Alumni Profiles

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is proud of its graduates.  Our alumni have achieved success as industrial chemists, research chemists, university professors, high school teachers, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, entrepreneurs, lawyers and many other professions.  Below, read about the interesting career paths of some our alumni. 


Alumni Profiles

Ryan J. Campagna, M.D.  (BCH 2010): After graduating summa cum laude from Canisius University, Ryan went on to the Ohio State University College of Medicine. He graduated magna cum laude and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society. His training continued with a general surgery residency at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. He is currently completing an integrated post-doctoral research experience, where he serves as an National Research Service Award (NRSA) research fellow on an National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 Training Grant in Gastrointestinal Physiology and Psychology. He is concomitantly pursuing a Masters in Medical Education. Ryan will return to the clinical arena for the final 2 years of general surgery residency, after which he plans to complete a fellowship in minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery. He hopes to return to WNY for a surgical career focused on graduate medical education. 



Abdullah Bitar, M.D., Ph.D.  (BCH 2003): Abdullah earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Rochester.  After graduation, he began an internal medicine and research residency at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA, with a focus on cardiology. Following the completion of a cardiology fellowship at Scripps Clinic, Abdullah plans to continue his medical training to become an interventional cardiologist. Abdullah volunteers at the Eric Paredes (EP) Save-a-Life Foundation, which offers free electrocardiogram screening for high school students in high poverty areas of San Diego. He has also volunteered at clinics offering free healthcare and screenings for homeless, poor and uninsured patients.  In 2017, Abdullah was selected as a member of the inaugural group of Griffs Under 40 at Canisius.


Jared J. Paul, Ph.D.  (CHM 2000): Jared earned his Ph.D. degree in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005.  After graduation, he continued as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he conducted research on Optical Electron-Proton Transfer in Organic Compounds and Metal Complexes.  In 2008 Jared joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry at Villanova University, where is currently an Associate Professor.  At Villanova, Jared's research interests are in the areas of artificial photosynthesis and light-activated anti-cancer drugs. He is also the former co-director of the Villanova Center for Energy and Environmental Education. Jared was selected as a member of the inaugural group of Griffs Under 40 at Canisius.


Christopher D. Kane, Ph.D.  (BCH 1990): Chris obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics with Dr. David A. Bernlohr at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 1995.  His graduate research involved the characterization of the three-dimension structure of intracellular lipid binding proteins with their function as lipid trafficking molecules.  He then went on to perform postdoctoral research with Dr. Anthony R. Means at Duke University Medical Center where he discovered a novel crosstalk mechanism between Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases and selected orphan nuclear receptors. In 2001 he joined Pharmacia Corporation (St. Louis, MO) as a Genomics Scientist and used genetic techniques to identify and validate multiple nuclear receptors as novel therapeutic targets for atherosclerosis and metabolic disease.  After the 2003 acquisition of Pharmacia Corporation by Pfizer Inc, he joined the Atherosclerosis therapeutic area in Groton CT and became a Senior Research Scientist and later Principal Scientist. In 2010, he joined MedImmune LLC in Gaithersburg, MD as a Principal Scientist where he led the exploratory biomarker strategy for Mavrilimumab. Since 2014, Chris has supported USAMRIID therapeutic development efforts for biodefense against botulinum neurotoxin and viruses that cause hemorrhagic fever. He served as a founding member of the Therapeutic Development Center (TDC) at USAMRIID, with the primary goal of implementing a biopharmaceutical model for development of medical countermeasures against biodefense pathogens and toxins. Chris led and coordinated the TDC’s Ebola response during the 2014 West Africa outbreak to rapidly assess, evaluate and prioritize externally partnered therapeutics including GS-5734. 


Kristen Kulinowski, Ph.D.  (CHM 1990): Kristen earned her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Rochester.  She was competitively selected as the OSA-SPIE Congressional Science Policy Fellow of 2001-2002, where she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on legislation involving weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and domestic nuclear power security in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  Subsequently, Kristen was a Senior Faculty Fellow in Chemistry at Rice University, Executive Director for the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) and the Director of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON). Kristen has advised governments on nanotechnology policy issues and was a founder of ASTM International’s standards committee on nanotechnology. She is co-author of a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences white paper on training hazardous waste workers to handle nanomaterials and was principal investigator on an Occupational Safety and Health Administration grant to develop instructional materials to assist companies in creating and sustaining safer nanomaterial workplaces.  She has also served as a Research Staff Member in the IDA Science & Technology Policy Institute (STPI). STPI is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) chartered by Congress that provides rigorous and objective analysis of science and technology policy issues for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other offices and councils within the executive branch of the U.S. government and federal agencies.  In January 2015, Kristen was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and confirmed by the Senate in August 2015. She has expertise in chemical and materials sciences, occupational health and safety issues, risk policy, nanotechnology, emergency response, and research administration.  She currently serves as the Interim Executive Authority for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.


