Taylor Boyd.

Taylor Boyd studied omega-3 fatty acid regulation of metabolism through pyruvate dehydrogenase in prostate cancer for her project in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Summer Research Experience Program in Cancer Science.

Students Highlight Projects During 2017 Summer Research Day

Published September 8, 2017 This content is archived.

story by dirk hoffman

Seventy-six student-scientists presented projects during the 2017 Buffalo Summer Research Day, an interdisciplinary forum marking the culmination of their summer research in Buffalo.


The undergraduate and graduate students worked with mentors from the University at Buffalo and partner institutions to explore cancer, schizophrenia, cigarette-related studies, infectious diseases, aging and other areas.

Oncology Expert Delivers Keynote Address

Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, professor of oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented the keynote address titled “Temperature Matters! Or How Old Medical Observations Can Become New Opportunities in Cancer Research.”

Repasky is the Williams Heubsch Professor of Immunology and a program leader for the Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies program at Roswell Park.

Her translational research program focuses on exploration of stress and physiological responses, which can be manipulated to alter the tumor microenvironment and improve the efficacy of cancer therapies, including radiation, chemotherapies and immunotherapies.

A major passion for her has been to understand the role of body temperature and the impact of mild thermal stress on efficacy of ionizing radiation, anti-tumor immune activity, vascular function and metabolism.

Repasky has authored or co-authored more than 170 cited publications and received the J. Eugene Robinson Award from the Society for Thermal Medicine in 2015.

During her career she has served as major adviser to 21 doctoral students, 12 postdoctoral fellows and 40 summer interns, nearly all of whom have gone on to become successful members of the research, academia or biotech communities.

Displaying Posters, Giving Oral Presentations

During the forum, students from various summer research programs participated in a poster exposition. One student from each program was selected to deliver an oral presentation.

The following are research projects for the summer programs involving the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

  • Michael Battaglia presented “Characterization of a Novel Small Molecule NHR Binding HIV-1 Fusion Inhibitor.” Mentor: Amy Jacobs, PhD, research associate professor of microbiology and immunology.
  • Alexander Dimitri presented “iPSC Cerebral Organoids Reveal Early Developmental Malformations in Schizophrenia.” Mentor: Ewa K. Stachowiak, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Esther Greeman presented “Rats Initially Drink More Ethanol When Sweetened With Glucose Than With Fructose.” Mentor: Caroline E. Bass, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology.
  • Terry Henry presented “Effect of pH and Antibiotics on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.” Mentor: Mark Ehrensberger, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.
  • Bella Lee presented “ECM Stiffness-Dependent Survivin Expression and Cellular Function.” Mentor: Yongho Bae, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Jacqueline Reid presented “Hypomyelination After Deletion of the L-Type Calcium Channel Cav1.2 in Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells is Not Associated with Changes in the Inflammatory Glial Response.” Mentor: Pablo M. Paez, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology.
  • Brittany Sincox presented “Disease-Associated Mutation Changes Kinetics and Permeation of NMDA Receptors.” Mentor: Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD, professor of biochemistry.
  • Reality Suarez presented “Generating Synthetic Bacterial Biofilms for Quorum Sensing.” Mentor: Praveen R. Arany, PhD, DDS, assistant professor of oral biology in the School of Dental Medicine.

The SURE program is directed by Terry D. Connell, PhD, who is responsible for coordinating the Buffalo Summer Research Day. Connell is a professor of microbiology and immunology.

T35 Research Program in Infectious Diseases, Microbiology and Immunology

  • Lester Bayona Chuye presented “Brains in a Dish: Growing Cerebral Organoids to Study Schizophrenia.” Mentor: Michal K. Stachowiak, PhD, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Anisha Chava presented “The Effect of Cherry Flavoring Electronic Cigarette Aerosols on Pulmonary Inflammation.” Mentor: Yasmin Thanavala, PhD, professor of immunology at Roswell Park.
  • Samantha Eng presented “Expression of IgA Proteases by Haemophilus Influenzae in Adults with COPD.” Mentor: Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and SUNY Distinguished Professor of medicine.
  • Thor Vandehei presented “An Investigation of the Metabolite Transporters PEG344 and PEG1860 From Hypervirulent Klebsiella Pneumoniae Strain hvKP1.” Mentor: Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
  • Narissa Williams presented “Evaluating Current Methods of HCV Management and Service Delivery for Patients in Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: Opportunities for Telemedicine-Based HCV Service Integration.” Mentor: Andrew H. Talal, MD, professor of medicine.
  • Nicolette Winder presented “The Effect of β-AR Signaling on the Metabolism of CD8+ T Cells During Activation.” Mentor: Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, professor of oncology at Roswell Park.

The T35 program is co-directed by Murphy and Kelvin P. Lee, MD, research professor of medicine. 

Summer Apprentice Program, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute

  • Kailey Ferger presented “An Evolutionary Analysis of Ribosomal Protein S4.” Mentor: William L. Duax, PhD, professor of structural biology.
  • Armond June presented “Structure and Biochemical Characterization of NRPS Adenylation Domains from P. Aeruginosa Genes 3327 and 4078.” Mentor: Andrew M. Gulick, PhD, research assistant professor of structural biology.
  • William Schultz presented “Expression and Purification of GvCOX and GvCOX Mutants.” Mentor: Michael G. Malkowski, PhD, professor and chair of structural biology.
  • Abigail Schwenk presented “Phenotypical Assay of Ole1 in Yeast.” Mentor: Malikowski.

