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.
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.
Sarbajit Banerjee, PhD, associate professor of chemistry and CMI co-director, was named one of the world’s top innovators under the age of 35 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review magazine. He works with a synthetic material that when coated on a window blocks heat when it is hot and lets heat in when it is cold outside, always allowing light through regardless of the temperature.
Since joining UB in 2007, Banerjee has built a materials research program that has drawn support from industry and government partners including SEMATECH, Tata Steel, Lockheed Martin, Brookhaven National Laboratory and more.
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
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.