Thundat named SUNY Distinguished Professor

Adapted from UBNow

Published May 18, 2023

Thomas Thundat, a faculty member in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been named a SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest rank in the SUNY system.

Thomas Thundat.

Thomas Thundat

“The candidate’s work must be of such character that the individual’s presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields. ”
SUNY description of Distinguished Professors

Thundat and two other University at Buffalo faculty members were appointed to the distinguished professor rank by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its April meeting. The other faculty members are Xiufeng Liu, professor of learning and instruction in the Graduate School of Education, and Robert Zivadinov, professor of neurology and biomedical informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The rank of distinguished professor is an order above full professorship and has three co-equal designations: SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Thundat, Liu and Zivadinov were named Distinguished Professors in recognition of their international prominence and distinguished reputation within their chosen fields. According to SUNY, “this distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidate’s work must be of such character that the individual’s presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields.”

Thundat, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the UB RENEW Institute, is an internationally renowned scholar known for developing micro- and nanomechanical chemical and biological sensors.

An elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, as well as AAAS and other prestigious professional societies, Thundat is recognized for his pioneering work on microfabricated cantilever-based sensors for chemical and biological applications. His work has contributed significantly to development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for chemical and biological sensing; he was the first to propose and demonstrate molecular adsorption-induced stress as an observable signal for chemical and biological detection using microfabricated cantilevers.

He was also the first to propose and demonstrate multi-modal sensing using the simultaneous detection of adsorption-induced cantilever bending and resonance frequency variation of the cantilever due to mass loading. In another first, he proposed and demonstrated multi-modal sensing using MEMS-based mechanical infrared spectroscopy of surface adsorbed molecules.

His research in the field has been cited more than 31,500 times, and he has published his findings in such high-impact journals as Nature, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS and Analytical Chemistry.

Thundat’s cutting-edge work has earned him numerous national and international accolades, including being named the IEEE Distinguished Lecturer (2022) and receiving the Nano Energy Award (2019), the Electrochemical Society’s Sensor Division Outstanding Achievement Award (2010), the Nano50 Award (2007), the Scientific American 50 Award (2004), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Pioneer Award (2004), three National Federal Laboratory Consortium awards, three R&D100 awards, two ORNL Inventor of the Year awards and the Battelle Distinguished Inventor Award (2003).

In addition to the National Academy of Inventors and the AAAS, Thundat is an elected fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Physical Society, the Electrochemical Society, the Society for Optics and Photonics Engineers, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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