Prescription for Success

April 13, 2024
Max Belfatto

Buffalo, NY - Max Belfatto ’18 likes his job because he is involved in something that can give people hope. Belfatto is a clinical research associate with the international company ICON, a clinical research organization that assists pharmaceutical manufacturers with testing and data analysis in the development of new drugs. Working from Buffalo, his position takes him to hospitals across the United States where he reviews and analyzes data collected as part of clinical trials.

“We act like a second set of eyes, ensuring that data is collected and reported properly, with patient safety the priority,” Belfatto explains. “It’s great to see a new drug come to market knowing we played a part in something that can help more patients.”

Belfatto earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Canisius where he says long, three-hour labs and challenging coursework taught him the importance of patience and accuracy. He worked as a research assistant in the Biology Department and as a teaching assistant (TA) for an anatomy and physiology lab. During his junior and senior years, Belfatto assisted Biology Professor Daniel Haeusser, PhD and a fellow student with research on the effects of bacteria.  He later presented on the research at several conferences.

With an eye toward working as a microbiologist after graduation, Belfatto felt his research experience and studies at Canisius would serve him well in the field. A job offer from a leading cancer research hospital changed his trajectory.

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo hired Belfatto right out of Canisius as a clinical research associate to assist with the center’s nationally renowned research mission.

“I think Roswell Park noticed all the research, labs and teaching I had done at Canisius, and it was nice to know this combination of experience mattered,” Belfatto recalls. “My education prepared me for reading charts, transcribing data and other protocols so I could hit the ground running.”

Belfatto was promoted to regulatory research coordinator at Roswell Park, before taking a position in clinical research with IQVIA, a provider of biopharmaceutical development outsourcing services. From there he joined ICON as a clinical research associate, and he has recently been promoted to a level two position in the department.

While his current work lies outside the field of microbiology, Belfatto says he uses the skills and knowledge he gained at Canisius every day in his clinical research job. He believes the close-knit community at the university made all the difference, with professors who knew him by name and who took the time to help him discover his career goals.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it was to make the kind of connections at Canisius that you would never find at a larger university,” Belfatto concludes. “I never felt like I was just a number – teachers and students supported one another, we worked together. It’s key to a well-rounded education.”