty
Mark Ehrensberger, PhD
Lisa Hansen
Nicole R. Luke-Marshall, PhD
Shauna Sauberan
Menachem Tobias
Shannon Schmit

Stratifying Risk for Targeted Care: A Comprehensive Review and Strategy Proposal

Ju Joh, MD
Jordan Katz
Ranjit Singh, MB BChir
Amanda Sherman Development and Evaluation of a Novel Drug Against Extensively Drug-Resistant Acinetobacter Baumannii Janet Beanan
Thomas A. Russo, MD
Meiyi Shi IL-13Rα1 Downregulation as a Protective Mechanism and Therapeutic Target in the Human Autoimmune Disease Pemphigus Vulgaris Nitasha Sehgal, PhD
Kristina Seiffert, MD
Animesh A. Sinha, MD, PhD
Timothy Shub

Intralesional Curettage With Separation Surgery Followed by Spinal Stereotractic Radiosurgery for Chordomas

Mark Bilsky, MD
Daniel Higginson, MD
Benjamin Hopkins
Ilya Laufer, MD
Eric Lis, MD
Dennis T. Lockney, MD
Natalie Lockney, MD
Adam Schmitt, MD
Yoshiya Yamada, MD
Jillian P. Smith Imaging Fluorescent CAR Constructs on Lentiviral-Transduced T Cells to Assess CAR Functionality Terry Fry, MD
Haneen Shalabi, DO
Kelsey Wanhainen
Jiho Sohn Using Salivary Microbiome Data to Detect Type II Diabetes and Myocardial Infarction in Patients with Underlying Periodontal Disease Robert J. Genco, DDS, PhD
Yijun Sun, PhD
Alicia Supernault Project Impact in Schools — Intervention and Management Program for Asthma Control and Treatment Lucy C. Holmes, MD
Stacie Lampkin, PharmD
Heather K. Lehman, MD
Heather Orom, PhD
Bryna Torre Impact of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Counseling on Postpartum Contraceptive Choice Jessica Nokovic, DO
James Shelton
Pai-Jong Stacy Tsai, MD
Kailyn Violanti Spirituality in Opiate Addiction Medicine, Comparison of Faith-Based and Secular Committed to Recovery Programs David M. Holmes, MD
Peter Wang Loss of CD32B a Biomarker for Rituximab and Chemotherapy Resistance in Burkitt Lymphoma Francisco J. Hernandez-Ilizaliturri, MD
Cory Mavis
James Waris Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase Autoantibodies Target Keratinocytes in Pemphigus Vulgaris Tom Sajda
Kristina Seiffert, MD
Animesh A. Sinha, MD, PhD
Matthias Williams Enhanced CYP2D6 Polymorphism Screening Through Biomedical Informatics Peter L. Elkin, MD
Christopher Wall, MD
Vincent Wong Exploring TAK1’s Cell Proliferative Functions Reveal a Novel Connection to Ribosome Biogenesis Andrei Bakin, PhD
Lauren Kapus
Michelle Limoge
Irene Yu Creation of a Novel GALC Variant Database to Elucidate the Genotype-Phenotype Relationship in Krabbe Disease M. Laura Feltri, MD
Daesung Shin, PhD
Nadav Weinstock
Lawrence Wrabetz, MD
Eva Zimmerman Examining Lung Cancer Screening in the Primary Care Setting: A Mixed Methods Approach Alvie Ahsan
Deborah O. Erwin, PhD
Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD
Anna Mascucci
Frances G. Saad-Harfouche
Christy Widman