Detail-oriented, inquisitive students should consider pharmaceutical sciences

Have you ever had a student come into your office who is strong in math and the sciences, but cringes at the suggestion of working directly with patients? Or maybe the student is detail-oriented, inquisitive, and more interested in how drugs work rather than administering them to patients. This is the type of student who may want to learn more about the pharmaceutical sciences.

The pharmaceutical sciences program at UB is structurally a basic science program (like biochemistry, biology, etc.), but it offers a unique interdisciplinary field of study which seeks to achieve better understanding and control of the factors influencing clinical response to drug therapy. While the PharmD degree requires a minimum of two years of undergraduate study followed by four years of pharmacy studies to become a pharmacist, students have the opportunity to pursue a career as a research scientist by obtaining various pharmaceutical sciences degrees: Bachelor of Science (4 years); Master of Science (BS + 2-3 years); combined BS/MS (5 years); or Ph.D. (BS + 5-6 years).

Pharmaceutical scientists are involved in all areas of drug discovery and development research. Simply put, they are interested in learning how drugs affect the body – how they move and are absorbed, how genetic factors play a role, and how dosages are defined. All students in the major undertake an undergraduate research project. This research could be lab-based, analysis of computer data, or literature review. This important and unique feature of the program at UB is noteworthy, as graduates with scientific research experiences are sought-after by prospective employers.

If you or your students would like to learn more about the field, please feel free to contact Sara Robinson, academic advisor and assistant director of admissions and advisement for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, by email ( or by calling 716-645-2825 (option 1). You can also visit us on the web to learn more about the overview and history of the program and potential careers.

School of Architecture and Planning staff available to meet with school counselors

Did you know that the professions of architecture and environmental design have undergone big changes in the last five years, and promise to undergo even bigger changes in the next ten? As a person who advises students who are considering architecture and related majors, you might be interested in knowing more about these developments.

Faculty and staff from UB’s School of Architecture and Planning are available to meet with school counselors, faculty members and students to discuss advances in architecture and environmental design professions; new career options in these fields; recent developments in the path to architectural licensure; high school preparation for the design professions; or any other architectural topics of interest.

To schedule a meeting – either in person or via skype – please contact R.J. Multari, assistant dean and adjunct assistant professor of urban planning, at 716-829-3482 x4 or

For more information on UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, visit us online at

UB named to list of top colleges graduating students with lowest debt

UB has been named to Kiplinger’s 2014 list of the 10 best public colleges whose students have the lowest debt at graduation.

UB was ranked at No. 3 with an average student debt at graduation of $16,025, and a UB program designed to help students finish their degrees in a timely fashion received mention for helping students to keep debt low.

“The school’s ‘Finish in 4’ program focuses on helping students graduate on time and avoid the expense of an additional year,” the editors write. “Incoming freshmen work with an adviser to craft a four-year plan and pledge to fulfill a list of obligations — including limiting work to less than 20 hours per week and completing tasks such as course registration and financial aid forms on time.

“If a student meets these commitments but still doesn’t graduate in four years, UB will waive tuition and fees for any remaining coursework.”

The list of the 10 best public colleges with the lowest debt at graduation is available on Kiplinger’s website.

Schools were ranked on academic quality, as well as the financial support provided to get students to graduation day. Schools were chosen from Kiplinger’s 2014 list of the best values in public colleges, which ranked nearly 600 colleges and universities based on academics, cost and financial aid. UB is No. 51 on that list.

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UB Launches Major Research Effort to Address Environmental Issues

The University at Buffalo has announced the launch of RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water), an ambitious, university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute that will focus on the most difficult and complex environmental issues, as well as the social and economic issues with which they are intertwined.

One of the most expansive initiatives launched in recent years by the university, RENEW will harness the expertise of more than 100 faculty across the university, with the goal of hiring 20 more outstanding faculty with expertise in such areas as aquatic ecology, pollution law, behavioral economics, environmental planning, community health and energy/environmental systems.

The RENEW Institute will place UB at the forefront of environmental and energy research focused on sustainability, climate change and natural resources, said UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski. The initiative will build upon faculty strength across six UB schools and colleges. It will receive up to $15 million in university funding over the next five years to hire faculty and develop new academic programs for students.

“This is what great research universities do. We bring together the best minds to address timely topics and solve problems,” Zukoski said.

“One of the most urgent challenges faced by humankind is finding ways to sustain human existence while adapting to climate change and the evolving needs for energy and fresh water,” he added.

RENEW, Zukoski said, evolved from the UB 2020 plan to position the university as one of the world’s leading universities by investing in and harnessing UB’s research strengths to bring positive changes to the world.

Environmental problems, he noted, are of particular concern in Western New York, which is surrounded by water, including two Great Lakes, and a legacy of early industrialization.

An international search for a world-class scholar and researcher to direct the institute is underway, said Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development.

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UB Selected to Co-Lead State Efforts in Genome Research

As a premier research university with world-class capacity in life sciences research, innovation and analytics, the University at Buffalo is uniquely positioned to help New York State become a national leader in genomic medicine and advance new ways to treat, prevent and manage serious disease.

