Published July 10, 2014
Five faculty members representing the health sciences and engineering have been named UB 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 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 are:
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, 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.
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 System.
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.
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 sciences.
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 transporters.
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 and chemoprevention.
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.
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 pioneering research.
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.
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 the fall.