Your Colleagues

UB honors exceptional scholars, innovative teachers


Published June 29, 2021


Twenty-two of UB’s best and brightest teachers and researchers have been named recipients of the university’s 2021 Exceptional Scholar and Teaching Innovation Awards.

The Exceptional Scholars Award honors faculty members for their outstanding research performance at different stages of their careers. There are two awards: Sustained Achievement Awards for senior scholars and Young Investigator Awards for untenured scholars who received their terminal degree within the past eight years. Both awards recognize work that has “garnered public and/or professional accolades beyond the norm.”

Sustained Achievement recipients are selected based on their body of work over a number of years. The award is not meant to serve as a lifetime achievement honor, but rather as recognition for outstanding performance in a recent segment of a scholar’s career.

Recipients for 2021 are Suzanne Dickerson, professor and division chair, Biobehavioral Health and Clinical Sciences, School of Nursing; Feng Gu, professor and chair, Department of Accounting and Law; Dave Hostler, professor and chair, Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences; Xuedong Hu, professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Physics; Haiqing Lin, associate professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Gabriela Popescu, professor, Department of Biochemistry; Samina Raja, professor and director, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and associate dean for research and inclusive excellence, School of Architecture and Planning; Javid Rzayev, professor and associate chair, Department of Chemistry; Ashu Sharma, professor, Department of Oral Biology; Mettupalayam Sivaselvan, associate professor and director, Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; Andrew Talal, professor, Department of Medicine; Kathleen Tornatore, professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice; Wenyao Xu, associate professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Sarah X. Zhang, professor, Department of Ophthalmology.

The Young Investigator Award is presented to untenured researchers whose work has garnered universal acclaim or been completed under the auspices of a prestigious fellowship grant.

Recipients for 2021 are Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Negar Elhami-Khorasani, assistant professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; Emily Grijalva, assistant professor, Department of Organization and Human Resources; Kenneth Joseph, assistant professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Huamin Li, assistant professor, Department of Electrical Engineering.

UB’s Teaching Innovation Award recognizes faculty members who have used new methods and approaches to teaching that have had a demonstrable effect on enhancing student-learning outcomes, including innovative uses of educational technology. All UB faculty members are eligible for the award.

Recipients for 2021 are Nicholas Fusco, clinical associate professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice; Christopher Romano, assistant professor, Department of Architecture; and Atri Rudra, professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

All recipients will be recognized at the annual Celebration of Faculty and Staff Excellence, to be held during the fall semester.