Alumnus with long ties to the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Department heads to the University of Leeds to investigate building construction's impact on the environment

Shoma Kitayama.

Shoma Kitayama leaves UB for position at University at Leeds after joining the Department in 2012

By Peter Murphy

Published April 21, 2021

Shoma Kitayama joined the University at Buffalo as a PhD student in 2012. He has been a student and post-doctoral researcher, and he will continue his work after shaping his own work ethic and drive in the creative, diverse and research-oriented environment at UB. 

“He is one of the most hard-working students I ever had experience with. ”
Michael Constantinou, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

“The remarkable experience here was that I was fortunate to be surrounded by many officemates, friends and faculty members who are hardworking, helpful and friendly,” Kitayama says, “I admired faculty members, graduate students and postdocs who I met in our department for their continuous will for creation of new knowledge and their respectful attitude toward colleagues and students.”

Kitayama worked with his advisor, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Professor Michael Constantinou during his time at UB. Kitayama’s work in the PhD program developed and evaluated procedures for seismic design and analysis of buildings with damping systems. After completing the PhD program in 2017, Kitayama sought a postdoctoral position with the Department to continue his scientific endeavor. 

“He is one of the most knowledgeable young researchers on seismic performance evaluation and on seismic protective systems worldwide,” Constantinou says, “he has published well within thirteen referred journal papers, three reports and a number of conference presentations.”

According to Kitayama, the postdoctoral position was an opportunity for him to expand his knowledge and gain experience with additional research topics. 

“I was motivated to gain more knowledge on other topics by conducting research under a faculty supervisor who was the most experienced researcher in the topics I was interested in,” Kitayama says, “I liked to remain here because of the environment where many people are eager to learn and where world class faculty members are available.”

As a post-doctoral fellow, Kitayama continued to work with Constantinou, and maintained success. “He continued working under my supervision on the performance evaluation of buildings with damping systems, of seismically isolated buildings and of electrical equipment. He has contributed significantly to the understanding of behavior of these systems, and has another eight journal papers published on this work with one more in progress,” Constantinou says. “He is one of the most hard-working students I ever had experience with.”


At the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, Kitayama will conduct research addressing the impact of the building construction on the environment from the structural engineering perspective as a research fellow. Among other factors, Kitayama was drawn to the University of Leeds because of his fondness for the academic environment.

“There were several things that drew me to the university. I like to do research in structural engineering. I had been interested in working on research topics related to environmental protection. There are several faculty members who are actively taking on environmental issues in the civil engineering research. Also, I see that teaching and mentoring students are rewarding things and I thought it was best to work in a university,” Kitayama says. 

While his time in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at UB has shaped his professional aspirations, Kitayama also acknowledges the significant impact the Department’s culture had on him. “One notable experience was the chance to interact with students and faculty members with diverse backgrounds, like national origin, education background, age,” Kitayama says, “as an international scholar from Japan, this was almost an impossible experience for me if I had not come to Buffalo.”