UB Medicine Fall 2018

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Photo by Douglas Levere

President Tripathi presenting medal to Dean Cain

CAIN Awarded UB PRESIDENT’S MEDAL MICHAEL E. CAIN, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been awarded the UB President’s Medal in recognition of extraordinary service to the university. The award was presented during the medical student commencement ceremony on May 4. “Under his leadership as dean, Dr. Cain has made tremendous strides, transforming and enhancing the Jacobs School to create an innovative learning and teaching environment in which students and faculty are immersed in a culture of best clinical practices, scientific curiosity, and discovery,” said UB president Satish K. Tripathi. Appointed dean of the Jacobs School in 2006 and vice president for health sciences in 2011, Cain also serves as professor of medicine and professor of biomedical engineering. Throughout his tenure at UB, he has sought to rebuild and modernize the Jacobs School in an effort to improve the educational experience for students. “I accept this medal on behalf of the truly hundreds of university, school and community colleagues who made what Dr. Tripathi just detailed possible,” Cain said. “Our community is fortunate to have so many people from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise who work together for the common goal of enhancing medical education, expanding what we discover in the biomedical sciences. All of this has a favorable impact on the public health of Western New York and the world.” Cain spearheaded construction of the new home of the Jacobs School on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. “The Jacobs School is now in close proximity to key health care and research partners and facilities, several of which were realized in no small part as the result of Dr. Cain’s concerted efforts,” Tripathi noted. “These include UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Conventus medical office building. Along with the new home of the Jacobs School, these facilities are helping UB further build research, innovation and education while improving health care for people throughout Western New York and beyond.” As vice president for health sciences at UB, Cain also leads the university’s four other health sciences schools, which include dental medicine, nursing, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, and public health and health professions. “Our university and our community have been deeply enriched by Dr. Cain’s leadership of the Jacobs School and of all of UB’s health sciences schools,” Tripathi said.



UB MEDICINE MAGAZINE, Fall 2018, Vol. 6, No. 2

MICHAEL E. CAIN, MD Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Eric C. Alcott Associate Vice President for Advancement, Health Sciences, Senior Associate Dean of Medical Advancement

2 VITAL LINES Progress notes

Editorial Director Christine Fontaneda Executive Director of Medical Advancement


Editor Stephanie A. Unger


Contributing Writers Lori Ferguson, Alison Fromme, Ellen Goldbaum, Grove Potter, Mark Sommer

People in the news

Copyeditor Tom Putnam

32 Q & A

Photography Joe Cascio, Sandra Kicman, Meredith Forrest Kulwicki, Douglas Levere

Conversations with experts

Art Direction & Design Karen Lichner

UB Medicine is published by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB to inform alumni, friends and community about the school’s pivotal role in medical education, research and advanced patient care in Buffalo, Western New York and beyond. VISIT US: medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni

Photo by Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Reflections on careers

The UB logo was lifted into place this summer along with new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ signage on the east side of the medical school building at Washington and High streets.


A country doctor who practiced out of his home for over 50 years, gives the school—and UB—its largest gift ever.

10 A BOLD NEW APPROACH TAKES ROOT COVER IMAGE George M. Ellis, MD ’45, at the time of his graduation from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

UB and its hospital partners are transforming the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and our region’s health care


Elizabeth Repasky, PhD ’81, is finding new connections

Editorial Adviser John J. Bodkin II, MD ’76 Affiliated Teaching Hospitals Erie County Medical Center Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System Kaleida Health Buffalo General Medical Center DeGraff Memorial Hospital Gates Vascular Institute John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital Catholic Health Mercy Hospital of Buffalo Sisters of Charity Hospital Correspondence, including requests to be added to or removed from the mailing list, should be sent to: Editor, UB Medicine, 916 Kimball Tower, Buffalo, NY 14214; or email ubmedicine-news@buffalo.edu


Murray Ettinger, PhD, retires after 48 years, but his lore lives on


Robert Gore, MD ’02, a leader in anti-violence work with youth FALL 2018





Photos by Sandra Kicman

Medical students in the Class of 2018 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences celebrated the next steps in their careers during Match Day, held on March 16 in Statler City’s Golden Ballroom in downtown Buffalo. Nearly one-fourth of the class has chosen to stay at UB for advanced training. To learn where all members of the class will train, visit medicine.buffalo.edu and search “Match Day 2018.”

Natalka Czuczman and Neil Gupta

Left to right: Jeffrey Bulger, Sebastian Silva, Amit Jhaveri


Photos by Sandra Kicman

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences held its 172nd commencement ceremonies in May in the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus. During the ceremonies, 132 medical students received their medical degrees. Six of these students earned dual degrees: five MD/MBA degrees and one MD/oral and maxillofacial surgery degree. Twenty doctoral, 42 master’s and 173 baccalaureate candidates were eligible to receive degrees in biomedical science fields.

From left: Sara Goff, Ayesha Malik, Diana Wee


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Brittany Lipchick, biophysics, left, and Danielle Twum, immunology, Roswell Park Graduate Division of the University at Buffalo

SPRING CLINICAL DAY AND REUNION WEEKEND 2018 Alumni came from around the country this spring to celebrate with classmates, friends, faculty and students. More than 400 people joined in the festivities, which included tours of the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building, Spring Clinical Day and Medical Residents Scholarly Exchange, presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus and Volunteer awards, an alumni cocktail party and class dinners. The weekend was sponsored by the UB Medical Alumni Association and the Jacobs School.

Celebrating their 45th reunion, from left: David Breen, MD ’73; Kenneth Gayles, MD ’73; John Klimas, MD ’73, and Mary Sansone.

Celebrating their 20th reunion, from left: Jennifer Lee, MD ’98; Tony Shih, MD ’98; Achini Perera Dingman, MD ’98; Frank Salamone, MD ’98, and Elizabeth Salamone.

Celebrating their 25th reunion, from left: Karen Dugid, MD ’93; Wallace Johnson, MD ’93; Rogena Miller, MD ’93; and Julene Evans-Murage, MD ’93.

Photos by Joe Casio

Celebrating their 50th reunion, from left: Thomas Cumbo, MD ’68; Anne Cumbo; Gerald Daigler, MD ’68, and Pat Daigler.

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DIETZ NAMED CHAIR OF PHARMACOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY David M. Dietz, PhD, associate professor, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. A faculty member since 2011, Dietz is internationally recognized for his innovative research that focuses on understanding how molecular and behavioral plasticity in the brain mediates an individual’s susceptibility to drug abuse and relapse. The work is geared toward developing novel Dietz pharmacotherapeutic approaches for treating substance abuse and addiction. “His work has moved the field,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, noting that Dietz has published in Science, Nature Neuroscience,

the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other high-impact journals. Currently the principal investigator on two National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute for Drug Addictions grants to study cocaine-induced changes in the brain during addiction, Dietz and his colleagues have used an innovative “molecules-to-behavior approach” to developing a comprehensive understanding of how drugs of abuse hijack the brain’s reward circuits, creating addiction. He also is beginning to look at the neurobiology of heroin addiction. Dietz trains postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in his department and at UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions. He serves as a reviewer of ad hoc grants for the NIH and for the top journals in his field. He earned his PhD in neuroscience/psychology from Florida State University and served a postdoctoral fellowship at the Friedman Brain Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


The Lee Foundation has given two grants totaling $494,250 to UB for student internships and scholarships. The first grant will support a psychology doctoral internship program at UB, overseen by Daniel Antonius, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry. Antonius also directs the forensic psychiatry division in the Department of Psychiatry in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The psychology doctoral internship provides one year of fulltime training that serves as the transition between doctoral study and professional life and is the capstone experience in doctoral psychology training,” Antonius explains. “We believe the internship has the potential to substantially benefit Western New York, where there is a lack of mental health professionals and treatment resources. It will provide advanced training and high-quality trainees and services here, with the goal of retaining these psychologists in the area upon graduation from the program. This, in turn, will add invaluable quality and recognition to the mental health field in Western New York.” The second grant is a renewal of the foundation’s commitment to the Western New York Medical Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to students in psychiatry who pledge to work in the eight-county region after graduation. Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, professor and chair of the UB psychiatry department, says he is very appreciative of the generous gift from


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the Lee Foundation to the scholarship program, which “supports third- and fourth-year students committed to going into psychiatry and remaining in Western New York for at least five years.” Jane Mogavero, executive director of the Lee Foundation, says the foundation is grateful for the university’s partnership and commitment to mental health issues. “These grants are very complementary and well aligned with the Lee Foundation’s goal to promote a well-trained, experienced mental-health workforce in Western New York,” Mogavero says. “To address the considerable shortage of mental health professionals, specifically psychiatrists and psychologists, in our community, the Lee Foundation will continue to fund scholarships for medical students entering psychiatry. “And we will expand our support to develop a psychology doctoral internship,” Mogavero adds. “With a focus on serious mental illness, the internship will ensure students do not need to leave Western New York to complete their training.” The Patrick P. Lee Foundation, based in Buffalo, focuses its investments in mental health and education. Patrick P. Lee, who built International Motion Control, a worldwide conglomerate with manufacturing facilities, formed the foundation in 2007. Since 2009, the foundation has given $1.6 million to the University at Buffalo in support of mental health initiatives.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has approved the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ new medical residency program in radiology. The program will be recruiting 16 residents specializing in radiology over the next four years, beginning with the first four to be recruited in the National Resident Matching Program that takes place next March. The new program is the result of close collaboration between Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center, the VA Western New York Healthcare System and UBMD Radiology; the participation of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is also under discussion. In 2006, the Jacobs School voluntarily withdrew its radiology residency program from the national accreditation process during a time when many hospital radiology departments in the region were undergoing reorganization and UB had a limited number of radiology faculty members. Re-establishing the radiology residency program was a key goal in 2016 when Great Lakes Medical Imaging joined the Department of Radiology in the Jacobs School. “Restoring the radiology residency was an essential goal for UB,” said Kenneth Pearsen, MD, professor and chair

Photo by Sandra Kicman



of the Department of Radiology in the Jacobs School. “We are proud to be able to offer both medical students and residents exposure to a fundamentally critical specialty in medicine.” Jonathan Marshall, MD, chief of service, radiology and imaging at Erie County Medical Center, is the program director; and Doug Drumsta, MD, of Great Lakes Medical Imaging/UBMD Radiology is the associate program director.

