UB researcher Gary A. Giovino recently led the largest international study on tobacco use. According to the study, if current trends continue, tobacco use will lead to about 1 billion people worldwide dying prematurely in the next century.
A giant leap from the 100 million lives lost prematurely due to tobacco use in the past century. Continue reading →
William R. Greiner Hall, UB’s newest residence hall (housing mostly sophomores), provides a glimpse at the future direction buildings at UB will be modeled upon. The building, which debuted in August 2011, is the first of several state-of-the-art structures that have opened or will open on campus over a two-year period.
UB’s recent burst of new on-campus construction has already been nationally noticed — Greiner Hall earned a gold rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system. Continue reading →
Design concept produced by Rafael Vinoly Architects with Foit-Albert Associates.
The award winning design concept produced by HOK that will be used to produce the final design for the new UB medical school in downtown Buffalo.
HOK brings an impressive and deep portfolio in health sciences complexes. The firm designed the acclaimed King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and the Francis Crick Institute’s cardiovascular and cancer research center in central London, which will be the largest center for biomedical research and innovation in Europe.
Because of UB’s sustainability and climate-impact reduction goals, HOK’s green-design credentials influenced its selection: UB has set a goal of LEED Gold for the new medical school building. LEED is a sustainability ratings system created by the U.S. Green Building Council.
HOK has been repeatedly ranked the “top green design firm” by Engineering News-Record, while KAUST was certified in 2009 as the world’s largest LEED Platinum project. Continue reading →
Located in Tifft Nature Preserve along the Lake Erie shoreline in South Buffalo, “Bat Cloud” is a high-tech habitat for bats.
Our favorite superhero Batman is always scouring the streets, searching for crimes to stop and people to save.
However, this time it’s the bats that could use some help.
A fungal infection known as “White Nose Syndrome” hit upstate eastern New York in 2006. The fungus, which afflicts brown bats, causes them to emerge from hibernation early and, as a result, starve and freeze to death.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the disease so far has killed nearly 7 million bats, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.
White Nose Syndrome — named for the white fungus encircling the noses of some of the afflicted bats — generally falls within the purview of biologists and mycologists.
But Joyce Hwang, assistant professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo, thought there was a need for an architectural intervention and began designing wildlife habitats that could exist within areas populated by humans.
Her solution: the “Bat Cloud”.
While it sounds like one of Batman’s expensive toys, it is actually a group of self-sustaining pods — homes for the bats — that hang together from cables. Each pod is made of stainless steel mesh in an all-weather insulating blanket. They collectively form a “cloud” that resembles a cluster of roosting bats.
The upper portion of the pod serves as the bats’ roosting area and the lower portion is filled with soil and native plants. Bat guano (dung) collects in the bottom of the pods and fertilizes the plants, which attract insects, a principle food source for bats. The pods also allow for slow water drainage.
Hwang’s first design of unique living environments for bats was “Bat Tower,” installed in 2010 in Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto, Cattaraugus County. Bat Cloud, she says, is a natural extension of her first project.
The cloud hovers above a stand of eastern cottonwood trees in Tifft Farm, a 264-acre woodland nature refuge on Lake Erie. It was installed at the refuge in May to provide a habitat for bats, and help the public see their plight as crucial, not only to the bats’ well-being, but to their own as well.
“Bats are seen as ‘bad’ animals, but they are very helpful,” Hwang says, pointing out that the loss of bats, which eat a vast number of disease-carrying insects, weakens ecosystems and provokes an increase in the use of chemicals for insect control.
Biomedical engineering is an emerging field of research that applies engineering principles to medicine.
UB recently celebrated the first graduating class from its Department of Biomedical Engineering, a milestone for the fast-growing program that focuses on developing medical devices and therapies for diabetes, cancer and other illnesses.
Most of the 12 undergraduates are expected to immediately enter the workforce. But most plan to attend UB’s new biomedical engineering graduate program. Starting this fall, UB will offer MS and PhD degrees in biomedical engineering.
Biomedical engineering is an emerging field of research that applies engineering principles to medicine. Examples include the development of the pacemaker and prosthetic limbs, as well as creating artificial organs and ultrasounds.
Students come from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering, medicine and pharmacy. Such was the case with North Tonawanda native Jessica Utzig, who transferred into the department from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences two years ago, and graduated last month.
“There are so many avenues to pursue, but I’m really interested in devices,” said Utzig, a summer intern at Greatbatch in Akron who plans to enter UB’s biomedical engineering graduate school later this year.
The UB department is a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Created with the support of the John R. Oishei Foundation, which provided $3 million toward its establishment, the department is expected to advance and support the Buffalo Niagara region’s already strong medical device industry.
Enrollment has climbed steadily since UB launched the department two years ago. Fifty-six students were enrolled in 2010, the number rose to 137 the following year, and it is expected to reach 195 students this fall.