School Readying for Downtown Move, Cain Says During Address

The UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences continues to prepare for its move downtown by growing faculty ranks, improving its research productivity and increasing its presence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, said Michael E. Cain, MD, during his state of the school address.

Cain, vice president for health sciences and medical school dean, delivered the address Jan. 16 at the UB Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).

The medical school added 21 new faculty positions in 2014, bringing the total from 748 in 2013 to 769, Cain said.

He anticipates hiring another 60 to 70 new faculty over the next couple of years, he added.

The increase ensures that the school continues offering high quality medical education and training while meeting accreditation requirements when the medical school student body grows from 144 to 180 students in the class entering in 2017.

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Solar Strand named to Wall Street Journal’s list of best architecture for 2014

An article in The Wall Street Journal listing “The Best Architecture of 2014” includes UB’s Solar Strand, calling the 3,200-panel, ground-mounted photovoltaic array a “small but telling model of landscape architecture at its most forward-thinking.”

Envisioning energy as part of the cultural and built landscape, the Solar Strand stands at the main entrance to UB’s North Campus and provides a striking but practical campus gateway. The 750-kilowatt array generates enough energy to power hundreds of student apartments while offsetting the emission of nearly 400 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

“At a time when fields of PV panels and wind turbine ‘farms’ are a reality, planted in vast undifferentiated arrays that assault the eye, not to mention birds and other animals, Solar Strand offers a thoughtful alternative,” writes Julie V. Iovine, the Journal’s architecture critic.

The array was designed by the celebrated landscape architect, artist and educator Walter Hood, who was selected through an international design competition sponsored by UB.

The design competition, which attracted an initial field of 23 artists and landscape architects from around the world, called for a solar array that would be integrated into the campus landscape, accessible to students and the community, and representative of a new design vocabulary for solar installations around the world.

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Aviles named associate vice provost, director of admissions

José Aviles, director of admissions at the University of Delaware, has been named associate vice provost and director of admissions at UB.

The announcement was made on Monday by Lee H. Melvin, UB vice provost for enrollment management.

In his new position, Aviles will oversee development of proactive student recruitment initiatives and innovative strategies to promote recognition of the UB brand, as well as increase contacts with prospective students through various media and technologies. He also will be responsible for the strategic development and leadership of domestic undergraduate recruitment programs.

“I am very excited to have José Aviles joining UB,” said A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “He has had great success at the University of Delaware and his vision for further elevating UB’s undergraduate admissions was broad-based, stimulating and will be exciting to see implemented.

“We are truly fortunate to have such a nationally recognized figure in the admission community lead UB’s efforts to recruit the very best undergraduates to our institution,” Weber said.

Aviles began his career in 1998 as an admissions counselor at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. He then served as an admissions recruiter at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, New Jersey; assistant dean of admissions at Swarthmore College; assistant director of admissions and assistant director of education opportunity fund/maximizing academic potential (EOF/MAP) at Rowan University; and associate director and director of admissions at Millersville University.

He joined the University of Delaware as director of admissions in 2012.

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UB Nursing cited by U.S News and World Report as having one of the best online programs

The University at Buffalo School of Nursing’s online bachelor’s degree (RN – BS) has been named a “2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Program.”

The nursing school has also been designated to use the U.S. News and World Report badge: “Best Online Program.”

The UB online RN – BS program, which can be completed in a 1-year or 2-year sequence, is designed for nurses who have already successfully completed a community college (associate’s degree) or hospital-based (diploma) nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses.

It is offered in a user-friendly distance learning, asynchronous format that allows practicing nurses to attend school while maintaining employment.

The School of Nursing admitted its first class to the new online program in 2012 – 2013 and this is the first year the school has had the data to report.

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Gray day? Warm up at UB’s winter carnival

The holidays are over, but there’s still plenty of winter cheer to go around. This Saturday, the UBThisWinter Carnival will treat students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families to hot cocoa, prize giveaways, ice skating and all manner of winter fun.

What: UBThisWinter Carnival

When: Saturday, Jan. 10, from 1-4 p.m.

