Our Faculty


According to Popular Mechanics, there’s nothing quite like a maddening math problem, mind-bending optical illusion, or twisty logic puzzle to halt all productivity in the magazine's office. We’re curious people by nature, but we also collectively share a stubborn insistence that we’re right, and so we tend to throw work by the wayside whenever we come upon a problem with several seemingly possible solutions. Mathematicians such as Dr. Johanna Mangahas reveal the real answer. How many triangles can you find in this viral math problem?

Welcome new faculty

The UB Department of Mathematics is pleased to welcome new members of our faculty in AY 2019-2020:

-Naoki Masuda, Associate Professor (Applied Mathematics);

-Simone Cassani, Visiting Assistant Professor (Applied Mathematics);

-Xin MaVisiting Assistant Professor (Analysis; Operator Algebra);

-Margaret NicholsVisiting Assistant Professor (Geometric Topology);

-Michael A. Rosas, Clinical Assistant Professor, Calculus Coordinator (Representation Theory, Mathematics Education)

New research from the University of Buffalo, using computational models of individual people’s connectomes, shed light into individual differences in brain activation patterns, as well as how those patterns may change over time. Since 2009, scientists around the globe have worked to create the Human Connectome, a structural blueprint of the various neural pathways and connections that underlie thought, reason, emotion, and behavior in the brain. Thanks to those pioneering efforts, we now understand that different regions of the brain work together in concert, forming specific networks that facilitate movement, or learning, or our interactions with others—the cognitive skills that allow us to survive and thrive in our daily lives. Yet despite these advances, it’s still not entirely clear how these networks may differ from person to person. Sarah Muldoon, a mathematician at the University of Buffalo, has long been interested in understanding individual differences in the brain.

Professor John Ringland was the faculty speaker at the College of Arts Commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2019. See the video of Ringland's commencement address. Faculty commencement speakers are selected by nominations and a vote of graduating students from among all CAS faculty. This distinction adds to several recognitions of John Ringland’s outstanding record of teaching and mentoring of students. He is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the MAA Seaway Section Clarence Stephens Award for distinguished university teaching.  

Congratulations to Mark Marino on winning the 2018-2019 Milton Plesur Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award is given by the UB Student Association on behalf of the students who nominate their instructors. The award carries the honor of being recognized as an outstanding professor by the students they teach. Marino was presented the award at the organization's annual event, April 29, 2019. Read more in UBNow.

UB Math welcomes Barbara Prinari to our faculty in Spring 2019. Her primary research area deals with nonlinear waves and coherent structures, an area that combines analysis, applied mathematics, and concrete physical applications. Her research activity focuses on the inverse scattering transform (IST) for continuous and discrete integrable systems, a mathematical technique that allows to solve the initial value problem for certain nonlinear equations. Prinari also addresses issues of solvability for the nonlinear Schrödinger equation, by identifying function spaces in which the direct and inverse problems are well posed. She has co-authored a monograph on nonlinear Schrödinger systems. Over the past decade, Prinari worked and published on mathematical techniques for solving the initial value problem for nonlinear 2+1 dimensional PDEs with potentials that do not decay at spatial infinity. Most recently, Prinari has been working on the IST for multicomponent nonlinear Schrödinger systems with nonvanishing boundary conditions. We expect Prinari will make full use of abundant resources available at UB and within our department.

Published April 3, 2019, the study points to computational modeling as a powerful tool in cognitive science. “Computational modeling enables us to do experiments that wouldn’t otherwise be possible,” says Muldoon. “It is simply not feasible to do these kinds of tests on real people so computer simulations allow us to perform virtual experiments instead.”

The Department of Mathematics is pleased to announce that, as of July 1, 2018, Dr. Gino Biondini will be named department chair. Dr. Biondini takes over from Dr. David Hemmer who on the same day will begin to serve as dean of Michigan Technological University’s College of Sciences and Arts. Read more.


The American Mathematical Society recently published Braid Foliations in Low-Dimensional Topology, co-authored by UB Mathematics Professor William W. Menasco, and Western Illinois University Professor Douglas J. LaFountain. This book is a self-contained introduction to braid foliation techniques, which is a theory developed to study knots, links and surfaces in general 3-manifolds and more specifically in contact 3-manifolds. Professor Menasco is currently serving UB Math as Director of Graduate Studies. Learn more.


A new paper by Gino Biondini and colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder brings us closer to finding an answer. The research, published in August in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, lays out a set of newly formulated equations that are designed to characterize what happens when an undular bore occurs and spreads along two axes. Visually, this phenomenon resembles the concentric ripples that proliferate outward when you toss a stone into a pond. Read more.


UB Math welcomes Alexandru Chirvasitu to our faculty in Fall 2017. His work includes: representation theory with a quantum group flavour; non-commutative geometry and some functional analysis and operator algebras; category theory; and some algebraic geometry, mostly foundational issues, such as scheme/stack reconstruction from category-theoretic data. Chirvasitu is co-author of Exotic Elliptic Algebras of dimension 4 (with S. Paul Smith) forthcoming in Advances in Mathematics. We look forward to watching his impressive publication repository continue to grow as a member of our faculty.


UB Math welcomes Dane Taylor to our faculty in Fall 2017. His work, at the intersection of high-dimensional data analysis (HDDA)nonlinear and complex systems, and network science, uses analyses of functional and structural networks, time series, images, videos, etc., to study complex systems arising in biology, physics, and engineering. Aiming to develop new tools for HDDA, Taylor's research incorporates methodologies from nonlinear dynamics, linear algebra, spectral graph theory, computational topology, statistics, statistical physics and machine learning. We expect Taylor will make full use of abundant resources available at UB and within our department.

Hanfeng Li has co-authored a new book with David Kerr, entitled, Ergodic Theory: Independence and Dichotomies. The book provides an introduction to the ergodic theory and topological dynamics of actions of countable groups.
Stephen Cavior is the longest serving professor in the history of our department, giving 50 years to UB Math before his 2013 retirement.
Work by UB mathematician Gino Biondini, builds on centuries of research devoted to using math to describe the physical world. See UB REPORTER Research News.

Mathematician Bill Menasco studies knot theory, a field that is esoteric to many but could have applications in surprising areas.

Hanfeng Li has received the UB Exceptional Scholar Sustained Achievement Award for outstanding research over the past several years. His publication "Soficity, amenability, and dynamical entropy" is forthcoming.
Sarah Muldoon joins us in August 2015, coming from the bioengineering department at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research involves novel techniques and measures to investigate and quantify the role of network organization in brain function.