This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Five named UB Distinguished Professors

  • Ho-Leung Fung

  • James Olson

  • Athos Petrou

  • John Richard

  • Aidong Zhang

Published: June 7, 2012

Five faculty members from across the university have been named UB Distinguished Professors.

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 who are leaders in their fields.

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 fine arts.

The new UB Distinguished Professors, who will be recognized at the Celebration of Faculty/Staff Excellence in the fall, are:

  • Ho-Leung Fung, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

A specialist in the bioanalysis, drug delivery, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of nitric-oxide donors and mechanisms of nitric oxide modulation, Fung has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications and served as a member of numerous federal panels, including the National Institutes of Health’s Pharmacology Study Section and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Pharmacological Sciences Review Committee, of which he also served as chair.

Among his numerous awards are Research Achievement awards from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the American Pharmaceutical Association, a MERIT grant award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Takeru and Aya Higuchi Award from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology Japan, and most recently, the Distinguished Service Award from the AAPS. He served as president of AAPS in 1997.

  • James Olson, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Olson also holds appointments as research professor and director of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Health Professions, and associate director of the Toxicology Research Center in the UB medical school.

Olson’s areas of interest and expertise lie in the areas toxicology and environmental health, including assessing health risks of exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. and worldwide, and the biological and toxicological effects of exposure to dioxins, PBDEs and PCBs.

His work has been funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Cancer Institute.

He served on the National Academies Institute of Medicine’s panel on veterans and Agent Orange, which released its 2010 report reviewing the health effects in Vietnam veterans’ exposure to herbicides in 2011. The reports, issued biennially to the Department of Veterans Affairs, help advise officials on policy decisions regarding compensation to veterans for service-related illnesses.

  • Athos Petrou, Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences.

A UB faculty member since 1985, Petrou is Moti Lai Rustgi Professor in the Department of Physics and served as director of graduate studies for 16 years until stepping down from the position this past fall.

His research for the past decade has focused on the emerging field of spintronics, specifically the injection of spin-polarized carriers into semiconductor heterostructures. His work has been funded over the years by nearly $5 million in federal grants.

Petrou has been recognized for his teaching and research accomplishments with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as election as a fellow of the American Physical Society.

  • John Richard, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences.

The research in Richard’s laboratory centers on the mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and the reactions of small molecules in solution that may provide insight into enzyme catalysis.

A prolific scholar, Richards’ work has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health since 1988, and he has been awarded $6 million in grant support since joining the UB faculty in 1993. He has published more than 180 papers—nearly 80 in the premier Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS)—and serves on the editorial advisory board of the leading Journal Biochemistry.

He also has been editor of the monograph Advances in Physical Organic Chemistry for a decade.

In addition, Richards was secretary of the ACS’ Division of Biological Chemistry for six years, and served as chair of two Gordon Research Conferences, as well as the premier U.S. conference in mechanistic enzymology. He organized three international symposia that were held at UB in 1998, 2002 and 2009.

Richards has delivered nearly 200 lectures at conferences and universities around the world.

  • Aidong Zhang, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Zhang also holds an appointment as professor of biomedical engineering in the UB engineering school.

A UB faculty member since 1994, Zhang’s research interests include bioinformatics, databases, multimedia databases and information retrieval, pattern recognition, machine learning and data mining.

She is the author or co-author of more than 100 research publications, and was named a fellow of IEEE for her contributions to multimedia data indexing. Zhang has been a senior member of IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, since 2007.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NSF CAREER Award, SUNY Chancellor’s Research Recognition Award and UB Exceptional Scholar-Sustained Achievement Award, and also serves as chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics, and as a member of 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.