3 UB Faculty Members Named SUNY Distinguished Professors

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: April 8, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Three University at Buffalo faculty members have been named SUNY Distinguished Professors by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.

They are Philip Thomas LoVerde, professor and associate chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Barry Smith, Julian Park Professor of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Tsu-Teh Soong, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering Science in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The designation of distinguished professor -- a rank above full professor and the highest in the SUNY system -- denotes exceptional contribution in an academic field through publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students.

Philip LoVerde is regarded as a leading international authority on the molecular pathogenesis of schistosomiasis, a chronic disorder caused by parasitic flatworms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 200 million people have schistosomiasis, making it the world's second-most serious parasitic infection, next to malaria. About 10 percent of these cases are severe, leading to an estimated 1 million deaths each year. LoVerde has spent the majority of his career attempting to gain a better understanding of the disorder and ways to treat its victims.

He has collaborated with the Egyptian government to help train Egyptian scientists in parasitology and schistosomiasis research, and his lab currently is part of an international program in Brazil to study human immune responses to defined antigens of Schistosoma mansoni.

LoVerde joined the UB medical school faculty in 1981 after serving on the faculty at Purdue University. He is the recipient of the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal -- the most prestigious award presented by the American Society of Parasitologists -- and served as president of the American Society of Parasitologists from 2000-01. A prolific researcher, he has spoken widely and written nearly 130 articles books and book chapters.

He was editor of Experimental Parasitology from 1987-98, and currently sits on the editorial boards of six journals in the field.

A member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel of Parasitic Diseases (Schistosomiasis), he also served as chair of the Tropical Medicine and Parasitology Study Section, Division of Research Grants, of the National Institutes of Health.

LoVerde holds a bachelor's degree in zoology, a master's degree in wildlife management and master's and doctoral degrees in epidemiologic science, all from the University of Michigan.

He resides in Williamsville.

A UB faculty member since 1993, Barry Smith is a pioneer in the field of applied ontology. His work addresses a major problem confronting information science today -- it must employ a large number of modeling methods and conceptual categories that lack a unifying foundation. As a result, databases and terminological standards show a very-low degree of compatibility and cannot be re-used, even for similar areas of application.

The goal of Smith's research is to develop a powerful general ontology -- a semantically sound taxonomical and lexical framework -- for overcoming such problems in reusability and coherence.

He received a $2 million Wolfgang Paul Award from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1991, believed to be the largest single prize ever awarded to a philosopher, for his work in the field.

He directs the Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS) at the University of Leipzig, Germany, a collaboration between Smith's colleagues at Leipzig -- where is on leave for the current academic year -- and at UB.

Smith also has received a $535,000 grant from the European Union to support his work in the field of medical informatics.

He edits The Monist: An International Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry, one of the oldest and most prestigious philosophy journals in the U.S., and helped establish UB's master's program in ontology and information science within the Department of Philosophy. The program trains ontologists to develop and manage large databases and directories for private industry, government, non-profit organizations and other institutions.

Smith received bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics and philosophy from Oxford University and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Manchester, England. Prior to joining the UB faculty, he worked at the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein.

He lives in Williamsville.

Tsu-Teh Soong, a leading researcher in engineering structural dynamics, joined the UB faculty in 1963. His primary research interests are in the areas of structural reliability and control, and random vibration.

He was a co-principal investigator of the National Science Foundation grants that established UB's National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER) in 1986 and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) in 1997.

With Andre Reinhorn, UB professor of structural engineering, Soong developed a "smart" bracing system to control vibrations in skyscrapers. Tested in an experimental building constructed in seismically active Tokyo, the system performed successfully during several moderate earthquakes.

Soong and Reinhorn also directed a project, carried out in part by NCEER, that received the Association of General Contractors' 1997 "Build San Diego" Award involving the design and installation of technology to protect a building at the San Diego Naval Station from earthquake damage.

Among Soong's other notable awards are the Humboldt Foundation Senior U.S. Scientist Award (the Humboldt Prize) in 1988 and 1992, and the 1999 Norman Medal and the 2002 Nathan M. Newmark Medal, both from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Soong received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton and master's and doctoral degrees in engineering science from Purdue University.

He resides in East Amherst.