BUFFALO, N.Y. -- James (Jay) D. Bangs, PhD, professor of medical
microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Medical School and an expert in the cell biology of the agent that
causes African sleeping sickness, has been appointed the Grant T.
Fisher Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and
Immunology at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and
The announcement brings to nine the number of new chairs and
chair-level appointees recruited by Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice
president for health sciences and dean of the UB medical school, in
the past four years. These national hires, Cain says, are a
critical piece of his strategic vision for the medical school's
According to Cain, Bangs rapidly emerged as the top candidate
following a comprehensive national search, possessing all the
skills needed to advance the UB department and expand its basic
research programs in service of UB's 2020 strategic goals. Under
Bangs, Cain says, the department will enhance the excellence of its
research enterprise, undergraduate and graduate student education
and mentored research training programs.
Bangs succeeds J. Iain Hay, who has served as chair of the
Department of Microbiology and Immunology for 20 years.
A faculty member and trainer for the microbiological doctoral
training program at UW, and a member of its Center for Research and
Training in Parasitic Diseases, Bangs will join UB in January
He conducts research on African trypanosomes, one-celled
parasites transmitted by the tsetse fly, which cause African
sleeping sickness in humans, a fatal disease that is reemerging
throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Bangs investigates the basic cell biology of trypanosomes,
specifically, the intracellular trafficking of lysosomal and cell
surface proteins as key aspects of the host-parasite relationship.
The goal of Bangs' research is to define aspects of trypanosomal
secretory processes that may provide novel avenues toward
developing new drugs to treat African sleeping sickness.
His work is currently funded by several grants from the National
Institutes of Health.
A native of Vineyard Haven, Mass., Bangs received his
undergraduate degree in biology from Bates College in Lewiston,
Maine. He received his PhD in biochemical, cellular and molecular
biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and
completed postdoctoral training in cell biology at Yale University
School of Medicine and in microbiology at Stanford University
School of Medicine.
He has lectured nationally and internationally and serves on
the editorial boards of leading scientific journals in his