Kenneth H. Fischbeck, MD, gives the keynote address at the biomedical sciences commencement ceremony.
Doctoral graduate Lakeisha A. Lewter poses with Malcolm M. Slaughter, PhD, after capturing the Bishop Neuroscience Thesis Award.
Kerri Damion Pryce, PhD ’18, receives the Dennis Higgins Award for PhD Dissertation Research in Pharmacology and Toxicology from his mentor, Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD.
Roswell Park Graduate Division Award for Excellence in Research winner Kelly L. Singel, PhD ’17, poses with Naveen Bangia, PhD, associate dean of graduate studies at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Doctoral graduate Sriganesh Ramachandra Rao poses with his mentor, Steven J. Fliesler, PhD. Rao won the Biochemistry Dissertation Research Recognition Award.
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, congratulates Lindsey J. Carlsen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and an outstanding senior award in her field.
Published June 5, 2019
Twenty-nine doctoral, 36 master’s and 154 baccalaureate candidates were eligible to receive degrees in biomedical science fields during the May commencement ceremony.
Five graduate students and eight senior undergraduates were singled out for special honors, including two graduates who received Chancellor’s Awards, the highest State University of New York undergraduate honor.
Graduates completed work in 11 departments or programs of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences:
Graduates also completed the following programs offered in alliance with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Graduate Division: cancer sciences, molecular and cellular biophysics, molecular pharmacology and cancer therapeutics, and immunology.
Charles F. Zukoski, PhD, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, conferred the degrees during the event at the Center for the Arts on the North Campus.
Biochemistry Dissertation Research Recognition Award
Doctoral graduate Sriganesh Ramachandra Rao was honored for research that received national or international recognition and for being selected to give an oral presentation at a major national or international meeting.
Dissertation: “Studies on the Role of Sterol and Non-Sterol Isoprenoids in Retinal Health and Disease”
Dennis Higgins Award for PhD Dissertation Research in Pharmacology and Toxicology
Kerri Damion Pryce, PhD ’18, won this award, which recognizes dissertation research that has culminated in presentations at national and international meetings, publications, research grant fellowships and awards of excellence. Recipients are committed to community service and collegiality within the scientific community.
Dissertation: “The Regulation of Ion Channels by Magi-1: Implications in Pain”
Roswell Park Graduate Division Award for Excellence in Research
Kelly L. Singel, PhD ’17, was the recipient of this award for outstanding research for her dissertation titled “Mature Neutrophils Suppress T Cell Immunity in the Tumor Microenvironment of Advanced Epithelial Ovarian Cancer”
The Dean’s Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research
Doctoral graduate Lucie Kafkova won this award that recognizes demonstrated excellence in research.
Dissertation: “Functional Characterization of T. Brucei Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 1”
The Bishop Neuroscience Thesis Award
Doctoral graduate Lakeisha A. Lewter was honored for her dissertation “Characterization of Novel Alpha2/Alpha3 Subtype-Selective GABAa Positive Allosteric Modulators.”
The award recognizes demonstrated excellence in research.
Two students who earned bachelor’s degrees were recognized with the Chancellor’s Award. It recognizes students for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives that may include leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, entrepreneurship or career achievement.
Jacob M. Bleasdale of Depew, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science degree in biomedical sciences with minors in pharmacology and toxicology, as well as public health.
Bleasdale is a University Honors College scholar and has conducted research at the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, as well as the Erie County Medical Center.
He served as a teaching assistant in UB’s Department of Biological Sciences and University Honors College, an intern in the UB Intercultural and Diversity Center, and a health educator with the Erie County Department of Health.
Katherine O’Donnell of Williamsville, New York, graduates with a bachelor of science degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in nutrition.
A University Honors College scholar, O’Donnell is a published author, president of the Association of Pre-Medical Students and a tour guide for UB’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
She has presented her research on nutrition and exercise topics at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine. O'Donnell is also an artist and a teaching assistant at Buffalo String Works.
The following awards honor high academic performance and involvement in the campus community and external organizations:
Stephen D. Carro
Lauren A. Smith
Lindsey J. Carlsen
Gabrielle N. Cervo
Nuclear Medicine Technology
Priscilla V. Bencebi
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Morgan B. Nalesnik
The commencement speaker was Kenneth H. Fischbeck, MD, National Institutes of Health Distinguished Investigator and chief of the Neurogenetics Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
His research group is identifying the causes and studying the mechanisms of hereditary neurological and neuromuscular diseases with the goal of developing effective treatment for these disorders.
Fischbeck received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. After a medical internship at Case Western Reserve University and a neurology residency at the University of California at San Francisco, he did postdoctoral research on muscular dystrophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1982, he joined the faculty in the Neurology Department at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In 1998, he became Neurogenetics Branch chief at NINDS.
He received the Cotzias Award from the American Academy of Neurology and the Jacoby Award from the American Neurological Association, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.