This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Faculty members receive NYSTAR awards

Awards to Ehrlich, Mitin to boost research in economics, nanotechnology

Published: December 8, 2005

Contributing Editor

Researchers at UB involved in diverse fields in engineering and economics have been awarded a total of $1.5 million in faculty development grants from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research.

Of the five public and private universities in the state that received these awards, UB was the only institution that was awarded more than one.

The grants are designed to assist universities in recruiting and retaining world-class research faculty in science and technology fields with strong commercial potential, as well as to provide for significant expansion of economically important research and development opportunities.

The UB recipients are Isaac Ehrlich, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, and Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in the School of Management, and Vladimir Mitin, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Ehrlich has received $750,000 that he will use to establish a Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology Transfer and Economic Growth and Development.

Ehrlich's research agenda involves studying the role of human capital broadly defined to include education, health and entrepreneurship as an engine of economic growth in the increasingly global "knowledge economy."

Using Western New York as a case study, Ehrlich's interdisciplinary center will bring together experts in diverse fields ranging from economics and econometrics to human and venture capital to study how economies make the transition to high-tech and biotech economies. The center will focus on how the knowledge generated by basic science, patents and algorithms is transformed into commercial process and product innovations.

At the same time, the center will conduct applied research on such issues as the costs and benefits of such innovations, pricing and the role of venture capital in emerging industries, which will benefit New York State corporations. Eight industrial firms already have expressed interest in partnering with the center.

Mitin has received $750,000 to conduct multidisciplinary research designed to develop and commercialize multifunctional nanosensors and sensor networks to enhance health care, especially for remote applications, to improve detection of contaminants and to boost advances in quantum communication.

One of the projects that the grant will make possible addresses the current health-care system's inadequate out-patient monitoring of vital biological parameters. It involves development of a customized, mobile health-monitoring system, called a Biofluid-Probe Platform for Mobile Health Telematics, which will consist of multi-analyte sensors allowing hospitals to monitor essential chemical and biological parameters in patients' blood and urine frequently and remotely.

Another project Mitin is investigating exploits the ability of novel quantum technologies to surpass traditional classical approaches using ultrafast photon counters with high quantum efficiency. Specifically, Mitin will work toward achieving ultrafast quantum communication, employing technology based on superconducting nanowires.

The research will be concentrated in UB's Center on Hybrid Nanodevices and Systems, which integrates scientific and technological achievements in nanomaterials and electronics with fundamental engineering research in the fields of public health care, environmental monitoring and communication.