Archive for April, 2010

Low Vitamin D Levels Are Related to MS Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Function, UB Studies Show

Low vitamin D levels may be associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis, studies conducted by neurologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.

Their results, reported at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, held earlier this month, indicated that:

• The majority of MS patients and healthy controls had insufficient vitamin D levels.

• Clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images show low blood levels of total vitamin D and certain active vitamin D byproducts are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and brain lesion load in MS patients.

• A potential association exists between cognitive impairment in MS patients and low vitamin D levels.

Read more.

UB Computer Scientist Wins Prestigious Humboldt Research Award

Chang Wen Chen, PhD, University at Buffalo professor of computer science and engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been selected to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The award recognizes lifetime achievements in research and is presented to foreign scholars to allow them to conduct research at German research institutes to promote international scientific cooperation.

Wen is conducting research at the Institute of Media at Technische Universitaet Muenchen (the University of Technology, Munich) along with German scientist Eckehard Steinbach, who nominated him for the award. He is working toward context-aware media delivery and resource allocation in mobile networks.

Wen is renowned internationally for his pioneering research in image and video processing, analysis and communications, and his theoretical and practical contributions to the efficient, secure and robust transmission of multimedia data over wired and wireless networks.

Read more.

UB Chefs to Serve Rachael Ray ‘Magic Moment’ Meal to Students

When celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s magazine editors chose the University at Buffalo as the backdrop for a celebratory meal in her wildly popular magazine, the chefs and managers of university food service knew just how to handle it:

They got ready to cook.

At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, UB Campus Dining will serve about 30 members of the Student Advisory Board and selected staff that celebratory meal featured in “Every Day With Rachael Ray,” Ray’s monthly magazine. The food feature, titled “This Magic Moment,” recommended four full-course menus to mark celebratory occasions. One of the occasions, “Your Teen Is College-bound,” featured UB-logoed paraphernalia as prominent elements of the photographic setting, including a letter of acceptance from UB’s Office of Admissions and a blue UB pennant.

The double-page magazine spread and accompanying recipes are available in the May issue, or by going online here.

Read more from the UB NewsCenter.

Also read about it in the Buffalo News.

UB Sociologist Awarded Fulbright Scholar Grant

Sampson Lee Blair, associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture and conduct research at Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) on the island of Mindanao, the Philippines, during the 2010-11 academic year.

Blair is a sociologist who specializes in family and child development and during his fellowship year will conduct research on the relationship between Filipino parental involvement and children’s educational performance.

A popular professor at UB, Blair is the former director of undergraduate studies in the UB Sociology Department, and currently chairs the American Sociological Association’s Section on Children and Youth. Read more.

UB Med Students Take Good Nutrition to Heart, Establish Campus Vegetable Garden

A quarter-acre vegetable garden is taking shape at the University at Buffalo, pioneered by a group of medical students who are putting into practice one of the axioms of the modern Hippocratic Oath: “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”

In this case, prevention is starting with a plot of land adjacent to Creekside Village, a townhouse complex for graduate and professional students on the north end of UB’s North Campus, where the soil is rich and there is easy access to water, two essential requirements for a successful vegetable garden.

The garden was the inspiration of second-year medical students Jennifer Chang and Dan Donovan, organizers of the group that calls itself “Sprouts.” They were determined to motivate their colleagues to change their fast-food eating habits after coming face-to-face with the ramifications of an unhealthy lifestyle.

internationally Renowned Artist and Landscape Architect Walter Hood to Design UB Solar Array

The University at Buffalo and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced that Walter Hood of Oakland, Calif., is the winner of a public art competition to design the 1.1 megawatt solar array that will be constructed by NYPA this year on UB’s North Campus.

Hood, founding principal of Hood Design and professor and former chair of the landscape architecture department at the University of California-Berkeley, calls his concept “The Solar Strand,” which refers to a linear landscape formation and to the way pairs of molecules entwine to form a DNA strand.

When complete, the UB solar installation’s 5,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels will generate solar energy for 735 student apartments at UB, reducing the university’s carbon emissions by more than 500 metric tons per year. The project will serve as a cornerstone of NYPA’s $21 million statewide renewable energy program.

Funded by an up to $7.5 million grant from NYPA, it will be the largest solar installation on a college or university campus in New York State and one of the largest on a college or university campus in the United States.

Read more.

UB Student A Cappella Group Vying for No. 1 Spot

Ask the 13 University at Buffalo students in the award-winning Buffalo Chips a cappella group whether they now believe the truth of that familiar musical adage: A good song can take you far.

This Saturday, the Buffalo Chips will stand in the rarefied stage space of Alice Tully Hall in New York City’s Lincoln Center and attempt to make UB history. For the first time, a UB a cappella group has the chance to become the No. 1 collegiate a cappella group in the country.

The Buffalo Chips, the all-male edition of UB’s a cappella groups, is already at a level where no UB a cappella group has ever been. They placed second in the quarterfinals on Feb. 20 at the University at Pittsburgh, earning the right to advance in the tournament. Then on April 2 they were named Mid-Atlantic champs in the ICCC semifinals at Rutgers University, the first time the Chips — or any UB a cappella group for that matter — ever got that far. Read more.

(To see video of the Chips in action, go to

New York State Approves New Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Program At UB

The University at Buffalo has obtained New York State Department of Education approval to offer its bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering. The new academic program is a joint effort between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Launched in 2008 with a $2 million grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation, UB’s new Department of Biomedical Engineering will offer the baccalaureate program in the fall and will advance research in this growing field. University officials created the department to support Western New York’s robust medical device industry. The new department is intended to produce a pipeline of highly skilled graduates and spin off new medical technologies and businesses to benefit local industry.

“The program will provide additional opportunities for our undergraduate students to engage in faculty-mentored primary research enabling students, researchers and businesses to work together more effectively on critical scientific and medical issues affecting quality of life.” said UB Provost Satish K. Tripathi.

Read more.

UB Appears in “Special Moments” Recipe Section

An article in the May issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, a magazine developed by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, about “special occasion meals” includes a menu for celebrating your teen’s college acceptance, and features a UB pennant and a portion of a college acceptance letter on UB letterhead.

The magazine, which has a monthly circulation of 1.8 million, is on newsstands now.

UB Student Groups Host Major Environmental Conference

Student environmental activists from Western and Central New York are getting ready to teach, learn about, and discuss New York State’s environmental future at Power Shift New York 2010 on UB’s North Campus April 16-18.

Hosted by the UB Environmental Network, the event includes three days of tours, lectures, panels, and workshops, plus a downtown concert. It’s part of the “Define Our Decade” campaign affiliated with the Energy Action Coalition, and is expected to be the largest student-organized environmental conference at UB.

Power Shift New York involves student environmental organizations from across the state, including SUNY Geneseo’s Geneseo Environmental Organization; SUNY Fredonia’s Fredonia Sustainability Committee; Alfred University’s Green Alfred; and Cornell University’s Kyoto Now.

Organizers have confirmed more than 50 speakers for the conference, including NYS Senator Antoine Thompson; Walter Simpson, former director of UB Green; and Lois Gibbs, who is nationally known for her work with the Love Canal crisis in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Read more.