Research News

UB faculty receive awards from SUNY Research Collaboration Fund

prescription drug abuse.

One grant received by UB researchers will fund a project that will track college students’ perception of the consequences of using non-medical prescription drugs.


Published February 14, 2013

“Collaboration and inter-disciplinary strategies are essential hallmarks of excellence. ”
Timothy Killeen, President, SUNY Research Foundation

UB faculty members received five of the nine research grants awarded during the initial round of funding from the new SUNY Research Collaboration Fund.

The program, managed by the SUNY Research Foundation, is designed to take advantage of SUNY’s research facilities and personnel by encouraging new and existing inter-campus collaborations and supporting their development into long-term partnerships with sustained growth. It aims to help researchers generate the preliminary data needed to qualify for future funding for larger-scale proposals.

Each project, selected after a rigorous peer-review process, will receive up to $100,000 from the $700,000 awarded by the fund. Criteria included originality and significance of the research, student involvement, industry and other outreach efforts, and the ability to attract future funding.

“Collaboration and inter-disciplinary strategies are essential hallmarks of excellence,” says Timothy Killeen, president of the Research Foundation and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “These awards are designed to move that capacity forward for the benefit of New York State. Congratulations to the campuses, faculty and students.”

Kathleen A. Parks-Marsh, senior research scientist at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), and colleagues Sherri Darrow, clinical assistant professor, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and director of student health and wellness, and Amy Hequembourg, also a senior research scientist at RIA, received funding for a project that will track college students’ perception of the consequences of using non-medical prescription drugs.

Parks-Marsh calls the funding essential for her research, which she says is important for developing intervention programs.

 “If we don’t know what college students think the benefits are to using a drug, and we don’t know what they think the negatives are, I don’t believe we can have a clear picture of how to construct highly effective messages to deter them from using these drugs,” she says.

In addition, the ability to evaluate student perceptions across a range of SUNY campuses greatly enriches the data, Parks-Marsh adds. “It allows us to collect data from multiple SUNY campuses on a problem that we know is occurring on all college campuses. This means that the data are more representative of college students in New York State than if we had only collected the data from UB.”

The project, titled “College Students Perception of the Positive and Negative Consequences of Non-medical Prescription Drug Use,” is being conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University at Albany and Binghamton University,

Steve Durbin, associate professor of electrical engineering and physics, and Bruce McCombe, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Physics, received funding for a project involving infrared device applications. Durbin notes the project, titled “Indium-based Bismide Compounds for Infrared Device Applications,” is bringing together well-known researchers from the university centers at UB, Binghamton and Albany who have complementary areas of expertise.

“All four PIs (principal investigators) are associated with a SUNY physics department … The project itself has a strong materials science component in addition to condensed matter physics,” Durbin says. “My expertise is in crystal growth and microstructural characterization; McCombe’s expertise is in magneto-optical characterization and Piper (Binghamton) has extensive experience with X-ray-based measurements of the electronic bandstructure of semiconductors using both Binghamton- and national laboratory-based facilities. Lanford (Albany) is a well-known expert in ion-beam analysis, which enables direct self-calibrated determination of stoichiometry and impurities.

“This project,” Durbin says, “presents an excellent opportunity for students at the three institutions to become familiar with important synthesis and characterization techniques.”

Other UB faculty members receiving funding and their projects are:

  • Xiuqian Mu, assistant professor, Department of Ophthalmology, and Steven J. Fliesler, professor, vice chair and director of research, Department of Ophthalmology, “Function of One Cut Transcription Factors in Retinal Development and Vision.” Collaborators are researchers from Upstate Medical University.
  • Jonathan Franklin Lovell, assistant professor, Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, “Probing Nanovesicle Self-assembly Using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance.” Collaborators are from the University at Albany.
  • Salvatore Salamone, assistant professor, Departmen of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, “Collaborative Research to Advance Scientific Knowledge of the Mechanism of Corrosion in Civil Infrastructures.” Collaborators are from Binghamton University.