PPBS White Coat Ceremony Honors Student Advancement

Published June 30, 2020

story by dirk hoffman

The PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) recognized 14 students from the Class of 2019-2020 — 11 doctoral students and three MD-PhD Program students — who completed their first year in the program and are moving on to their research laboratory match.


The program’s fourth annual white coat ceremony was conducted June 11 as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic.

Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, gave the opening remarks and extended “a very warm welcome to the family and friends participating in support of our students who are now taking the next step in their professional careers.”

Awards Honor Excellence in Class and Lab

One of the event’s sponsors, Laboratory Product Sales (LPS), presented two awards.

Emily Blair Ivey, a Katonah, New York, native who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Rochester, won the LPS Rotation Award, which recognizes a student for exceptional performance in a PPBS laboratory rotation.

The LPS Highest GPA Award, which recognizes the student with the highest cumulative grade point average at the end of their first year, was given to two students who both had perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point averages.

Christopher Raymond Handelmann is a native of Homer, New York, who earned his bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego. David Goich is a native of Syracuse, New York, and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo.

Support Network Guides Doctoral Candidates

The event’s other sponsor, the Medical Alumni Association (MAA), was represented by Daniel W. Sheehan, MD, PhD ’89, associate dean for medical curriculum, clinical professor of pediatrics and a member of the MAA board.

“I want to congratulate you on your program match. The Alumni Association is so proud to co-sponsor this fourth white coat ceremony because we know that only with your research, your creativity, your innovation and your dedication, can we take the biomedical sciences to the next level here in Buffalo, as well as beyond Buffalo,” he said.

Sheehan said he gratefully remembers the mentorship he received as a graduate student in UB’s doctoral program in physiology

“It’s really my gold standard of mentorship, even though my path led me into medicine,” he said. “I am forever grateful for this mentorship that I had here, and I also know that you too will have great guidance and great mentorship throughout your training.”

“The Alumni Association wants you to keep in mind that along the way, there’s an incredible network here for you.”

11 PPBS Students Match Into Research Lab

The PPBS students are listed below, along with their departments and mentors:

Student Department Mentor
Hongjoo An Neuroscience Yungki Park, PhD
Kiana Bynum Oral Biology Jason G. Kay, PhD
Dietta Luara Chihade Pharmacology and Toxicology Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD
Nicholas David Clark Structural Biology Michael G. Malkowski, PhD
David Goich Microbiology and Immunology John C. Panepinto, PhD
Christopher Raymond Handelmann Biochemistry Michael Buck, PhD
Emily Blair Ivey Microbiology and Immunology Spyridon Stavrou, PhD

Molly Katherine Martin


Neuroscience Arin Bhattacharjee, PhD
Roopa Ravichandar Neuroscience Fraser J. Sim, PhD
Shaina Lorelle Rosenblum Biochemistry Daniel J. Kosman, PhD
Adam Michael Weaver Neuroscience Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD

3 MD-PhD Students Match Into Research Lab

The ceremony also honored students in the MD-PhD Program. 

The table below lists the students, their departments and mentors:

Student Department Mentor
Armond June Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — Experimental Therapeutics John Ebos, PhD
Seth Moore Neuroscience M. Laura Feltri, MD
Zachary Weinstock Neuroscience Michael G. Dwyer III, PhD

Mentoring, Financial Support Provided

The PPBS provides an entry portal and a common first-year curriculum, mentoring, hands-on opportunities and financial support.

With its laboratory rotation system, students can explore a variety of disciplines before committing to their specific area of research.