University of Rochester

Rochester researchers will study how a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine could play a role in protecting recipients from COVID-19 and its variants in the long term.

Scientists across the globe are racing to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine, and local researchers are at the forefront of that effort. Rochester is one of four sites in the nation selected to test a coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The trial began last month, and the vaccine is one of few in the world to have advanced to clinical trials. A separate vaccine study is set to launch in Rochester in August. 

We talk with scientists leading these studies at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health. They discuss the state and timeline of vaccine development, the latest research on the drug Remdesivir, and what it means for controlling the virus. Our guests:

  • Dr. Ann Falsey, M.D., infectious disease specialist with Rochester Regional Health, professor in the Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the URMC Vaccine Trials and Evaluation Unit
  • Dr. Angela Branche, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the URMC Vaccine Trials and Evaluation Unit
  • Rebecca Timmons, vaccine trial participant

Denise Young / WXXI News

Irfan Rahman’s laboratory sits at the end of a long hallway on the third floor of the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Inside, Rahman and a team of researchers take apart e-cigarettes. They analyze the liquids that the devices turn into inhalable vapors in an effort to figure out exactly what those vapors are made of.

Where have all the geniuses gone? Many of the brightest R&D minds at Kodak took buyouts and retired. But for those who were too young to stop working, has Rochester provided a new economy for them to thrive?

We discuss the future of technology, research, and Rochester. And our guests discuss an upcoming conference aimed at highlighting Rochester’s strengths. Our guests:

More than half a million people in the United States have an immune system disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health – but many of them are undiagnosed.

The average delay in catching those disorders is measured in years, and in the meantime, people get sick. Some die.


Cornell University

Brian Wansink, the Cornell professor who authored six articles retracted by the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday, has been removed from all teaching and research at the university, and will retire at the end of this academic year.

“I have been tremendously honored and blessed to be a Cornell professor,” Wansink said.

Texas recently brought 100 top-level researchers to the state to search for cancer treatments. How did Texas poach talent from other places? A new state priority on research funding. And now an association of New York medical schools is asking our state to do the same.

Is this how we cure certain cancers, or triumph over diseases? It's possible: the schools argue that it's also how we create jobs and prevent other states from stealing our talented men and women. So how much should taxpayers contribute, and how does the process work? Our guests:


ROCHESTER (AP) The University of Rochester is getting $766,000 in federal research grants.

Rep. Louise Slaughter says the school is getting $450,000 for immunology research from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A second $316,000 grant will help the study of how children learn to perform basic and complex math. That grant comes from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


When it comes to government-funded research, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter worried the funding goes mostly to men. When she tried to follow the money, she found some agencies don't even track the information as they are supposed to.

"The fairness issue is appalling, but the loss of brainpower is really what we can't afford to have."

State medical schools use a variety of funding sources for research, but officials are not getting as much money as they’d like in the state budget. Universities say this limits their ability to recruit and retain researchers. We’ll talk to university reps who are trying to get high stakes research funded:

  • John Sharp, chancellor of Texas A&M University System
  • Jo Wiederhorn, president of the Associated Medical Schools of New York
  • Dr. Stephen Dewhurst, vice dean for Research at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Then we focus on Affinity Place, which offers peer based crisis mental health services. We’ll talk mental health and more with our guests:

  • Cheri Reed Watt, associate director of Paul Wolk Commons and program manager for Affinity Place
  • Greg Soehner, President & CEO, East House