EMPIRE DISCOVERY INSTITUTE ESTABLISHED Partnership between UB, Roswell Park and the University of Rochester The University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Rochester have come together to establish the Empire Discovery Institute (EDI), an independent, nonprofit entity that will identify promising drug candidates and move them toward clinical trials. The institute will help UB, Roswell Park and the University of Rochester researchers conduct preclinical testing of promising compounds discovered in their labs. Researchers will also receive assistance in designing new drugs for drug targets they have identified through their work. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in May that the new partnership will receive $35.4 million in funding over five years from Empire State Development, in addition to $12 million worth of in-kind support from the partner institutions. “The Empire Discovery Institute will streamline New York’s efforts to translate our wealth of groundbreaking

life science research into viable treatments and medicines, which in turn will catalyze new jobs, new companies and new investments in this cutting-edge industry,” says Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner. Judith Dunn, PhD, a former vice president of pharmaceutical giant Roche, has joined EDI as its first CEO. To learn more about the partnership, visit https://medicine. buffalo.edu/ and search “Empire Discovery Institute.”

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BY S.A. UNGER anonymous until both he and his wife passed. This happened in 2018, and the story of this profound act of generosity is now being told, not in the voice of the donor, but in the reminiscences of those who knew him best.



George M. Ellis, MD ’45

ntil recently, the details were as sketchy as they were remarkable. Upon his death in 2011, a doctor who practiced out of his home in the rural Midwest for over 50 years, left the largest gift ever to the University at Buffalo. Directed to his beloved alma mater, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the gift totaled close to $50 million. Today, due to investment growth, its financial impact is nearing $60 million. Little has been known about the donor—George Melvin Ellis Jr., MD ’45—because he wanted to remain


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“George always said that the greatest day of his life was the day that he received his letter of acceptance to the UB medical school,” recalls classmate Herbert E. Joyce, MD ’45. “He was without a doubt the most loyal to UB of anyone I have ever known.” Joyce says he knew Ellis had some wealth because he was a savvy investor, but he never imagined he had acquired the wealth he had. “George never changed,” he says, “in appearance or approach. He was always very friendly and very humble. He did not want his name mentioned or any accolades. Above everything was his love for the UB medical school.” In the decades following their graduation from medical school, Joyce served as class chair for reunions and Ellis served as class secretary. “My job was to stimulate giving for class reunion projects, such as supporting a new conference room,” says Joyce. “But my totals always fell short. As a last resort, I would go to George, and he always said: ‘How much do you need?’—and then he’d write out a check for the deficit, usually a few thousand dollars. He never refused me, and we never would have made it without him stepping up when he did.” Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School, has a similar perspective on Ellis’s generosity, noting that the timing of his historic gift has greatly compounded its impact. “Not enough can be said about both the generosity and the timing of this remarkable gift,” says Cain. “This was something that George Ellis planned for close to 70 years, and it came in 2011, just after UB—with Governor Cuomo’s support—had made the decision to build a new home downtown for the Jacobs School. Just knowing we had this gift invested has made all the difference in our having the confidence to plan and move forward.

“It will be years—maybe even decades— before we fully realize the impact of Dr. Ellis’s generosity, because this is truly a gift that will keep on giving for generations,” Cain adds. “It ensures that we can continue hiring top physician-scientists to teach and perform groundbreaking research in our school.” While it has not yet been determined how the gift will be allocated in the years to come, one thing is certain: a portion of it will endow a George M. Ellis Jr. and Kelly Ellis Professorship in Family Medicine and a scholarship fund for medical students.

A MAN OF HIS GENERATION George Ellis, was born in 1922 in Toledo, Ohio, where he spent his childhood and adolescence prior to attending Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. In his early 20s, Ellis began pre-med studies at Albion College in Michigan. In 1942, at the height of World War II, he was awarded early admission to the Jacobs School after only three years of undergraduate studies. Due to the war and the need for physicians, many medical schools around the country offered accelerated medical education programs such as UB’s, where students graduated in three years rather than four. The war ended in August 1945, six weeks after Ellis began his internship. Injured troops returning home required medical care, so Ellis was assigned to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. While at the VA, he met and began dating Gladys Kelly of Wilmington, Del., who was working as a nurse at the facility. When Ellis completed his military service at the Veterans Hospital, he relocated to a small town in the Midwest, where he set up practice in his aunt’s former home. In 1952, he and Kelly married and she began working as his nurse. (Ellis affectionately called Gladys by her last name, “Kelly,” which she subsequently

After completing his military service, George Ellis set up practice in his aunt’s former home, pictured here, where he and his wife, Kelly, a nurse, saw patients for over 50 years.

“George and Kelly Ellis posted office hours, but the hours didn’t really matter. They never turned people away, even if they couldn’t pay. He was focused on the fact that his life was dedicated to the health and well being of the community he served—he really embraced the Hippocratic oath.” DAVID DRAPER, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADVANCEMENT AT UB

adopted as her first.) Ellis continued to practice medicine from their home for over five decades, leaving only for two short stints to serve as a surgical resident at a hospital in Detroit, and as a chief of medicine, surgery and obstetrics at a small hospital in Chicago.

FLEXIBLE OFFICE HOURS Ellis’ dream of becoming a physician dated back to age 8 when he became ill while on a family vacation in New England and was diagnosed with appendicitis by a doctor who made a house call.

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Glady “Kelly” Ellis, left, and George Ellis, MD, right, with the late Tim Russert, their long-time friend.

“Because of that experience, George became enamored of the skills of general practitioners,” says David Draper, associate vice president for advancement at UB, who knew Ellis for many years. “He was very proud of the fact that he was a clinician, and he always described his medical education at UB as superior to other schools, even Ivy League schools, because of the quality of clinical training he received. “He knew that the medical profession was changing and he firmly believed in medical education. From what he told me over the years, I would say that George’s primary motivation was to ensure that the Jacobs School continue providing its students with clinical training that is equal or superior to what he received.” “George and Kelly Ellis posted office hours but the hours didn’t really matter,” Draper further recalls. “They never turned people


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away, even if they couldn’t pay. He was focused on the fact that his life was dedicated to the health and well being of the community he served—he really embraced the Hippocratic oath.” Despite their busy practice, the Ellises remained highly engaged with UB, traveling to Buffalo for all of George’s class reunions with the exception of 2011, when due to his failing health he was unable to attend. “George was the glue that kept the Class of 1945 together,” notes Draper. “He remembered every one of his classmates and was in regular communication with many of them throughout his professional life and well into retirement.” In addition, Ellis served UB in various volunteer capacities and was a long-term member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Jacobs School.

WHAT WAS BEST FOR HIS PATIENTS Wendy Irving, assistant vice president for gift planning at UB, who also knew the Ellises for many years, says, “George was a simple man in that he was truly philanthropic. He

“It will be years—maybe even decades—before we fully realize the impact of Dr. Ellis’s generosity . . . It ensures that we can continue hiring top physicianscientists to teach and perform groundbreaking research in our school.” MICHAEL E. CAIN, MD, VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH SCIENCES AND DEAN

didn’t want recognition. It wasn’t important to him. He had an opportunity to say how the larger portion of the gift would be used, and he chose not to.” Irving saw firsthand what was important to Ellis when she visited him and Kelly and they would have lunch at a local restaurant. “People would come up to us and tell about how George was their doctor, their parents’ doctor and their children and grandchildren’s doctor,” Irving says. “This was a rural community, and he really wanted what was best for his patients. Over the years, he worked to recruit other doctors to the community.”

Eric Alcott, associate vice president for advancement for health sciences and senior associate dean of medical advancement at UB, who knew Ellis for decades, says, “Ultimately, the amount of his gift and recognition for it was not what he focused on. He loved UB, and from the early 1940s on, he never lost sight of his goal to give back. I don’t think he knew that he would be supporting the Jacobs School to the extent that he is. But his time here was an experience he cherished, and he gave back from his heart.”

NOT ALONE IN HIS GRATITUDE The following is excerpted from an article on the Class of 1945 published in the Summer 2005 issue of Buffalo Physician magazine, written by Nicole Peradotto. When the Class of 1945 traded their khakis and navy blues for caps and gowns on June 23, the war was winding down. Victory in Europe Day had taken place on May 8, while Japan would surrender on August 11. Graduation day marked a major milestone in both their medical and military careers. Upon receiving their diplomas, the army enlistees were discharged as privates and commissioned as first lieutenants in the medical corps. Soon thereafter, they were called into active duty. “There was a period of a couple of weeks there where we thought, ‘Well, the war’s over and we’ll be able to go ahead with residencies or the start of practice or whatnot,’” says George Ellis, MD ’45. “But then it was decided that since we had been subsidized through school, we had a service obligation after the war, which we indeed did. I had to agree with that.” . . . . Since graduation, Ellis has served as unofficial secretary for his class, keeping its members current on each others’ lives with detailed, humorous, handwritten letters He’s not alone in his gratitude. It seems to have permeated the Class of 1945. In addition to being known for their strong ties to each other and their robust attendance at class reunions, they have established themselves as some of the most generous and consistent donors to the school. “I think we were all kind of grateful because here we were being allowed to continue with our ambition and there was a war going on,” says Ellis. “So, we felt privileged.” George Ellis speaking at his 55th reunion in 2000

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Photo by Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

UB medical students enjoying the downtown campus. From left are: Andrew Fink, Khusbu Patel, Brendan Plotke, Bobby Finley and Nazeela Tanweer, and Plotke’s girlfriend, Shannon Baxter (center). Buildings pictured in the background are the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Conventus; and Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s Hospital and Buffalo General Medical Center.

