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Jennifer A. Surtees

Professor of Biochemistry
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo


Genomes, genetic diversity, DNA, science communication, COVID-19 genomic surveillance and genetic variants

Portrait of Jennifer Surtees, University at Buffalo genomics and genetics expert.

Jennifer A. Surtees is an expert on genome stability and genetic diversity. She can speak to the media about a variety of topics tied to genetics, the human genome and DNA replication, repair and recombination.

Surtees believes that scientists have a responsibility to communicate clearly with the public as discoveries push the boundaries of knowledge and technology in biology. She feels strongly that an informed public is better able to support science and benefit from it. She has served as co-director of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence at UB, which advances understanding of the genome and microbiome and their interaction with the environment through research, education, community programs and art.

Surtees’ lab focuses on the general problem of maintaining genome stability, which refers to an organism or cell’s ability to accurately transmit genetic material to a new generation. Topics of interest include how genetic mutations threaten that stability and sometimes lead to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Surtees has worked with UB colleagues and the Erie County Public Health Laboratory to conduct genomic sequencing of virus samples in Western New York. These efforts have aided the region’s COVID-19 response, identifying the arrival of new variants and helping the community understand how SARS-CoV2 infections are changing locally as the virus evolves.


Jennifer A. Surtees, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Co-Director of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence
Executive Committee Member of the Center for Information Integrity
University at Buffalo