Buffalo Translational Consortium News

2017 CTSI Seminar Series resumes in October

Posted on 07/26/17 at 03:17 pm
At the CTSI/School of Nursing Seminar Series event in March
Martha J. Somerman, DDS, PhD

The 2017 CTSI Seminar Series, which brings top experts in their respective fields to the University at Buffalo for speaking engagements, returns in October following a summer hiatus.

Martha J. Somerman, DDS, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), will be here Thursday, October 5, as a guest of the School of Dental Medicine. The tentative title of her address is "Guiding the Future of Oral Health Research, Together."

Through the Seminar Series, UB’s CTSI is partnering with the five health sciences schools and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to sponsor a round of visiting scholars. The goal is to appeal to a diverse audience from a variety of disciplines.

“Hearing from these scientific leaders at sessions earlier this year has put our audiences in touch with state-of-the-art research in epidemiology, in bioinformatics and addiction medicine,” said Jessica Reynolds, PhD, who provides leadership for the series. She’s a research associate professor in the Department of Medicine Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology who works in the Clinical and Translational Research Center. “These sessions also promote the cross-fertilization of ideas both within the university and between UB and other institutions.”

The series brought Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt, PhD, a Nobel Prize winner, to UB in May. Peggy Compton, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Department of Family and Community Health, and an expert in treating opioid addiction, was the featured speaker in March, and in February Arnold Monto, MD, the Thomas Francis Jr. Collegiate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, professor of epidemiology and a leader in infectious disease research, delivered an address.

, MD, to town for the seminar, co-sponsored by the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and the CTSI.
Monto is the Thomas Francis Jr. Collegiate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Healt, MD, to town for the seminar, co-sponsored by the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and the CTSI.

Somerman has been director of the NIDCR since 2011, where she manages a $410 million budget and leads a staff of 400 NIH researchers and administrators plus hundreds of grantees at universities, medical centers and other research institutions. Former dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry, her research focused on defining the key regulators controlling development, maintenance and regeneration of oral-dental-craniofacial tissues.

The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, October 5 at 4:45 p.m. in Butler Auditorium, Farber Hall, UB South Campus. A reception will follow in Squire Hall.

Pilot study program director tapped to lead top vision and eye organization

Posted on 07/20/17 at 09:25 am
Fliesler at the podium during the 2016 Translational Pilot Studies Colloquium

Steven J. Fliesler, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor, Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed Chair Professor of ophthalmology and co-director of the UB CTSI's Translational Pilot Studies Program, has been elected to a leadership post in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Fliesler will serve as president in 2018-2019 and immediate past president in 2019-2020. ARVO is the world’s largest eye and vision research organization.

Read more.

Undergrads explore career paths in clinical and translational science

Posted on 07/19/17 at 11:23 am

Undergraduate students participating in summer programs in the health sciences at UB were invited to explore careers in clinical and translational research at UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) on June 23. The annual event is sponsored by the UB CTSI Workforce Development core and the following programs:


 CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program)

 LSAMP (SUNY Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation)

 “This is an annual event we have hosted with the other UB summer programs since 2012,” said CLIMB UP Program Coordinator Liz Marshall. “The goal is to introduce students to the PhD and MD/PhD programs at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and also to get the students thinking about how and why to choose a graduate school or professional program.”

Some of the students are taking pre-med courses but many are interested in pursuing PhDs in the biomedical sciences or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, she said.

“This year CLIMB UP is hosting four undergraduate students who are mentored in clinical and translational research by the KL2 and CTSI Scholars,” said Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, and director of the CTSI’s Workforce Development core. “The students are expressing increasing interest in clinical and translational science, and alumni are acknowledging the positive impact of the CLIMB UP program in their career choices.”

The agenda for Graduate and Professional Careers in Clinical and Translational Research consisted of presentations by Dubocovich and two CTSI Scholars (Umesh Sharma, MD, PhD, and Jason Muhitch, PhD) who discussed their educational and career pathways. A poster session featuring eight of the UB CTSI cores was held during lunch. Students were also offered tours of the Clinical and Translational Research Center’s facilities by CTRC Research Facilities Manager Terry-Ann Smith, MS.

Rajendram V. Rajnarayanan, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology and associate director of CLIMB UP, and Suzanne Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities and the admissions director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD), discussed planning a curriculum and the admissions process.

A panel session with current PhD and MD/PhD students Anthony Jones, Chelsey Reed, Spencer Rosario and Jena Walczyk closed out the program with a lively dialogue about the importance of choosing a good mentor and remaining open to unexpected opportunities in one’s course of study.

About 60 students attended the half-day program.

“Holding an event like this at the CTRC is an excellent recruiting tool for us, plus a terrific way for our students to interact with students from other programs,” said Marshall. “Most (of the students) are located at the South or North campuses and don’t have the opportunity to visit the pristine, state-of-the-art facilities at the Medical Campus.”

Say hello to ‘Translational Spotlight,’ the official newsletter of the UB CTSI

Posted on 07/18/17 at 01:32 pm
CTSI Board Member Anne B. Curtis, MD, and CTSI Community Research Facilitator Megan Wilson, MPA

Back in April, we asked readers to submit suggestions for a new name for the official newsletter of the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Since the inaugural issue of August 2011, the newsletter had been known simply as the “CTRC Newsletter” and more recently as “News and Updates.”

“Translational Spotlight” was the winner from among 65 suggestions received. The name is a hybrid of elements of names submitted by CTSI Community Research Facilitator Megan Wilson, MPA (“Translational”) and CTSI Board Member Anne B. Curtis, MD (“Spotlight”).

“The new name reflects our focus on the science of translational research,” said CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD. “As in the past, future editions of the newsletter will cast a spotlight on success stories and new developments in clinical and translational research that’s being conducted at UB and by our Buffalo Translational Consortium partners.”

All of the entries were reviewed by a committee whose members did not know the identity of the entrants. There were duplicates for just two of the names submitted, neither of which was selected as the winning entry.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the UB CTSI Name the Newsletter contest.

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