As announced last month during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State address, UB will partner with the recently opened New York Genome Center (NYGC) in Manhattan to accelerate recent advances in genomic medicine directly into clinical care.

The initiative is modeled after the governor’s successful blueprint for nanotechnology innovation in Albany, which has produced groundbreaking research, attracted significant private investment to the region and created thousands of new jobs.

The governor’s investment in UB and NYGC is expected to spur the development of companies on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus that support genomic medicine, such as companies that will focus on diagnostics and information technology essential to breakthroughs in personalized medicine.

To be successful, genomic medicine requires the analysis of large amounts of information, also known as “big data.”

UB’s blend of expertise in medical research, life sciences innovation and high-performance computing is key to this effort, and will provide NYCG, a consortium of 16 educational and research organizations, with the expertise and supercomputing power to advance genomic medicine throughout the state.

The New York Genome Center will begin to test new methodologies for the application of genomic medicine in hospitals in New York City. The information generated will be analyzed and stored at the Genome Center in the short term. When it comes to large data storage needs and complex analytics requiring the use of high-performance computing, the resources will be provided by the UB’s Center for Computational Research in Buffalo. As more and more patients are treated, all information will be stored at UB.

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High-Tech Sponges

The sponges of the future will do more than clean house.

Picture this, for example: Doctors use a tiny sponge to soak up a drug and deliver it directly to a tumor. Chemists at a manufacturing plant use another to trap and store unwanted gases.

These technologies are what UB faculty member Jason Benedict had in mind when he led the design of a new material called UBMOF-1. The material — a metal-organic framework, or “MOF” — is a hole-filled crystal that could act as a sponge, capturing molecules of specific sizes and shapes in its pores.

Swiss cheese-like MOFs are not new, but Benedict’s has a couple of remarkable qualities:

The crystal’s pores change shape when hit by ultraviolet light. This is important because changing the pore structure is one way to control which compounds can enter or exit the pores. You could, for instance, soak up a chemical and then alter the pore size to prevent it from escaping. Secure storage is useful in applications like drug delivery, where “you don’t want the chemicals to come out until they get where they need to be,” Benedict says.
The crystal also changes color in response to ultraviolet light, going from colorless to red. This suggests that the material’s electronic properties are shifting, which could affect the types of chemical compounds that are attracted into the pores.

Benedict’s team reported on the creation of the UBMOF on Jan. 22 in the journal Chemical Communications. The paper’s co-authors include chemists from UB and Penn State Hazleton.

“MOFs are like molecular sponges — they’re crystals that have pores,” explains Benedict, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.

“Typically, they are these passive materials: They’re static. You synthesize them and that’s the end of the road,” he adds. “What we’re trying to do is to take these passive materials and make them active so that when you apply a stimulus like light, you can make them change their chemical properties, including the shape of their pores.”

Benedict is a member of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, which the university launched in 2012 to advance the study of new materials that could improve life for future generations.

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UB Admissions Holiday Schedule

UB’s Office of the Admissions will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. We will reopen and resume normal business hours on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. PLEASE NOTE: We will continue to accept applications during that time, so students should be sure to get their applications and all supporting materials in by Dec. 31 to be considered for our merit scholarships.

Best wishes from all of us for a healthy and happy holiday season!

UB Senior Wins Marshall Scholarship to Study in UK

Phillip Tucciarone, a UB chemical and biological engineering student, has won a Marshall Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships awarded annually to U.S. college students.

Tucciarone is the first UB student to win a Marshall Scholarship since 1988; he’s also a 2013 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Up to 40 American students are awarded Marshall Scholarships each year. Marshall Scholars can be found among CEOs, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and members of the U.S. presidential cabinet.

The Marshall Scholarship will finance Tucciarone’s graduate study at a university in the United Kingdom, where he plans to study materials science.

“This feels incredible and is a wonderful surprise, to be honest,” says Tucciarone, who will leave for London in September. “The award secures an exciting academic future for me over the next four years and makes a statement about the value of public higher education.”

“The Marshall Scholarship is a mark of great distinction — these are not just some of the nation’s best and brightest young scholars, they are intellectually passionate, globally minded students dedicated to enriching the world around them,” says President Satish K. Tripathi. “This is exactly the kind of student that UB excels in educating.”

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UB Winter Session to Begin in January 2014

The University at Buffalo will open its first winter session on Jan. 6, 2014. The three-week session will include more than 100 virtual and classroom-based courses, as well as a significant number of study abroad opportunities.

The new winter session supports two of UB’s strategic goals: improving college affordability by facilitating timely graduation – our Finish in 4 initiative guarantees eligible undergraduates the ability to graduate within four years – and increasing students’ global competency through international experiences. Students enrolling in the winter session can use these intensive courses to stay on track to graduate, improve skills or pursue educational enrichment opportunities they may not have otherwise had time for.

You can stay abreast of UB’s increasing development of winter and summer programs by checking out our UBThisWinter and UBThisSummer websites.

Early Decision Deadline Pushed Back to Nov. 15

Due to a delay in processing of the Common Application, we have extended the deadline for all Early Decision applicants. This extension pertains to filers of the Common Application, as well as those who used the SUNY Application. If you have any questions or would like addition information on UB’s Early Decision option, please contact us at 888-UB-ADMIT or