A Bold, New Approach Takes Root


UB and its hospital and research partners are transforming our region’s health care


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Medicine has become so complicated, so fast moving, that individual physicians and researchers working in isolation cannot hope to keep pace. New discoveries, procedures and techniques coming at breakneck speed and of nearly unfathomable complexity make it impossible for a single person to comprehend and keep abreast of it all. The only way to make the breadth of new medical knowledge useful—and to create more of it—is through teamwork, and the operational tool to foster that cooperation is the academic health center. The term refers to the convergence of hospitals, medical schools and research centers, where brilliant minds, state-ofthe-art technology and shared goals combine to advance medical science. With the opening of the new home for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in January, Buffalo brought together the components of its medical community and solidified its standing among the nation’s top academic health centers. The pieces of the center have been here for years, but the coalescing of institutions on or near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has created a place where physicians, biomedical scientists and other health care professionals and students work and learn together. And the prospects could be limitless.

BEAUTY AND FUNCTION The institutions on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, in addition to the Jacobs School, include Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center, Gates Vascular Institute and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and the Institute for Healthcare Informatics; Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute; Buffalo Medical Group; and the Jacobs Institute, as well as nearly 150 public and private area companies. Twelve of the 18 UBMD practices and many other campus partners are housed in the Conventus Center for Collaborative Medicine. While all of the key partners in health and education, as well as others, have been in Buffalo for years, they needed to be located on one campus to magnify their potential and create a critical mass of scientific and medical talent. This includes the latest addition, the 172-year-old Jacobs School. Entering the new medical school building for the first time inspires awe. A six-story atrium surrounded by interior glass walls and illuminated by sky lights welcomes visitors and imbues a sense of openness. The atrium is crossed by bridges and lined with staircases, inviting those inside to move about. “This building—like UB’s Clinical Translational Science Institute—was designed to generate ‘collisions,’ and it works,” says Roseanne Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education and associate professor of family medicine. “You can see from level to level, from the bridges to the walkways around the building. Chance

encounters with people happen frequently. They can be social but often are efficient ways to address issues on your to-do list or explore a new idea.” The proximity of students and residents to scientists also triggers thoughts about research, explains Berger. “It’s easier to contribute to work in the labs of senior scientists that are geographically close to clinical training sites.” Research and discovery are a hallmark of academic health centers, Berger adds. “Faculty at academic health centers inculcate their students with excitement about the value of contributing new knowledge to patient care. This emphasis establishes lifelong patterns of behavior in future clinicians and scientists.”

CRITICAL MASS OF EXPERTISE All providers of health care, as well as students in these fields—medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and public health, to name a few—gain access and gravitas by their close association. “It really embeds in one location all the health care professionals who need to be working in a multidisciplinary way to care for the patients,” says Teresa Quattrin, MD, UB Distinguished Professor, chair emeritus of pediatrics and inaugural senior associate dean for research integration. The growth of the medical campus began years ago, but the relocation of the Jacobs School was “the lynch pin,” Quattrin adds. “The school’s role is catalytic because it is now in close proximity to the larger tertiary centers for adult, elder and pediatric care. Data indicate that synergy between a health system and the teaching, research and innovation provided by a medical school results in the best care,” she explains. “In an academic health center, we work on a lot of new discoveries and also on clinical trials, so patients who receive care in an academic health center have access to these advanced programs, studies, drugs and technologies earlier than patients at other hospitals.” Talent attracts talent, and the gathering of institutions with differing areas of expertise also creates the ability to optimally address the broadest range of complicated health care scenarios. “An academic health center provides breadth and as well as depth, in terms of the clinical expertise that it has,” says neurosurgeon Kevin Gibbons, MD, senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the Jacobs School and executive director of UB Associates/UBMD Physicians Group. “We can indeed deal effectively with just about any health care problem that a patient and his or her family faces.”

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Photo by Joe Cascio

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus partners, from left: Candace Johnson, PhD; Michael E. Cain; MD, Kevin Gibbons, MD; Mathew Enstice and Jody Lomeo.

MEDICAL SCHOOL’S UNIQUE ROLE The Jacobs School brings 180 new students a year downtown, for a total enrollment of 720 medical students at any given time by 2021. Add to that the 800 residents and fellows, 812 faculty and 2,000 staff, and the impact on the city’s revival is readily apparent. But the 172-year-old Jacobs School has a more existential impact on the medical campus. It is, in some ways, the wellspring of talent and inspiration that makes the entire constellation possible. “If Buffalo didn’t have a medical school, I don’t think you would see an Oishei Children’s Hospital,” Gibbons says. “I don’t think you would see a Gates Vascular Institute attached to Buffalo General Medical Center. Would you still have a Buffalo General here? Probably, but you wouldn’t have a Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. You would not have all the things you see here if it weren’t for the fact that Western New York has its own Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.” The reason for that goes to one of the basic tenets of medicine—to assure that the next generation of physicians and biomedical scientists are optimally educated and trained. “You would not have the interest and the dedication


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and the level of individual expertise involved in patient care and research without the ability to educate the next generation,” Gibbons says. “When you’re a researcher or clinician, your legacy is the next generation that you train. And if we did not have that, I don’t think you’d see this medical campus.”

HISTORIC JOURNEY The road to Buffalo’s consolidation of its academic health center has not been smooth or easy. Generations of leaders put their shoulders to the stone and pushed, sometimes getting movement, but often seeming to struggle in vain. “It’s really been a group of individuals. Different people have stepped up at different times to make this happen,” says Gibbons, who has been practicing neurosurgery in Buffalo for more than 30 years. “The original Kaleida merger in 1998 was quite controversial, but it brought together the three main hospital systems at the time: the Millard system and the Buffalo General system, which was Buffalo General/Degraff Memorial, and then Children’s was the third. And then the consolidation. The closure of Millard Fillmore Gates, although very difficult, allowed this to happen,” he says, gesturing to the medical campus outside his office window.

“From today’s perspective, it’s certainly the best possible outcome that we could have hoped for—a top flight academic health center.” KEVIN GIBBONS, MD, SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR CLINICAL AFFAIRS

Photo by Sandra Kicman

After the Berger Commission in 2006 ordered the merging and restructuring of more than 50 hospitals and nursing homes across the state, triggering outcry and lawsuits, UB, Kaleida and Erie County Medical Center came together to create a team approach to clinical care, research and teaching. That same year, Michael E. Cain, MD, was named dean of the Jacobs School, and he had a transformative plan. Cain came from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the medical school is positioned beside its teaching hospital, and he knew that was the model for Buffalo. In 2009, at a UB leadership retreat, Cain unveiled his vision for a unified medical campus. “I said that we needed to build a new medical school and we should move it downtown; if we don’t, the future of the medical school could be compromised. If we can’t attract people here and be competitive for programs that require integration and adjacent facilities, over time we are going to lose our edge,” he recalls. The message was well received, and following a meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the New York State Senate and House at which several Buffalo leaders supported the idea, the goal was embraced and planning got underway. The Jacobs School now stands as the focal point of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the effect of which is amplified by UB’s other health-sciences schools. “The advantage of UB having four other health science schools—in addition to the medical school—is that we have all the components needed for interprofessional education, with medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health and pharmacy,” Cain says. “Across the country, the trend in health care is toward this notion of team medicine: use a nurse, a doctor, a dentist, a pharmacist, and an occupational therapist to form an integrated team. Yet you will never achieve this integrated care in practice unless you first have interprofessional education.” The fact that a large number of Jacobs School professors hold appointments in UB’s affiliated hospitals and research facilities—many in leadership positions—establishes a symbiotic relationship between the institutions, and is part of a design to help them evolve together. “The perfect academic health center is one where hospital leadership wakes up every day and says, ‘The

Roseanne Berger, MD

best thing for this hospital is a strong medical school,’” Cain says. “And we want our faculty to wake up every day and say, ‘The best thing for our medical school are strong affiliated hospitals.’ “The second part of this reciprocal relationship is that we want to train future doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and public health professionals who are inspired to emulate the people who trained them,” Cain adds. “We want them to have teachers and mentors whom they look at and say, ‘As I move forward in my career, I want to be just like that person.’”

BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME In 2002, when Matt Enstice helped found the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. in partnership with community leaders and neighborhood stakeholders, the campus included Buffalo General Hospital, the old Hauptman Woodward Research Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo Medical Group, Buffalo Hearing and Speech, and the Olmsted Center for Sight, all of which remain there today. “At the time, there were four and a half million square feet of space on the BNMC,” recalls Enstice, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. “We now have nine million square feet. “In 2006, it really took off when Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute, UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Roswell Park’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology

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“The school’s role is catalytic because it is now in close proximity to the larger tertiary centers for adult, elder and pediatric care.” TERESA QUATTRIN, MD, UB DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

Photo by Sandra Kicman


Teresa Quattrin, MD

were built as a collaboration among those partners.” Those developments were followed by construction of the Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical Translational Science Institute facility, jointly built by Kaleida and UB; the Conventus building; Roswell Park’s Clinical Sciences Center; the Oishei Children’s Hospital, and, finally, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “I would say that there were times when it could have been delayed or thrown off track or maybe stopped altogether,” Gibbons says of the medical campus. “From today’s perspective, it’s certainly the best possible outcome that we could have hoped for—a top flight academic health center.”


