White coats on hangers.

White coats await 19 members of the Class of 2021-2022 in the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences prior to a ceremony announcing the matches to their doctoral laboratories.

PhD White Coat Ceremony Honors Student Advancement

Published June 24, 2022

The Office of Research and Graduate Education conducted its sixth annual white coat ceremony to recognize 19 students from the Class of 2021-2022 in the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) who are matching to their doctoral laboratories.

“The white coat is a symbol of trust and professionalism. It is also a symbol of the goals and responsibility of the noble profession you are entering. ”
UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
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Retiring Senior Associate Dean Oversees Ceremony

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, provided opening remarks for the ceremony.

“Welcome everyone, this is the first time in a while we have been able to have family and friends join us. It is really great and very exciting for us,” he said. “I also want to say this is one of my last official duties because I am retiring this month after 39 years.”

Campagnari said “it has truly been a tremendous honor to work in this program and with these people,” and went on to thank a number of Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty and staff members who have contributed to the PPBS.

“We get credit, but it is the people around us who really do the work,” said Campagnari, who is also a SUNY Distinguished Professor of microbiology and immunology and medicine.

He said the white coat ceremony idea was originally brought to him by the Medical Alumni Association as a way to honor the graduate students in the same way that medical students are honored.

Campagnari also gave a special thank you to all of the faculty mentors who give ”time and effort to bring students into their labs.”

“Being chosen as a mentor is probably one of the greatest honors you can have as a faculty member,” he said. “Because someone has trusted you with their career and it is an honor and a privilege to do this.”

Excellence in Class and Lab Recognized

Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, congratulated the students on their accomplishments.

“The white coat is a symbol of trust and professionalism,” she said. “It is also a symbol of the goals and responsibility of the noble profession you are entering.”

“Being in a PhD program and working in team science, that’s where we make the most substantial impact in medicine and in the health of the country,” Brashear added.

She noted the research the doctoral students will conduct is meaningful.

“I am here because the Jacobs School and UB health sciences want to really grow our research programs and you are the foundation of that — bringing new science together so we can change the course of history, as we have done in the pandemic,” Brashear said.

Kyle Salka won the LPS Academic Achievement Award. He is pictured with, from left, Allison Brashear, MD, MBA; Anthony Campagnari, PhD; and Frank Lameca, LPS vice president.

Kyle Salka won the LPS Academic Achievement Award. He is pictured with, from left, Allison Brashear, MD, MBA; Anthony Campagnari, PhD; and Frank Lameca, LPS vice president.

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

Kyle Salka, who earned a Master of Science degree in molecular biochemistry and bioinformatics from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of Connecticut, won the LPS Academic Achievement Award, which is presented to a PPBS student who demonstrates mastery of the first course curriculum.

Salka has matched to the laboratory of Spyridon Stavrou, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, to pursue his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology.

Sean Duffy won the LPS Rotation Award. He is pictured with, from left, Allison Brashear, MD, MBA; Anthony Campagnari, PhD; and Frank Lameca, LPS vice president.

Sean Duffy won the LPS Rotation Award. He is pictured with, from left, Allison Brashear, MD, MBA; Anthony Campagnari, PhD; and Frank Lameca, LPS vice president.

Sean Duffy, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University at Buffalo, won the LPS Rotation Award, which is presented to a PPBS student nominated by a faculty mentor for outstanding research during a laboratory rotation.

Duffy has been matched to the laboratory of John C. Panepinto, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, to pursue his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology.

Students Match into Research Laboratories

Andrew M. Gulick, PhD, professor of structural biology and director of the PPBS program, announced the students’ names for the cloaking ceremony.

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

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 21 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building. A brief reception in the school building’s atrium followed the ceremony.