National Institutes for Health Awards Canisius Alumnus Prestigious Fellowship

November 26, 2019


BUFFALO, NY – Canisius College alumnus W. Benton Swanson ’17, of Ann Arbor, MI, is the recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes for Health (NIH). The prestigious fellowship provides funding for pre-doctoral students enrolled in a program that integrates research with clinical training. The award will provide Swanson with full financial support for his remaining five years of graduate study.  Last year, the NIH awarded only 300 of these fellowships, nationwide. 

Swanson is currently in his third year of the DDS (dentistry and dental research)/PhD program at the University of Michigan, where he works in the tissue engineering and polymeric biomaterial laboratory of Peter X. Ma, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, biologic sciences, materials sciences and engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering. 

Swanson’s proposal, titled “Exosome-mediated Craniofacial Bone Tissue Engineering,” was ranked in the top five percent of all proposals submitted this year. His research focuses on creating ways that augment bone regeneration in the oral cavity to support dental implants. 

At Canisius, Swanson was a chemistry major/American Chemical Society Certified Track. He conducted research for three summers alongside Mariusz Kozik, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. While presenting a poster on his undergraduate research at the 251st American Chemical Society national meeting, Swanson discovered his interest in the dual DDS/PhD program at Michigan.

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.