Work-in-Progress Series

To foster cross-disciplinary conversations about ongoing GEM-related research, the GEM Community hosts monthly Work-in-Progress talks. These informal science talks take place at the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, located on UB's Downtown Campus.  Spring 2023 talks will take place remotely via Zoom.

We are now seeking faculty and student speakers for the 2023 Work-in-Progress series! Contact us at to present your work. 

Spring 2023 Work-in-Progress Speakers

Paul Cullen, Ph.D.

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological SciencesCollege of Arts and Sciences

Zoom Presentation, Monday, January 23, 2023 at 4pm 

“Regulatory Pathways that Control Cell Differentiation in Fungi”

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 978 7296 3533  Passcode: 387382

Head shot of Ian Bradley.

Monday, February 27, 2023 at 4:00pm

Zoom Presentation

Jamal Williams, PhD.

Jamal Williams, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

Monday, April 24th at 4:00 pm

Zoom Presentation

Past Work-in-Progress Speakers

Omer Gokcumen, PhD, Dept of Biological Sciences.

"Famine, microbes, and growth: A delicate balance that shapes human evolution and health," Monday, September 26, 2022

Thomas Melendy PhD; Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo; 2021.

"Small tumor virus replication: viral helicases and cellular polymerases," Monday, November 28, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter.

"Community Engagement Efforts for COVID Vaccination," Monday, January 24, 2022

Paul Vanouse.

Director, Coalesce Center for Biological Art

Professor & Program Head, Emerging Practices, Department of ArtCollege of Arts and Sciences

"BioArt in the Public Sphere," Monday, February 28, 2022

Margaret DeAngelis.

"Leveraging a donor eye repository to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying age-related macular degeneration," Monday, March 28, 2022

Shermali Gunawardena.

"Hunting for a role for Huntingtin, the Huntington’s disease protein during axonal transport," Monday, April 25, 2022

Dr. Laura Rusche.

"Role of NAD+-dependent deacetylases (sirtuins) in filamentation of two fungal pathogens," Monday, August 30, 2021

Dr. Taosheng Huang.

"New Insights into Mitochondrial Medicine," Monday, September 27, 2021

Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD; GEM Co-Director & Associate Professor, Biochemistry.

"Genomic surveillance of SARS‐CoV‐2 in Erie County highlights the need for regional surveillance," Monday, October 25, 2021

Ding Xu, PhD.

"Heparan Sulfate in Cathepsin K biology," Monday, November 22, 2021

Jamie Abbott, PhD.

Jamie Abott, PhD

Gary Iacobucci, PhD.

Gary Iacobucci, PhD

Keith McArthur

CEO and Head of Science, CureGrin Foundation 

“GRIN Disorders: A rare neurodevelopmental disease of the NMDA Receptor”, Monday, May 24, 2021

Manoj J. Mammen, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

"The Airways Microbiome: Focus on COPD and Lung Cancer," Monday, April 26th, 2021

"Uncovering the roles of phages in the ecology of Porphyromonas gingivalis," Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Patricia I. Diaz, DDS, MS, PhD.

Professor of Empire Innovation, Director UB Microbiome Center, Department of Oral BiologySchool of Dental Medicine

"Unraveling inter-species cues that promote microbiome dysbiosis", Monday, February 22nd, 2021

"Complement, Microbiome and Lupus", Monday, January 25, 2021.

Chelsie A. Armbruster, PhD.

"Polymicrobial interactions in the catheterized urinary tract", Monday, November 23rd, 2020

"Targeting the extracellular adenosine pathway to control Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in aged hosts", Monday, November 25, 2019.

Dr. Rachael Hageman Blair.

"Gaming-based introduction to genetics using dragon breeding in the high-school classroom", Monday, October 28, 2019

Stephan Ruhl, DDS, PhD.

Stefan Ruhl, DDS, PhD

"Straight from the Mouth: Glycan Recognition at the Host-Microbiome Interface", Monday April 29, 2019 .

