New members from UB and WNY community join CTSI Board

BTC graphic.

Published April 20, 2022


In the last 12 months, there have been changes to the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Board, which is the principal oversight body of the CTSI and is comprised of leaders of each Buffalo Translational Consortium (BTC) partner institution.

The first change took place in 2021, when James M. O’Donnell, PhD, stepped down as dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He returned to a UB faculty role as professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and pharmacology and toxicology

“Dr. O’Donnell served as chair of the Board beginning before we received our first funding, playing an active role in contributing to the proposal that was funded in 2015,” says CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD. “He continued to provide leadership at a critical time in the growth and expansion of our initiatives. I will always appreciate his insights and input that were so important in the early days of the CTSI.”

O’Donnell was succeeded as dean by Gary M. Pollack, PhD, an alumnus of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. As dean of School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pollack now holds a seat on the CTSI Board.

“Dr. Pollack is a leader and prolific author in pharmaceutical sciences,” Murphy says. “In addition, he brings a rich experience and valuable perspective stemming from his leadership roles at several other institutions. I am looking forward to working with him to continue to expand our CTSI initiatives with the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.”

Another change involved representation from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Former Roswell Park Deputy Director Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, departed Roswell to become director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. His position on the CTSI Board was filled by Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Immunology; Professor of Oncology; Chief, Translational Immuno-Oncology; Senior Vice President for Team Science; and Jacobs Endowed Chair of Immunology, Roswell Park.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Kalinski to the CTSI Board,” Murphy says. “He is an accomplished physician scientist and a leader in translational research at Roswell Park. His participation will enable us to continue to grow our productive collaborations between the CTSI and Roswell Park.”

Additional changes involved two institutions added to the BTC. The Buffalo Center for Health Equity and UB Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence are now among the 20 institutions represented on the consortium.

Representing the Buffalo Center for Health Equity on the CTSI Board is Rev. George Nicholas, MDiv, Chair, Buffalo Center for Health Equity; Convener, African American Health Equity Task Force; and Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church.

“Pastor George Nicholas is a visionary community leader who brings an important perspective in health equity,” Murphy says. “It has been a privilege to work with him since the CTSI was launched in 2015. I am enthusiastic about welcoming him to the CTSI Board. He brings an important community perspective.”

Representing UB GEM is co-director Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Jacobs School.

“Dr. Surtees is an influential leader at UB and in the community through her roles as a researcher and as a leader of GEM,” Murphy says. “The CTSI and GEM have had an active partnership, having worked together in a number of community outreach activities, in co-hosting seminars by visiting experts and in several other initiatives.”    

Lastly, representing the Population Health Collaborative as an interim member of the CTSI Board is Director of Programs Karen Hall, EdD, MHA.

“With the change in leadership at the Population Health Collaborative, Dr. Karen Hall has joined the Board,” Murphy says. “Dr. Hall has extensive experience in developing community partnerships and brings expertise and passion for population health. She will be a great addition to the Board.”

Upstate New York Practice Based Research NETwork (UNYNET) completed its CTSI Board membership. "As a UNYNET Governing Board representative, Ranjit Singh, MB BChir, MBA, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Director, Primary Care Research Institute, Jacobs School, has contributed to the engagement of practicing physicians and other providers in the support of integrating healthcare, research and the community," Murphy says.

Additional upcoming changes to the CTSI Board will be highlighted on the CTSI website and Translational Spotlight newsletter.