Published December 18, 2012
Three more UB 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 Francis M. Gasparini, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences; L. Nelson Hopkins, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and David A. Kofke, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The trio was among eight SUNY faculty members appointed to the distinguished professor ranks by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its Dec. 17 meeting.
“In bestowing its highest faculty honor, SUNY proudly recognizes the extraordinary achievements of these faculty and the positive impacts they have had on our great system of higher education, as well as their colleagues and students," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Their achievements are highly commendable and we thank them for their impeccable service to SUNY.”
A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Francis Gasparini is an international leader in the field of low temperature physics. A world-renowned scholar who has been at the forefront of his field for several decades, Gasparini is especially well-known for his pioneering studies of phase transitions of liquid helium in confined systems—contributions regarded as the “gold standard” in the field.
A member of the UB physics faculty for nearly four decades, Gasparini served for 14 years as the director of graduate studies, associate chair and chair of the physics department, and has been instrumental in guiding the department’s unprecedented growth and rise in stature, leading to international recognition of the Department by the physics community.
His many research and teaching honors include the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The author of nearly 100 research papers, his research since 1975 has been funded nearly continuously by the National Science Foundation, with overall external funding totaling more than $3.1 million.
A physician scientist who has redefined the field of vascular neurosurgery in the management of stroke and stenting of vascular lesions, L. Nelson Hopkins is director and founding member of the Toshiba Stroke Research Centre, a facility that brings together physicists, chemists, aerospace engineers, neurosurgeons, cardiologists and radiologists to study neurovascular circulation and develop innovative technologies and approaches for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neurovascular diseases.
One of the founding figures of endovascular treatment for neurovascular disorders, his innovations in the field of endovascular surgery have been the benchmark for therapeutic endovascular intervention and have defined the field for neurosurgery.
A strong believer and participant in translational medicine, he also serves as executive officer of the Jacobs Institute—located in UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center—which aims to catalyze medical collaboration and innovation through partnerships between UB, Kaleida Health, community physicians and industry.
Internationally recognized in the field of molecular simulation, David Kofke invented the Gibbs-Duhem integration technique that is now pervasive in the field and in molecular simulation textbooks.
He has developed intermolecular potentials that permit prediction of the properties of toxic chemicals like HF, reducing the need for dangerous experiments. He systematically has examined biases in molecular simulation methodologies and developed a simple heuristic that can be applied to detect bias in simulation results.
He continues to develop methods of calculating virial coefficients and cluster integrals that previously could not be computed—an important step toward the goal of first-principles calculation of fluid-phase properties.
He is one of only five recipients of the John M. Prausnitz Award for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Chemical Thermodynamics. Among his other awards are the Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal, the SUNY Chancellor’s awards for Excellence in Teaching and in Research and Creative Activity, and the David Himmelblau Award for Innovations in Computer-Based Chemical Engineering.