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Research - UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics

UB's 50 materials science researchers are working on exciting innovations with broad applications, such as smart windows designed for energy efficiency; new techniques for rust-proofing steel; longer-lasting and safer hip implants; and shape-shifting materials research funded by the United States Air Force.  Below are just four examples of this ground-breaking research.

Internationally Recognized Materials Scientist Named Dean of UB Engineering

Liesl Floks

Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA, became dean of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in January 2013. She joined the university from the hard disk drive industry, having worked at IBM and HGST in Silicon Valley for the past 15 years. An expert in nanotechnology and magnetism who holds 14 U.S. patents, Folks has been active in the research and development of new magnetic recording technologies.

Folks brings a unique blend of academic and industry experience, as well as an ability to build partnerships with key federal agencies and national research centers, all of which will serve UB well as the university develops new technologies and innovations through basic and applied research.

Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning

Pattern recognition of text

Venu Govindaraju, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering, is an expert in pattern recognition and machine learning, with a focus on their applications in materials discovery, text and image analytics, and biometrics. Machine learning techniques are fundamental to advances in understanding and optimizing materials properties, correlating structure and function of existing materials, and discovering new compositions.

Govindaraju’s seminal work in handwriting recognition was at the core of the first handwritten address interpretation system used by the U.S. Postal Service, saving the agency several hundred million dollars. His contributions have been recognized with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Technical Achievement Award, indicating the breadth and the level of practical impact of his research that has few parallels in academia. He is founding director of the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) and associate director of the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition, both at UB.

Nanoparticles at UB


CMI co-director Mark Swihart, PhD, professor of chemical and biological engineering and director of UB’s Strategic Strength in Integrated Nanostructured Systems, works with a team to study the synthesis and application of nanoparticles, focusing on gaining a fundamental understanding of the particles and improving the processes by which they are prepared. These nanomaterials are being applied in a range of new technologies, from combined imaging and targeted drug delivery for cancer treatment to new, low-cost printed electronic devices and solar cells.