2 UB Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

Release Date: December 20, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., Ph.D., professor of chemistry, and Thomas Melendy, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, both at the University at Buffalo, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

They were among 449 scientists selected by their peers this year for their "meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications."

Gardella was selected as a fellow by the AAAS Section on Chemistry "for scientific leadership in surface analysis of polymers and biomaterials (specifically in the development of static SIMS – secondary ion mass spectrometry), and for developing related surface modification techniques for these same materials."

Melendy was selected as a fellow by the AAAS Section on Biological Sciences "for characterizing mechanisms of eukaryotic chromosomal and viral DNA replication and of regulation of DNA replication in response to DNA damage."

A UB faculty member since 1982, Gardella is an analytical chemist in the College of Arts and Sciences who specializes in the application of novel techniques to the characterization of biosurfaces to foster tissue regeneration and wound-healing after serious injury.

In particular, he is developing novel measurement and computational data analysis methods to analyze the surface chemistry of polymers, especially those in biomaterials.  The work is at the intersection of chemistry, biology, medicine and engineering, and fits within the UB 2020 strategic strength in integrated nanostructured systems, of which Gardella is an active member.

Gardella and his colleagues have developed and patented techniques that use SIMS and other methods to measure the drug release rates from biodegradable materials and the degradation rates of polymers used in control release devices for tissue engineering.

His work in this area has been funded by the National Science Foundation for more than two decades; he also receives funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations, including the John R. Oishei Foundation.

A winner of the Ernest A. Lynton Award for Faculty Public Professional Service and Academic Outreach, and recently named a fellow of the American Vacuum Society for his research involving ultra-high vacuum techniques, Gardella was honored by the White House with a 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The annual award, administered by the National Science Foundation, honors individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring students and boosting the participation of minorities, women and disabled students in science, mathematics and engineering.

Gardella also is a winner of the Schoelkopf Medal of the Western New York American Chemical Society.

He lives in Buffalo.

A faculty member since 1994, Melendy conducts research that uses a combination of biochemical, molecular biological, pharmacological and cell biology approaches to address basic questions about the central mechanisms and DNA damage-dependent regulation of DNA replication.

His work on how viruses replicate their genomes has focused on the human/bovine papillomaviruses and the human/primate virus, simian virus 40.

In addition to these basic biological questions, Melendy's research also is revealing new targets for the development of anti-viral therapeutics.

Melendy's laboratory in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is at the forefront in studying how the human papillomavirus takes over the cellular DNA synthesis machinery in order to replicate its viral genome.

His group also has developed a highly specific, high throughput assay for activation and evaluation of ATR function (ATR is one of the two primary protein kinases required to stop DNA replication and cell growth when cells are exposed to DNA damage.)

Whether licensed for commercialization, or used by Melendy's lab, this assay will provide a dramatically improved screen for ATR kinase inhibitors, highly sought after for combinatorial anti-cancer therapies. A patent is pending.

Melendy is director of the Buffalo Center for DNA Replication and Repair, one of the foci of excellence in the UB 2020 Strategic Strength in Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics.

He also is a member and former director of UB's Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology. He is a winner of the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award and of the National Institutes of Health 'Independent Scientist' Award. When lists were compiled in 2002 and in 2005, he was among UB's top 100 Federal Research Grantees.

Melendy lives in Getzville.

Media Contact Information

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