Doctoral and MD-PhD students pose at the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences’ fifth annual white coat ceremony.

PhD White Coat Ceremony Honors Student Advancement

Published July 8, 2021

The Office of Research and Graduate Education conducted its fifth annual white coat ceremony to recognize 19 students from the Class of 2020-2021 — 15 students in the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) and four MD-PhD students — who are matching to their doctoral laboratories.

“We’re proud of all of you. I’m really looking forward to seeing how you advance in your careers. ”
Senior associate dean for research and graduate education
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Students Receive Praise

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, praises the students in his opening remarks.

Sixteen of the students are moving on to their research laboratory match, while three are still deciding on their match.

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, praised the students in his opening remarks at the event.

“Without you, we wouldn’t have a program. We’re glad you picked us and we’re happy to have you here,” said Campagnari, who is also SUNY Distinguished Professor of microbiology and immunology and medicine.

“We’re proud of all of you. I’m really looking forward to seeing how you advance in your careers,” he added.

Excellence in Class, Lab

Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, recognized the students for their accomplishments.

“This is an important milestone in your medical careers. In the fields of medicine and biomedical sciences, this white coat is really the symbol of trust and professionalism. We take that very seriously in the Jacobs School,” Cain said. “You’ve earned it. Please wear it well.”

Cain also handed out two awards that were presented by Laboratory Product Sales (LPS), one of the sponsors for the white coat ceremony.

Natalie Popielski.

Amherst, New York, native Natalie Popielski receives the LPS Achievement Award from Michael E. Cain, MD.

Natalie Popielski, an Amherst, New York, native who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Mercyhurst University, won the LPS Academic Achievement Award, which recognizes the student with the strongest academic performance in the first year of doctoral study. She has matched to the laboratory of Mark Sutton, PhD, professor of biochemistry, to pursue her doctoral degree in biochemistry.

Janie McGlohon.

Janie McGlohon of El Paso, Texas, gives a thumbs-up after receiving the LPS Rotation Award from Michael E. Cain, MD.

Janie McGlohon, a native of El Paso, Texas, who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Texas A&M University, won the LPS Rotation Award, which recognizes a student for exceptional performance in a PPBS laboratory rotation. She has been matched to the laboratory of D. Fernando Estrada, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry, to pursue her doctoral degree in biochemistry.

Strong Support Network Available

Daniel W. Sheehan, MD, PhD ’89, associate dean for medical curriculum, clinical professor of pediatrics and a member of the Medical Alumni Association board, represented the Office of Medical Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, another event sponsor.

“The Alumni Association is very proud to co-sponsor this fifth white coat ceremony. I want to congratulate you on your program match. Personally, I love walking around this building and seeing you in your white coats,” Sheehan said. “Because we know that only with your research, your creativity, your innovation and your dedication, we can all take biomedical sciences in Buffalo to the next level and then take it beyond Buffalo as well.”

“Our alumni association is really a network — not just here but as members of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. I want to encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities as they come up,” Sheehan added. “As you’ve already learned, success in research comes from collaboration — within a building and within a campus as well. We in the Alumni Association hope to see you in the lab and also outside the lab really experiencing, exploring and enjoying the best that Buffalo has to offer.”

Sheehan, a 1989 graduate of the doctoral program in physiology, has fond memories of the mentoring he received from his thesis adviser, thesis committee and the entire Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

“You’re going to have a wonderful committee and a wonderful department that’s going to support you and mentor you as you progress in your doctoral training,” Sheehan said.

PPBS Students Match into Research Lab

The PPBS students are listed below, with their department and mentor matches where applicable.

Student Department Mentor
Syed Fardin Ahmed Structural Biology Andrew M. Gulick, PhD
Christina Angeliu Neuroscience Mikhail V. Pletnikov, MD, PhD
David Dietz, PhD
Dayron Leyva Rodriguez Oral Biology Michelle Visser, PhD
Monica MacDonald Structural Biology Andrew M. Gulick, PhD
Cole Matrishin Oral Biology Anne Kathryn Marie Kauffman, PhD
Janie McGlohon Biochemistry D. Fernando Estrada, PhD
Stephen Moore    
Edwin Ovalle Oral Biology Jason G. Kay, PhD
Natalie Popielski Biochemistry Mark Sutton, PhD
Nutt Punnanitinont Oral Biology Jill M. Kramer, DDS, PhD
Raider Rodriguez Pharmacology and Toxicology Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD
Stephen Thompson Physiology and Biophysics Mikhail V. Pletnikov, MD, PhD
Patrick Wilson Biochemistry Michael Buck, PhD
Theresa Wrynn Oral Biology Rose-Anne Romano, PhD
Satrajit Sinha, PhD
Maria Yera Neuroscience Sarah X. Zhang, MD

MD-PhD Students Match Into Research Lab

The ceremony also honored students in the MD-PhD program. MD-PhD students are listed below, with their department and mentor matches where applicable.

Student Department Mentor
Sarah Choi
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — Immunology Elizabeth A. Repasky, PhD
Beryl Guterman
Microbiology and Immunology Chelsie E. Armbruster, PhD
Zahid Manzar    
Jack Reeves    

Mentoring, Financial Support Provided

The PPBS provides an entry portal and a common first-year curriculum, mentoring, hands-on opportunities and financial support.

With its laboratory rotation system, students can explore a variety of disciplines before committing to their specific area of research.

The white coat ceremony was conducted June 18 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building in downtown Buffalo.