UB Medical School Names New Chair of Microbiology and Immunology

Release Date: September 27, 2012

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Bangs joins the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School.

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 Biomedical Sciences.

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 future.

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 2013.

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 field.

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