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Visiting Lecture Series

Contact: College of Graduate Studies
Address: SUNY Upstate Medical University
Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: (315) 464-4538

Upstate Medical University is pleased to offer its visiting lecture series to bring undergraduates a lively and informative lecture with one of our faculty members.

The professors in our series are published, funded investigators conducting groundbreaking research in their individual fields. Each professor's lecture will include a brief presentation on the biomedical graduate degree programs and student research offerings at SUNY Upstate.

This free, innovative program is designed to spark interest in the biomedical sciences and to further awareness among students and faculty of opportunities at SUNY Upstate. To schedule one of our lecturers to come to your campus, please complete the visiting scholar request form.

SUNY Upstate Visiting Lecturers 2019-2020

Jeffrey AmackJeffrey Amack, PhD
Cell & Developmental Biology
Mechanobiology in the Zebrafish
Mechanobiology describes how physical forces influence cell behaviors. We use the zebrafish embryo to investigate mechanical properties that drive formation of tissues and organs.
Alaji Bah, PhDAlaji Bah, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Regulation of Binding, Folding and Phase Separation of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins by Post Translational Modifications
Intrinsically Disordered Proteins are a class of proteins that do not fold into a stable confirmation under physiological conditions, yet they play critical biological roles. In this introduction, I will discuss how the functions of these proteins are regulated by post-translational modifications.
Peter Calvert, PhDPeter Calvert, PhD
Watching cell signaling live: what we are learning about biochemistry by imaging active cells
Work in my lab is aimed at understanding signaling and behavior at the molecular level in living cells. Protein dynamics, measured with multiphoton and confocal microscopy, is changing our understanding how cell sensitivity to environmental stimuli is controlled.
Thomas Duncan, PhDThomas Duncan, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Jamming the Gears of ATP Synthase Nanomotors for Antibacterial Drug Discovery
ATP synthases are rotary motor enzymes critical for cellular energy metabolism.  Understanding bacteria-specific regulatory mechanisms may lead to new antibiotics.
Wenyi Feng, PhDWenyi Feng, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Chromosome fragility: When Replication Goes Awry
We are interested in the mechanisms of how replication defects lead to DNA strand breakage, chromosomal rearrangements and genome instability, which are the underlying cause of many human diseases including cancer. We also develop novel methods using NextGen sequencing to identify chromosome fragile sites in the human genome.
Stephen J. Glatt, PhDStephen J. Glatt, PhD
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Biomarkers for Neuropsychiatric Disorders
Unlike many other medical conditions, neuropsychiatric disorders are currently diagnosed based only on behavioral reports and clinical observation rather than biomarkers. The presentation will summarize the latest efforts to identify valid biomarkers for these disorders, which should facilitate earlier identification and intervention and better outcomes.
Steven Hanes, PhDSteven Hanes, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Using Model Organisms to Study Development & Disease
This introduction to how and why model organisms are used in biomedical research will focus on gene regulation and will include discussion about careers in the biological sciences.
Jessica Henty-Ridilla, PhDJessica Henty-Ridilla, PhD
Cell & Developmental Biology
TIRF Microscopy of the Cytoskeleton
An introduction and overview investigating cellular and biochemical mechanisms of cytoskeletal crosstalk between actin filaments and microtubules.
Bruce Knutson, PhDBruce Knutson, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Functional and Arthitectural Evolution of Nuclear RNA Polymerases and How Their Dysregulation Leads to Disease
In higher eukaryotic organisms like ourselves, our genes are transcribed into RNA by at least three different nuclear multi-subunit RNA polymerases. In my talk, I will describe how my lab is trying to understand how these complex molecular enzymes work and more importantly how their dysregulation leads to disease.
Mira Krendel, PhDMira Krendel, PhD
Cell & Developmental Biology
