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UB Experts Available to Discuss Hurricane Sandy

As the storm makes landfall, experts can discuss topics from infrastructure damage to psychological trauma in the wake of disaster

Release Date: October 29, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo faculty members are available to discuss challenges relating to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, including threats to buildings, infrastructure and water supplies.

A partial list of available experts follows. News media may contact these professors directly. The list of faculty will be updated at as new experts become available.


Andrew Whittaker, PhD

Director of MCEER (UB's extreme events engineering research center); Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences


Whittaker can address questions regarding the storm's effect on infrastructure, especially buildings and other man-made structures. He directs MCEER, a national center of excellence in advanced technology applications dedicated to reducing losses from extreme events. Teams from MCEER have conducted reconnaissance in regions hit hard by hurricanes or earthquakes, such as the Gulf Coast, Haiti and Chile.


Jerome S. O'Connor, MEng

Adjunct Professor of Professional Practice of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences


A former bridge management engineer with the New York State Department of Transportation, O'Connor can address questions regarding the storm's effect on bridges.


James N. Jensen, PhD

Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences


Jensen can address questions regarding the storm's effect on water systems and the availability of supplies during emergencies and disasters. He was one of six UB researchers to visit the Gulf Coast soon after Hurricane Katrina hit as part of a National Science Foundation-funded mission organized by MCEER, UB's extreme events engineering research center.


Nancy J. Smyth, PhD, MSW

Dean and Professor of Social Work

UB School of Social Work

Contact Dr. Smyth through Anna Cerrato at 716-645-1266

Smyth is an expert on psychological trauma and the effects on those experiencing traumas. Smyth is known for teaching her students the role trauma plays in social problems. She can address questions on how the storm and associated threats can affect people caught in its wake, from both a short- and long-term perspective.


Jessica Castner, PhD, RN

Research Assistant Professor of Nursing

UB School of Nursing


Castner is a board-certified emergency nurse. She has experience reviewing disaster plans for hospitals and educating health care providers and the public on personal health and disaster response. She studies emergency department utilization, as well as hospital quality and safety. Castner can address common issues seen in emergency departments during weather emergencies.


Adel Sadek, PhD

Director of UB's Transportation Systems Laboratory

Associate Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

716-645-4367; 716-374-4747 (cell)

Sadek can address questions on emergency evacuation and transportation during the storm. He studies the use of new technologies such as collision avoidance systems, adaptive traffic control and dynamic route guidance to increase safety and efficiency.

Daniel Hess, PhD

Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

UB School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo

Contact Dr. Hess through Patricia Donovan at 716-645-4602

Hess is an expert on planning practice and public policies in cities and their influence on travel behavior, including in emergency situations. He studies transit system performance (buses, rapid transit, trains) and alternate transit-oriented development.


Natalie Simpson, PhD

Associate Professor of Operations Management and Strategy

UB School of Management

716-493-8090 (cell)

Note: Simpson prefers to be reached by email.

Simpson studies emergency responses and emergency services as a unique sector of service management, analyzing and evaluating elements of successful operations in highly uncertain conditions. She has special interest and expertise in emergency and disaster communications. She has served as a volunteer firefighter since 1997.

Michael Stefanone, PhD

Assistant Professor of Communication

UB College of Arts and Sciences

Contact Dr. Stefanone through Patricia Donovan at 716-645-4602

Stefanone is an expert on the use of social media and its impact on how information is used and disseminated in disaster situations.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu
News Content Manager
Sciences, Economic Development
Tel: 716-645-4655
Twitter: @UBScience
Pinterest: UB Science