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Prasad receives honorary doctorate in Brazil

Paras Prasad holds the honorary doctorate he received from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) in Brazil. At left is Anisio Brasileiro, rector of UFPE.

By CORY NEALON

Published July 25, 2017

“Working with UFPE has been one of the most gratifying experiences in my career.”
Paras Prasad, executive director
Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics

UB researcher Paras Prasad, an internationally recognized expert in optics and photonics, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) in Brazil.

Prasad, who serves as the executive director of UB’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB), received the award on July 6.

The honor stems from a 19-year ongoing partnership that Prasad — SUNY Distinguished Professor in UB’s departments of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering — formed with the Brazilian university.

Since 1999, Prasad has co-authored 19 scientific papers and received grants with UFPE collaborators, given numerous lectures and helped organized conferences at the Brazilian university, hosted UFPE students at UB, and connected UFPE researchers with counterparts in China, France and elsewhere.

“Working with UFPE has been one of the most gratifying experiences in my career,” says Prasad, who was an early pioneer in nanomedicine, which uses super-small particles, materials and devices to treat and diagnose disease. “I am humbled to receive such an honor.”

Prasad specializes in the use of optics, photonics and nanotechnology in this field, and has worked with colleagues to study and develop a wide range of new materials that could ultimately improve lives around the world.

These novel materials include miniature luminescent crystals that could be used in image-guided surgery; light-activated nanoparticles that could enable the development of new bioimaging technologies for disease detection; new nanoneurotechnologies for monitoring and enhancing brain functions; and magnetic and laser-activated nanoparticles that could be used for cancer diagnosis and treatment. This latter technology was licensed to UB spinoff Nanobiotix, a publicly traded company and leader in nanomedicine that has maintained close contact with Prasad while working to develop these and other new nanomedicine products.

Prasad has published more than 750 scientific papers, eight edited books and four monographs, and has been named the inventor or co-inventor on numerous patents. In keeping with his emphasis on the translational impact of his research, Prasad has been extremely active in launching startup companies and partnering with industry for co-development of technologies to create new companies. His efforts have led to nine different companies worldwide.

He has received regional, national and international recognition for his lifetime achievements, including the Morley Medal, Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Sloan fellowship, the Western New York Health Care Industries Technology/Discovery Award and the Excellence in Pursuit of Knowledge Award from the SUNY Research Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, OSA (the Optical Society) and SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics).

The SPIE awarded Prasad its highest honor — the Gold Medal — and UB awarded him the high honor of the UB President’s Medal in 2016 in recognition of extraordinary service to the university. He also received UB’s inaugural Innovation Impact Award in 2015 for his contributions to the invention of the technologies licensed to Nanobiotix.

In 2005, he was named one of the “Scientific American 50,” the magazine’s list of “visionaries from the worlds of research, industry and politics whose recent accomplishments point toward a brighter technological future for everyone.” He was on the Thomson Reuters “Highly Cited Researchers” list for 2014 and 2016.

Prasad also has received honorary doctorates from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the Aix-Marseille University in France and the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) in Russia.