Archive for July, 2010

Plant Compound Resveratrol Shown to Suppress Inflammation, Free Radicals, in Humans

Resveratrol, a popular plant extract shown to prolong life in yeast and lower animals due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, appears also to suppress inflammation in humans, based on results from the first prospective human trial of the extract conducted by University at Buffalo endocrinologists.

Results of the study appear as a rapid electronic publication on the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism website and will be published in an upcoming print issue of the journal.

Resveratrol is a compound produced naturally by several plants when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi, and is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine. It also is produced by chemical synthesis derived primarily from Japanese knotweed and is sold as a nutritional supplement.

Husam Ghanim, PhD, UB research assistant professor of medicine and first author on the study, notes that resveratrol has been shown to prolong life and to reduce the rate of aging in yeast, roundworms and fruit flies, actions thought to be affected by increased expression of a particular gene associated with longevity.

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More Children Get Reading Help This Summer, Thanks to Booming UB Graduate Program

More than twice as many Western New York children are receiving instruction in reading from the University at Buffalo this summer than have in the past, thanks to a booming literacy-specialist program at the UB Graduate School of Education.

Enrollment in the literacy-specialist master’s degree program nearly doubled in the past two years, due to high demand for skilled literacy teachers. And the number of graduate students who enrolled as instructors in this year’s Summer Literacy Program, offered by UB’s Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction, also more than doubled to 44 graduate students, according to Elizabeth Tynan, clinical assistant professor of learning and instruction and UB’s literacy faculty liaison for the program.

With this increase in graduate students, the UB center was able to service far more schoolchildren.

“Whereas in past years, we typically would have 60 to 80 children in our programs, now we are serving 159 children in grades K-6 at the two sites,” explains Jennifer Schiller, site director of the UB Summer Literacy Program, who says the increase in students largely resulted from the tough economy and trends toward specialization among teachers.

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Center for Computational Research Receives $11M in New Funding

The University at Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research has plenty to celebrate: in the past 12 months, it has received more than $11 million in new funding, including two major competitive federal grants for advancing computational science and a New York State grant to make supercomputing more environmentally friendly.

The new grants further enhance CCR’s reputation as a leading academic supercomputing center.

“In terms of external grants, our 10th year has been our best,” says Thomas R. Furlani, director of CCR at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and principal investigator on many of the new grants.

The new funds will support powerful, energy-efficient processors dedicated to advanced computational research at UB that will at a minimum, quadruple the center’s computational power and storage capacity.

The grants will directly create at least four new full-time jobs at the center, plus additional, paid opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at UB.

“Indeed, this summer six undergraduates and two graduate students are working at CCR on a diverse range of research projects,” says Furlani.

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School of Nursing Wins Scholarship Grant to Boost Diversity

The University at Buffalo School of Nursing has received an $80,000 scholarship grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to expand enrollment and increase diversity among students seeking to receive a nursing degree through accelerated nursing programs.

Funds are sponsored through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN). NCIN provides grants to schools of nursing to grow student capacity and diversify the workforce using accelerated BSN programs. These programs allow those with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline to get a nursing degree in only 12 months of full-time study.

“We need to be able to produce nurses faster and more efficiently,” says Susan Grinslade, undergraduate chair and clinical professor in the UB School of Nursing, who wrote the grant.

The program is designed to address America’s severe nurse shortage, which is expected to reach a quarter of a million by 2025. In the next 10 years, Western New York is slated to face RN shortfalls of 32 percent in Erie County. That shortage grows to as high as 66 percent in rural areas.

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Haiti’s Engineers Begin New Chapter of Study: Seismic Design and Construction

Before the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, Haiti’s engineers and architects had received little, if any, formal training in seismic design and construction principles. Haitian universities didn’t offer any courses or programs that were dedicated to earthquake engineering.

Six months after the disaster, as the result of a partnership between the Université Quisqueya (UniQ) and the University at Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), approximately 200 Haitian engineers and architects will begin a new chapter in their professional lives, learning to incorporate seismic design into their work.

On Sept. 5-9, they will attend the Second Earthquake Engineering Seminar at the UniQ campus in Port-au-Prince, jointly sponsored by UniQ and MCEER; it follows up on the first one held in May and, due to popular demand, will repeat introductory lessons and include advanced training.

