“I couldn’t catch a football for the life of me,” he said, “so I knew science was for me right off the bat.” It has worked out pretty well so far for Gary, who is in the process of building a career as a neurosurgeon.
Gary got his first taste of working in a hospital setting while still in high school, assisting in the evaluation of an experimental cancer therapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. But he also works as a medical technician at an assisted-living facility, dispensing medications to patients. At UB, he’s researching precursors to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, by studying fruit flies, which are excellent stand-ins for humans because they are very genetically similar mammals, have very short life cycles and are inexpensive to care for.
“The research that we’re doing really has broad applications to it,“ Gary said. “Because we work with neurodegenerative diseases, anything that falls under that category is a potential application for what we do.“
An ambitious and disciplined student, Gary has another passion, this one self-taught: piano. He plays Russian classical music in his spare time.
“That’s my heart and soul right there,” he said.
Gary in the lab with biological sciences professor Shermali Gunawardena.
The sheer volume of opportunities to learn – no matter what the subject matter – is one of the things that attracted Gary to UB.
“The sheer intellectual caliber I find here, both in students and the faculty, I think is impressive. It can be kind of humbling to be around that on a daily basis. It always gives you something to aim for,” he said.
“They provide all these opportunities to try to accommodate everyone at once. It’s up to you to go look for it, but it shows that there isn’t apathy in the staff. They really do care. That’s what I like about UB.”
Last updated: June 19, 2013 3:32 am EST