Three SEAS faculty receive 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence

UBNOW staff

Published June 14, 2017

Three of the eight UB faculty members to be named recipients of the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence are part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“The faculty honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence are the best of our best, having ensured student success as they educate and mentor students with innovative approaches to academic instruction, infuse curricula with applied learning opportunities, adapt best practices from throughout SUNY, and much more.”
Nancy Zimpher, SUNY Chancellor

The Chancellor’s Awards acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

“The faculty and staff honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence are the best of our best, having ensured student success as they educate and mentor students with innovative approaches to academic instruction, infuse curricula with applied learning opportunities, adapt best practices from throughout SUNY, and much more,” said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “It is an honor to recognize the excellent work of the faculty and staff at UB, and that of their colleagues across SUNY. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities. Recipients are Michel Bruneau, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and Jinhui Xu, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service recognizes “the consistently superior service contributions of teaching faculty” sustained over a period of time. This year’s recipient is Albert H. Titus, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Michel Bruneau is an internationally renowned expert on the design and behavior of steel structures subjected to severe earthquake loading and blast effects. His work, colleagues say, has made for “a safer earthquake environment in many regions of the world.”

Many of Bruneau’s design recommendations for building and bridge codes have been implemented in countless structures worldwide, among them the $1 billion temporary supports of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge East Span.

A prolific scholar and fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Bruneau is credited with more than 500 technical publications — including more than 150 articles in premier refereed journals such as the ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering and the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering. He also is the lead author of the textbook “Ductile Design of Steel Structures,” considered by many to be the leading reference for the seismic design of steel structures.

His research activities have been continuously funded through federal agencies, including $6 million from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Albert H. Titus is an accomplished scholar whose leadership and management skills were key to the creation of UB’s undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical engineering. He was responsible for the entire development of the BS, MS and PhD programs, including submission to SUNY and the state Education Department.

Titus was named chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2012, and the department has flourished under his leadership. Undergraduate enrollment has increased to more than 300 students since 2009, and more than 100 students are pursuing their MS and PhD degrees. The department was awarded a full six-year ABET accreditation in 2015.

Under Titus, BME faculty have obtained more than $7 million in external research funding over the past four years, published articles in top peer-reviewed journals and received numerous national awards for excellence.

In addition, he has worked with the School of Management to develop a BS/MBA program in which undergraduates can earn a BS in biomedical engineering and an MBA in five years, and he also is working to develop a five-year BS/MS program for biomedical engineering.

Jinhui Xu is internationally renowned for his research in computational geometry, which has had a profound impact beyond engineering to include disciplines ranging from medicine and biology to networking and very-large-scale integration (VLSI).

He has developed general techniques for a number of important problems in his field, among them a technique called “Peeling-and-Enclosing” that solves a large class of constrained clustering problems in the areas of machine learning and information security. He also is highly regarded for his seminal work on several networking problems related to scheduling, routing and security.

Xu is considered a pioneer in using geometric techniques to solve important medical problems, designing a number of novel geometric optimization techniques for solving key treatment-planning problems in radiation cancer therapy, cardiovascular and endovascular intervention, segmentation, and projection and multi-view imaging.

His groundbreaking work with longtime UB collaborator Ronald Berezney that used geometric techniques to determine the spatial organization and dynamics of the cell nucleus revealed for the first time the structural difference in chromosome associations between normal and cancer cells and the non-random topological structures of individual chromosomes.