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Peter Nickerson

Published May 11, 2017

Peter Nickerson, pictured carrying the University Mace during a 2003 Convocation.

Peter Ayers Nickerson, a professor emeritus of pathology and anatomical sciences who played a significant role in both the UB and statewide Faculty Senates, died Feb. 2.

A memorial service is planned on campus for early in the fall semester.

A UB faculty member for more than 45 years, Nickerson was fully committed to university life, serving on numerous department, medical school, UB and SUNY committees.

He was chair of the UB Faculty Senate for five terms, chaired the Medical Faculty Council, the governance body for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for one term, and for many years served as a senator of the SUNY-wide Faculty Senate, representing the health sciences.

Nickerson initiated many innovative programs at UB, among them the medical school’s early admission program; he also was instrumental in developing liaisons between the medical school and the law school.

He was active in the broader Western New York community as well, serving as a member and then president of the Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

A prolific researcher, his work focused on the mechanisms of systemic and pulmonary hypertension in experimentally induced models of disease, with a particular focus on cell structure and function in endocrine and vascular tissues using quantitative morphological tools.

Nickerson also was a prodigious teacher, lecturing in multiple modules for the medical and dental schools pathology and histology courses, and coordinating the schools’ pathology laboratories. He coordinated a pathology course taught to physical therapists, taught graduate courses in electron microscopy, and was the longtime director of the popular undergraduate honors seminar “What Did They Die From?” which studied disease by delving into the biographies and deaths of famous people.

He received an AB in biology from Brown University and an MA and PhD in cell biology from Clark University, where he was a NASA and University of Pennsylvania Health System pre-doctoral fellow.