Principal Investigator

Robert A. Bambara, Ph.D. University of Rochester work 601 Elmwood Ave Rochester NY 14642 office: KMRB 2-9649 p 585-275-3269

Honors & News

  • September 7, 2012

    Dr. Robert Bambara Receives Lifetime Mentoring Award

    Dr. Robert Bambara, professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Biochemistry & Biophysics received the Lifetime Mentoring Award from the University of Rochester Medical Center at this year's Convocation. A most prestegious award, Dr. Bambara, the former chair of the department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, is no stranger to these types of awards having been honored several times throughout his distinguished career, including the 2007 William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. Since 1977, Dr. Bambara has mentored about 100 students and postdoctoral fellows who have said that he promotes a family feeling, fiercely promoting team cohesion all while nurturing learning opportunities in individualistic styles and that their accomplishments would not have been possible without his mentorship.

    The most important quality of a mentor is to equip their student with all of the abilities they need to succeed. In our business this is coming up with imaginative research questions, performing technically clean and informative experiments, reading widely, quality writing of papers and grant applications, speaking professionally, working well with colleagues and learning to be a good mentor too., says Bambara.

    Some highlights of his many accomplishments over his 30+ years at the URMC through exceptional mentoring include:

    • Sustained record of outstanding mentorship of early career investigators
    • Of 30 postdocs, many have senior leadership positions: Asst Dean, VP in industry, 3 Directors in industry, 4 senior scientists in industry, 6 full Professors, many others in academia, industry, NIH
    • 38 doctoral trainees (including MD/PhDs): senior positions including 1 Dean, Division Chief, full professors, Directors in industry
    • A large number of his current mentees gathered large number of letters, reflecting the lasting impact Dr. Bambara has had on them
    • Not resting on mentoring laurels: 1 current postdoc: 11 papers with Bob (4 as 1st author), recently received prestigious Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) from NIH.
    • Overall 21 former trainees now academic faculty members
  • September 5, 2012

    Lata Balakrishnan, Ph.D. Receives Oustanding Posdoc Mentor Award

    Lata Balakrishnan, Ph.D., who was recently appointed to Research Assistant Professor in the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was selected to be this year's recipient of the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award. The selection was based on the faculty opinion that Lata demonstrated all of the qualities of a great postdoc mentor, as well as her outstanding credentials.

    This award, established this year, is to recognize a School of Medicine and Dentistry postdoc for outstanding mentoring of undergraduate or graduate students and/or other postdocs. The Award was presented to a deserving postdoc of exceptional merit at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Convocation Ceremony on Thursday, August 30th at 4:00pm in the Class of 1962 Auditorium. Currently Lata works in the Bambara Lab focusing on regulation of replication and repair associated proteins via acetylation.

  • July 20, 2012

    Lata Balakrishnan Awarded NIH Pathway to Independence K99/R00 Award

    Congratulations to Lata Balakrishnan, Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Robert Bambara's lab. Lata was awarded a NIH Pathway to Independence K99/R00 Award. The project title is Regulating Pathways and Fidelity of DNA Replication and Repair by Acetylation. The award is for a period of five years consisting of two phases, with two years being funded for mentored research and three years of funding as an independent scientist (contingent on securing a tenure track faculty position).

  • March 18, 2011

    Scientists Find a Key to Maintaining Our DNA

    Humans have two routes for DNA replication and repair – a standard route that processes DNA quickly but less accurately, and a high-accuracy route that processes DNA slowly but more accurately.

    DNA contains all of the genetic instructions that make us who we are, and maintaining the integrity of our DNA over the course of a lifetime is a critical, yet complex part of the aging process. In an important, albeit early step forward, scientists have discovered how DNA maintenance is regulated, opening the door to interventions that may enhance the body's natural preservation of genetic information.

    The new findings may help researchers delay the onset of aging and aging-related diseases by curbing the loss or damage of our genetic makeup, which makes us more susceptible to cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. Keeping our DNA intact longer into our later years could help eliminate the sickness and suffering that often goes hand-in-hand with old age.

    Our research is in the very early stages, but there is great potential here, with the capacity to change the human experience, said Robert Bambara, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center and leader of the research. Just the very notion is inspiring.

  • December 7, 2009

    AIDS May Date Back to Ancient Tiger

    It appears that the AIDS virus may be linked to a tiger's genetic material.

    Early roots of the virus that causes AIDS might be found in a tiger that lived thousands or millions of years ago, new research suggests.

    It appears the virus took on a bit of a tiger's genetic material, scientists say, and a remnant of that cat remains in the virus to this day. That tiger, in fact, may have bitten a monkey, setting off an evolution of the virus that ultimately led to its infection of humans. The finding shouldn't lead to any immediate breakthroughs in AIDS treatment, experts say. But it does provide more insight into how the virus works.

    Unless you really understand how these viruses work, the exact step-by-step chemical process, then you can't really rationally design a new clever kind of therapy that may be effective against the virus, explained study co-author Robert Bambara, Ph.D., Chairman of the University of Rochester's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

  • December 6, 2009

    Gene Hijacked By HIV Ancestor Suggests New Way to Block Viral Reproduction

    HIV invading a larger human cell and using human genetic machinery to make copies of the virus.

    An ancestor of the AIDS virus hijacked an entire gene, perhaps from some prehistoric cat it had infected, a gene that makes it much better able to infect humans, according to a study published online today in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. The discovery represents the first instance in which researchers have found an entire animal gene within the genome of the human immunodeficiency virus despite 30 years of intense analyses.

    HIV molecular biology is the most studied in history, which makes it remarkable that the presence of an entire copy of this gene, called tRNALys3, could go undiscovered within the HIV genome for decades, said Robert Bambara, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the study's lead author. We not only found the gene, but also a plausible explanation for why it is still there after millions of generations: its presence makes HIV dramatically better at reproducing inside of our cells. This suggests new ways to shut down with drugs the ability of the virus to mass produce copies of itself.

  • June 19, 2007

    Robert Bambara Honored for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

    David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the University of Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry, wrote in his recent Dean's Newsletter that, A truly great scientific career is measured not only by the direct impact of the scientist's original work, but by the impact on the field of his or her progeny--students mentored by the scientist who go on to make substantial contributions themselves.

    It is, therefore, truly wonderful to share with you our excitement for Bob Bambara, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, who was honored at the University's May 19 Commencement Exercises with the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, continued Guzick.

    This is the first Riker award to go to a faculty member at the medical school. The Riker Award is also for mentoring students who go on to have successful careers. That being said, Bob's students are professors at the University of California, Indiana, Kentucky, Leiden, North Carolina, and Virginia. Two are Professors at the University of Rochester, and two are Deans! Others head large biochemistry programs in biotech, and one is vice president of a major company.

  • May 1, 2007

    Min Song Receives GWIS Travel and Conference Award

    Min Song, a 4th year graduate student in Dr. Robert Bambara's lab received a travel and conference award from GWIS. She attended and presented a poster at the 32nd Annual Retroviruses Meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. View her Travel report followup.

  • September 1, 2005

    Marie Rossi Receives GWIS Travel and Conference Award

    Marie Rossi, a 3rd year graduate student in Dr. Robert Bambara's lab received a travel and conference award from GWIS. She attended and presented a poster at the biennial Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meeting on Eukaryotic DNA Replication in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. View her Travel report followup.