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Lecture to highlight how new technology will revive Rust Belt

Mark Swihart in a green button-up shirt in a laboratory

Mark Swihart, co-director of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, will discuss the importance of new technologies to the regional economy as part of the College of Arts and Sciences' Scholars on the Road series.

Release Date: March 14, 2014

“We’re helping UB be more than just an ivory tower in the community by harnessing our intellectual capital as a resource for manufacturers in the area.”
Sarbajit Banerjee, co-director
UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics
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Mark Swihart in a green button-up shirt in a laboratory

Mark Swihart, co-director of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. Credit: Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo

Sarbajit Banerjee in front of a background showing large close-up images of a star-shaped nanomaterial

Sarbajit Banerjee, co-director of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. Credit: Douglas Levere, University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – What do rust prevention and “smart” windows have to do with the rejuvenation of Western New York?

University at Buffalo faculty members Sarbajit Banerjee, associate professor of chemistry, and Mark Swihart, professor of chemical and biological engineering, will answer that question during the College of Arts and Sciences’ Scholars on the Road lecture series.

The series brings free lectures by UB faculty to alumni across the country. The events allow graduates to take part in discussions with UB professors on the research the faculty members are passionate about.

As co-directors of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, Banerjee, PhD, and Swihart, PhD, have collaborated with regional and international businesses to research and develop materials that can be used in nanomedicine technologies, solar cells, LEDs and displays.

Banerjee’s work has led to research and development on coatings for “smart” windows, temperature-responsive glass that either reflects heat or allows heat in without sacrificing light.

“Our mission is to better connect local companies with all of the exciting research that is going on at the university,” says Swihart.

Banerjee adds, “We’re helping UB be more than just an ivory tower in the community by harnessing our intellectual capital as a resource for manufacturers in the area.”

Their discussion, “High Tech in the Rust Belt: From Materials Research to Economic Growth,” is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 27 in the Davis Hall Atrium on the UB North Campus. A wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. The event is open to alumni and their guests, and attendees can register online here until March 24.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our colleagues in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to highlight the research partnership between two outstanding faculty and the impact it is having at UB and on our region,” says Thomas McArthur, the College of Arts and Sciences’ director of constituent and alumni relations.

Since smaller, local technology companies don’t always have the resources to perform in-house research and development, the Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics is an economical alternative.

Through the center, UB faculty help develop new materials with commercial potential, such as a graphene coating that prevents the rusting of steel; test material samples; perform research; and make the use of specialized equipment available to businesses. The center’s work not only retains jobs in Western New York, but also attracts new businesses to the region.

Other lectures in the Scholars on the Road series include:

March 23, New York City: UB on Broadway. Stephen McKinley Henderson, professor and former chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, welcomes alumni to his performance in the Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Afterwards, guests are invited to a reception and discussion with Henderson. Tickets are sold out, however, alumni can still register for the post-show reception.

May 29, New York City: Exploring Black Comics with Artist John Jennings. Jennings is a professor in the Department of Visual Studies. More details to come.

April 3, Boston: Framing History Through Civil War Poetry with Cristanne Miller. Cristanne Miller, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature in the Department of English, will discuss how poetry helped people of the Civil War era process the personal and national grieving, and ideological rifts of the war. She will show visual images taken during the war, and read and talk about poems by famous and anonymous poets written during the course of the war.

For questions or more information, contact Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz in the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Development and Alumni Relations, at 716-645-0850 or ginacali@buffalo.edu.

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