UB ISE professor Jun Zhuang named Society for Risk Analysis fellow

A front-facing view of Jun Zhuang with the windows of Davis Hall behind him.

Jun Zhuang, Morton C. Frank Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has been named a fellow by the Society for Risk Analysis. Photo credit: Onion Studio Inc.

By Tom Dinki

Published December 9, 2022

Jun Zhuang, a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) and an expert in disaster management and homeland security, has been selected as a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA).

“Dr. Zhuang is highly deserving of this honor. He is recognized internationally as a leader on homeland security through modeling the adaptive behavior of adversaries and optimizing defensive investments. ”
Victor Paquet, professor and chair
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Established in 1980, SRA publishes the leading scholarly journal in the field of risk analysis and boasts nearly 2,000 members from academia, government, industry, consulting and non-governmental organizations. It names up to 1% of its members as fellows each year, based upon their substantial achievement in risk analysis, as well as substantial service to the society. 

“I am honored to be joining a class of extremely distinguished researchers and practitioners in the area of risk analysis,” Zhuang says.

Zhuang, ISE’s Morton C. Frank Professor, joined the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2008. His research creates data-driven models to help decision makers mitigate risks during crises or disasters, showing them how to best allocate resources, manage misinformation and create functional partnerships among disparate organizations.

Funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Zhuang recently published papers with ISE students on managing misinformation on social media during disasters using machine learning and game-theoretical approaches.

He’s currently researching how to use game theory and operations research to better protect soft targets such as schools, shopping malls and houses of worship, courtesy of a 10-year grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its SENTRY (Soft target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat RealitY) program. UB is one of the core institutions that make up the SENTRY Center of Excellence, led by Northeastern University.

Altogether, Zhuang has been a principal investigator of over 30 research grants funded by the NSF, DHS, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Fire Protection Association.

“Dr. Zhuang is highly deserving of this honor,” says Victor Paquet, professor and chair of ISE. “He is recognized internationally as a leader on homeland security through modeling the adaptive behavior of adversaries and optimizing defensive investments. He is an outstanding faculty member.”

This isn’t Zhuang’s first recognition from SRA. In 2019, he received the Chauncey Starr Distinguished Young Risk Analyst Award, provided to an SRA member 40 or younger for their outstanding achievement and exceptional promise for continued contributions to risk analysis.

Zhuang is also a fellow of the 2011 Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program and NSF’s 2009-10 Next Generation of Hazards and Disasters Researchers Program.

Paquet says Zhuang’s honors boost the strong reputation of ISE, a department whose work is often at the intersection of a variety of domains, from health care, to defense systems, to intelligent transportation, to advanced manufacturing.

“This recognition provides evidence that we are having the desired impact of advancing our profession through research, educational and service contributions,” Paquet says. 

Zhuang says the risks facing the world range from economic to environmental to geopolitical to social to technological, but that he’s currently most concerned about risks associated with economic crises, terror attacks and nuclear war. 

“The magnitude of those risks really depends on the probabilities and consequences of related events,” he says. “The best way for the general public to prepare is through education and risk awareness.”