Year in review: CTSI reflections on 2020

year in review collage.

As 2020 draws to a close, CTSI Director and core directors reflect on elements that made the year so memorable.

Published December 16, 2020


The last 12 months saw challenges — many related to the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as triumphs. At the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Institute (CTSI), researchers and staff worked to overcome obstacles and find solutions. Now, as 2020 draws to a close, we reflect on elements that made the year so memorable.


Timothy F. Murphy, MD
Director, UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute
SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine

The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of pandemic. It impacted everything we did at the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Looking back on 2020, it strikes me how the CTSI continued to be productive and to achieve our overall mission, even in the face of a dramatically altered working landscape as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is a tribute to the 44 faculty and 20 staff members who make the CTSI go.

In response to the pandemic, the university paused most clinical research, while placing a priority on supporting clinical, translational and basic research related to many aspects of coronavirus and COVID. The CTSI played an instrumental role in providing expertise and support to clinical research teams by partnering with the Clinical Research Office and the Office of Research Compliance to enable researchers to quickly and safely start up and conduct research studies. I am especially proud of this tremendous commitment by the CTSI team to step up in this way in an enormously challenging environment.

In August, the CTSI partnered with the Buffalo Center for Health Equity and the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute to remotely conduct the third annual Igniting Hope conference titled “Mobilizing Community Resources to Achieve Health Equity During a Global Pandemic.” Remarkably, there was no drop-off in attendance at the 2020 remote conference, as nearly 300 people attended.

The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on African American communities on Buffalo’s East Side has shined a spotlight on the importance of the vision of the CTSI to have our research improve the health of our community and the nation. The confluence of the pandemic and the national conversation on racial equity catalyzed by the George Floyd murder brings to the forefront the significant role of systemic racism in contributing to health disparities in Buffalo. Among the multiple efforts in this area, the CTSI has hosted national speakers on health equity and racial equity as part of our Distinguished Seminar Series. While the solutions to these problems will require systemic changes, I take pride that the CTSI is working with our community to take meaningful steps to bring generational changes to reality.

With the growth of the CTSI and the resources that we offered over the past five years, one of our goals for 2020 was to expand our communication efforts to reach our multiple audiences in new ways. In the last 12 months, these efforts have included launching a Facebook page and introducing a bi-monthly community newsletter, Buffalo Research News. This new activity has occurred as we continued to distribute our two times per month newsletter, Translational Spotlight, without interruption since 2015.

These are just a few elements that made 2021 such a memorable year. Read on for reflections of CTSI core directors, and continue to watch our Translational Spotlight and Buffalo Research News newsletters, the CTSI website, and our social media accounts for more news and highlights in the year to come.

Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD)

Greg Wilding.

Gregory Wilding, PhD
Director, Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Core
Professor, Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Professions

Center for Biomedical Imaging

Robert Zivadinov.

Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Biomedical Imaging
Professor of Neurology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Clinical Research Office

Sanjay Sethi.

Sanjay Sethi, MD
CTSI Associate Director
Director, Clinical Research Office
Professor and Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Jacobs School

Community Engagement

Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter.

Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, PhD
Director, Community Engagement Core
Department of Family Medicine, Jacobs School


Xiufeng Liu.

Xiufeng Liu, PhD
Evaluation Director
KL2 Co-Investigator
Professor of Learning and Instruction, Graduate School of Education


Peter Elkin.

Peter Elkin, MD
Director, Informatics Core
Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics & Professor of Internal Medicine, Jacobs School

Institute for Healthcare Informatics

peter winkelstein.

Peter Winkelstein, MD, MS, MBA
Executive Director, Institute for Healthcare Informatics
Chief Medical Informatics Officer, UBMD
Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Kaleida Health

Pilot Studies

Brahm Segal.

Brahm Segal, MD
Director, CTSI Pilot Studies Program
Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Special Populations

teresa quattrin.

Teresa Quattrin, MD
Director, Special Populations Core
UB Distinguished Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research Integration, Jacobs School

Team Science

Ekaterina Noyes.

Ekaterina Noyes, PhD
Director, Team Science Core
Director, MPH Concentration in Health Services Administration, School of Public Health and Health Professions

Workforce Development


Margarita L. Dubocovich, PhD
Director, Workforce Development Core
KL2 Principal Investigator/Program Lead/KL2 Steering Committee Chair
SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Jacobs School