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Faculty Researchers

UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences (CBLS) is home to over 250 scientists and research staff with biological, physical and computational expertise, all of whom are engaged in interdisciplinary biomedical research with collaborators from across the region, the country and the globe. CBLS faculty members are affiliated with our primary research partners, including the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

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Robin, DiFrancesco
DiFrancesco, Robin, MT ASCP, MBATPRC Scientific Manager and Research Assistant Professor
Phone: (716)881-7465

Research Summary:
Robin DiFrancesco, MT ASCP, MBA has over 30 years of experience in pharmacology research (20+ in HIV research) and has a variety of knowledge, practical and theoretical, to offer our global students. She is appointed at the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as a research assistant professor and as a voluntary adjunct faculty member for the UB Department of Biotechnology and Clinical Sciences within the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She holds an ACSP certification as a medical technologist and a NYS license as a clinical laboratory technologist. Her experience in clinical pharmacology research and quality assurance, as it applies to the clinical pharmacology laboratory and laboratory sciences, is extensive. She has served almost 16 years in this capacity within the NIH/NIAID/DAIDS networks as well as a laboratory technologist on the ACTG/IMPAACT Laboratory Technoligists committee. She is also appointed as the scientific manager of the Drug Development Core, part of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University at Buffalo. In addition, she has served as both vice-chair and chair on two specialty sections for The Society for Quality Assurance. Robin has co-authored and published over 60 articles.

Jeffrey, Lombardo
Lombardo, Jeffrey, PharmD, BCOPAssociate Director of the Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network and research assistant professor for UB
Phone: (716) 881-8290

Research Summary:
Dr. Jeffrey Lombardo is Associate Director for UB’s patient safety organization Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network. In this role he facilitates organization participation, logistics and implementation with participating sites as well as reviewing data and presenting reports on findings. Working with Medical Oncologists he is tracking patient outcomes and advising physicians on best practices for cancer patients making full use of his specialty pharmacy certification in oncology. Dr. Lombardo is also a member of the SUNY Global Health Institute where he will be bringing his patient safety and oncology expertise to partner schools like the University of the West Indies for various collaborations.In Jamaica he will be partnering with UWI on studies on medical marijuana and pursuing new initiatives for the University at Buffalo’s medication management research network. (MMRN) Additionally Dr. Lombardo is a member of UB‘s Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Lombardo received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University at Buffalo where he currently holds a Research Assistant Professor Title. He has completed research and co-authored several articles on topics involving chemotherapy in the field of solid tumors. Dr. Lombardo has worked in various cancer pharmacies throughout Western New York as well a national oncology specialty pharmacy. These roles provided Dr. Lombardo with expertise in contracting with managed care plans and companies in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to these accomplishments Dr. Lombardo has exhibited and presented his work at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Health System Pharmacists and Value Based Cancer Care Symposiums.”

Qing, Ma
Ma, Qing, PhDAssistant Professor
Phone: (716) 881-7500

Research Summary:
Research interests areas: 1. Pharmacogenomics of antiretrovirals in patients with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders 2. Mechanisms of drug-drug interactions in patients with HIV infection 3. Incorporating pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics in studying the effects of antiretrovirals on the central nervous system

Charles, Maponga
Maponga, Charles, PharmDResearch Scientist, Research Assistant Professor
Phone: (716) 645-4793
Gene, Morse
Morse, Gene, PharmDSUNY Distinguished Professor
Phone: (716) 881-7464

Research Summary:
Gene D. Morse, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, is a tenured, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences. He is also the Co-Director of the SUNY Global Health Institute. Dr. Morse has been actively involved in drug development research since the introduction of antiretrovirals for HIV in 1986, with more recent emphasis on HCV infection and drug development. He has National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases support for the UB AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory and a contract for the HIV Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance Program. These programs integrate with the NIH Fogarty International Center AIDS International Training and Research Program, which Dr. Morse directs with the University of Zimbabwe and is home to the Center of Excellence in Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Morse also directs the UB HIV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, which has gained an international reputation for its work in bioanalysis, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacogenomics. In addition, Dr. Morse is director of the Empire State Patient Safety Assurance Network, a federally certified patient safety organization and a network for health information technology innovation. Dr. Morse is the director of the UB Translational Pharmacology Research Core. He is also associate director for the Clinical Trials Methods and Technologies Pillar for the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Morse is co-founder of the Buffalo Jamaica Innovation Enterprise, a partnership between UB the University of the West Indies and the Jamaica Ministry of Health. This project has established the Jamaica Center for Infectious Diseases Research. Dr. Morse has more than 25 years of NIH, industry and philanthropic research support with extensive experience in grant applications and mentoring. Dr. Morse received the 2012 Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Joshua, Sawyer
Sawyer, Joshua, PharmDClinical Assistant Professor
Phone: (716) 898-4542
Kathleen, Tornatore
Phone: (716) 645-4781

Research Summary:

Research works focuses in the area of Clinical Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Research of Immunosuppressive Regimens in Renal Transplantation. This clinical research program has been an ongoing collaborative program with the Division of Nephrology at Erie County Medical Center for over 15 years focusing on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics of immunosuppressive agents during renal transplantation:

Current and upcoming clinical research endeavors focus upon pharmacokinetics of immunosuppressive drugs in relationship to pharmacodynamics of immunologic markers and targeted pharmacogenomic endpoints in relation to race and gender of the renal transplant recipient. Research projects may provide the student with exposure to a variety of biomedical technologies including LCMSMS, flow cytometry and Q-PCR. These projects provide Pharm.D. students with an opportunity to explore clinical and translational research projects though a clinical research team (i.e. Pharm.D.s, physicians, nurse clinicians, immunologists, geneticists, biostatisticians, etc.) by participation in clinical pharmacology sub-studies in renal transplant patients with the endpoint to provide safe and efficacious immuosuppression (e.g. cyclosporine, prednisone, mycophenolic acid) among different patient groups.

In addition, this funded clinical research program has focused on the pharmacokinetics and dynamics of glucocorticoids with specific emphasis on the impact of the factors of gender, race, acute rejection, time post-transplant, immunologic response and chronic adverse effects in the renal transplant population. This research program has also evaluated the pharmacodynamics of anti-lymphocyte induction agents as well as glucocorticoid pharmacokinetics during various "steroid withdrawal" protocols during a multi-center clinical trial.

Brian, Tsuji
Tsuji, Brian, PharmDAssociate Professor
Phone: (716) 645-4796

Research Summary:
I am Clinical and Translational Pharm.D. Scientist and PI of R01AI111990 which seeks to investigate the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Polymyxin Combinations. This R01 is interdisciplinary and blends diverse areas including microbiology and antimicrobial pharmacology with next generation sequencing and a number of infection models with an outstanding team of Pharm.D., M.D., and Ph.D. Co-Investigators. I am an internationally leading expert on antimicrobial pharmacology. In my early work in at Wayne State University, I completed new studies to optimize vancomycin dosing to combat heterogeneous resistance in Staphylococcus aureus by using PK/PD approaches to evaluate novel dosage regimens and antibiotic combinations. With the recent spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, at the University at Buffalo, I developed an independent, federally funded research program, and expanded my research to refine exposure response approaches in a number of agents including colistin, polymyxin B, beta-lactams, and new combinations involving beta-lactam inhibitors against these very problematic pathogens. From 2008 to 2012, I have been a Co-investigator and PI of a subcontract at the University at Buffalo for R01A1079330 (PI Nation), a $2.3 million award from NIH. I am currently Principal Investigator of R01AI111990 a $4.4M grant which seeks to investigate the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Polymyxin Combinations.