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The academic health center’s impact on patient care, education and the advancement of science will be felt for decades. But its powerful transformative impact on Buffalo and Western New York could be just as great. As the breadth and depth of the institutions on the campus increase, opportunities to have challenging and satisfying careers also increase. “I think this new medical school building—and the growth it is spawning in Buffalo—will make people say this is really a good place to stay after training,” Berger says. “We’re seeing graduates return for career opportunities and to be part of the Buffalo Renaissance. It’s a fun time to be here!” Attracting and keeping young people is the bottom line for community growth. “When you look at the data, you start to see that a lot of those students and faculty actually live in downtown Buffalo, and I think that’s going to shift more and more,” Enstice observes. “I think students are what make cities vibrant and successful.” The academic health center is also attractive to technology, biotech and health-related companies, a growing piece of the regional economy, Enstice notes. Companies inquire regularly about what is happening in Buffalo, and he and his team continue to support the evergrowing needs of the innovation district that has evolved on the campus. And for a city working to attract and retain all sorts of companies, having an academic health center is a big plus. As Gibbons puts it, “You want to be very close at hand to that care.” Quattrin has been in Buffalo since completing a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology in 1989. In 1990 she was named director of the Diabetes Center at the thenWomen and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. During the years when nothing seemed to be changing in the medical community, she would get calls from colleagues seeking to lure her away. “‘You should come and look here. What are you doing in Buffalo?’” she recalls them saying. “Well, I recently had a conversation with a colleague in a well-known medical center who said, ‘I guess you were right. You called it right. You have just a wonderful academic health center there, and you were right to stay.’ And I said, ‘Yes, I was right.’”

Meet three Jacobs School faculty whose research, advanced patient care and teaching exemplify what is taking place on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.


After earning her medical degree from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1989, Kara M. Kelly trained in pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and completed fellowships in pediatric hematology/ oncology at UPenn and at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England. She then returned to New York City, her hometown, where she worked for almost two decades at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. So what would bring her back to Buffalo? “It was really the opportunity here,” says Kelly, who serves as professor of oncology and Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics at UB. She was appointed to lead and expand a collaborative pediatric oncology/ hematology program involving Roswell Park, Kaleida Health and UB. “It’s a rather unique program of its kind in the nation,” says Kelly, who also serves as program director of hematology/oncology at Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s Hospital. There are other places where hospitals and medical schools cooperate, she explains, but here the entities have committed to work together and share responsibilities as part of an integrated program. “My predecessor was hired by Roswell Park, but I was hired by Roswell, Kaleida and the University at Buffalo.” Consolidating and strengthening pediatric cancer programs makes sense because childhood cancer is fairly rare, with fewer than 15,000 cases in the U.S. each year. The largest childhood cancer collaborative is the Children’s Oncology Group, a national organization funded by the National Cancer Institute. Kelly serves as the chair of the organization’s Hodgkin Lymphoma Committee. “Going back to the 1960s, collaborative research networks have been developed to run clinical trials in rare populations,” Kelly says. “And pediatric cancer has been the poster child for that. We took a disease like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, where the vast majority of children in the 1960s died from the disease, to today, where we’re curing over 90 percent. That was achieved through these collaborative trials.” The partnership in Buffalo is already leading to more clinical trials, which bring the latest therapies to area patients. Kelly also conducts research in integrative medicine, which involves a wide range of therapies, such as

Photo courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center


Kara Kelly, MD, with patient

acupuncture, acupressure and aromatherapy. “My interest in this was driven by my patients and their families, who asked about options to help them deal with chemotherapy. When I looked in the literature, there was very little information to serve as a guide, so that’s what set me on a path to developing a research program.” Kelly says she felt an energy on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus when she interviewed over two years ago—and it remains today. “There is an optimism here and a real belief that this is a new day. There are a lot of opportunities now that weren’t here in the 1980s when I was a medical student.”

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Photo by Douglas Levere

Vijay Iyer, MD, PhD, performs some of the most advanced cardiac procedures in the world, including replacing valves using catheters inserted in a patient’s leg and threaded to the heart. He says it is because of the teamwork among surgeons and researchers at Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute (GVI), a UB-affiliated teaching hospital, that Buffalo has one of the top 30 transcatheter aortic valve replacement programs in the country. “The GVI allows us to do a lot of things that are synergistic,” Iyer says. “Since 2012, our approach has become one that other people want to replicate. We have

Vijay Iyer, MD, PhD


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a working, living model of how medicine needs to be developed over the next 20 to 30 years.” A clinical associate professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Iyer has seen it all develop, from the ground up. He completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at the Jacobs School in 2003, went to the University of Minnesota for an interventional cardiology fellowship and returned to Buffalo in 2009, just before the GVI was built. The GVI, located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, focuses on advanced care for all aspects of cardiac and vascular medicine. It has proved an ideal environment for continuing the groundbreaking work done in recent decades by Jacobs School neurosurgeons, who pioneered endovascular neurosurgery and who have trained a new generation of neurosurgeon leaders skilled in catheter-based technology for minimally invasive neurosurgery. The collaboration between doctors and researchers at the GVI has accelerated progress on all fronts of vascular medicine. For example, Iyer recalls a conversation in the cafeteria with Adnan Siddiqui, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery in the Jacobs School, who was having trouble reducing the blood pressure in a brain artery. Iyer explained how heart surgeons do it—by raising the heart rate to 180 beats per minute, which prevents the ventricle from filling completely. “And since then, we have done several procedures together,” Iyer says. Western New York has a high rate of cardiovascular disease and strokes, which makes the work at the GVI crucial for the region, notes Iyer. (Iyer serves as chair of the local chapter of the American Heart Association.) “Maybe it’s because of our diets and our genetics. But what we are doing here is fixing something that is broken, and this includes our reaching out to the community to educate people about diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.” The excitement of being on the forward edge of medicine makes the occasional 15-hour day manageable for Iyer. “In a setting like this, the thing that really elevates your work above standard care is that you are constantly innovating. If an institution says, ‘We’re really very good,’ it’s dead. You have to say to yourself, ‘We could do better. We’ve got to constantly innovate.’”


Anthony Martinez, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, gets Buffalo. He really gets it. When he was recruited here from the University of California, San Diego six years ago, he rented an apartment for a week before his interview. It was January, and he wanted to get the vibe of the city. He sat in coffee houses, read the newspaper and watched how Buffalonians live. And he liked what he found. “I was walking down Main Street just thinking to myself, ‘There’s this energy here,’” he recalls. “It was two degrees outside and the restaurants were full. People were not fazed by it. There was an undercurrent that something was going to happen in this place, and I knew I had to be a part of that.” Six years later, Martinez’s research into reaching and treating vulnerable populations for liver disease and addictions is drawing international attention. “Our approach to getting referrals from community providers is kind of the opposite of how academic health centers usually do it,” he says. “We know who these patients are and we know where they’re at, so we go to them. We reach out to the community providers and build relationships to facilitate referrals. We also understand there are a lot of barriers to prevent this population from coming to us, so we utilize members of our team to overcome these barriers.” Reaching patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become more critical during the opioid crisis, because the disease—which is curable—is spreading. “We’re looking at strategies to eliminate hepatitis C, but in order to eliminate it you really have to treat the patients who have it and who are spreading the infection. So the interest in this model as an outreach approach is strong.” Martinez, a native of Providence, R.I., has presented at conferences and conducted grand rounds around the country. Recently, he was featured in a video by the European Liver Association. His team’s approach to treating patients with HCV is being tried in 25 places in the U.S. Because different state laws and regulations impact how outreach programs operate, Martinez has designed a comprehensive toolbox of methods that communities can adapt for their needs. Martinez says his community-based research has been helped tremendously by the welcome he has received in Buffalo—an openness that is benefiting all types of studies going on at UB.

Photo by Douglas Levere


Anthony Martinez, MD, and patient in the Liver Clinic at Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General Medical Center

“Something people don’t really understand about the University at Buffalo is the sheer volume of talent that’s here. When I got here, I was stunned by the talent pool. It’s incredible. People are doing work that is absolutely mindbending, in every discipline. “We recruit talent every day,” he says, “and I explain to people that right now is the time, because in five years, you’re going to compete more to come here.”

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When breast cancer struck a beloved basketball coach at her daughter’s school, Elizabeth Repasky, PhD ’81, showed her family’s concern with the gift of an electric blanket. The meaning of the gift ran deeper than the affection for a dedicated mentor. Like many cancer patients, the coach had experienced an uncomfortable sense of coldness after treatment. “Cancer patients often seem unable to address that chilled feeling,” says Repasky, the Dr. William Huebsch Professor in Immunology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Questioning what that might mean, Repasky began investigating. “My daughter’s coach was one of those people whose symptoms of ‘feeling cold’ really drove me to try to see if this was a symptom we could model in the laboratory,” she says. Now, with a team of graduate students, post docs and colleagues, Repasky has uncovered striking discoveries that have spurred new clinical trials. People, like all mammals, expend an enormous amount of energy maintaining a constant body temperature. But sometimes that stability falters. Infection and illness cause fevers that set off fits of shivering, which give us the feeling of being cold. In contrast, when exercise or hot ambient temperatures raise body temperatures, physiological responses—dilated blood vessels and sweat—work to cool us down.

A Career in Thermal Medicine Repasky has been interested in temperature regulation and the immune system for many years. As an undergraduate biology major at Seton Hill College (now Seton Hill University), she was inspired by biology professor Sr. Ann Infanger and thought she might become an ecologist. But a summer internship at Roswell Park shifted her focus to cell biology. “I worked in a laboratory learning electron microscopy and came away really loving Buffalo and research,” says Repasky, a native of western Pennsylvania. After graduating from Seton Hill in 1976, Repasky began graduate work at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where she studied with Barry Eckert, MD, in the Department of Anatomical Sciences. “What I appreciate most about my training was that it gave me a very broad background, something that is not so common these days,” she explains. “My graduate coursework trained me very broadly in the medical sciences of anatomy and physiology, histology, hematology and cell biology. And the chair of our program, Harold Brody, was a consummate teacher. He made sure that all of the graduate students in our program taught each


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semester, so teaching and mentoring were really a major part of my experience at UB.” One of those graduate students, Bonnie Hylander, PhD ’82, later joined the Repasky lab, and together they have brought their shared inspiration and broad training from the Jacobs School to the field of tumor immunology. While at UB, Repasky met John Subjeck, who was studying heat shock proteins at Roswell Park and who would eventually become her husband and colleague. (Subjeck is currently professor emeritus of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park.) Together, they compared notes on the body’s different responses to heat—the molecular level for him, the physiological level for her. Those conversations, coupled with her postdoctoral training in cell biology and immune cells, inspired Repasky to build her research career in the field of thermal medicine.

