Department of Biology at Canisius College CANISIUS COLLEGE - Spring 2018

Canisius College provides you the opportunity to expand your horizons, explore your emotions and become a leader in our world.

The faculty of the Biology program have established and maintain a very high caliber program that allows students to transition effectively into Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Veterinary schools, Graduate programs (in Business and the Sciences), Physician Assistant Programs and major in Medical Technology and Education programs. Students also go on to careers as laboratory technicians, in the business world and in the medical supply industry. A program’s success is based upon their graduates and this program has risen to great heights because of the overwhelming successes of its graduates!

We congratulate you on all of your successes and we thank you for your service to our community and more so, we invite you to become part of the future at Canisius College.

Become a man or woman for and with others - serve society


Congratulations Graduates

Class of 2017




This past year 34 students and alumni were accepted to medical schools from Canisius College, with 21 of these students coming through the Biology program, while 7 Biology majors maintained early assurance entrance into medical schools


White Coat Ceremonies for Canisius Graduates at regional Medical Schools (Medical students receiving their white coats)

This past year students from the Biology program received numerous national graduate awards like the National Health Service Corp Program award and the Health Professions Scholarship, which pay the cost of medical school for the recipient.

Over the last several years students from the Biology program have been accepted into MD/PhD programs, which allow participants to earn both their MD and their PhD through their participation in the program.


  • Undergraduate Student Research (all Biology Faculty conduct research)
  • Canisius Earning Excellence Program at Canisius College
  • Study Abroad - 16 countries / 23 cities
  • Government Summer Research internships (REU programs) at other Institutions
  • Science Scholars Program at Canisius College
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute Summer Research Programs
  • Hauptman-Woodward Institute Summer Research Programs
  • Academic and Activity Clubs / Campus Ministry / Undergraduate Government / Sustainability
  • Campus Ministry Service Trips / Medical Service Trips
  • Division I Sports / C - block (sports boosters)
  • Service Clubs and Service Learning
  • Canisius Network - Internship Opportunities in the Sciences
  • Tutoring classmates
  • Join Honor Societies (Tri Beta, Alpha Sigma Nu, Di Gamma)
  • many other activities


  • "Always be a step ahead - push your comfort zone - study"
  • "The faculty care about you and your success - get close to them"
  • "Study Hard and be Confident"
  • "Enjoy Working Hard - it is a Tough Journey but you will enjoy it in the end"
  • "Focus and do not limit yourself - make use of all of the opportunities"
  • "Do not try to do everything - things will suffer - know yourself"
  • "The Program is made for your success - get running quickly"
  • "Take time for yourself - there is more to college than studying"
  • "The Faculty are all wonderful - great life guides - use them"
  • "Manage your time wisely - do not procrastinate"
  • "Find a good group of like minded friends and support them"
  • "Learn effective study habits early"
  • "The Biology faculty do not bite - use their office hours"
  • "Make Memories!"
  • "GOOD LUCK!"

Undergraduate Senior and Alumni Awards:


TriBeta Award for highest QPA – Jenna Sauter

Department Excellence in Research – Amanda Altman (Neurobiology)

Nancy Wohlschlag Award for Distinguished Research Outcomes – Christian Montes (Microbiology)

Al Alexander Award for Outstanding Research Accomplishment – Nathan Riexinger (Neurobiology)

John Kalb Award for Exemplary Research Accomplishment – Margaret Halfdanadottir (Mammalian Endocrinology)

Dr. Joseph Tomasulo Alumni Award - in recognition of Great Contribution to Biology, Society and the Community - Dr. John Dobos DDS 75'

1-1 Advisement with faculty who assist and guide you through your journey

An unparalleled eduction that melds the Liberal Arts with cutting edge science taught in a nurturing and accepting environment


Alumni Profiles

Dr. Michael Galante MD

  • Period of attendance at Canisius: 2004-2008
  • Year graduated from Canisius: 2008
  • Degree(s) received at Canisius: BS - Biology

Activities involved with at Canisius

  • Resident Assistant 2005-2008
  • Biology Tutoring
  • Office of Admissions Tour Guide
  • CLC Small Group Leader with Office of Campus Ministry
  • Research activities at Canisius : Plant Steroid Biochemistry and Physiology with Dr. Robert Grebenok

Graduate Institution, degree earned : MD - Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Current position / Captain, United States Air Force - Emergency Medicine Physician, David Grant USAF Medical Center, CA

What did you value at Canisius? I truly valued the feeling of community that comes with attending Canisius College. It was felt not only in the classroom, but everywhere on campus. There was a sense that the people around you not only knew you, but also cared about you and your goals, as well and in helping you to achieve them. We each achieved more by working with and building up those around us. I felt that this grew out of the small class sizes, themed floors in the dorms, and the ability to collaborate in labs and research from early in the college experience. It is easy to get lost in a large university setting, and Canisius provided the perfect balance of great academic rigor with a caring community setting.