David G. Hangauer, Ph.D.  (CHM 1974):  Dave completed his Ph.D. in natural product synthesis at the University at Buffalo in 1980. After, he worked as a medicinal chemist at Merck in Rahway, NJ and then in 1989 he accepted a position at the University at Buffalo as Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. His laboratory developed a new technology for the discovery of protein kinase inhibitors. He also served as a consultant or Scientific Advisory Board Member for many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Dave is the original founder of Kinex Pharmaceuticals (renamed Athenex Inc in 2015), a Buffalo biopharmaceutical company he started in 2002 as a spin out from his University at Buffalo laboratory research that is largely focused on the discovery and development of novel drugs for cancer. After starting Kinex Pharmaceuticals, Dave’s laboratory launched a new fundamental research program aimed at experimentally unraveling the detailed energetics of drugs binding to their receptors. In 2013 Dave retired from his academic position to serve as the Chief Scientific Officer of Kinex Pharmaceuticals. Dave is an inventor or author on numerous patents and publications and has received many awards including the New York State Research Foundation Outstanding Inventor Award (2002), the Canisius University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry James H. Crowdle Award for Distinction in Chemistry (2006), the Niagara Frontier 2007 Inventor of the Year Award, and the 2012 University at Buffalo Faculty Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


David P. Nalewajek, Ph.D.  (CHM 1974):  Dave completed his Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo in 1978. After graduation, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories.  Dave is currently a Research Fellow at Honeywell’s Buffalo Research Laboratory. Over his 35+ years with the company, he has been involved with numerous projects including the design and synthesis of the various generation of environmentally safer fluorocarbons, the design of low dielectric materials, supported polymerization catalyst systems, and surfactant synthesis to name a few. His current research interests are directed towards the synthesis of organofluorine compounds for use in Low Global Warming Potential applications and the preparation of fluorine based polymers for use in electronic and membrane separation technologies. He has received numerous awards for his work within the company and the Western New York community including being named two time winner of the Western New York “Inventor of the Year”, The Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medalist for “Distinguished Service to the WNY Section of the American Chemical Society and Creativity in Fluorocarbon Synthesis”, the WNY Pathfinder Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Education in the Community”, Honeywell’s “Technical Achievement Award”, the 2006 Fluorine Products Patent of the Year, the 2013 American Chemical Society Volunteer of the Year for the WNY Section, the “2013 Distinguished Recognition Award” for his dedication working with the students of St. Mary’s School for the Deaf during National Chemistry Week and most recently, 2015 Fellow of the American Chemical Society in acknowledgement of his contributions for the development of environmentally acceptable CFC substitutes and the promotion of STEM initiatives in Western New York.  He was the recipient of the James H. Crowdle Award for Distinction in Chenmistry (2016) from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Canisius University. Dave holds 79 U.S. Patents and has authored 32 technical papers.


Teresa M. Amabile, Ph.D.  (CHM 1972):  Teresa has researched and written about creativity for over 40 years. Beginning with a series of empirical and theoretical papers in the 1970s and 1980s, she was instrumental in establishing the social psychology of creativity – the study of how the social environment can influence creative behavior, primarily by influencing motivational state. Originally focusing on experimental studies of individual creativity, Teresa’s research expanded to non-experimental, field-based studies that also encompassed individual productivity, team creativity, and organizational innovation. This decades-long program of research has yielded a comprehensive theory of creativity and innovation; methods for assessing creativity, motivation, and the work environment; and a set of prescriptions for maintaining and stimulating both individual creativity and organizational innovation.  Her more recent research investigates how everyday life inside organizations can influence people and their performance by affecting inner work life, the confluence of motivation, emotion, and perceptions.  Teresa’s scholarly work on creativity has appeared in a variety of psychology and organizational behavior journals, as well as her 1983 book The Social Psychology of Creativity and its 1996 update, Creativity in Context. In 1989, she published Growing Up Creative for parents and teachers. Her most recent discoveries on organizational creativity, drawing on nearly 12,000 daily diary entries from over 200 professionals inside organizations, appear in The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work (2011). Her current research program investigates attitudes toward, decisions about, and adjustment to retirement, with a particular focus on creative behavior.  In January 2018, Teresa accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Israel Organizational Behavior Conference; in March 2018, she accepted the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; and in August 2018 she will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. She received the E. Paul Torrance Award from the Creativity Division of the National Association for Gifted Children in 1998, and The Leadership Quarterly Best Paper Award from the Center for Creative Leadership in 2005; in 2011 and 2013, she was named to the global Thinkers50 list.  Teresa holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University.


Simon "Skip" Ulmer, Ph.D.  (CHM 1967):  After receiving his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Cornell University, Skip began an 18 year career with DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. After working as a chemist for 4 years at Dupont, he turned his attention to the business side, working with products as varied as Kevlar for bullet resistant vests to Tyvek for commercial and residential building construction wrap. In 1991 Skip left Dupont for Johns Manville in Denver, Colorado to become Vice-President/General Manager of specialty fiberglass insulation (automotive, aerospace, HVAC). In 1998 he left Johns Manville and founded SIMON SAYS Consulting, which focuses on strategic plans, marketing plans, customer service, and leadership.


Gerald Zon, Ph.D.  (CHM 1967):  Jerry recieved his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1971.  He developed automated synthesis of DNA analogs at the National Institutes of Health, and later at Applied Biosystems (ABI). In 1992 he co-founded ABI spin-off Lynx Therapeutics, an antisense company. He returned to ABI in 1999 to head DNA sequencing research and development and then worked on novel methods for DNA sequencing as a Research Fellow at Life Technologies. In 2006 Jerry was admitted as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. He was the recipient of the James H. Crowdle Award for Distinction in Chenmistry (2009) from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Canisius University.  Jerry has published over 260 papers and patents, and is a longtime member of the Editorial Board for Analytical Biochemistry.  He curently serves as Business Development Principal Consultant at TriLink BioTechnologies.  Jerry's Zone in with Zon blog focuses on what's trending in nucleic acid research.