BUFFALO, N.Y. – Five faculty members representing the
health sciences and engineering have been named University at
Buffalo Distinguished Professors for 2014. The appointments are
effective Sept. 1.
The UB Distinguished Professor designation — not to be
confused with the SUNY Distinguished Professor designation, a rank
above that of full professor awarded by the SUNY trustees
—was created by the Office of the Provost to recognize full
professors who have achieved true distinction and are leaders in
It is open to faculty members who have been a full professor for
at least five years and who have achieved national or international
prominence and a distinguished reputation within their field
through significant contributions to the research/scholarly
literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the
The new UB Distinguished Professors are:
Carol Brewer, professor, School of Nursing
A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, Brewer serves as
associate dean for academic affairs for the nursing school and
holds an appointment as a clinical professor in the Department of
Family Medicine, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
She specializes in the nursing workforce and the chronic nursing
shortage in the United States. Her work on this topic has been
funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and by the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality.
A UB faculty member since 1994, she serves as director of
nursing programs for the New York State Area Health Education
Center System, developing nursing policy, and nursing and health
care workforce development programs.
Brewer has received numerous honors and awards, including the
2013 Excellence in Policy Award from the American Academy of
Nursing, a Foundation of New York State Nurses’ Distinguished
Nurse Researcher Award, a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for
Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, and a UB
Exceptional Scholar Sustained Achievement Award. She also has been
a member of several federal review boards.
Brewer received a bachelor’s degree in biology from
Denison University, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from
Trenton State College and a master’s degree in nursing from
the University of Tennessee, as well as a master’s degree in
applied economics and a PhD in nursing systems, both from the
University of Michigan.
Steven Fliesler, Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed Chair Professor of
Ophthalmology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Fliesler, who joined the UB faculty in 2008, is an
internationally recognized scientist and current president of the
International Society for Eye Research. He is vice chair and
director of research for the Department of Ophthalmology, and also
directs research for UB’s Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Vision
Research Center, housed in the VA Western New York Healthcare
Fliesler is recognized as one of the world’s leading
authorities on cholesterol metabolism and its role in retinal
structure and function. For the past two decades, the National
Institutes of Health has funded his pioneering studies into retinal
dysfunction and degeneration associated with Smith-Lemli-Opitz
syndrome, a rare, sometimes deadly, birth defect. He also has
received funding from the March of Dimes, the Foundation Fighting
Blindness and Alcon Research Laboratories.
He has published 105 peer-reviewed research papers and 17 book
chapters and reviews, as well as numerous editorials and
commentaries. He also has presented more than 225 invited seminars
and presentations at national and international meetings. He
recently was honored as the 2014 ARVO Gold Fellow by the
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and is a
recipient of a 2014 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in
Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Fliesler received a BA in biochemistry from the University of
California, Berkeley, and a PhD in biochemistry from Rice
University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cullen
Eye Institute at Baylor College of Medicine.
Marilyn Morris, professor and vice chair, Department of
Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical
A UB faculty member since 1985, Morris recently was elected
president of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
(AAPS), the premier organization in the pharmaceutical
Her research focuses on membrane transport proteins, their
influence on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs,
and their use as therapeutic targets. She has published extensively
on renal transport, hepatobiliary transport and hepatic clearance
models, and the ATP-dependent binding cassette and monocarboxylate
Morris’ recent research is focused on the pharmacokinetics
and pharmacodynamics of monocarboxylic acids, including the drug
abuse of γ-hydroxybutyric acid. Other current research
projects involve the dietary components flavonoids and organic
isothiocyanates, with an emphasis on their potential for transport
and metabolic drug interactions, and their role in cancer therapy
She has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, nine
books and a 2002 patent, and has given hundreds of professional
presentations. Her research has received continuous federal,
industrial, private, New York State and UB funding.
She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science and the American Association of Pharmaceutical
Scientists. Among her other honors are a UB Distinguished
Postdoctoral Mentor Award, an AAPS Service Award from the
Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics and Drug Metabolism section, a
SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and
Creative Activity, and a nomination for Teacher of the Year in the
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Morris received a BSc in pharmacy from the University of
Manitoba, an MSc in pharmacology from the University of Ottawa and
a PhD in pharmaceutics from UB. She completed a postdoctoral
fellowship at the University of Toronto.
Mark Swihart, professor, Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied
Swihart, who joined the UB faculty in 1998, is a leader in the
field of inorganic nanoparticle synthesis and processing. His
research, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, the
Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and industry, may help
improve optoelectronics, such as light-emitting diodes and solar
cells. His discoveries could have imaging applications useful in
medicine, environmental research and other fields.
He has authored or co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed
journal manuscripts, 120 conference publications and three book
chapters. He is co-inventor on six U.S. patents and has served as
an adviser to nearly 50 master’s and doctoral students, and
more than 70 undergraduates.
Swihart serves as director of the Integrated Nanostructured
Systems strategic strength and co-director of the UB Center of
Excellence in Materials Informatics.
Among his numerous honors are an appointment to the board of
consulting editors of the AIChE Journal, a premier publication, and
the 2013 Jacob K. Schoellkopf Medal in recognition of his
He is a recipient of the J.B. Wagner Young Investigator Award
from the High Temperature Materials division of the Electrochemical
Society and the Kenneth Whitby Award from the American Association
of Aerosol Research. He has been selected four times as "Professor
of the Year" by undergraduates in his department and has been
honored by the McNair Scholars program and the Louis Stokes
Alliance for Minority Participation.
Swihart received a BS in chemical engineering from Rice
University and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of
Minnesota, where he also served as a postdoctoral research
associate in mechanical engineering.
Lawrence Wrabetz, professor, departments of Neurology and
Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Wrabetz was recruited to UB in 2011 and serves as inaugural
director of the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute. His research
has centered on aging and development, with an emphasis on neuronal
development and related pathology especially as related to myelin,
the sheath protecting brain nerve fibers that is essential for all
normal functioning of the nervous system.
A prolific scholar, Wrabetz has published 99 papers — 19
of these since joining the UB faculty — and eight book
chapters, and has given more than 90 invited presentations,
lectures and chaired symposia. His work has been supported
continuously since 1995 by grants from European research institutes
and international pharmaceutical companies, as well as the National
Institutes of Health.
He is a member of the editorial boards for the American Society
for Neurochemistry’s flagship journal, Neuro, and for the
Mariani Foundation Paediatric Neurology Series, and is a grant
reviewer for several agencies, including the Multiple Sclerosis
Society of Great Britain, INSERM France and the Italian Multiple
Sclerosis Foundation. He also has served as an ad hoc member of a
NIH study section on neurodegeneration and of a Muscular Dystrophy
Association scientific advisory committee.
Wrabetz received a BS from Marquette University and an MD from
the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He
completed internship and residency programs, and postdoctoral and
advanced postdoctoral fellowships in neuroscience at the University
of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
The new UB Distinguished Professors will be recognized at the
annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence, to be held in