How did Canisius help you get to where you are today? First and foremost, Canisius helped me get into medical school in a way that I do not believe other institutions do. Not only do the science departments provide excellent and rigorous education, but having an office dedicated to premedical/preprofessional students in order to assist them with course choices, applications and guidance through the interview process is an invaluable part of what Canisius provided me on my journey to becoming a physician.

Secondly, Canisius instilled in me a sense of duty and responsibility to my fellow men and women. From this sense came a drive to serve everyone, especially the most vulnerable of our population. Drawing from this drive to serve, I now work as an Air Force Emergency Medicine physician, a field of medicine in which I see all patients who come to me regardless of time of day or ability to pay. I have also shaped my professional career around providing care for the elderly and the acutely suffering through interests in Geriatric Care, Palliative Care and Critical Care. These subseections of my specialy field allow me to serve those most in need of compassion, guidance and medical treatment Belonging to the Air Force has provided me one further outlet for my desire to serve, enabling me to provide medical care to the men, women and families of those who sacrifice all they have in order that we might enjoy our freedom.

What is(are) your most memorable experience(s) at Canisius? It is hard to pick out a specific moment at Canisius that I find most memorably, but I can certainly attribute many fond memories to two areas of involvement during my time there. Working in Dr. Grebenok's plant biochemistry lab provided me not only the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the sciences, but also excellent relationships with fellow researchers, students of shared interests and Professors well entrenched in their research careers. Traveling to Chicago with Dr. G as well as the other students who worked in his lab was an exciting opportunity to deepen our small research family as well as experience the larger research community of which we were a part. These experiences were not limited to our lab alone. The inter-department summer research lunches between Biology, Chemisty and Physicics that were orchestrated and organized by Colleen O'hara continue to remain a fond memory.

Involvement in Campus Ministry and Residence life and their roles at Canisius provided me with further memorable expereicnes, again meeting like-minded people who wanted to grow in comunity, faith and fun with each other. Ministry funded my trip to Boston College to participate in a silent retreat, opening my eyes to the great glory and power that exists in the world around us.

Alumni Profile

Dr. Michael Nazareth MD / PhD / FAAD

  • Period of Attendance at Canisius: 1997-2001
  • Year Graduated from Canisius: 2001
  • Degree Received from Canisius: BS Biology, summa cum laude, Class Valedictorian

Activities involved with at Canisius

  • Research Activities Involved with at Canisius: Endocrinology and Oncology with Dr. Susan Aronica, Clinical Research in Neurology with Dr. Lawrence JacobsDermatology Canisius College
  • Honor Code Development Committee, 2000-2001
  • TriBeta Biological Honor Society (Canisius Chapter) Secretary, 1998-2001
  • Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society, Secretary, 2000-2001
  • Canisius College Society for Pre-Health Professionals, Club, 1998-2001
  • Canisius College Biology Peer Tutor, 1998-2001

Graduate Institution, degree earned : MD/PhD from State University of New York at Buffalo (2008)

Current positions: President & CEO, Board Certified Dermatologist, Western New York Dermatology, Buffalo, NY

What did you value at Canisius and how did it help to get you to where you are today? Canisius was an excellent environment to foster my growth as a complete person. I received excellent academic training that prepared me well for medical/graduate school and beyond, while also enjoying a collegial atmosphere with my peers and professors. The small classroom environment definitely helped create an environment that fostered learning above and beyond the didactic curriculum and pushed me to think outside the box. The academic, clinical, research, leadership, and life skills I learned at Canisius have helped me in all of my endeavors since I graduated. While at Canisius I worked with Dr. Aronica on numerous basic science research projects which led to publications, presentations at international meetings, and ultimately future success in my graduate thesis work at UB in Immunology/Oncology. Furthermore, while at Canisius I served as a research and clinical assistant to Dr. Larry Jacobs, a world renowned neurologist in the field of multiple sclerosis. Those experiences helped form me into a better clinician and medical doctor till this date.

What are your most memorable experiences at Canisius? I had many wonderful experiences at Canisius, but a few in particular stand out. One was attending the 2000 Endocrine Society Meeting in Toronto with Dr. Susan Aronica’s entire lab. We were a fairly large group of students all who had been involved in meaningful research that led to publications and presentations, and it was great to be able to share the experience with everyone. Another experience I fondly remember were all of the fieldtrips we took during my ornithology class in my senior year with Dr. Sara Morris. It was great being able to apply the didactic skills I learned from her in the classroom and to better appreciate the diversity of avian species in our area. Another experience that really stands out was the benefit concerts that TriBeta sponsored every year to raise money for important charities. It was great to see the variety of talents of my peers while working together to benefit charitable organizations.