Pivotal Study Leads to Clinical Trials After earning her PhD in 1981, Repasky completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology with Elias Lazarides, PhD, at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. She then joined the Roswell Park faculty in 1983. Early in Repasky’s career, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation provided important funding. “Those early grants allowed me to obtain preliminary data on some projects which were definitely out of the mainstream in those days, such as the impact of fever-range hyperthermia, and the meaning of body temperature in control of immunity and tumor growth,” she says. Results from those studies set the stage for 25 years of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which continues today. She recently received confirmation that a new NIH grant will fund her work for the next five years. In 2013, Repasky and her graduate student Kathleen Kokolus published a pivotal study. They knew that the immune system behaved differently depending on temperature. How might temperature affect tumor growth? In the study, cancerous mice were kept at two different temperatures: the standard lab temperature just under 72oF and a warmer temperature of 86oF. Then, immune response and tumor size were compared. “The results were astonishing,” says Repasky, who has authored or co-authored 179 peer-reviewed publications. The cold suppressed the immune systems of mice, and their tumors grew aggressively. Warm mice had more beneficial immune cells, fewer cells suppressing the immune system, and smaller tumors. Working with Hylander and Repasky, another UB/Roswell Park graduate student, MD/PhD candidate Jason Eng, went on to demonstrate that in

Photo courtesy of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, left, in her Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center laboratory with her team, from left: Minhui Chen, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; Hemn Mohammadpour, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; Guanxi Qiao, graduate student; Cameron McDonald, UB Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program; Heather McDonald, graduate student; Elena Nicholson, college intern; Claire Hejaily, high school intern; and Bonnie Hylander, PhD ’82, Roswell Park research scientist.

cold-stressed mice, cancer therapies failed to work efficiently. “That was our wake-up call to figure out the relationship between stress and the immune response.” Feeling cold, it turns out, is a convenient and quantifiable model for stress. The same nerves that transmit the feeling of cold also transmit fear, depression, anxiety and pain—feelings that are related to the production of the stress hormone norepinephrine, which can suppress the immune response. “People suspected for a long time that mild chronic stress might negatively affect the immune system,” Respasky says. “And the newest data strongly supports that even mild stress, if it’s sustained, suppresses the immune system and allows tumors to grow.” This insight launched new clinical trials, now underway. In one, Repasky works with a clinical collaborator, Anurag Singh, MD, professor of oncology in the Department of Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park and professor of medicine at the Jacobs School, to test the impact of mild warming therapy on increasing blood flow to a tumor, which is expected to enhance the efficacy of radiation therapy. In another, Repasky and Marc Ernstoff, MD, the Katherine Anne Gioia Chair of Medicine at Roswell Park and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Jacobs School, are combining beta-blockers, a common blood pressure medication with cancer immunotherapies in a clinical trial that is based on laboratory studies completed by Repasky’s MD/PhD student Mark Bucsek. Similar studies for breast and pancreatic cancer patients are in development. “Roswell is the first center in the world to test a stress-reduction drug in combination with cancer immunotherapy,” Repasky notes.

Repasky is also continuing to study “feeling cold” itself, collaborating with Chi-Chen Hong, PhD, associate professor of oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park, to investigate why so many people begin to feel cold after a cancer diagnosis. “Our hypothesis is that the energy needed for an effective immune response competes with the energy needed for staying warm enough, causing a signal to the brain to conserve body heat by adding clothing or turning up the thermostat,” Repasky explains.

Chronic Stress Is Detrimental to Health “For me personally, I’m inspired that some of our lab work is leading to new clinical trials,” says Repasky, who has received several notable awards in her career, including the 2015 J. Eugene Robinson Award from the Society of Thermal Medicine, the Thomas B. Tomasi “Hope” Award from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, and the Roswell Park Excellence in Mentorship Award. Repasky has served as major advisor to 21 doctoral students, 12 postdoctoral fellows and more than 40 master’s students and summer interns. Currently, she also serves as program leader for the Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies Program at Roswell Park. While she awaits the results of the clinical trials, Repasky does not hesitate to share what is already known: chronic stress is detrimental to health. At a recent Mini Medical School presentation at the Jacobs School, she emphasized the importance of reducing stress, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. “Chronic stress is much worse than I thought,” she says. (And she’s taken her own findings to heart, starting with Tai Chi classes at the YMCA.)

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A Selfless Teacher with a Memorable Style Murray Ettinger, PhD, retires after 48 years, but his lore lives on



s 2017 came to a close, Murray Ettinger, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biochemistry, drew the curtain on a 48-year career at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, ending his tenure as one of the school’s most respected and memorable teachers.

The reference to his exiting a stage is apt, as Ettinger, 80, was most at home in Butler Auditorium—his stage—where his animated teaching style, thick mane of gray hair and Philadelphia accent were a mainstay. COLLAGEN SUPERSTAR “If Murray lectured on proteins or DNA, he brought in simple materials—for example, coiled telephone wire—and built structures in front of the students. They got a kick out of it,” says Daniel J. Kosman, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry. “Murray also had a style of speaking that his students knew and I’m sure will always remember: If he thought something was important, he would repeat it three times. He was a legend in his own time.” Mark R. O’Brian, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry, agrees that Ettinger’s playful enthusiasm is legendary. “Murray would attach colorful names to biological proteins to help students think about and remember them. Some of his phrases became a kind of folklore around the department, like ‘collagen superstar’ or ‘hemoglobin the magnificent.’” Ettinger, whose shirt pocket would often be stuffed with index cards to scribble notes on, says he tried whatever he thought would work to open his students’ minds to the wonders of science. “I am a performer and a clown at times,” he readily acknowledges.

ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE Ettinger and his wife, Pepy, never expected to stay long in Buffalo when they arrived here in the fall of 1969 after having moved every


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couple of years prior to that. Nor did they expect to raise two children in Buffalo. “I enjoyed every minute of it,” Ettinger says of his time at UB. “I appreciate to this day that I was given free rein to do within reason whatever I wanted to in teaching and research. It allowed me to do my best in both areas.” A native of Philadelphia, Ettinger earned his PhD in pharmacology at Drexel University College of Medicine. More interested in chemical mechanism than classic pharmacology, he discovered his true calling when he heard a speaker talk about enzyme kinetics and protein mechanisms. These became primary areas of interest when he served postdoctoral fellowships at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Brandeis University. Ettinger came to UB as a physical biochemist, and early in his career studied diseases tied to defects related to copper metabolism. Later, he specialized in protein chemistry and the many roles proteins perform in the human body. “There was an explosion of knowledge and understanding about proteins while I was developing my interest,” he says. Ettinger’s broad background in biology, physical biochemistry, mechanisms of enzymes and physical chemistry and his exposure to different approaches and experiences served him well, he notes. “It made me fearless about trying new things, and that kept things exciting and interesting for me.”

Photo by Douglas Levere

Celebrating graduation with Murray Ettinger, PhD, center, are members of the Class of 2018, from left to right: Kelsey Monteith, MD; Jose Baez, MD; Sara Gonzalez, MD; Reza Garajehdaghi, MD; and Bryan Bunnell, MD.

WANTED TO HOLD THEIR ATTENTION Ettinger developed his colorful teaching style while lecturing in front of undergraduate, graduate and medical students—especially medical students. “When I taught medical students, I wanted to hold their attention and get them excited and interested,” he says. “That’s why I would call a collagen protein ‘collagen superstar.’ This same protein is more or less able to take care of your body and plays a big role in taking care of your vision. I wanted to wake them up so they would understand how amazing that is. “I often used the phrase ‘the forest for the trees,’” he continues. “I wanted them to see the big picture, because once you understand a subject, you can see what’s really important and critical.” “The forest for the trees” could also have applied to the mounds of books and periodicals that piled up high on Ettinger’s desk. “He had so many journals and books in

his office that you almost couldn’t see him at his desk,” O’Brian says. Ettinger is proud of the 18 students who received doctorates in his lab, some of whom “have contributed to the development of new and revolutionary discoveries.” “I never had a student who didn’t finish the PhD program,” he adds. Ettinger introduced a small group, problem-based learning approach to medical education that was student-driven. He also developed a teaching-learning style for senior undergraduates that relied on the discussion of current research articles.

GENUINE INTEREST IN HELPING STUDENTS Gerald B. Koudelka, PhD ’84, associate dean for research and sponsored programs in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences, says he owes a debt to Ettinger, whom he studied under. “It’s because of Murray that I learned to think critically and to have the confidence to think independently.

“Murray modeled behavior that I have tried to emulate as a faculty member,” adds Koudelka, who also is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “The tremendous affection students had for him came from the genuine interest he had in helping them grow and do the best they could.” Many times, students chose Ettinger as the winner of, or runner-up, for the Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Award for Excellence in Teaching. Grover Waldrop, PhD ’88, professor of biochemistry at Louisiana State University, says Ettinger was his mentor when he was a PhD student in the Jacobs School. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Dr. Ettinger,” he explains. “He knew what was better for me more than I did, and he had my best interests at heart all the time. He was selfless, and students knew that and appreciated him for it. It was never about him. It was about helping students achieve their goals and be successful.”

