- Major: Pharmacology and Toxicology
- Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Anny Caceres knew exactly what kind of research she wanted to get involved in at UB: Anything that might have the power to help real people.
Anny and friends at the McNair Research Conference in Niagara Falls.
With the aid of several student enrichment programs, Anny participated in three different research projects with potential real-world ramifications, including a two-year study of breast cancer treatments at Buffalo’s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Institute. For the sum of her work, she was nominated for the 2009 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, awarded annually to outstanding undergraduates who have shown the commitment to making significant contributions in their fields.
“I feel like I do best when I know what I’m doing has a purpose. In the long run, it’s going to help someone,” she said. “Science is great, and trying to find answers is wonderful, but if you find the answer to a question and you can’t apply it, that’s fine. It’s just so much more fulfilling when you know it’s going to help people.”
Born in New York City, Anny spent her teenage years in Colombia, then Puerto Rico. She conducted her college search online, wanting to return to the U.S. mainland. When she discovered the breadth of academic programs at UB, she was intrigued. When she learned that she would be accepted into the Daniel Acker Scholars Program, she became convinced that UB was the place for her.
“I definitely like the fact that there were so many majors. And it seemed like a school that was a big science school,” Anny said. “I like seeing a lot of people and being able to have so many options, so I felt like UB was the right choice for me because of that. I felt like I could go here and try many different things and have access to a lot of different things.”
Once enrolled, it didn’t take long for Anny to get involved in medical research. In the summer after her freshman year she assisted pharmacology and toxicology professor Arin Bhattacharjee in an RNA study through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.
Anny performed a second year of breast-cancer research at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Institute and reported her findings at the McNair Research Conference in Niagara Falls.
She followed that up the next year by looking at the interaction between alcohol and pesticides with pharmacology and toxicology professor Richard Rabin. Anny’s participation in that research was funded by the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program.
Over the next two summers, Anny interned at Hauptman-Woodward, working on different stages of research aiming to find more specific and better treatments for estrogen dependent breast cancer. The second year of her study was performed under a Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, and Anny presented her research findings at the annual McNair Research Conference held in Niagara Falls.
“The McNair Program provided the funding for my last research internship, which was very important for me,” said Anny, who was recently accepted into the University of Pittsburgh’s Ph.D. pharmacology program. “The McNair people at UB do a lot of seminars and meetings to talk about how to get into grad school, how to write a personal statement, how to search for schools, how to afford grad school. They even did free GRE prep for us, which is huge.”
“I couldn’t have done half of the things I did without them.”
Last updated: March 13, 2014 11:01 am EST