Liise Kayler.

Liise K. Kayler, MD

Michal K. Stachowiak, PhD.

Michal K. Stachowiak, PhD

Kayler, Stachowiak Receive SUNY Chancellor’s Awards

Published June 3, 2024

Two Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members are among the University at Buffalo recipients of a 2024 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.


The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities. 

Recipients are:

Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Kayler is praised as an “ardent advocate for several initiatives to increase access to transplantation for all patients, but particularly those who are underserved or are from vulnerable populations.”

Internationally renowned for her expertise in renal transplantation, Kayler focuses her scholarly pursuits on determining the factors that make a kidney ideal for successful transplant procedures.

Her goal, award nominators say, is to create a larger pool of available transplantable kidneys.

Since joining UB, Kayler has been the PI, site PI or co-PI on 16 grants totaling more than $8 million from the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the New York State Department of Health, among others.

In 2021, she was named the co-PI on a $2.6 million NIH R01 grant to increase live donor kidney transplantation through video-based education and mobile communication.

Kayler also is the site PI for two other trials: a $2.5 million grant to test the utility of cell-free DNA testing compared to standard creatinine testing, and a $383,000 grant to evaluate whether introducing cell-free DNA testing into clinical practice reduces the number of renal biopsies performed when compared with usual care.

An advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in health care and combating structural racism, Kaylor co-founded and is president of the New York Center for Kidney Transplantation, a statewide collaborative to improve access to kidney transplantation, and serves on the board of directors of the Kidney Foundation of WNY.

In her clinical practice, she established an academic-community partnership with underrepresented patients that established themselves into the nonprofit organization Kidney Health Together to improve the lives of all kidney failure patients.

Seminal Discoveries Regarding the Genome

Stachowiak is regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers on fibroblast growth factor signaling and, more broadly, as a firmly established leader in the neuroscience community.  

Stachowiak’s studies revealed a novel molecular mechanism called an Integrative Nuclear Signaling (INFS) that operates at the interface of the developmental epigenomic signals and the genomic information. This mechanism integrates the epigenomic signals to elicit coordinate regulations of thousands of genes, a process deemed essential for the cell transitions between developmental stages. Targeting the INFS in cancer therapy has been investigated in several leading cancer laboratories.

Stachowiak has made several seminal discoveries and developed innovative concepts to significantly influence our perception of the genome — its function, structure and regulation.

He advanced the Genome Archipelago model and the theory of the Systems Genome as the principles underwriting development, developmental diseases and different types of cancer. He has integrated human brain organoids, genome and new optogenomic research (light control of genome functions) to explore new therapies.

His studies and theoretical considerations have advanced understanding of how the genome programs the development of nerve cells. In particular, he has focused on malformations in neuro-developmental disorders such as schizophrenia.

Stachowiak’s work has appeared in numerous high-impact journals over the years, including a seminal 1996 first-author paper in Molecular Biology of the Cell in which he reported the presence of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) protein in the nuclei of cells. This receptor mechanism has been the focus of much of Stachowiak’s research ever since.

The recipient of numerous accolades for his scholarly achievements, Stachowiak was honored in 2017 as a Fulbright Distinguished Professor, serving as chair of medical sciences at the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2022, UB honored him with the Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement.