Published November 9, 2022
Eleven faculty members from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) were among those recognized at the University at Buffalo’s Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence.
The 19th annual ceremony was held Oct. 27 at Slee Hall, and all together honored 58 faculty members from across the university for their research, teaching and years of service.
“In harnessing your expertise and creativity for their highest purpose, you are making a difference at UB and in the communities we serve,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi told faculty members. “By making your mark on your field, you are helping UB make its mark on society.”
The SEAS honorees included those who have earned the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest rank in the SUNY system. National Grid Professor of Materials Research Quanxi Jia and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Chair Mark T. Swihart were both honored for being named SUNY Distinguished Professors.
Four faculty members were recognized for receiving SUNY Chancellor’s Awards. Sabrina Casucci, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Atri Rudra, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, received SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Haiqing Lin, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Junsong Yuan, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, received a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Another four faculty members were recognized for receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for early-career scientists and engineers. Nirupam Aich, an assistant professor of environmental engineering; Danial Faghihi, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Kenneth Joseph, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering; and Baishakhi Mazumder, an assistant professor of materials design and innovation, received a total of over $2.3 million in NSF CAREER grants for projects that address pressing societal problems.
And Sriram Neelamegham, a professor of chemical and biological engineering and of biomedical engineering, was recognized for earning the rank of UB Distinguished Professor, reserved for those who have achieved national or international recognition as experts in their fields.
The rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor is accorded to faculty who have distinguished their campus and State University communities through outstanding academic contributions, including scholarly publications, national and international research presentations, research findings and the training of students.
Quanxi Jia, Empire Innovation Professor and National Grid Professor of Materials Research, is a world leader in multifunctional and nanostructured materials for energy and electronic device applications. He has contributed significantly to the development of high-performance superconducting coated conductors for electric power applications. He invented and pioneered polymer-assisted deposition that has paved the way for cost-effective synthesis of electronic materials. He has developed novel approaches to the integration of materials with complementary functionalities. To date, he has published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles and has 50 U.S. patents awarded. He is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Ceramic Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the National Academy of Inventors.
Mark T. Swihart, UB Distinguished Professor, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Empire Innovation Professor in UB’s RENEW Institute, is recognized globally for developing new nanoscale materials and for devising new processes for producing them. These materials impact fields ranging from biomedical imaging to renewable energy. Consequently, the methods and materials he creates are used by researchers and industries worldwide. The co-founder of two start-up companies, Swihart is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has led multiple campus-wide initiatives, including the Strategic Strength in Integrated Nanostructured Systems and the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. Beyond UB, he collaborates broadly, promoting interdisciplinary research approaches.
Established in 1973, this award is presented to scholars who bring broad academic interests; rigorous and innovative teaching methodology; and current, far-reaching knowledge to their classes. Their concern for students is evidenced by the individual attention they accord each student and by their commitment to helping students to enhance their scholarly and creative abilities and attain academic excellence.
An assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Sabrina Casucci is committed to pedagogical innovations that engage students in meaningful learning experiences and create agile learning opportunities that take a continuous approach to understanding a subject. She worked with the assistant dean of digital education and UB’s Center for Industrial Effectiveness to develop the first course in her department to support both fully online, credit-bearing instruction and non-credit-bearing professional development. Over the past five years, she has taught 19 unique courses to everyone from first-year students to doctoral candidates. Having served on four UB and SUNY committees devoted to effective online teaching practices, she continues to incorporate new technologies and teaching pedagogies as well as open-ended, immersive assessments.
A professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Atri Rudra is an award-winning teacher and researcher in the study of theoretical underpinnings of computing, as well as its interaction with society. He is a leader in ethics education whose contributions in this area have helped shape both his department’s curriculum and his field. Coordinating an interdisciplinary team of 32 faculty members, he co-edited a comprehensive playbook that provides strategies to incorporate ethics into computing curricula. In addition to creating a new course that considers the societal implications of artificial intelligence, he is one of the few teachers nationwide to deeply incorporate societal considerations in the technical undergraduate course, encouraging students to explore real-life challenges to responsible computing in business and society.
