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SUNY GREAT Award Winners

SUNY GREAT Award Recipients

Twenty-two students have received the first-ever SUNY Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent (GREAT) award, which provides $5,000 to each student from the SUNY Office of Research and Economic Development. All recipients of the SUNY GREAT Award have received national recognition from the National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship Program or the National Institutes of Health, National Research Service Awards.

Clayton Brady headshot
Clayton Brady
University at Buffalo -
Biomedicine
Clayton Brady

Research: "Acid-base balance throughout the body is extremely well regulated, and maintaining a blood pH near 7.4 is really an essential component of health. However, what we are starting to realize is the processes that regulate pH might actually contribute to the development of disease themselves. Specifically, I am focused on the acid-base transporter NBCe1-B, which is thought to be involved in the renal and cardiac responses to acidosis, but its role in these systems is largely unknown. My hope is that by gaining a better understanding of these maladaptive responses, we will be able to develop therapies to help prevent their detrimental effects."

 

Erica Bower headshot
Erica Bower
Stony Brook University
Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Erica Bower

Research: "My research focuses on the analysis of global tropical cyclone-related extreme precipitation throughout the entire life cycle of a storm, including its post-tropical phases. This work identifies the trends in tropical cyclone precipitation in the past and will continue to investigate future changes in these events. By analyzing and verifying operational forecast models, this project will also determine the most accurate model predictions for tropical cyclone rainfall and flooding events in order to create more accurate forecasts with greater lead times."

 

Payton Elizabeth Charlton headshot
Payton Elizabeth Charlton
University at Buffalo
Psychology
Payton Elizabeth Charlton

Research: "My research studies auditory perception in CBA/CaJ mice. Currently, we are investigating the effects of noise-induced hearing loss on hearing detection for both simple (pure tones) and complex (ultrasonic vocalizations) acoustic stimuli. We want to know whether noise-induced hearing loss creates temporary or permanent hearing loss for these stimuli. However, I am interested in understanding how mice discriminate between ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) and what acoustic parameters mice use during the discrimination process. I am also investigating what communicative role, if any, USVs have for mice throughout their lifespan beyond what is already known. As we better understand the ways in which mice discriminate USVs and their functional significance, we can better utilize them as models for communicative disorders and deficits."

 

Jesus Alberto Frias headshot
Jesus Alberto Frias
University at Albany
Biology
Jesus Alberto Frias

Research: "I study myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), the most common form of adult muscular dystrophy. Specifically, I study small molecule therapeutics for DM1 and their mechanism of action in the disease, in the hopes that this information will lead to improved therapeutics that can help clinicians and patients."

 

Chris R. Gnam headshot
Chris R. Gnam
University at Buffalo
Aerospace Engineering
Chris R. Gnam

Research: "My research focuses on autonomous terrain relative navigation and mapping of asteroids and other planetary bodies. It will enable more ambitious deep space missions, allowing for more detailed science to be conducted throughout the solar system."

 

Gabrielle Elise Kamm headshot
Gabrielle Elise Kamm
Stony Brook University
Chemistry
Gabrielle Elise Kamm

Research: "Every item of modern technology has an inorganic material responsible for its function. Batteries, solar panels, and catalytic converters are all examples of technologies that use inorganic chemistry to improve our lives. I use a variety of X-ray techniques to probe inorganic solids to answer questions about how and why these materials work. Answering these fundamental questions is crucial to guide the development of greener, cheaper, and more reliable devices."

 

Madani Ahmed Khan headshot
Madani Ahmed Khan
Stony Brook University
Chemistry
Madani Ahmed Khan

Research: "I work with cellulose extracted from underutilized or wasted biomass. Later, the cellulose are chemically modified for water purification purposes. We are hoping it will be a sustainable process for third-world countries and aid a lot of people around the world to meet their daily safe water needs."

 

Jeremy Kiripolsky headshot
Jeremy Kiripolsky
University at Buffalo
Oral Biology
Jeremy Kiripolsky

Research: "In our laboratory, we study an autoimmune disease called Sjogren's Syndrome. Currently, there are no curative treatments, and therapies are aimed at only improving patient symptoms. Our work seeks to identify potential therapeutic targets that have not yet been identified, so patients can have a better quality of life."

 

Zachary Taylor Kralles headshot
Zachary Taylor Kralles
University at Buffalo
Environmental & Water Resources Engineering
Zachary Taylor Kralles

Research: "Disinfection is a crucial treatment process for drinking water, but it also causes the formation of toxic byproducts. My research focuses on discovering the mechanisms behind how these byproducts form, with the end goal of engineering solutions that can mitigate their formation to make drinking water safer."

 

Sarah Lucile Metcalfe headshot
Sarah Lucile Metcalfe
University at Buffalo
Oral Biology
Sarah Lucile Metcalfe

Research: "My research focuses on the relationship between the microbes and immune cells of our mouths. This research is important for gaining a better understanding of how gum disease develops and progresses."

 

Tori Peña headshot
Tori Peña
Stony Brook University
Psychology
Tori Peña

Research: "Memory hints can be deceitful. Every day, people use information in their environment as hints or cues to help them recall information. For example, K-12 students work in groups (a social source) as well as use technology (a non-social source) to improve recall. It is intuitive to assume that cues always benefit recall, but cues also disrupt the organization of information, harming recall. My research plan aims to assess the disruptive influences of social and non-social cues on recall and memory deficits. While ample research shows that cues have a complex relationship with human memory, people continue to believe that cues help more than hurt memory. My proposal provides a precise test of these beliefs. The extent to which social and non-social cues help or hurt memory across the lifespan has wide implications for education and in aging to help improve cognitive performance."