Lessons from Four-Legged Patients: Mouse Studies and Human Genetic Diseases
Mouse models can be used to find genes responsible for inherited diseases in humans. Our studies in mice helped identify a link between myosin mutations and kidney disease.
Chunya Liu, PhDChunyu Liu, PhD
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Genome, Epigenome, Proteome and Phenome of Psychiatric Disorders
Our lab uses the tools of protein folding, engineering, and design to develop mechanisms by which ordinary proteins can be converted into switches, and for understanding how p53 mutations contribute to cancer and how mutant p53 can be reactivated by small molecules.
Stwart Loh, PhDStewart Loh, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Design of Biomolecular Switches; p53 Folding, Misfolding, and Cancer
Our lab uses the tools of protein folding, engineering, and design to develop mechanisms by which ordinary proteins can be converted into switches, and for understanding how p53 mutations contribute to cancer and how mutant p53 can be reactivated by small molecules.
David W. Pruyne, PhDDavid W. Pruyne, PhD
Cell & Developmental Biology
Building the Cell's Internal Skeleton - How Does It Happen, and Why Does It Matter?
The cytoskeleton is a network of protein filaments inside the cell that control cell's shape and movements. Formins are proteins that play a critical role in controlling the assembly of cytoskeletal filaments. We are learning how formins work using a combination of biochemical studies of pure proteins, microscopic analysis of cytoskeletal organization in cells, and observation of the effects of formin gene mutations on the simple model animal Caenorhabditis elegans.
Mark E. Schmitt, PhDMark E. Schmitt, PhD
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
All Ribosomes are Not Created Equal
Ribosomes are extremely ancient RNA-based enzymes that catalyze protein synthesis in all organisms. Ribosomes differ in their RNA and protein composition and these subtle differences confer different functions that control and regulate the translation process.
Vladimir Sirotkin, PhDVladimir Sirotkin, PhD
Cell & Developmental Biology
Endocytosis by the Numbers: Investigation of the Mechanisms of Endocytosis by Quantitative Live Cell Imaging
The actin cytoskeleton dynamics are responsible for changes in cell shape. By counting the numbers of molecules in live cells, we investigate how cells control the actin filament assembly driving membrane deformation during endocytosis.
Daniel Tso, PhDDaniel Tso, PhD
Plasticity and the Dynamic Brain: Wiring, Injury and Re-wiring
Recent evidence has forced a greater appreciation of the extent to which the adult brain is capable of remarkable rewiring and plasticity, particularly in order to adapt to changes in the environment or in response to brain injury. We will explore the fixed versus plastic nature of the adult brain and some of the underlying neural mechanisms.
Andrea Viczian, PhDMariano Viapiano, PhD
Brain Cancer: Finding New Targets Outside the Tumor Cells
Gliomas are malignant cancers that originate in the brain and have very poor prognosis. The focus of our research is to understand and target the mechanisms by which glioma cells interact with normal brain cells and modify the neural environment to their advantage. This lecture will describe mechanisms of glioma growth and invasion identified in our laboratory and will outline novel therapeutic strategies against malignant brain tumors.
Cynthia Weickert, PhDCynthia Weickert, PhD
Neuroscience & Physiology
How Can We Cure Schizophrenia?
One of the most biologically salient changes we have discovered is an increased production of IL-1β in white blood cells (Step 1).  IL-1β is secreted by monocytes to trigger the activation of other immune cells, including other monocytes, in a positive feedback loop.  These immune cells start to secrete more cytokines, such as IL-6 (Step 2), and the immune cells themselves are placed on "high alert", becoming more vigilant in their surveillance of all body organs including the brain.
Wei-Dong Yao, PhDWei-Dong Yao, PhD
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Linking Synaptic Mechanisms to Brain Diseases
Neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) process top-down information that encodes executive memory, and reward behaviors. Using multi-disciplinary, electrophysiological, cellular, and molecular approaches and mouse models, we study mechanisms regulating the formation, modulation, and plasticity of synaptic connections in the PFC and related regions and their contributions to brain disorders.