Science Research Program


• The CHS Science Research Program was started in 1998 by Thomas Geelan, a science teacher at City Honors School and Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Education Department members, Dr. Edwin Mirand and Mr. Craig Johnson.

• The program was expanded to Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWMRI) in 2005 through the efforts of City Honors Principal, Dr. William Kresse, then-coordinator, Mr. Dean Johnson, Dr. Jane Griffin and Dr. Bill Duax from HWMRI.

• City Honors science teacher, Ms. Kelly Hyla, served as the coordinator of the program from 2008-2015 and oversaw its continued expansion into additional laboratories.

• Mr. Todd Richards is the newest program coordinator and is looking to expand the program even more, as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus continues to grow.

Program Details:

• The City Honors School Science Research Program (SRP) is a rich learning experience that is carried out over the entire four years of high school, which allows students to become more proficient with a variety of laboratory techniques. The experience concludes with the presentation/defense of a thesis to the research and school community at the end of senior year. Successful SRP students are awarded a special joint diploma by the school and research institution.

• Students spend one entire day per week at RPCI/HWMRI working with their mentor and on their research. SRP students are exempt from 20% or more of class time to do their research, however their academic course work is not allowed to suffer. Students in the program must maintain a B average in ALL academic courses including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. 

• SRP students are also required to present the ongoing findings from their research at several regional and national science symposiums each year.

• Students have a research mentor who is a professional scientist at RPCI/HWMRI. The research mentor is responsible for helping the student plan and oversee his/her research experience. The mentor provides the student with necessary work space, supplies, technical expertise and accepts the student as a contributing member of the research team.

• The students have an education mentor who is the “link” between City Honors School and RPCI/HWMRI. The education mentor provides students with assistance in writing research abstracts and papers, rehearsing presentations and also provides a basic academic foundation in biology and chemistry. The education mentor also monitors academic progress of all students in the program.

• This program is unique because it offers the students an opportunity to do actual scientific research and gives students a head start on entering the fields of medicine or medical research. Students are prepared to become leaders in Buffalo’s new economy in medical research and treatment.

• Many students in the program go on to attend colleges and universities with prestigious health/medicine research programs. Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, and University of Chicago are just a few of the universities that students attend after graduating from City Honors.

Acceptance Process:

  • Attend a regular Morning Class each day from 7:30 am - 8:10 am. This class is in addition to a full academic course load.
  • Reading and summarizing scientific research papers. An intensive course in Biology and Chemistry.
  • Students accepted into the program will also have to take AP Statistics and Physics.
  • Interview by a mentor at RPCI/HWMRI. Ultimately, the participating mentor decides the student that he/she will mentor.
  • Present at various science fair competitions. Including the:  WNY Science Congress at Buffalo State College and an ISEF-affliated Regional Fair.


  • Funding for the program comes from grants from the City Honors/Fosdick-Masten Park Foundation, monetary assistance from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and each student contributes approximately $100.00 each school year (if financially feasible for his/her family). The Buffalo Board of Education frees up the coordinator from two teaching periods a day to offer the morning seminar, coordinate with the two institutes, and to support/monitor students in their work.
  • Donations to support the work of our students in the program and their participation in science symposiums can be sent to the CH/FMP Foundation, c/o City Honors School.


  • In 2009 Jimmiti Teysir was the first student to win a grand finalist award at the Ying TRSEF and compete at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) alongside 1500 young scientists from around the world.  Since then, students from the program have moved on to the INTEL ISEF:
    • 2010: Fiona Hennig and Rasheen Powell
    • 2011: Dana Hogan, Marissa Komanski and Minerva Ringland
    • 2012: Seamus Degan, Nicci Moran-Guiati and Rasheen Powell
    • 2013: Jordan Tick and Yanking Yang
  • In 2011, Miriam Frisch was the first City Honors SRP student to be selected as a semifinalist in the INTEL Science Talent Search (STS). She received a $1000 scholarship. Nicci Moran-Guiati was selected the following year and also received a $1000 scholarship.
  • In 2011 and 2012 Nicci Moran-Guiati submitted her abstract to the American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) and it was accepted. She was the only high school student to present her research at the conference alongside graduate students and post doctoral students.
  • In the summer of 2011 Wendy Yang and Partho Bhattacharya had a paper published in Oncotarget Journal, June 2011 titled: Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in prostate cancer cells likely represents a laboratory artifact.  Wendy and Partho were first and second authors respectively with their mentor Dr. Eugene Kandel.
  • In 2013, Yankang Yang received Highest Honors at Ying TRSEF and went on to earn a 3rd place, Grand Award, as an Intel ISEF Finalist for: Investigating  an enzyme and its regulatory effects on the immune system. It has implications in leukemia, asthma, and arthritis research.
  • In 2015 Sydney Johnson and Hannah Slabodkin were Gold Medal finalists at the Genius Olympiad in Oswego for: Determining the Role of Rac1in Resistance to BRAF Inhibition in Melanoma
  • Also in 2015 Ramzi Talhouk received Highest Honors, a Special Award from the Society for In Vitro Biology, he was a Ying Scholarship Finalist, and was advanced to Intel ISEF for: A Novel Mouse Model to Mimic the Evolution of Cancer
  • Ying Scholarship Award Winners ($1000 Scholarship):
    • 2010: Dana Hogan
    • 2011: Fiona Hennig
    • 2012: Seamus Degan
    • 2013: Yanking Yang
    • 2014: Rex Herzberg

    Current Students:

    Roswell Park Cancer Institute:

    Class of 2018:

    • Thierry Juang, Samantha Kreutinger

    Class of 2019:

    • Lorin Brown, Cecelia Favorito

    Class of 2020:

    • Leo Biehl, Maya Fuller, Ryan Lakamp, Charlie Morse, Nadya Elhalawany, Milkay Teysir, James Eagan, Kaiya Washington


    Class of 2018:

    • Ben Dimitroff, Sam Hamlett

    Class of 2019:

    • Cole Hollis, Alexis Marshall, Nathaniel Spencer, Mikayla Towles-Schwen

    Class of 2020:

    • Henry Abramson, Christian Kolaga


    Here is a link to the program's fan page on Facebook.

    For more information on the CHS Science Research Program, please contact Mr. Todd Richards.