3 Faculty Members, Former Dean Named SUNY Distinguished Professors

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: December 6, 2007 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Three University at Buffalo faculty members and a former dean have been named SUNY Distinguished Professors -- the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system -- by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Of the eight Distinguished Professors appointed by the trustees at their meeting last week, four have ties to UB.

The designation -- a rank above full professor -- denotes exceptional contribution in an academic field through publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students. It has three co-equal designations: distinguished professor, distinguished service professor and distinguished teaching professor.

Named SUNY Distinguished Professors are Rodolphe Gasché, Eugenio Donato Professor of Comparative Literature in the Department of Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Sciences; Claes E. Lundgren, professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Frederick Sachs, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics; and Maurizio Trevisan, former dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions. Trevisan left UB in October to become vice chancellor and chief executive officer of the University of Nevada Health Sciences System, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).

"SUNY faculty who receive appointment to the distinguished ranks provide a glimpse of the broad service contributions and the career achievements being made on our campuses across New York State" said Interim SUNY Chancellor John B. Clark. "Each of these individuals has met and exceeded the requirements for this honor and I commend the Board of Trustees for recognizing their talent and service by approving their appointments to distinguished ranks."

Rodolphe Gasché is widely recognized as the world's leading philosophical authority on the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, and his work has radically altered how the U.S. academy understands the philosophical and cultural stakes of Derrida's deconstructive practice.

A prolific scholar, Gasché has published more than 120 articles and book chapters in leading philosophical and literary-critical journals and collections. He also has authored 10 books, among them "The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection," "Inventions of Difference: On Jacques Derrida," "The Wild Card of Reading: On Paul de Man," "Of Minimal Things: Studies on the Notion of Relation," "The Idea of Form: Rethinking Kant's Aesthetics" and most recently, "The Honor of Thinking: Critique, Theory, Philosophy" and "Views and Interviews: On 'Deconstruction' in America." He currently is working on "The Infinite Task: On the Philosophical Concept of Europe" and "Hermeneutics and Deconstruction." Over the course of his career, he has published scholarly work in English, French and German; his work has been translated into Danish, French, German, Italian and Japanese.

Born in Luxembourg, Gasché attended Freie Universität Berlin, from which he received an M.A. with distinctions in philosophy, sociology and history of religions, and a doctorate, summa cum laude, in philosophy, sociology and romance languages. Before joining the UB faculty in 1978, he taught at the Freie Universität Berlin and The Johns Hopkins University.

He resides in North Buffalo.

Claes E. Lundgren of Amherst is one of the world's most renowned specialists in respiratory physiology in specialized environments. His research has advanced the understanding of respiratory mechanics related to breath-hold diving, breathing with diving equipment and the design and development of improved underwater breathing equipment.

Lundgren, who earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Lund School of Medicine in Sweden, came to UB in 1974 as a visiting associate professor. He joined the physiology department in a more permanent capacity in 1976 and was named a full professor in 1978.

He founded UB's Center for Research and Education in Special Environments in 1985, and served as director until January 2007, when he relinquished the position to concentrate on his research. He remains involved in the center as associate director.

An award-winning and prolific inventor, he holds or is a co-inventor on more than 100 patents and pioneered with other researchers in Sweden the development of Nicorette gum, used to help smokers kick the habit.

Lundgren is the recipient of numerous awards, among them a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, an Outstanding Inventor Award from the SUNY Research Foundation, the UB Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement and the Albert Behnke Jr. Award for research on diving physiology from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

Frederick Sachs is an authority on cell mechanics. His research, which focuses on the electrical processes in cells, has lead to the discovery of mechanosensitive ion channels, which show potential clinical applications for heart failure, muscular dystrophy and brain tumors.

His research, funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Army Research Office, has resulted in more than 35 invention disclosures and been published in such scholarly journals as Nature and the Journal of General Physiology. He was honored as an outstanding SUNY inventor in 2002.

A UB faculty member since 1975, Sachs received a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in physiology from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. He resides in Eden.

Maurizio Trevisan is an internationally renowned epidemiologist in the field of cardiovascular disease risk factors. He has been the principal investigator or a co-investigator on a large number of both multi-center and single-center grants, and his research has produced more than 235 publications in extremely high-impact journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine.

He joined the UB faculty in 1985 and has served in a variety of administrative roles while at the university, including chair of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, then part of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; interim dean of the former School of Health Related Professions; and interim dean and founding dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

He earned his medical degree from the University of Naples Medical School in Naples, Italy, and a master's degree in epidemiology from UB.