The Murray J. Ettinger PhD Student Emergency Fund has been established as a tribute to Ettinger and his dedication to students. The fund will provide assistance to students in the Jacobs School who are experiencing an unforeseen hardship that may impact their ability to continue their studies. To make a gift to the fund and leave a message in Ettinger’s honor, visit: giving.buffalo.edu/giveto/9333860125 FALL 2018





Photo courtesy of United Hospital Fund

Robert J. Gore, MD ’02, recognized for his anti-violence work with youth

Robert Gore, MD

A 22

hmed Elsayed would not be a medical student at Brown University if it weren’t for his mentor, Robert J. Gore, MD ’02, an emergency department physician at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and NYC Health + Hospitals/ Kings County in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Gore is founder and executive director of Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI), an innovative hospital, school and community-based violence intervention program that provides case management and “wrap-around” services to patients who have been injured due to violence, with the goal being to prevent recurrent injuries and retaliation. It is through KAVI that Elsayed met Gore and began seeing things he had never seen before. Throughout his life, Elsayed had gone to schools with predominantly black and Hispanic students, so Gore and his all-volunteer staff of mostly non-white medical students were a revelation. “I saw a bunch of black professionals, and that was very powerful. Being exposed to excellence with people who look like you makes you believe you can be like that, too.” Elsayed developed a close relationship with Gore and spent hours shadowing him in the ER. “I fell in love with emergency medicine when I was with him, and it went far beyond just the medical component,” he says. “It had to do with the approach he took in talking to people, whether it be his patients, security guards or janitorial staff. Dr. Gore really shaped how I defined medicine, and what kind of physician I want to be.” In 2017, the United Hospital Fund in New York City awarded Gore its Distinguished Community Service Award for founding KAVI. His anti-violence work with youth has brought him national recognition as a leader in violence intervention. Gore, who serves as a clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at SUNY Downstate, has been named to the Class of 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholars, a partnership of the presidential centers of

George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson that focuses on leadership and development, to help its scholars more effectively address societal challenges. “We’re exceptionally proud of Dr. Gore for this very significant honor,” says Wayne J. Riley, MD, president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “Being named among the 2018 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars is a testament to leadership excellence and the embodiment of community. He serves as a role model for health care professionals and young people seeking inspiration.”

WHAT HIS PARENTS RAISED HIM TO DO Gore has put himself on the medical front lines since graduating from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2002. In Brooklyn, he is the founding director of the Minority Medical Student Emergency Medicine Summer Fellowship, a leadership program focused on project development and early emergency medicine exposure. Gore has been to Haiti more than a dozen times to help train medical professionals in first aid and emergency response. In the past 17 years, he has also worked in South America, the Caribbean and East Africa, and lectured throughout South America, Asia and the Caribbean, as well as the United States. If it sounds like a lot, the 42-year-old physician says it’s what his parents raised him to do. His father, who works in media production, is an activist; and his mother is a school teacher. He says they pointed him in the direction of not just self-betterment, but collective improvement, too. “A common theme around the dinner table when I was growing up was, ‘If there’s a problem, how are you going to fix it?,’” Gore recalls. “I learned that you go to protest marches, you do voter registration, you volunteer, you tutor, you mentor. I don’t know if I’ve ever not done that. Activism and engagement are what I know.”

A FOUNDATION IN EDUCATION Gore is a sixth-generation Buffalonian, and the third to graduate from the University at Buffalo. Benjamin Taylor, his great-great-great grandfather and an abolitionist, was the first black doctor to practice in Buffalo back in the 1880s. Gore’s grandmother, Ora Curry, was the first black teacher at Bennett High School. But Gore wasn’t in Buffalo long. When he was four, his family moved to Brooklyn, where he lived in apartment buildings in Fort Green and Flatbush and where education and enrichment were constants in his life. He learned to play piano and saxophone and attended Pratt Institute summer camps every year from ages 10 to 14, studying architecture, engineering design and music. “I spent a lot of my childhood on academic campuses,” he says.

Gore also was a Boy Scout, where the concepts of service and community engagement were reinforced and leadership development fostered. “I started learning how to teach and run teams and engage people,” he explains. “All of these leadership skills were being developed at an early age. You start seeing yourself in this role you aspire to be.” Gore became interested in medicine as a career after hurting an ankle running cross-country and receiving encouragement from his physician to follow his dreams. “Dr. Answorth Allen, an orthopaedic surgeon, said, ‘If you want to be a doc, we’re going to make sure you get there,’” Gore recalls. “He was the first black doctor I had any major interaction with, and it meant so much to me.” In high school and on summer breaks from college, Gore shadowed Allen. At 15, Gore visited a cousin at Morehouse College, an experience that left an indelible impression on him when his cousin and some of his friends told him that while he could attend undergraduate school anywhere, they expected him “to be a leader” if he came to Morehouse. Their challenge struck a chord with him. “I drank the Kool-Aid,” he says. The historically black college proved to be a supportive environment for the biology pre-med student. He was motivated by the high standards and expectations shared by school administrators and fellow students. “We wanted to make sure that we all got there together. It was almost like when one of us did well, we all did well,” Gore says. UB’s acceptance letter for medical school arrived the day after graduation. He was also accepted by Morehouse School of Medicine and Howard University College of Medicine, but chose UB to be close to family and to be exposed to a different environment, both economically and ethnically. “I’d been in predominantly black and Latino and immigrant environments most of my life, and I thought Buffalo would be a very different challenge,” Gore explains. “I needed to get out of my comfort zone.”

TOP-NOTCH EDUCATION AT UB Gore’s transition to a mostly white school—he was one of three black males in his class, and the only African American—was difficult at first, but he liked the medical school’s accelerated pace. “In the second week, we were already having contact with patients and learning about human dynamics and human nature while learning the basic sciences,” he remembers.

“Dr. Gore really shaped how I defined medicine, and what kind of physician I want to be.” AHMED ELSAYED, MEDICAL STUDENT AT ALPERT MEDICAL SCHOOL, BROWN UNIVERSITY

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Photo courtesy of United Hospital Fund

Robert Gore, MD ’02, speaking at the United Hospital Fund event in New York City in which he was awarded the organization’s 2017 Distinguished Commuity Service Award for founding the Kings Against Violence Initiative, an innovative hospital, school and community-based violence intervention program.

When Gore was in his clinical years, he saw how the Rust Belt’s declining economic status impacted health care. He also saw how poor people’s lack of access to resources, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, negatively impacted their lives. Gore had gone to UB expecting to go into pediatrics. Instead, he was drawn to emergency medicine. “I like the idea of being on the front lines and taking an active role in people’s health care,” he says. “In emergency medicine, we’re trained to deal with almost any possible emergency. If I can’t keep somebody alive, I failed.”


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He also liked the humility he found in the emergency room. “It was the first place I had ever gone where the docs around me would say, ‘Lets go figure it out,’ as opposed to other specialties where doctors had such airs about them. I thought the kind of people doing emergency medicine are my kind of people.” Gore did several rotations at Erie County Medical Center, as well as at Mercy Hospital and Sisters Hospital, where he was born. At the time, he wore dreadlocks, which occasionally elicited amusing responses, he said. “The patients would go, ‘You’re a medical student?’ ‘You’re a

doctor?’ They would want me to meet their kids because of the example I set.” Gore looks back fondly on his time at UB, which included a two-month stint working at a hospital in Kenya. “UB gave me a lot of the tools to help understand and engage with people in the community. My education at Buffalo was topnotch. The medical school was life-changing, and has really impacted what I do beyond just the classroom,” he says. After UB, Gore trained in emergency medicine at Cook County Hospital, where he served as chief resident. “If you were a person of color in Chicago, Cook was the hospital you went to,” he says. Recalling that time, Gore says he was unprepared for the level of violence he saw. “Black or Latino men would come in massacred, sprayed with automatic weapons. You’d think they were coming from war. It was crazy.” Gore contemplated how he could have been raised in a similar environment had his family situation been different. Concerned about what he was seeing all around him, he began researching violence and violence intervention. His immersive study eventually led him to start KAVI. “The biggest thing about Rob is his incredible determination,” says Don Collure, MD ’02, a classmate of Gore’s in medical school and assistant director of the emergency department at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. “KAVI shows how far he has come, and I’m immensely proud of that and everything he has accomplished.” David Milling, MD ’93, associate dean for student and academic affairs at the Jacobs School, is not at all surprised at the upward trajectory of Gore’s career. “Rob was a very independent and focused individual who knew exactly where he was going in medicine,” Milling says. “He came in knowing he was going to be a community-focused individual, and that has not changed. He has done a lot of work with at-risk individuals, especially men of color, in addition to his emergency medicine life, and some international work as well, and I am very proud of him.” “He is a great example of what hard work, perseverance and passion can do,” Milling adds. “He has been a credit to UB, and certainly has made a difference.”

LITTLE THINGS THAT GO A LONG WAY After completing his residency in Chicago, Gore returned home to Brooklyn to serve as an emergency department physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County and to join the faculty at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. In addition, he served for four years as assistant program director for the center’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program. Gore established the Minority Medical Student Emergency Medicine Summer Fellowship in 2009, which he likens to an “emergency medicine boot camp.” The program aims to increase minority medical and pre-medical student support and early exposure to emergency medicine. Over the summer, students participate in emergency medicine

skills labs, shadow emergency department physicians and complete a research project. In 2011, he launched KAVI with like-minded friends and professionals, using his own money. The program began in an old high school that had been divided into smaller schools. The curriculum, based on best practices in violence intervention, explores conflict, prevention, intervention, mediation and restorative justice. Mental health, poor family support systems, coping with loss and other needs are also addressed. “These were kids who had been considered problem kids in school,” Gore recalls. “Some had a history of frequent fighting, were doing poorly in school, or had been involved in gang activity. A lot were just knuckleheads like a lot of teenage guys.” The program began with four males, and within a couple of weeks Gore was being asked by school social workers if more students could take part. “I thought, ‘We’re on to something,’” he says. By the end of the academic year, KAVI had expanded to more than 50 students in the school program and had launched its hospital-based intervention program. In November 2015, Gore and his work with KAVI were featured in a New York Times article titled, “In Fight to Save Young People, Brooklyn Doctor Treats Violence as a Public Health Issue.”