“The attitude of the engineers and architects in Haiti is extremely positive,” says Andre Filiatrault, PhD, MCEER director and UB professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, who is directing the September seminar; he also directed the first seminar that was held at UniQ in May. “They realize that engineering practice in Haiti must change and they are eager to get this change underway as soon as possible.”

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UB Physician Recognized for Discovering ALS Biomarker

Harvey Arbesman, clinical assistant professor of dermatology and social and preventive medicine at the University at Buffalo, has been named one of 12 “Top Solvers” for 2009 by InnoCentive Inc., an organization that sponsors international challenges to provide innovative solutions to complex problems.

Arbesman developed a promising biomarker to assess disease progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

The “Top Solvers” were awarded the most prize dollars and solved extraordinarily complex challenges. This year’s winners came from six countries, the majority from the United States. The InnoCentive Solver community comprises more than 200,000 scientists, engineers, business people, academics and researchers who are striving to answer issues of global concern to persons worldwide.

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UB Confucius Institute Offers China Summer Camp, Trip to China for Buffalo Students

The University at Buffalo Asian Studies Program will sponsor two Chinese language and culture immersion experiences for Buffalo public school students this summer through its Confucius Institute.

One is a week-long “Experience China” Summer Camp to be held July 26-30 at South Park High School for 20 Buffalo public middle- and high-school students.

The second is a culture and language trip for 15 Buffalo public high school students and two teachers to Xi’an (Shee-ahn), China, the 3,000-year-old capital of Shaanxi (Shahn-shee) province, one of China’s Four Great Ancient Capitals, to be held July 27 to Aug. 11.

The “Experience China” camp and the travel costs of the Xi’an trip will be partially funded by grants from the Buffalo Public School Foundation and support from the UB College of Arts and Sciences. The program in Xi’an will be funded by the Confucius Institute’s parent organization, the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban).

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Andrejko elected VP of American Institute of Architects

Dennis A. Andrejko, associate professor in the School of Architecture and Planning and a longtime proponent of sustainable architecture, has been elected vice president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The election took place June 17 at the AIA annual convention held in Miami.

Andrejko, principal of Andrejko + Associates, has been a leading sustainable design thinker at the AIA and at UB.

In 2009 he was co-chair of the AIA’s Committee on the Environment and a member of the Sustainability Building Technology Committee, which was tasked with formulating the first international green building code. He has been a member of the National Academy for Environmental Design Board Council and has participated in Sustainable Design Assessment Teams in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Indiana, Arizona and Massachusetts.

Andrejko was president of AIA Buffalo/Western New York from 2001-02, a member of the institute’s national Board from 2006-09, and in 2008 received the President’s Award from the AIA New York State Chapter. In 2009, he was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in recognition of his lifelong achievement in the profession and the academy.

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UB Education Professor to Participate in Apple’s Distinguished Educators Program

An internationally respected University at Buffalo expert in the use of technology in education has been selected to participate in a prestigious institute that will bring together scholars considered to be among the nation’s top minds in technology education.

Randy Yerrick, UB professor of learning and instruction, will be one of 100 individuals chosen to participate in Apple Inc.’s Distinguished Educators program, to be held July 12-16 in Orlando, Fla. The conference will bring educators together to develop new content and curriculum, and to learn about state-of-the-art advancements in educational technology with other Apple Distinguished Educators.

It will be the 11th time Yerrick has been selected to participate. He has been a member of the Apple’s Distinguished Educators program since 1999, and is one of 1,500 kindergarten- to university-level educators from North America, Asia, Latin America and Australia specializing in educational technology leadership.

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UB Master Plan Wins Top Award from Western New York Section of the American Planning Association

“Building UB: the Comprehensive Physical Plan” has received a 2010 Professional Award in the category of Comprehensive Planning from the Western New York Section of the American Planning Association.

The planners received the award June 29 at the APA Western New York Section Awards Dinner and Business Meeting.

The overall project was directed by Robert Shibley, professor of urban and regional planning in the UB School of Architecture and Planning, in his capacity as senior advisor to UB President John B. Simpson for campus planning and design. Shibley was recently named UB’s first campus architect.

The award is given to a comprehensive plan that advances the science and art of planning. An APA Western New York Section spokesperson called “Building UB” a plan “of unusually high merit,” and one that “significantly” advances the discipline. As a section winner, the plan will be nominated for an APA Upstate Chapter Award.

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