Alumni Profile

Dr. Jennifer Makin MD

  • Period of attendance at Canisius: 2004-2008
  • Year graduated from Canisius: 2008
  • Degree(s) received at Canisius: BS – Biology

Activities involved with at Canisius

  • Honors program
  • Research activities with Dr. John Kalb - Gene Expression

Graduate Institution, degree earned : MD- SUNY Upstate Medical University 2008-2012, OBGYN residency 2012-2016 SUNY Upstate Medical University

Current positions: MPH Harvard TH Chan school of public health summer 2016-2018 - Global health and innovations fellow at mass general. Research on fistula prevention and faculty at OBGYN residency in Sagam, Kenya

What did you value at Canisius? The small classroom setting, dedicated professors, the opportunity to work one on one with my mentor in a molecular biology lab.

How did Canisius help you get to where you are today? Early assurance program to Syracuse, premed program helped to prepare application and c.v., provided good knowledge base, amazing research experience.

What are your most memorable experiences at Canisius? For me it was about family. Two of my sisters and two of my brothers went through Canisius. All of us are completing our respective graduate degrees in history, biology physics and medicine. The ability for a small undergraduate school to successfully launch individuals into such different careers speaks volumes. Each of us would say the mentorship we received from members of our departments was key to choosing and pursuing our desired career paths.

Alumni Profile

Joanna Panasiewicz

  • Period of attendance at Canisius: 2000-2004
  • Year graduated from Canisius: 2004
  • Degree(s) received at Canisius: BS – Biology, Graduated Magna Cum Laude and All-College Honors Program

Activities involved with at Canisius

  • Chemistry Laboratory Preparatory Assistant
  • Beta Beta Beta Society (Tri-Beta) – National Biological Honor Society
  • All-College Honors Program
  • Canisius College Zoological Society
  • Canisius College Young Democrats
  • Christian Appalachian Project Workfest/Alternative Spring Break
  • Office of Admissions Tour Guide
  • Biology Teaching Assistant
  • Studied Abroad in London, England, Spring 2003
  • Research activities involved with at Canisius : Ornithology and geometric morphometrics with Dr. Sara Morris and Dr. H. David Sheets
  • Canisius Earning Excellence Program to conduct leukemia research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute under Dr. Annemarie Block.

Graduate Institution, degree earned: None

Current positions: Environmental Compliance Specialist - Current Project: Project Manager for Regional Niagara River Lake Erie Watershed Management Plan – Phase 2

What did you value at Canisius? I valued the various experiences that Canisius College offered outside of the classroom. I was looking for a school that would allow me to gain real-world experience in addition to academic rigor. Being able to work at the renowned Roswell Park Cancer Institute, as well as to conduct research, present posters, and eventually assist in manuscript publication through the Canisius College Biology and Physics Departments was incredibly insightful. In addition, the connection to service has resonated strongly with me. Today I am a civil servant and also Chair a non-profit dedicated to providing high-quality volunteer opportunities so that young professionals can give back to the community. I learned this dedication to service through the various programs offered through Canisius College Campus Ministry and Tri Beta. To this day, I am still participating in beach clean-ups!

How did Canisius help you get to where you are today? Canisius strengthened my resolve to serve others. There was a transition that happened while I was at Canisius. The tagline went from, “Where Leaders are Made” to, “Men and Women for Others.” It helped me to really focus my talents toward service, since service learning had such a profound impact on me. I joined in service projects offered by my employers and even became a civil servant for Erie County in 2008 where I am able to connect my passion for the environment with serving others. I was looking for an organization that would allow for more volunteer opportunities and joined B Team Buffalo, Inc. in 2012. I slowly became more and more involved, joining the Board of Directors in 2014 and becoming Chair in 2015. This organization leads teams of volunteers to assist local organizations with the goal of building up Buffalo.

What are your most memorable experiences at Canisius?There were countless memories over four years that stick in my mind. Here are a few:

Riding in a van traveling 80mph down a Florida highway for a Canisius Zoological Society trip and having Dr. Noonan screech to a halt because he saw a Roseate Spoonbill standing (what seemed like) a mile away. We all got to check that bird off of our lists that day and sent postcards back to the Biology Dept. for the professor who didn’t have it checked-off her list yet.

Traveling to Kentucky and West Virginia for Christian Appalachian Project to put a roof on a home for a grandfather and his granddaughter. I remember really learning about the history of the area, seeing artwork, and truly listening to the blue grass music. It was a full immersion. I made so many friends on those trips and seeing the appreciation in someone’s eyes when you and your team are able to make a difference is unforgettable.


Invitation to Visit

We welcome all visitors to our Department. If you are an Alumni who wants to see your old lab or a prospective student who wants to attend a class, please email or call Colleen O’Hara at oharac@canisius.edu or 716-888-2550 to ensure that your needs are met – we look forward to seeing you.

You can schedule a visit www.canisius.edu/visit or oharac@canisius.edu

or to answer your next step question: Office of Admissions - 716-888-2200 or 1-800-843-1517 or admissions@canisius.edu

or to answer your financial aid questions: Financial Services – 716-888-2300 or finaid@canisius.edu


You Can at Canisius!

Created by Vincent Bargnes ('17) and Robert Grebenok PhD

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