BUFFALO, N.Y. – Three more University at Buffalo faculty
members have been appointed SUNY Distinguished Professors, the
highest faculty rank in the SUNY system.
Named Distinguished Professors in recognition of their national
or international prominence in their fields were Margarita L.
Dubocovich, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology
and Toxicology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Jerold
C. Frakes, professor in the Department of English, College of Arts
and Sciences; and Aidong Zhang, UB Distinguished Professor and
chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School
of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The trio was among 19 SUNY faculty members appointed to the
distinguished professor ranks by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its
meeting last month.
“SUNY’s highest faculty honor, the distinguished
ranking, is reserved for the best of the best,” said SUNY
Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Each professor, to earn this
distinction, has advanced their field while teaching and mentoring
their students, often collaborating and innovating with their
colleagues and serving society at large through their
Added SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher: “We are deeply
proud to recognize our faculty with these prestigious rankings, and
to have the opportunity to honor the work they do on behalf of the
students, campuses and communities they serve throughout New York
State and around the globe.”
Margarita Dubocovich is the world’s foremost
authority on the brain hormone melatonin and the regulation of
melatonin receptors, her work significantly broadening the
scientific understanding of melatonin’s impact on circadian
rhythms, sleep disorders and depression. She is credited with
discovering melatonin receptor subtypes, which revolutionized the
field, as well as pioneering the pharmacology of melatonin
receptors agonist and antagonist agents.
The owner or co-owner of three patents related to agents
developed through her research, Dubocovich has received continuous
funding support since 1985 from the National Institutes of Health,
National Science Foundation (NSF) and major pharmaceutical
companies, among them Glaxo Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co.
She has received numerous international honors, including the
2005 Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions from the
Latin-American Congress of Pharmacology, the 2011 Aaron B. Lerner
Pioneer Award and the 2012 PhARMA Foundation Award in Excellence in
Pharmacology and Toxicology.
Dubocovich, who was recruited to UB in 2008 from Northwestern
University, was named UB’s inaugural senior associate dean
for inclusion and cultural enhancement in 2012 to lead the medical
school’s diversity efforts.
Jerold Frakes is a scholar of medieval European
literatures who joined the UB faculty in 2006 after many years as a
professor of German and comparative literature at the University of
Southern California. He is internationally renowned for his
groundbreaking contributions to the field of Early Yiddish and for
his work on Jewish, Christian and Muslim intercultural relations as
revealed in their respective literary traditions.
Within the past year alone he has won four major fellowships: a
Guggenheim, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, Harvard
University’s Radcliffe Institute Fellowship and a research
fellowship in Paris. He also is the recipient of a National
Endowment for the Arts research fellowship and two fellowships from
Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
In 2011, he published three books — a monograph, an edited
collection on Latin and German medieval perceptions of the
“Muslim Other” and a “cultural history of Litvak
Jewry” — all considered seminal contributions to
Yiddish studies and comparative literary scholarship.
He has edited or translated nine other books, including several
on Yiddish literature, and has given many invited lectures and
A UB faculty member since 1994, Aidong Zhang is an
internationally recognized expert in the fields of databases,
multimedia databases and bioinformatics. She has been instrumental
in forging new research directions in the information retrieval
(IR) community, and has pioneered novel techniques for semantic
clustering and querying that are widely accepted as the standard in
image database design.
Author or co-author of more than 100 research publications, she
has attracted continuous external funding for two decades, with
federal grants totaling more than $12 million.
A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
(IEEE), the world’s largest professional association for the
advancement of technology, Zhang has received numerous other
awards, including a prestigious NSF CAREER Award, a SUNY
Chancellor’s Research Recognition Award and a UB Exceptional
Scholar-Sustained Achievement Award.
She has been instrumental in organizing the annual meetings of
the ACM Special Interest Group on Bioinformatics, Computational
Biology and Biomedical Informatics, and held an appointment in
2012-13 on the SUNY Research Council, an advisory board to the SUNY
Board of Trustees, the SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors,
the SUNY provost and campus presidents.