Spotlight on Graduate Students

We are delighted to announce that Hayley Affronti (Advisor, Dr. Dominic Smiraglia) is the recipient of a Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  This prestigious and highly-competitive award supports the final two years of graduate study and four subsequent years of postdoctoral training.  The objective of the award is “to encourage outstanding, late-stage graduate students with a demonstrated potential and interest in pursuing careers as independent researchers.


The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was held in Washington, D.C. on April 1-5, 2017.  Seven students in the Roswell Park PhD program were awarded the opportunity to present research posters at this meeting, which attracts leaders in cancer research from the U.S. and around the world and is widely considered to be the flagship event for scientists in this field.

Christina Adams (Advisor, Dr. Gokul Das): "Estrogen receptor β and p53 signaling crosstalk: implications for ERβ as a potential therapeutic target in triple negative breast cancer"

Brittany Bunch (Advisor, Dr. Candace Johnson): “Vitamin D3 increases the response to cisplatin in bladder cancer through VDR and Tap73 pathway crosstalk”

Sheng-Yu Ku (Advisor, Dr. David Goodrich): “Rb1 suppresses prostate cancer metastasis and lineage plasticity underlying castration resistance”

Qingxiang Lin (Advisor, Dr. Robert Straubinger): "FGFR inhibitors enhance gemcitabine sensitivity in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma"

Karina Miller (Advisor, Dr. Irwin Gelman): “Potential opposing roles of AKT isoforms in indolent versus aggressive prostate cancer.”

Ashley Orillion (Advisor, Dr. Roberto Pili): "Methionine restriction increases macrophage tumoricidal activity and significantly inhibits prostate cancer growth"

Henry Withers (Advisor, Dr. Irwin Gelman): “Characterization of an off-target RNAi genomic screen hit identifies GPRC6A as a novel suppressor of metastatic chemotaxis and invasiveness”


The University at Buffalo Graduate School hosted the inaugural Three-Minute Thesis (“3MT”) competition on April 7, 2017.  Fifteen finalists were selected from among applicants from the breadth of UB graduate programs and Danielle Twum (Advisor, Dr. Scott Abrams) was named runner-up and awarded a $750 prize.  Students must describe their graduate degree project in three minutes or less using no more than one slide and in terms that are understandable by the lay public.  Presenters were evaluated by a panel of judges made up of professional leaders in the Buffalo business and arts community.  A video of Danielle’s presentation is available.