William Bauer, PhD, coordinates the summer program at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

BioXFEL Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

  • Jermel Griffin presented “Using Molecular Dynamics to Assess Hydrogen Bond Networks of De Novo Designed Proteins.” Mentor: Thomas Szyperski, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor of chemistry.
  • Efrain Rodriguez presented “BioAssay Development for the Chemoactivation of Transforming Growth Factor β1.” Mentor: Edward H. Snell, PhD, co-principal investigator and chief executive officer of the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.
  • Shirley Yuen presented “Engineering Cold Denaturing Proteins.” Mentor: Szyperski.

William Bauer, PhD, coordinates the BioXFEL Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.

Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences Undergraduate Program (CLIMB UP)

CLIMB UP is a summer research program that gives undergraduates hands-on laboratory experience in biomedical and health sciences. 

Seven students had projects funded through the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship:

  • Moriah Cobb presented “Exploring Molecular Mechanisms of Adolescent Sucrose Exposure.” Mentor: David Dietz, PhD, associate professor and interim chair of pharmacology and toxicology.
  • Caitlin Deubell presented “Flow Cytometry Based Analytical Method for Quantitation of Blinatumomab (Blincyto®) in Mouse Plasma.” Mentor: Dhavalkumar K. Shah, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Israh Ibrahim presented “Automated Detection and Quantification of Red Blood Cells from Peripheral Blood Smear.” Mentor: Pinaki Sarder, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Zuiru Lin presented “Discovery of Small Anti-Cancer Molecule Targeting Estrogen Receptor.” Mentor: Rajendram Rajnarayanan, PhD.
  • Michael Olyer presented “Inhibition of Antibiotic Resistance Induced by the SOS Response: The Effects of Metal Ionophores.” Mentor: John K. Crane, MD, PhD, professor of medicine.
  • Garrett Sheehan presented “Impact of Carbamate Insecticides and Phthalate Diester Exposure on Melatonin Receptor-Mediated Inhibition of CREB Phosphorylation.” Mentor: Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion.
  • Nadin Zejnilovic presented “The Role of TAAR-1 on the Modulation of Circadian Rhythms in Mice.” Mentor: Dubocovich.

Ten students had projects funded by the Institute for Strategic Enhancement of Educational Diversity Summer Research Experience:

  • Quinn Carroll presented “Type of Traumatic Life Event Does Not Influence Future Post-traumatic Growth.” Mentor: Jennifer Read, PhD, professor of psychology.
  • Adriana del Mar Pons Calvo presented “Macrophage Acetylcholine Receptor Regulation of TNF Production during Neuropathic Pain.” Mentor: Tracey A. Ignatowski, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Lindsey Euscher presented “The Role of Protein Aggregation in the Development of Inhibitors to Eloctate in Hemophilia A.” Mentor: Sathy V. Balu-Iyer, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Aylin Flores presented “Distinguishing Whether Rif2 and Orc4 Subfunctionalized or Neofunctionalized After Duplication.” Mentor: Laura Rusche, PhD, associate professor of biological sciences.
  • Samantha Manahan presented “American Indians and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review 2006-2016.” Mentor: Margaret Moss, PhD, associate professor of nursing.
  • Brianna Scotland presented “Murine mRNA Expression of a Novel, Orphan Transporter: Monocarboxylate Transporter 6 (Mct6).” Mentor: Marilyn E. Morris, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences.
  • LeDaniel Sims presented “Bioengineering with Nano Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration.” Mentor: Praveen R. Arany, PhD, DDS, assistant professor of oral biology in the School of Dental Medicine.
  • Melinda Tiao presented “Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Assessment of Endothelialization in Elastase Aneurysm Models Treated with a Retrievable Asymmetric Flow Diverter (RAFD).” Mentor: Ciprian N. Ionita, PhD, research assistant professor of biomedical engineering.
  • Toni Warnick presented “Histological Evaluation of Elastase-Induced Rabbit Aneurysms Treated with Retrievable Asymmetric Flow Diverter [RAFD].” Mentor: Ionita.
  • Toneia Washington presented “Analyzing Oral Wound Healing On Murine Macrophage Cell Lines Using Photobiomodulation.” Mentor: Arany.

Three students had projects funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute:

  • Dorian Frazier presented “Influence of Starting Material on Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells.” Mentor: Jason Muhitch, PhD, assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park.
  • Nathan Greene presented “A Data Driven Approach to Studying the Weekend Effect in ICU Patients Receiving Unfractionated Heparin.” Mentor: Jason M. Davies, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurosurgery.
  • Coral Sanchez Malave presented “Novel Methods of Designing Liposome-Based Drug Delivery System into the Macrophages.” Mentor: Umesh Sharma, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Five students were involved with CLIMB PRO, a division of CLIMB UP for undergraduates interested in pursuing a medical degree or MD-PhD:

  • Justin Harvey presented “Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates — A Quality Improvement Initiative.” Mentor: Roberto O. Diaz Del Carpio, MD, assistant professor of medicine.
  • Godstime Nwatu-Ugwu presented “Regulation of the Extracellular Matrix in Aging and Disease.” Mentor: Te-Chung Lee, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry.
  • Elizabeth Okundaye presented “Predictive Immunoprofiling for Precision Based Immunotherapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.” Mentor: Wilfrido D. Mojica, MD, associate professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
  • Kiam Preston Jr. presented “Investigation of Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): D-amino Acid Inducing D-amino Acid Oxidase in Hepatocytes.” Mentor: Lixin Zhu, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics.
  • Agnele Sewa presented “The Role of p38-γ in Myelination and Remyelination.” Mentor: M. Laura Feltri, MD, professor of biochemistry and neurology.

CLIMB UP and its associated programs are part of the CLIMB program, directed by Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion and SUNY Distinguished Professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

Dental Medicine, Roswell Students Participated

The Aug. 4 event included 26 students from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Summer Research Experience Program in Cancer Science and three students from the UB School of Dental Medicine’s Student Research Program. The event was held at the Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

An undergraduate, with a mentor from the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, also participated.