Research News

UB alum returns to inspire young scientists


Published June 20, 2013

Clifton Poodry.

Clifton Poodry

“Anything’s Possible!” will be the resounding message of UB alumnus Clifton A. Poodry in presentations he will make on June 24 at UB that are geared to students and the public.

Poodry, director of division training, workforce development and diversity at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health, will address students in UB’s Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences Undergraduate Program (CLIMB UP) at 11:30 a.m. in 144 Farber Hall, South Campus.

CLIMB UP provides undergraduate students from diverse groups from institutions throughout the U.S. with the support they need to adapt and thrive in summer research at UB, and guides them toward graduate and professional careers in the biosciences.

Poodry will advise the students about how best to begin to navigate their own paths in science.

Later that day, at 4 p.m. in Butler Auditorium, 150 Farber Hall, South Campus, he will give the Inaugural Celebration of Inclusiveness in Medicine and Science Lecture, titled “Strategies to Increase Workforce Diversity and Inclusiveness.” A reception will follow.

Both talks are free and open to the public.

In the talks, Poodry will discuss his background as a native of the Tonawanda Seneca Indian Reservation in Western New York and how he went on to receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences from UB. In 1999, he received an honorary doctorate from UB.

“Dr. Poodry has reached a very high level of success in his career. Hearing from such a role model could empower these students to reach for the unimaginable in science and beyond,” says Margarita Dubocovich, senior associate dean for inclusion and cultural enhancement in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and founder of CLIMB UP. Dubocovich, who chairs the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the medical school, also directs the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development funded by NIGMS.

Poodry twice was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and was the recipient of the Ely S. Parker award for lifelong accomplishments in science and contributions to the American Indian community. Prior to joining NIGMS, he had a 22-year teaching and research career in cell biology and developmental genetics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Poodry’s area of expertise includes science education and issues pertaining to American Indian participation in genetic research. He has authored more than 40 scientific papers and book chapters.

More than 20 students affiliated with CLIMB UP and other UB summer research and graduate programs will attend Poodry’s talk. CLIMB UP students were selected from a national pool of more than 200 applicants. Their housing and living expenses are funded by UB and national organizations. Each CLIMB UP student is assigned a UB faculty mentor—a scientist doing externally funded research—with whom they work on a specific research project that they are expected to complete and present on by the end of the program.