University at Buffalo Undergraduate Initiatives

Published August 6, 2015

Faculty at the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Public Health and Health Professions hosted over 30 undergraduate students working as research assistants in faculty research labs during the summer of 2015. Faculty from all five of the school’s departments involved undergraduate students in their research during the summer.

Ms. I’Yanna Scott, a biological sciences major, worked with Dr. Heather Orom, associate professor in the department of community health and health behavior, on a project exploring how the patient-centeredness of African American men’s relationship with their physicians influenced whether the physicians’ treatment recommendations influenced patient decision making. Ms. Scott was a UBCollegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Summer Research Scholar and presented her work at the twenty-first Annual UB Undergraduate Research Conference.

Dr. Rachel Hageman Blair, assistant professor in the department of biostatistics, mentored Mr. Gabriel Skugor, an undergraduate mathematics major. Mr. Skugor worked with Dr. Blair on a project using association rules- typically used in connection with recommender systems in marketing-to dissect combinations of risk factors that contribute to obesity and diabetes. Mr. Skugor’s work was part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. His work was also presented at the 21st Annual UB Undergraduate Research Conference.

Ms. Maisa De Sousa Dos Santos, an exchange student from Brazil, worked with Dr. James Olson, UB Distinguished Professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health, on projects designed to better understand the global health concerns related to pesticide exposures and the health risks associated with human exposures to pesticides. Her work was presented at a summer research day sponsored by UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center. Ms. Dos Santos’ work was conducted as a part of the UB Collaborative Learning and Integrative Mentoring in the Biomedical Sciences program.

Several undergraduate students majoring in exercise science, biomedical sciences, and biology, worked with Dr. Peter Horvath, associate professor in the department of exercise and nutrition sciences, on studies examining mushrooms and high fat meal consumption. Ms. Marlene Morales, an undergraduate exercise sciences major, presented her work with Dr. Horvath at the UB Undergraduate Research Conference.

A team of occupational therapy and architecture students worked with Dr. James Lenker, associate professor in the department of rehabilitation sciences, on research evaluating the usability of two design elements within contemporary metro transit buses, both designed to foster independence and safety for riders with mobility disabilities. The team examined a commercially available electromechanical access ramp that can adjust its slope as needed to accommodate varying deployment conditions and securement systems used to tie-down wheeled mobility devices, including wheelchairs and scooters, for safe transport.

Additional School of Public Health and Health Professions faculty who mentored undergraduate students during the summer session include Dr. Daniel Gaile from the department of biostatistics; Drs. Lorraine Collins, Gregory Homish, and Marc Kiviniemi from the department of community health and health behavior; Dr. Pavani Ram from the department of epidemiology and environmental health; and Dr. Nadine Fisher from the department of rehabilitation sciences.

The University at Buffalo offers graduate degree level programs and is the home to five departments; biostatistics, exercise and nutrition sciences, community health and health behavior, rehabilitation science and epidemiology and environmental health. It is one of only a few schools across the country that includes health-related professions as an integral component of the public health educational and research system. University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions is located on the South Campus of University at Buffalo in Kimball Tower. For more information about the school, visit www.sphhp.buffalo.edu.