“We’re exceptionally proud of Dr. Gore for this very significant honor. . . . He serves as a role model for health care professionals and young people seeking inspiration.” WAYNE J. RILEY, MD, PRESIDENT OF SUNY DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER

Today, more than 250 kids take part in KAVI, and there are more than 100 hospital clients. Gore hopes to involve additional school districts and incorporate more mental health services in the coming years. The project now draws financial support from a number of funders, including the Fund for Health + Hospitals, the Mayor’s Fund, the Pinkerton Foundation and Brooklyn Community Foundation. This support ensures that for young people like Elsayed, the anti-violence initiative that Gore began and oversees will remain a beacon. “At KAVI, I learned simple things, too, like how to tie a tie,” Elsayed says. “I never owned a tie until KAVI. Something as little as that goes a long way.”

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Photos by Sandra Kicman

Photo by Douglas Levere

“The research funding situation is so uncertain right now that you have to think outside the box.”


Jessica Reynolds, PhD ’04, explores new approaches When Jessica Reynolds began studying the neural effects of antidepressant medications while working on her doctorate in pathology Lori Ferg uson at UB, her knowledge of the immune system expanded. This made her want to understand even more about the immune system—not just how it impacts the brain. During a postdoctoral fellowship in the UB Department of Medicine that focused on immunology, she was introduced to infectious diseases and began studying the neuroimmunological aspects of HIV. When she received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) career development award in nanomedicine, it gave her a new perspective on ways to utilize nanoparticles (microscopic carriers of therapeutics) to treat infectious diseases. “Nanochemists think very differently than biologists, and it was eye-opening,” she recalls with a laugh. Reynolds’ training laid the foundation for her to subsequently author more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and to secure additional NIH research funding in infectious diseases and nanomedicine. Currently an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, her research interests are broad: immunology, infectious disease, and drug delivery using nanotechnology. “The research funding situation is so uncertain right now that you have to think outside the box. But at the end of the day, I’m an immunologist, and for me, S tories by


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finding a cure or better treatment options for HIV is important. I would like to see a cure happen in my lifetime, but it’s a complicated disease, so we’ll see.” At the moment, Reynolds is focused on using nanomedicines to treat HIV as well as co-infection with tuberculosis (TB), which occurs in more than 10 percent of HIV patients. To that end, Reynolds is collaborating with chemistry department colleagues to develop a nanomedicine therapy that harnesses the power of anti-HIV plus anti-TB drugs while simultaneously bolstering a patient’s natural immune system. “The surface of our drug-delivery nanoparticle is treated with an immune system stimulator and specifically targets the macrophage where the pathogen resides.” If these nanoparticles can be perfected, she notes, their usage could potentially reduce the drug dosage required to treat an illness, shorten the treatment duration, mitigate dosedependent toxicity and reduce the emergence of drug resistance. Reynolds has garnered considerable recognition for her research, earning a Young Investigator Travel Award from the Society of NeuroImmune Pharmacology in 2005, an American Society for Nanomedicine Travel Award in 2014, and an Early Career Award from the Society of Personalized Nanomedicine in 2015, among others. She frequently travels to national conferences to present her findings, but says she’s always happy to return to Western New York. “I grew up in Allegany County, so I’m a Western New York native in my heart. I decided to remain here for graduate school, and UB provided me a great foundation. I did both my doctorate and my postdoc here, and I’ve been very successful. I’m in a clinical department, but as a PhD, I get tremendous support for my work. I’m very happy here.”

Photo by Douglas Levere

“I want to effect change, not only in treatment but also in the patient-andfamily journey.”


Dennis Kuo, MD, MHS, a leader in pediatric care When Dennis Kuo, MD, MHS, decided to become a pediatrician, he went in with both eyes open. The son and grandson of pediatricians, Kuo knew what the specialty entailed, and for a time, he thought he might do something different. “I was always attracted to primary care and community health. I wanted to do something to affect lives. My father really pushed me to explore my options, but ultimately I came back to kids.” Today, Kuo affects lives every day in his roles as associate professor at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at UBMD Pediatrics and medical director of Primary Care Services at Kaleida Health’s Oishei Children’s Hospital, a UB teaching affiliate. Prior to coming to Buffalo in 2016, he spent eight years on the pediatrics faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and as an attending physician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Working with children and their families has its own rewards, says Kuo; but more than that, the sense of a shared mission within the community is profound. “When it comes to children, everyone involved wants to do the right thing for the kids, which I love.” Children’s health care has changed dramatically since his grandfather and father were in practice, Kuo observes. In those days, infectious diseases were a primary concern; but today, chronic illnesses are the focus. “Children with special health care needs have complex medical journeys. Their care pathway winds through the

entire health care system. My job is to help them get through the system as effectively as possible.” Currently, Kuo is seeking to gain a comprehensive picture of special-needs children: who they are, what they need and what interventions they require, both within and outside the medical community. “As a pediatrician, I’m familiar with the medical system and can collaborate effectively with community providers,” he explains. He is also researching the screening practices used to identify children with developmental delays and the steps taken to help kids after diagnosis. “I want to effect change, not only in treatment but also in the patient-and-family journey.” The new children’s hospital and its related primary care clinics, Towne Garden Pediatrics and Niagara Street Pediatrics, are tremendous assets in this regard, he says. “These facilities allow us to provide care that’s sensitive to the needs of the community.” Coming to Buffalo was a big opportunity, Kuo says. “I was charged with building a program of integrated care, and I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made. My colleagues are incredible— dedicated, driven and devoted to caring for patients and their families. We’re taking important steps to create a world-class health care system here.” The Westchester County native is also pleased to be back in New York. “I love it, and I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.” And Buffalo, he says, is a great place to raise a family. “The pace is wonderful, the people are welcoming, the quality of life is high and the schools are terrific. There’s a strong commitment here to moving the debate forward on the way we care for our children. It’s a great time to be in New York.” FALL 2018




DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AND VOLUNTEER AWARDS The 2018 Distinguished Alumni and Volunteer Awards for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were presented during Reunion Weekend and Spring Clinical Day. The recipients were honored at a dinner held on May 5 in the Jacobs School. The event, sponsored by the UB Medical Alumni Association in conjunction with the school, was attended by family and friends of the awardees, as well as alumni, faculty and students.


Lynda M. Young, MD ’73, FAAP, has provided pediatric primary care for 34 years in a three-physician independent practice in Worcester, Mass., and is currently continuing her teaching and advocacy work on the local, state and national levels. She also has served as the pediatric ambulatory physician leader at the Children’s Medical Center, UMass Memorial Medical Center, University Campus in Worcester, and as a clinical professor of pediatrics at UMass Medical School. Young has a long and distinguished record of activity in organized medicine. She is a past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), serves as chair of the AAP Committee on Federal Government Affairs and is a past member of the AAP National Nominating Committee. Young was the first woman president of the Worcester District Medical Society. From 2011 to 2012, she served as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and is currently chair of their Committee on Publications. She is a delegate to the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates and serves on their Council on Medical Service. A native of Snyder, N.Y., Young earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at UB and completed her residency at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.


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Thomas J. Colatsky, PhD ’77, is a national leader in biomedical innovation and regulatory science. After receiving his doctorate in physiology at UB, he served a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. He then joined the faculty of Cornell Medical College, where he conducted research on the electrophysiology of the heart. In 1982, Colatsky joined Wyeth Research (now Pfizer) as head of its cardiac arrhythmia drug discovery unit. Over the course of a 17-year career at Wyeth, he rose to become vice president of the Division of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases and later, vice president for scientific evaluation, clinical research and development. In 1999, Colatsky left Wyeth to become executive vice president and chief scientific officer for Physiome Sciences, a start-up company developing computer models of the heart and other biological systems for use as tools in drug development. After overseeing the successful launch of the company, he became senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Icoria, a company focused on biomarker discovery, target validation and predictive toxicology. From 2009 to 2016, Colatsky held numerous leadership positions at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he directed research aimed at improving drug development and the regulatory review process. Colatsky, who was elected an AAAS Fellow in Pharmaceutical Sciences, currently serves as founder and principal consultant for Marshview Life Science Advisors LLC, helping small companies develop new drugs and medical technologies.


David M. Holmes, MD, is a family physician who has devoted his career to working in medically under-resourced communities on Buffalo’s east side and in Haiti and other countries around the world. He co-founded two faith-based, free clinics in Buffalo: Good Neighbors Health Care and the clinic at Cornerstone Manor. Holmes also serves as a clinical associate professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Department of Family Medicine, where he teaches and directs the Global Health Education Program. He and the department received a Templeton Foundation grant to develop a spirituality-in-health-care curriculum for several courses at the Jacobs School. Holmes also conducts research on global health, as well as on the role that faith plays in addiction recovery. In addition, he serves as a mentor and faculty advisor for students and residents engaged in research projects involving global health or addiction medicine. In 2007, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians named Holmes the New York State Family Physician of the Year. Born in Kenya, East Africa, to missionary parents, Holmes was raised on Long Island, N.Y. He earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, and his medical degree at the University of Vermont, after which he completed his residency in family medicine at UB. Holmes and his wife, Lucy, also a physician, liked Buffalo so much they chose to stay and have raised their four children here.


Charles R. Niles, MD ’83, generously volunteers his time, energy and expertise to a variety of endeavors that support academic medicine, education and the medically underserved. A clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Niles is co-founder of Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York, and the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Western New York. An exemplary alumnus and ambassador for UB, Niles played a lead volunteer role in the Build the Vision campaign, serving as co-chair of the Circle of Visionaries giving society. Members of this giving society made gifts of $100,000 or more to the Jacobs School during the campaign. In this key role, Niles identified, engaged and encouraged others to give at this special time in the school’s history, helping to secure numerous leadership gifts from alumni and members of the community. Niles is a past president of the UB Medical Alumni Association, the Buffalo Ophthalmologic Society, the Maimonides Medical Society, and the Kadimah Academy. In addition, he has conducted international mission work with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. A native of Kenmore/Tonawanda, N.Y., Niles earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at UB. After completing his residency in ophthalmology at UB, he served a glaucoma fellowship at the University of Toronto. He was recruited back to Buffalo for a full-time position at the Jacobs School, where he was chief of the glaucoma service, before entering private practice. Niles is a past recipient of the Ophthalmology Residency Teaching Award at the Jacobs School. His wife, Ellen, is a 1982 graduate of the UB School of Management, CEO of Ophthalmology Associates of Western New York and co-chair of the Circle of Visionaries giving society. The couple has three sons: Philip (a local retina specialist), Robert (Harvard JD/MBA, clerk for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, 2019), and Eric (a fourth-year student in the UB School of Dental Medicine).