Dr. Javier Blanco.

“Identification of genetic and epigenetic determinants in cardio-oncology”, Monday, March 25, 2019

Thomas A. Russo, MD.

Professor and Chief, Infectious Disease; Vice Chair for Finance; Department of MedicineJacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

“Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae, an evolving public health threat”, Monday, February 25, 2019

Dr. Richard Gronostajski.

Professor, Department of Biochemistry; Director, Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Graduate Program

“Genes for Buffalo - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, November 26, 2018

Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, PhD.

Associate Professor & Director of Community Translational Research, Department of Family Medicine

Director of UB CTSI Community Engagement Core

Heather Ochs-Balcom, PhD.

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

"Breast cancer genetic testing in African Americans: opportunities to improve knowledge and patient-provider communication", October 29, 2018

Dr. Virginia Del Solar Fernandez.

Virginia Del Solar Fernandez, PhD

Glycoscience Postdoctoral Associate, Genome, Environment & Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence 

 "‘Omics’ approaches to the study of carbohydrates", August 27, 2018

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biochemistry

“Regulating the Regulator:  Arginine methylation and life cycle stage modulate the function of a master RNA binding protein in trypanosomes”, May 21, 2018

Daniel I. McSkimming, PhD.

Daniel I. McSkimming, PhD

Bioinformatics Research Scientist, Genome, Environment & Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence

"Identifying Keystone Bacteria in Microbiome-Associated Diseases", April 30, 2018

Laura Rusche, PhD.

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

"How pathogenic fungi monitor NAD+ levels to sense nutrient availability and modulate genome architecture accordingly", March 26, 2018

Omer Gokcumen, PhD.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

“Evolutionary Interplay Between Human Genetic Variation, the Skin Microbiome, and Psoriasis”, February 26, 2018

Keith Kirkwood, DDS, PhD, Speaker at GEM Work-In-Progress Talks, October 30th at 4:00 p.m. room 134b Farber, UB South Campus.

Professor, Clinical Instructor, Department of Oral Biology

 "Posttranscriptional Regulation of Oral Immunity and the Microbiome", October 30, 2017

Manoj Mammen, MD.

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

"The Airway Microbiome and Lung Cancer in a COPD Cohort", September 25, 2017

Mira Edgerton, PhD.

Research Professor, Department of Oral Biology

Gerald Koudelka, PhD.

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences


Vanessa M. Barnabei.

Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Robert J Genco.

Director, UB Microbiome Center;

Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology, Periodontics, Microbiology

“Protists and Fungi in the Oral Microbiome” - Gerald Koudelka, PhD & Mira Edgerton, DDS, PhD, August 28, 2017

“Pilot Study of Placental, Oral, and Gut Microbiome Related to Pregnancy” - Vanessa Barnabei, MD & Robert Genco, DDS, PhD, August 28, 2017

Lixin Zhu, PhD.

Lixin Zhu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Lee Chaves, PhD.

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

“Bile acid metabolizing microbiome in the gut and the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” , June 26, 2017

“PPI effects on gut microbiota in diabetic kidney disease patients”, June 26, 2017

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

"Tracking Sources of Microbial Pollution in Lake Erie Using Culture-Based Methods and Next Generation Sequencing," April 24, 2017

Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry

"Deriving Genetic Variations from Functional Genomic Assays,"  August 29, 2016

Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

"Glycoscience: The Art of Making Sugars of Different Kinds," May 23, 2016

Charlotte Lindqvist, PhD.

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

"An Evolutionary Perspective on the Gut Microbiome--Lessons from Whales," April 25, 2016

Stephen Koury, PhD.

Research Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences

"An Introduction to GENI-ACT: A Novel System to Introduce Students to Microbial Genome Analysis," March 28, 2016

Michael Buck, PhD.

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry

"So You Want to do Microbiome Research,"  February 22, 2016