Three UB faculty members named SUNY Distinguished Professors

Triptych of Michael Constantinou, Gene Morse and Johannes Nitsche.

Three UB professors, from left, Michael Constantinou, Gene Morse and Johannes Nitsche, have been appointed SUNY Distinguished Professors.

Release Date: November 14, 2014 This content is archived.

Michael Constantinou.

Michael Constantinou

Gene Morse.

Gene Morse

Johannes Nitsche.

Johannes Nitsche

“The SUNY distinguished faculty bring our students the best SUNY has to offer — quality teaching and instruction, innovative research opportunities and engaging community service.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Three University at Buffalo faculty members were appointed SUNY Distinguished Professors, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, at the SUNY Board of Trustees’ meeting on Nov. 6.

Named Distinguished Professors in recognition of their national or international prominence in their fields were Michael Constantinou, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Gene D. Morse, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Johannes Nitsche, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was named a Distinguished Teaching Professor, which recognizes outstanding teaching at the graduate, undergraduate and professional levels.

The rank of distinguished professor is an order above full professorship and has three co-equal designations: distinguished professor, distinguished service professor and distinguished teaching professor.

“The SUNY distinguished faculty bring our students the best SUNY has to offer — quality teaching and instruction, innovative research opportunities and engaging community service,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said in announcing the recipients. “We are proud to recognize the leadership and academic excellence of our distinguished faculty and the positive impact they have on students and campuses, as well as communities here in New York and around the globe.

“Many thanks and congratulations to this most-recent class of distinguished faculty.”

The UB faculty members were among 11 faculty members from across the SUNY system appointed by the trustees at last week’s meeting.

One of the world’s leading scholars in the area of seismic protective systems, Michael Constantinou has had a profound impact on earthquake engineering in the U.S. and around the globe.

His research has been employed to ensure the stability and safety of some of the world’s most prominent structures located in some of the most seismically active and highly populated regions of the world, from the San Francisco International Airport and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to on- and off-shore gas platforms in Greece and Russia.

As deputy director of UB’s Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL), Constantinou has been principal or co-principal investigator on more than $30 million in externally funded research. His four patents — one in use and three pending after filing innovation disclosures — are described by colleagues as having the capability to protect millions of people from the effects of earthquakes, storms and other extreme events.

Gene Morse, who also serves as associate director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, is an internationally recognized leader in the field of HIV pharmacology research. Among his most influential accomplishments was developing the charge to national clinical pharmacology groups to pursue therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) and pharmacogenomics, establishing the National HIV TDM Registry for protease inhibitors.

He created groundbreaking methodologies important to drug-level measurements in human subjects, including development of novel liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methods for quantifying HIV protease inhibitors, and development of a pharmacology laboratory for a National Institutes of Health-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group, increasing the number of antiretrovirals nationally and internationally.

The founding leader of the new SUNY Global Health Conferences and SUNY Global Health Institute, Morse is internationally renowned as a leader in assessing pharmacokinetics of new medications addressing Hepatitis C and tuberculosis in relation to HIV, and established a highly successful antiretroviral pharmacology training program at the University of Zimbabwe.

Johannes Nitsche, who serves as director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is internationally known for his theoretical research in biological transport processes and dermal absorption. His teaching efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, among them the 1995 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and designation as the AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Professor of the Year in 1996, 2002 and 2005.

Nitsche’s contributions to teaching include development and implementation of the Spiral Learning Initiative in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, which has revolutionized the undergraduate curriculum in the department. He also played an instrumental role in revising the graduate curriculum to strengthen training in mathematics and computation.

Nitsche recently received a book contract from Springer to write a problem-based textbook on transport phenomena that has the potential to be used by a growing number of bioengineering programs.


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