Researcher Profile: Remi M. Adelaiye-Ogala, PhD, Balances Cancer Research and Family Life

Remi Adelaiye-Ogala, PhD.

Photo by Meredith Forrest Kulwicki.

Published September 27, 2023


As a seasoned University at Buffalo researcher, Remi M. Adelaiye-Ogala, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is used to wearing many different hats. At work, the CTSI K Scholar alumna is known as a bright and driven scientist. At home, she is a mom to two young daughters. Successfully balancing career and family gives her great satisfaction.

A passion for science

Adelaiye-Ogala’s interest in science and medicine developed at a young age. “Both my parents are trained physicians and professors, which exposed me to a science environment at a young age,” she shares. Adelaiye-Ogala fell in love with science during high school and progressed naturally into a career centered on basic and translational science, which involves studying cells, how they respond to different drugs in a laboratory, and translating them into therapies or treatments that can benefit patients and improve healthcare outcome.

After completing undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the State University of New York at Fredonia, Adelaiye-Ogala pursued a doctorate in cancer pathology from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. This training gave her a unique perspective on how research translated to patients.

“I remember shadowing my thesis mentor during one of his clinic days at Roswell Park and seeing first-hand the impact of how our research translated to patient care. That inspired me then and continues to inspire me today,” she says. The experience inspired Adelaiye-Ogala to focus her career on a specific goal: finding a cure for cancer.

A typical day for an academic scientist

Adelaiye-Ogala’s cancer research laboratory is on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in the UB Clinical and Translational Research Center. A typical day usually begins with cell culture work, which involves the maintenance of the cancer cell lines under sterile conditions. This provides scientists with the tools to study diseases such as cancer.

“We use established cell lines and tissues from consented patients’ tumors to study at the molecular level why they do not respond to a type of treatment and test new investigational drugs to see if they are effective in treating their cancer,” says Adelaiye-Ogala. "Sometimes our work in the lab could translate into clinical research which involves testing the investigational drug in cancer patients through clinical trials. This usually involves a clinical trial team with clinical and basic research scientists leading the study, and pharmaceutical companies that provide funding for the clinical trial."

In addition to research, Adelaiye-Ogala also teaches interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses usually focused on research. She mentors students working on their master-level and PhD-level thesis projects.

Once work is done for the day, she cherishes time spent with her family, including extracurricular activities with two active girls with swimming and ballet lessons. When the weather is nice, they take frequent walks to help alleviate normal daily stressors. Adelaiye-Ogala also makes sure to use her vacation time regularly. “Our jobs are important, but our well-being is also important,” she explains. “It’s good to take a break. If not, you will get worn out, affecting your creativity."

Supporting the next generation of scientists

Adelaiye-Ogala believes a love of science and research can develop at a young age. She advises anyone who knows of children interested in science to look for programs that will keep them active and their curiosity alive.

“A great way to foster excitement and enthusiasm about science is by allowing them to explore and discover scientific principles through interactive activities or books at your local library,” Adelaiye-Ogala says. “Some communities also make programs available online, such as how to build a volcano at home, or science clubs and camps. And a final practical tip: If your career involves science, have a ‘bring your kids to work day!’”

Read more about Adelaiye-Ogala and her research accomplishments in a recent UBNow feature.