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UB Today

A publication of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association

Winter 2009





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University News

‘Reaching others’ theme of new initiative

Reaching Others To view the Reaching Others television spots, go to reaching others

UB has launched a communications initiative, “Reaching Others,” to increase public awareness about the university and showcase the excellence of its people and programs.

The first steps in the effort include a Web site that tells six stories about how the work of faculty, staff and students is making a difference locally and globally. These stories are being told in television and radio commercials, including those broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and ESPNU during telecasts of several Bulls football games this past season.

“UB is an outstanding university, but research suggests that many audiences aren’t fully aware of our academic excellence,” says Joseph A. Brennan, PhD ’96 & MA ’88, associate vice president for university communications. “We need to tell the world about all of the good things going on here in Buffalo.”

The new Web site and commercials were developed by staff in the Office of University Communications in conjunction with Partners + Napier, a Rochester, NY–based communications agency. “We think these are very powerful stories that convey the essence of UB,” says Sharon Napier, president of Partners + Napier. “They express UB’s distinctive essence as a model public research university that is positively changing the world.”

University News

Biomedical engineering

The university has established a Department of Biomedical Engineering that will focus on development of groundbreaking medical devices and therapies addressing society’s most pressing health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Launch of the department is made possible by a $3 million grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation, which requires UB to raise $1 million for the new department from additional funding sources in 2009.

“The number of biomedical engineering programs nationwide is still small,” says Harvey G. Stenger Jr., dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “The new department will enable UB to compete for top faculty, students and research funding with other major research universities, such as Michigan, Johns Hopkins, MIT and Stanford.”

Furthermore, by innovating cutting-edge devices for diagnosis and treatment in Western New York, research generated by the department will directly improve the quality and cost of health care in the region, says Michael E. Cain, dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “All these new devices and procedures have allowed things to be done faster, easier and sometimes less invasively, which in the end lowers health-care costs,” he says.

University News

Feedback on UB master plan

UB Master Plan

UB is seeking comments from alumni on the draft of a comprehensive physical plan that would dramatically redesign and reconfigure UB’s three campuses with the goal of making UB a great place to live, learn and work.

The plan, which will be finalized in April 2009 and is a component of UB 2020, would give each of UB’s campuses a new identity and purpose.

The North Campus is envisioned as the academic heart of the university, home to UB’s College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The South Campus will become the center of professional education in law, executive education, social work, and architecture and planning. A new Downtown Campus will be the home of the five health schools that are part of UB’s Academic Health Center.

As important as the development of physical landscapes, the plan also addresses creation of learning landscapes and public realms, as well as the issues of transportation and energy use.

To review the various components of the plan and provide comments online or privately, go to

UB By the Numbers

Class of 2012 statistics

Students selected
SAT point increase over past five years
Percentage of students from Western New York
States and territories UB freshmen call home

University News

In the Air

In the Air Photo: Douglas Levere, BA '89

Kelly Halvorsen, UB psychology and dance student (foreground), soars above the dance floor at a ballet class held this past fall at the Center for the Arts on the North Campus.

UB People

A historic gift to UB engineering

math Harvey G. Stenger Jr. (right), dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, thanks local businessman John R. “Jack” Davis, BS ’55, for his generous gift, which will fund a “clean room” in the school’s new building.

John R. “Jack” Davis, BS ’55, a well-known Western New York industrialist and engineering alumnus, has given $1.5 million to the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in support of a high-tech, flagship engineering building to be constructed on UB’s North Campus. The gift is the largest single contribution by an individual in the engineering school’s 62-year history.

The Davis gift will support construction of the facility’s “clean room,” a complex structure devoid of airborne particles or contamination. Clean rooms allow intricate research in nanotechnology, electronics, biomedical engineering and other precise manufacturing fields. In honor of his generosity, the clean room will bear the Davis name.

“An investment in UB engineering is an investment in our region and the place where I believe it will do the most good,” Davis says. “Young men and women, educated right here in Western New York, will use their practical knowledge to solve problems here and around the world.”

The new engineering building will modernize programs and facilities for the departments of computer science and engineering, and electrical engineering. Groundbreaking for the building, designed by renowned architects Perkins + Will, is slated for summer 2009.

Academic Insight

On the go

On The GoQian Wang (left) and Adel Sadek are newly arrived at UB.

A new transportation research specialization at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will provide New York State’s government agencies and municipalities with access to innovative technologies and systems that address critical transportation issues facing the region and the nation.

As a first step in the development of the specialization, UB has appointed its first transportation engineers, Professor Adel W. Sadek and Assistant Professor Qian Wang of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

“The new transportation engineering emphasis at UB fills a critical research need in the upstate New York region, particularly in light of deteriorating infrastructure, rising fuel costs, and the need to serve a diverse and aging population with ‘intelligent’ and environmentally sustainable technologies,” says A. Scott Weber, chair and professor of the UB Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, in which the specialization is based.

“Many of our nation’s transportation systems were built in the 1960s, and they are now at the end of their life,” he says. “It’s a huge issue to figure out which components to rebuild and how to optimize appropriations, given budgetary limitations. This need is even more critical given the uncertain financial times we face in New York State and the nation.”

UB People

Steps to sustainability

Steps to Sustainability

With UB a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, more than 200 faculty, staff and students took part in the UB Sustainability Forum, “Planning for a Climate Neutral Campus,” October 21, 2008, on the North Campus.

The new engineering building under construction on the North Campus is an example of UB’s institutional commitment to environmental stewardship, says Robert G. Shibley, chair of UB’s Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC), professor of architecture and planning and point person for UB’s comprehensive physical plan. The project, he notes, is being built to higher environmental standards than those mandated by SUNY. Construction related to UB’s growing presence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and additional student housing adjacent to the Ellicott Complex on the North Campus also are expected to meet these higher standards, he adds.

“Annually, UB uses enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 243,788 years,” says Michael Dupre, associate vice president for university facilities and chair of the energy subcommittee. “That same bulb has to be lit for 24 years for every student who graduates. We leave a legacy of energy use for everything we do.”

Dupre says great cost savings also can be achieved by retrofitting existing buildings to conserve energy. A greater percentage of UB’s annual capital funding budget goes toward infrastructure replacement than new construction, he points out.

University News

Assuring quality in HIV/AIDS clinical pharmacology

Gene Morse Gene Morse

A $7.6 million, seven-year contract awarded to the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will provide the funds to train in-country laboratory specialists where HIV/AIDS infection rates are highest globally, test their proficiency and conduct quality control analysis of HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the award establishes a Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance (PQA) program and laboratory in the UB Pharmacotherapy Research Center on the North Campus, and at the Translational Pharmacology Research Core in the New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in downtown Buffalo.

The UB PQA program and laboratory—the only one of its type in the world—will assure that AIDS researchers in developing countries conduct the highest quality clinical trials. The UB program and lab will be integrated with global research networks to target some of the regions where the infection rate is highest.

“We are excited about this opportunity to use our expertise and facilities to help fight the global AIDS epidemic,” says Gene D. Morse, professor and associate dean for clinical and translational research, and principal investigator. “This award highlights our expertise in this critical area.”