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Robert Peter Gale, MD ’70, PhD, an internationally renowned hematologist, immunologist, molecular biologist and cancer researcher, received a SUNY honorary doctorate of science at commencement on May 4. A visiting professor of haematology at the Centre for Haematology Research at the Imperial College of London, Gale has dedicated his professional life to unraveling the biology of leukemia and other blood cancers and developing new, more effective therapies. His work related to hematopoietic cell transplants and effects of radiation made him a highly sought-out expert on the medical response to nuclear and radiation accidents, including those at Chernobyl and Fukushima. His recent focus is on preventing and preparing for acts of nuclear terrorism. After earning his medical degree at UB, Gale completed a PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1983, he and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, molecularly cloned the genetic mutation causing a common form of leukemia, which led to the development of a curative drug therapy for a previously fatal disease. In his steadfast commitment to improving people’s lives, Gale has exemplified the values and mission of UB and SUNY throughout his distinguished career. In recognition of his substantial contributions to medical research and in appreciation of his global humanitarian service, UB conferred upon him a 2018 State University of New York Honorary Doctorate of Science.

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) has awarded Nancy Nielsen, MD’76, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy at UB, the Henry I. Fineberg Award for Distinguished Service, its highest honor. The award recognizes physicians in New York State who have been model citizens and notable representatives of the profession and who have provided illustrious, long-term service to medicine and the MSSNY. Nielsen served as president of the American Medical Association (AMA) from 2008 to 2009, the second woman ever elected to that position. She served as president of the Erie County Medical Society and Speaker of the House of Delegates for both the MSSNY and the AMA, becoming in many cases the first woman to hold these and other positions. In 2009, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. The MSSNY cited her “long-standing interest in ethics and the experience of being uninsured” as leading her to be a forceful advocate for the uninsured. She served as a spokesperson for the AMA’s “Voice for the Uninsured” campaign. From 2011 to 2013, she was senior advisor for stakeholder engagement at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. In 2013, Nielsen returned to Buffalo and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to serve as senior associate dean for health policy, the position she currently holds. She also co-chaired the Campaign Steering Committee for the Jacobs School’s Build the Vision Campaign. To learn more about Nielsen and her nontraditional career path, visit https://medicine.buffalo.edu/ and search “MSSNY.”


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Daniel W. Sheehan, MD, PhD ’89, associate dean for medical curriculum and professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, co-chaired an international expert panel that developed new care guidelines for patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The new care considerations were published online in Lancet Neurology on Jan. 23. Sheehan works closely with Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a patient advocacy organization, to disseminate patient and family guides that explain these care considerations. “Implementation of these 2018 multidisciplinary care considerations will greatly improve the quality of life of affected individuals, minimizing morbidity and extending their lives,” Sheehan says. “Multidisciplinary care now can be better standardized so that the efficacy of new therapies can be fully evaluated.” To learn more about Sheehan’s work, visit https://medicine.buffalo.edu/ and search “DMD.”

The New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) presented its Laureate Award to John R. Fudyma, MD ’85, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and associate professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, at its annual meeting in June. The Laureate Award honors members of the ACP who “have demonstrated an abiding commitment of excellence in medical care, education or research, and in service to their community, their region and the ACP.” Fudyma, an internist with UBMD Internal Medicine, has had a varied career, focusing on medical education, quality improvement and patient safety, with a special interest in public health and service to the community. From 2004 to 2008, he served as chief medical officer for Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). He served in the same role with the Seneca Nation Health Department from 2008 to 2011. He completed a master of public health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in 2010, and in 2011, returned full-time to the Department of Medicine as division chief of general internal medicine. He also currently serves as associate medical director at ECMC. He received honorable mention for a 2016 Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Excellence in Teaching Award at the Jacobs School.

IN MEMORIAM JACQUELINE PAROSKI, MD ’49 Former longtime chief of pediatrics and chief of medicine at DeGraff Memorial Hospital, pediatrician, teacher and trailblazer for women in medicine, died October 7, 2017. She was 91.

ALVIN VOLKMAN, MD ’51 Academic physician-leader and distinguished pathologist, died April 11, 2018. He was 91.

EDMOND J. GICEWICZ, MD ’56 Physician, athlete, and one of UB’s most loyal supporters, died March 28, 2018. He was 89.

To read full obituaries, visit medicine.buffalo.edu/alumni.html and click on Get Connected / Classnotes by Decade / In Memoriam.

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Eric Alcott is associate vice president for advancement for health sciences at UB and senior associate dean of advancement for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He recently led the successful $200 million Build the Vision campaign in support of the Jacobs School. This spring, the University at Buffalo launched Boldly Buffalo: The Campaign for UB, which seeks to raise $650 million to deliver transformative changes for the university (see article, opposite). In addition to the $200 million recently raised as part of the Build the Vision Campaign, the Jacobs School has committed to an additional $60 million for a total of $260 million to the Boldly Buffalo Campaign. We talked recently with Alcott—recipient of the 2018 Dean’s Award—to better understand the enormous success of the Build the Vision campaign and how he feels this success will impact the larger Boldly Buffalo Campaign.


What made the Build the Vision campaign such a success?

A: The key ingredient of our success was, and still is, Dean Cain’s vision for the medical school. We also had incredible volunteers, including many alumni and community members, who worked tirelessly to provide and raise the resources to fulfill the vision. I remember thanking Robert Wilmers [the late chairman and CEO of M&T Bank and philanthropist] for his role as co-chair of the campaign. He told me he did it because it was good for our community. Another key ingredient was the faculty and staff who contributed a remarkable $19,966,522 to the campaign. This team that Dean Cain has built over the past 12 years was clearly motivated by his vision. They saw the potential of the medical school, stepped up to support it and are now fulfilling that potential everyday through their teaching, research and clinical care.

Q: A:

What is the focus of the new Boldly Buffalo Campaign?

“Now that we have built a magnificent new medical school building, we need to support the educational, research and clinical programmatic needs of our students, faculty and scientists.”

Now that we have built a magnificent new medical school building, we need to support the educational, research and clinical programmatic needs of our students, faculty and scientists. We want to be sure they have equipment that is optimal for their work; endowments that make it possible to recruit and retain the best students, educators, scientists and clinicians from around the world; and the resources to invest in new opportunities as they arise.

Q: A:

Why is philanthropy so critical to the school today? Philanthropy is critical to fulfilling the inspiring vision Dean Cain has laid out for the medical school. We saw this through the Build the Vision campaign. The impact of philanthropy is not only felt today but also for decades to come. George and Kelly Ellis, whose story is told in this issue of UB Medicine, supported the medical school for over 70 years. They could not have known how their foresight and planning would impact today and the future. That is the power of thoughtful philanthropy.



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UB Announces




This spring, the University at Buffalo launched a fundraising campaign that is the largest in university history and the largest in the history of the State University of New York system. Boldly Buffalo: The Campaign for UB seeks to raise $650 million to deliver transformative changes for the public research university, Western New York and the world, according to UB president Satish K. Tripathi. In addition to the $200 million recently raised as part of the Build the Vision Campaign, the Jacobs School has committed to an additional $60 million for a total of $260 million to the Boldly Buffalo Campaign. “Our historic campaign is taking place during an incredible regional renaissance—truly one of the boldest periods in the history of UB and the City of Buffalo,” said Tripathi. The Boldly Buffalo Campaign co-chairs are Dan Alexander, MD ’99, and his wife, Gail Alexander, BS ’87, of Canandaigua, N.Y. The Alexanders met as students at UB, then married after Dan left the university, at age 20, to become Buffalo’s youngest firefighter. After treating an injured man who urged him to become a doctor, Dan decided to return to UB, where he finished a BA and a medical degree. He went on to become an orthopaedic surgeon, while Gail, who graduated from UB with a finance degree, became his practice manager. The Alexanders gave $1 million to establish scholarships for Buffalo public school graduates and others who hope to attend medical school. “Receiving the letter of acceptance from the Jacobs School changed my life,” Dan said. “That’s why Gail and I gave to establish scholarships, particularly for students who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend medical school. Our hope is that the scholarships will attract inner-city kids—such as those from my alma mater, Hutch Tech, who want to become caring, compassionate physicians.” As co-chairs for Boldly Buffalo, the Alexanders are reaching out to the community, encouraging support for scholarships, faculty research and endowed chair and professor positions—all of which will help ensure that the Jacobs School continues to provide for the health needs of our community. Rodney M. Grabowski, UB vice president for university advancement, said the university already has secured more than $451 million through the campaign, which has propelled improvements across the university. “Boldly Buffalo is a campaign about impact, and it already has begun to benefit our students and faculty, our region and our world,” Grabowski said. “Gifts from generous alumni and donors have to date funded 109 scholarships and fellowships, and established 13 endowed chair and professor positions.” One of these positions is the Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, established by the beloved longtime UB professor who died in 2017 and left a $4.5 million bequest to the Jacobs School. To learn more about Boldly Buffalo: The Campaign for UB, visit buffalo.edu/campaign.html

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UB Medicine University at Buffalo 916 Kimball Tower Buffalo, NY 14214-8028

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Our Place. Our Way. Our Future. At UB, being bold means building an expansive, modern medical school facility that serves as the gateway to the city’s medical campus. Preparing the next generation of doctors to alleviate New York’s physician shortage. And improving health not only in Buffalo, but around the world. The Boldly Buffalo campaign provides countless opportunities to support Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences students as they begin clinical experiences, participate in research or study abroad to explore medicine in other countries.


Adam Siedlecki being coated by his father, Dr. Andrew Siedlecki, at the annual White Coat Ceremony.