 

Siara Rouzer headshot
Siara Rouzer
Binghamton University
Behavioral Neuroscience
Siara Rouzer

Research: "In my research, I've discovered that offspring who have been exposed to moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy are at greater risk of demonstrating generalized anxiety symptoms in adolescence. I have further associated this increase in anxiety with significant changes in neural communication and functioning of the stress system within the amygdala. Together, these data inform future therapeutic interventions for anxiety disorders, and also highlight the long-term impacts of sub-intoxicating levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy."

 

Michael Shaw headshot
Michael Shaw
Binghamton University
Clinical Psychology
Michael Shaw

Research: "My research focuses on how humans can overcome predetermined biological tendencies associated with pathology. More specifically, I am interested in how cognitive-affective processes mediate psychophysiological responses and larger behavioral choices. I aim to perform research that informs efficacious and efficient clinical intervention of physical and mental pathology."

 

Margaret Ellen Shevik headshot
Margaret Ellen Shevik
Stony Brook University
Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Margaret Ellen Shevik

Research: "I am studying Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) – meshes of DNA and proteins that are released from neutrophils (innate immune cells) as a response to inflammation. My research is focused on how NETs may trigger malignant inflammation and whether this mechanism can be targeted to prevent postpartum breast cancer."

 

Bernard Gene Stevenson headshot
Bernard Gene Stevenson
Binghamton University
Chemistry
Bernard Gene Stevenson

Research: "As a chemistry graduate student, I use lasers to understand how reactions that are driven by light actually work. Understanding how these types of reactions work may lead to the development of new and more efficient methods for the preparation of chemical compounds, such as pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals."

 

Jennifer Susan Thalappillil headshot
Jennifer Susan Thalappillil
Stony Brook University
Pharmacological Sciences
Jennifer Susan Thalappillil

Research: "My research focuses on the tumor microenvironment of pancreatic cancer. This disease is unique for having an extensive and dense extracellular matrix surrounding the cancer cells, called a desmoplastic reaction. This desmoplasia contains multiple types of stromal cells, including cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). My work focuses on untangling the crosstalk between CAFs and TAMs, as both these cell types have been attributed to worse disease prognosis in various ways. Because the stroma is such a prominent feature of this particular cancer, my work is impactful because it potentially opens the way for new therapeutic approaches to this currently intractable disease."

 

Lamar S. Thomas headshot
Lamar S. Thomas
Binghamton University
Biological Sciences
Lamar S. Thomas

Research: "My research focuses on a single gene and its protein, Sak_1753, found on the bacteria Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus, GBS). Sak_1753 was first identified by my advisor, Dr. Laura Cook, to be the most highly upregulated gene (~3000 fold) during mice vaginal colonization compared to GBS grown in the lab. For my PhD, I aim to characterize this protein by determining its subcellular location and providing evidence of its role and importance in the colonization of the vaginal tract. Results will aid in determining the eligibility of Sak_1753 as a potential vaccine candidate to prevent initial GBS mucosal colonization."

 

Andrew S. Vore headshot
Andrew S. Vore
Binghamton University
Behavioral Neuroscience
Andrew S. Vore

Research: "The work I do examines the long-term impact of adolescent binge ethanol on peripheral and central immune reactivity. The current pandemic has highlighted the potential havoc that immune dysfunction can wreak, not just on everyday health but on how we respond to challenges (whether that be stress, infection, or something else). Better understanding how adolescent alcohol abuse can alter long-term vulnerability to later disease could better inform future behavioral and pharmacological interventions."

 

Michael Weaver headshot
Michael Weaver
University at Buffalo
Medicine and Neuroscience
Michael Weaver

Research: “My research focuses on understanding a novel family of proteins involved in peripheral nervous system development. This protein family may also have a role in the response to traumatic peripheral nerve injury and the progression of specific types of cancer, such as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). By understanding how this protein family functions in peripheral nerves, we may be able to design more effective therapeutic strategies for conditions such inherited peripheral neuropathies, traumatic peripheral nerve injuries, and MPNSTs.”

 

Jamal B. Williams headshot
Jamal B. Williams
University at Buffalo
Neuroscience
Jamal B. Williams

Research: "In my research, I study how flexible changes in gene expression contribute to neurologic and psychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. What's interesting in this approach is that we hone in on molecular targets that can be turned on or off like a switch. And oftentimes, we find that these switches control a variety of genes that have a negative influence in the brain. I am optimistic that by doing so, we can change the ‘cards’ of those who are dealt a bad hand, and restore proper and brain function through these novel strategies."

 

John Connor Williams headshot
John Connor Williams
Stony Brook University
Biomedical Engineering
John Connor Williams

Research: "Schizophrenia is a widespread, poorly-understood disorder that poses a great social and economic burden in the United States and throughout the world. Auditory verbal hallucinations are a particularly devastating symptom of this disease, producing markedly increased risk for unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, chronic disability, and reduced life expectancy. Through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, this project aims to measure brain function in patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals, and correlate these measurements with clinical symptoms. By seeking to understand how abnormalities in brain function produce hallucinations, this work may help lead to increased ability to identify individuals at risk for the disorder and improved treatment options for patients."

Priscilla Edinam Yevoo headshot
Priscilla Edinam Yevoo
Stony Brook University
Neurobiology and Behavior
Priscilla Edinam Yevoo

Research: "My research uses behavioral and electrophysiological approaches to investigate neural physiological properties underlying taste-dependent behaviors. This work will lay the foundation for understanding disorders associated with impulsive behavior and provide novel biomarkers for the detection, treatment, and prevention of impulsivity-related neuropsychiatric disorders such as binge eating disorder."