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Leadership & Staff

Venu Govindaraju, PhD

Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University at Buffalo

Venu Govindaraju is the Vice President for Research & Economic Development and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (UB). As Vice President he is responsible for the overall management of UB's research enterprise, including research funding, research administration and compliance, research communications, research support, university/industry relations and economic development. Read more about Venu Govindaraju, PhD.

Mark T. Swihart, PhD

Executive Director, NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics / UB Distinguished Professor

Mark T. Swihart is a UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UB and also serves as Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. He has co-authored more than 135 journal papers, which have been cited more than 5700 times. Dr. Swihart is a recipient of the Kenneth Whitby award from the American Association for Aerosol Research, the Schoellkopf medal from the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society, and the J.B. Wagner award from the Electrochemical Society, as well as several university awards for research, teaching, and mentoring of undergraduate researchers. Read more about Mark Swihart, PhD.

Quanxi Jia, PhD

Empire Innovation Professor, and National Grid Professor of Materials Research; Scientific Director, NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics

Jia received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Xian Jiaotong University, China, and a PhD in the same field from UB in 1991. His research areas include the synthesis and study of structure-property relationships of nanostructured materials, multifunctional materials, and thin films; the development of innovative deposition techniques for the growth of electronic materials; and the development and fabrication of novel solid-state microelectronic and electro-optic devices. He has authored or co-authored more than 450 peer-reviewed journal articles, delivered more than 100 invited lectures, and holds 48 U.S. patents. He serves as the co-editor-in-chief of Materials Research Letters, and sits on the editorial board of several academic and professional journals. Read more about Quanxi Jia, PhD. 

Amy M. Schmit, MPA

Director of Management & Strategic Implementation, New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics / NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

Amy Schmit supervises a team responsible for the CBLS’s policy, budget, operations and administration. Before joining the University at Buffalo in 2009, Amy was Vice President of the Jacobs Institute, Vice President for Public Affairs at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership (where she ran a department responsible for government and media relations, communications and events at the region’s largest business advocacy organization), and Associate Director of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), where she was part of the team developing a world-class medical campus in downtown Buffalo.

Christopher Janson

Business Development Executive, NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics

Christopher Janson serves as the Business Development Executive at the UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). Leveraging university-based resources to support continued growth of business opportunities in Materials Informatics and supporting the UB CAT program, he is responsible for creating partnerships and commercialization links that facilitate new initiatives in advanced manufacturing, life sciences and clean technologies. Mr. Janson holds a BSET with a double major in Electronics and Power & Machines Engineering Technology from Buffalo State College and an AAS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from ECC and has over fifteen years of business development experience with industry in the WNY region.

Xianliang (Ben) Wang, PhD

Applications Engineer

Xianliang (Ben) Wang is the Applications Engineer in the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI). In this role, he provides technical support to the CMI team and industry collaborators to strengthen CMI’s partnerships with local industry and build connections and visibility internationally. His graduate research focused on the synthesis and application of novel nanoscale materials, particularly those based upon low-cost, earth-abundant, low-toxicity elements, with applications from bioimaging to optoelectronics, to energy storage and conversion. From 2013 to 2015, he co-authored about a dozen refereed journal publications on these subjects. He has taken the lead in launching collaborative activities between CMI, other universities and associated industrial and government entities.

Staff

Kathryn E Helfer, MBA

Budget & Operations Manager

New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics; New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

Phone: 716.881.8938

Email: kehelfer@buffalo.edu

Rebecca L Larson, MBA

Administration and Operations Coordinator

New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics; New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

Phone: 716.881.8931

Email: rll2@buffalo.edu

Julianna Fortain

Marketing & Special Events Coordinator

New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics; New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences

Phone: 716.881.7586

Email: jellis9@buffalo.edu