Established in 2002, this award recognizes outstanding academic and creative achievements across a broad spectrum of scholarly and artistic fields. The award recipients are faculty members who consistently go above and beyond their teaching and professional duties to make extraordinary contributions to their respective fields.
Haiqing Lin, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, is a renowned scholar who has made paradigm-shifting breakthroughs in the development of advanced membranes for practical applications. His research focuses on membrane separation science and technology — such as carbon dioxide capture, water purification, industrial gas separations, and polymer electrolyte membranes for fuel cells — to address societal challenges. The recipient of a CAREER award, Lin develops high-performance materials for various carbon-capture technologies, such as pre- and post-combustion carbon dioxide capture and direct air capture. His work has garnered 23 grants for a total of $12 million, and he is funded by federal sources including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior.
Junsong Yuan, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the director of the department’s Visual Computing Lab. He is among the most prolific scholars in the fields of computer vision and multimedia. A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition, he has published 330 conference and journal articles. According to Google Scholar, Yuan's publications have received over 19,000 citations, and they have an h-index of 66. He has advised or co-advised over 35 PhD students and postdoctoral scholars.
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.
Nirupam Aich is an assistant professor of environmental engineering in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on developing safer-by-design multifunctional nanomaterials for environmental remediation, pollution prevention, and water treatment. In addition, he evaluates the environmental and human health implications of emerging contaminants, nanomaterials and nano-enabled products including electronic wastes. In recognition of the importance of his emerging research, Aich received the 2019 Emerging Investigator Award from the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization and the National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associateship Award in 2015. He received a $500,000 NSF CAREER Award to develop a novel filtration system using 3D printed nanomaterials that can effectively treat water contaminated by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.
An assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Danial Faghihi’s research focuses on predictive multiscale computational modeling of complex materials and biological systems. In particular, he develops modern algorithms to exploit large-scale data to enhance the predictive ability of computational models. He has published 32 journal articles in the area of computational and applied mechanics. He received a $595,593 NSF CAREER award to design superinsulation materials systems for use in buildings via data-driven predictive computational tools. This work aims to increase the use of safer and more efficient insulation materials, significantly reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission and positively impacting human wellbeing and national economic competitiveness.
Kenneth Joseph, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, is an emerging scholar in computational social science. His research focuses on obtaining a better understanding of the dynamics and cognitive representations of stereotypes and prejudice and their interrelationships with sociocultural structure and behavior. His work leverages a variety of computational methods, including machine learning/natural language processing and various forms of simulation, and integrates these methods with socio-cognitive theories. His $574,710 NSF CAREER Award will support his work in developing new measures of Americans’ views on racial inequality; identifying and correlating these views in peoples’ identities, locations and social networks; and developing strategies to counter misinformed views and their implications.
Baishakhi Mazumder, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Design and Innovation, performs research on atomic scale structure-chemistry of materials through atom probe tomography, with the aim of improving electrical conductivity in ultrawide band gap semiconductors. Her research has the potential to improve the performance of a wide range of consumer electronics and appliances, all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, and extraction and conversion of renewable energy sources by saving energy, which significantly reduces costs and ultimately benefits both the economy and the environment. Her $642,450 NSF CAREER Award will support her innovative work in atomic scale chemical imaging and its application to addressing fundamental challenges to study the role of defects in complex materials.
The Office of the Provost created the rank of UB Distinguished Professor to honor full professors who have achieved national or international recognition as experts in their fields of study. UB Distinguished Professors are members of the faculty who have been full professors for a minimum of five years with a demonstrated record of excellence in artistic or scholarly contributions.
A professor of chemical and biological engineering and of biomedical engineering, Sriram Neelamegham is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He has made pioneering contributions in studies that describe the molecular mechanisms by which white blood cells and platelets interact with other vascular cells in the context of inflammatory disease. He is focused on translating his basic science findings into human health benefits by identifying new targets for drug development. Among his accolades, Neelamegham is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, the Jacob F. Schoellkopf Medal from the WNY American Chemical Society and a National Institutes of Health Independent Scientist Award. Neelamegham also leads the development of the Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans at NCBI-NIH.