University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Alexander Cartwright

Professor and SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Specialty/Research Focus:  Ultrafast Optical Properties of III-Nitride Materials and Devices; Semiconductor Quantum Dots and Hybrid Inorganic:Organic Materials and Devices; Biophotonics: Biological and Chemical Sensors, Optical Non-Destructive Testing of Stress and Strain for Device Reliability, Nanophotonics and Nanoelectronics.

Contact Information

230 K Davis Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-1053


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Alexander N. Cartwright is the SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Physics at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (UB). He previously served as the UB Vice-President for Research and Economic Development.  As SUNY provost and executive vice president, he is responsible for the SUNY system’s vast academic enterprise in close collaboration with SUNY’s 64 college and university campuses.   

Dr. Cartwright received his B.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests are in fundamental ultrafast processes in semiconductor materials and devices, and the development of sensors with biomedical applications, such as the development of devices that sense the wound microenvironment and release wound-healing compounds when needed. His work also focuses on the optical properties of semiconductor nanostructures and he is involved in the development of hybrid inorganic and organic materials and device structures for solar cells, design and fabrication of biological and chemical sensors, and development of methods for testing stress and strain of electrical devices. He also is engineering optical "metamaterials," artificial materials that provide optical properties not readily available in nature.

Following a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Iowa, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UB in 1995. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000 and full professor in 2005. He served as Deputy Director (1999-2002) and Director (2002-2010) of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics; Director of UB 2020 Integrated Nanostructured Systems Initiative (2006-2007) and the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at UB (2007-2009); the Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Inaugural Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (2009-2010). An adjunct faculty member in the Department of Physics in the UB College of Arts and Sciences, he also is an active member of the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors in UB Engineering.

Dr. Cartwright was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1998 and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2000. He received the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. He currently serves or has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on research grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, John R. Oishei Foundation, New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research and various industrial sponsors. As an active cross-disciplinary research collaborator, Dr. Cartwright's research emphasizes translating new knowledge to commercial applications. He has six patents issued to date and over twenty patent applications and disclosures. His work has been licensed by three startup companies. His technology for a rainbow-colored polymer, a one-step, low-cost holographic lithography method to fabricate a polymer with extraordinary properties was named to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) list of 2013 Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture - one of five awardees internationally

Dr. Cartwright has continued teaching engineering students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, has mentored four post-doctoral students and has supervised twenty-two graduate students working towards the Ph.D. and twenty-five Masters students. He is a model university citizen with an active history of university, departmental and community service.

Dr. Cartwright provided significant insight, leadership and vision during the UB 2020 strategic planning process, culminating in his appointment as Director of the Integrated Nanostructured Systems Initiative and as the first Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives where he served as the point person in the Provost's Office for the UB 2020 strategic strengths initiatives. In this role he was responsible for building the research infrastructure and collaborative efforts across multiple strategic strengths, as well as for special UB initiatives. More specifically, his responsibilities included ensuring continued advancement of the strategic strength initiatives, serving as liaison between the strategic strengths and the relevant vice presidents and vice provosts, coordinating common activities for the strategic strengths, and as relevant, establishing new strategic initiatives and assisting in the implementation process.

Dr. Cartwright is a Fellow of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); member of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE); Eta Kappa Nu; the Materials Research Society (MRS); and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has served the academic community as a referee to federal funding agencies as well as over a dozen scholarly journals.