Where: The Student Union on UB’s North Campus in Amherst (see building No. 28 on this map). An outdoor Student Activities ice rink will be in operation nearby, weather permitting.

Why: The UBThisWinter Carnival is one way that the UB community — including students from outside the state and the country —  is embracing the Buffalo winter.

Activities are expected to include carnival games, miniature golf, arts and crafts, basketball free throws, window painting, ice skating and more.

The carnival is part of UB’s winter session, which runs Jan. 5-23 and offers courses, study abroad programs and volunteer, community service and other activities to engage the UB community in the weeks between fall and spring semesters.

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UB researchers made worldwide headlines in 2014

We helped sequence the coffee genome. We found that Ebola has ancient evolutionary roots. We discovered that the expansion of opportunities to gamble doesn’t necessarily mean that more people will gamble.

This year, UB researchers published studies that caught the attention of news outlets worldwide, from NPR to The New York Times.

Some of the findings reflect the wonders of basic science: They are improving our understanding of how the world around us works, giving us knowledge we never had before. Others could change or save lives in the near future. Here are a dozen of those stories.

DNA of Coffee

With colleagues, UB biologist Victor Albert sequenced the genome of the coffee species Coffea canephora. The research could help farmers breed plants that are better able to survive drought and disease. The project also sheds light on the history of caffeine, finding that this economically valuable substance evolved independently in coffee and tea.

As featured in The Boston Globe’s Brainiac blog and The New York Times.

Ebola’s family history

In another biology finding, a UB team led by Professor Derek J. Taylor traced Ebola’s evolutionary roots back to ancient times. Experts once thought that known filoviruses — the family to which Ebola belongs — came into being some 10,000 years ago.  The new study pushes the family’s age back to the time when great apes arose.

As featured in National Geographic’s Phenomena science salon and The New York Times.

A computer that spots deception

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick, but it’s real: With colleagues, UB communication professor Mark Frank found that a computer system did better than humans at recognizing fake expressions of pain. Such systems could be used to better read people in a variety of settings, including health care and security.

As featured in WBFO and Tech Times.

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Berger wins national honor for graduate medical education

Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean for graduate medical education in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is one of three leaders nationwide to be honored with a 2015 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead Award.

The honor, presented by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), recognizes individuals for outstanding leadership, management, innovation and improvement of residency and medical fellowship programs.

Berger will receive her award Feb. 27 during the 2015 ACGME Annual Educational Conference in San Diego, Calif.

“This award is an honor because the nomination came from colleagues and residents,” says Berger, also an associate professor of family medicine and a geriatric medicine specialist.

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Office of Admissions Holiday Hours

UB’s  Office of Admissions will be closed to the public from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2, in order for us to prepare for application review.  We will resume normal business hours on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!

UB receives ‘Best of Green Schools’ honor

The University at Buffalo’s engagement with partner organizations to restore and preserve Western New York’s natural environment has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The council’s Center for Green Schools named UB one of the 2014 “Best of Green Schools” recipients. The awards recognize 10 individuals, institutions, projects and events representing national leaders and innovators in school sustainability.

UB received its award under the “collaboration” category for work that began nearly 10 years ago and continues today to build cohesion among Western New York’s environmental organizations.

“The students, faculty and staff at the University at Buffalo are committed to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship on and off campus. We are honored to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for our collective efforts,” said Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services.

The council cited UB’s work with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB) on a host of initiatives including developing “Our Shared Agenda for Action,” a 485-page document that emphasizes collaboration while promoting smart growth policies, energy and climate change initiatives, the protection and preservation of natural resources and other environmental issues in Western New York.

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UB named “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

The University at Buffalo was named a “Best College Value” for 2015 in rankings released by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in December.

The rankings are intended to show which schools are providing a quality education at an affordable price.

UB ranked 45th among public colleges nationwide, when considering the school’s in-state tuition, and 62nd when considering out-of-state tuition. The in-state ranking was an improvement of six spaces over 2014.

To see the rankings and learn more about the methodology, visit