Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers - The Buffalo News
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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

The Association of Erie County Governments elected officers for 2014 at a meeting at Curly’s Banquet Center in Lackawanna.

Officers are: president, Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa; vice president, Holland Supervisor Michael Kasprzyk; and treasurer, Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito. Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters is the outgoing president.


Robert G. Knipe, Genesee Community College’s retired dean of learning technologies, will receive the Instructional Technology Council’s top award at a luncheon Feb. 17 in Orlando, Fla.

Knipe served as dean for 14 years and developed the college’s online courses of 14 degrees or certificates that now account for about 15 percent of the college’s enrollment. He initiated a five-college online alliance where students can access any of five community colleges.

Before coming to Batavia from the West Coast, Knipe was active in distance learning programs and helped established them at two community colleges.


Several military personnel have graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Alec C. Kinney is the son of Mary and Dennis Kinney of Randolph. He is a 2009 graduate of Randolph High School.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Cowan is the son of Rosemary and Roger Cowan of Elba. He is a 2008 graduate of Elba Central School.

Air National Guard Airman Nicole M. Haupt is the daughter of Thomas Haupt of Orchard Park, and Roxann Haupt of Silver Creek. She is a 2007 graduate of Eden Junior/Senior High School.

Air Force Airman Tyler DinaPoli is the son of Nancy and Lou DinaPoli of Frewsburg. He is a 2007 graduate of Frewsburg Central School.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Trae H. Watts is the son of Karen Lisiecki of Amherst. He is a 2009 graduate of Sweet Home High School, Amherst.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith W. Wissing is the son of Lisa and Richard Wissing of Cheektowaga. He is a 2008 graduate of West Seneca East Senior High School.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Gloria R. Allen is the daughter of Valerie Allen of Buffalo. She is a 2006 graduate of San Pedro High School, Los Angeles, Ca. She received a bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Charles E. Shelvay Jr. is the son of Lindsay and Noah Shelvay of Buffalo. He is a 2009 graduate of McKinley High School, Buffalo.

Air Force Airman Allan J.B. Leiser earned distinction as an honor graduate. He is the son of Kim and Jeff Leiser of Lackawanna. The airman is a 2011 graduate of Lackawanna High School.


Cynthia Zane, president of Hilbert College, was elected to the board of directors of the Council of Independent Colleges during a meeting at CIC’s 2014 Presidents Institute in Marco Island, Fla. She will serve a two-year term through January 2016.

The council is a national organization that focuses solely on providing services and a broad range of initiatives directly to independent colleges and universities to help improve the quality of education and strengthen institutional resources.


Four University at Buffalo researchers have received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. The award is one of the foundation’s most prestigious awards for junior investigators. It comes with significant funding for carrying out research and education activities. The CAREER grants range in size from $400,000 to $550,000.

“Over the past several years, as we’ve worked toward the goals outlined in UB 2020, UB has hired many outstanding junior researchers,” said Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development.

CAREER awardees are:

Tommaso Melodia, an associate professor of electrical engineering, received a $449,000 grant for research in ultrasonic networks for implantable biomedical devices. The military has for decades used sonar for underwater communication. Melodia is developing a miniaturized version of the same technology to be applied inside the human body to treat diseases such as diabetes and heart failure in real time. Andrew Murkin, an assistant professor of chemistry, received a $550,000 grant for research in enzyme-catalyzed reactions and how to stop them. Knowing more about the enzymes characteristics will allow scientists to stop harmful reactions, such as those linked to cancer or infectious diseases. By disrupting important chemical reactions, transition state inhibitors could kill disease-causing bacteria. Murkin will use his CAREER award to develop new techniques for studying the transition state.

David Salac, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received a $401,192 grant for research in electrohydrodynamics of vesicles. Salac is using his award to study how single- and multi-component vesicles react to the combined effects of fluid flow and electric fields. This knowledge will advance the development of vesicle-based biotechnologies, such as directed drug delivery and pico-scale bioreactors.

Gesualdo Scutari, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, received a $400,000 grant for research in developing a new paradigm for cognitive network layering. Scutari develop a unified framework for the analysis and design of complex networks with no centralized control. Examples of this kind of behavior are schools of fish or flocks of birds. The research could help improve everything from power grids to cellphone networks.


Erie Community College professor David Merlo has been chosen by the American Occupational Therapy Association to receive the Occupational Therapy Assistant Award of Excellence at this year’s annual conference and expo, scheduled for April 3 to 6 in Baltimore. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify the highest level of technical skills and knowledge in occupational therapy.

Merlo, a Clarence resident and ECC alumus, is being honored for his national promotion of occupational therapy in the field of mental health education, advocacy and innovation. A professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in ECC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Department since 1996, he also serves on several boards and committees related to mental health locally and nationally, including Restoration Society Inc. of Buffalo, the national Consortium of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Educators and conference host, the American Occupational Therapy Association.


Steven J. Fliesler, Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed chair professor of ophthalmology in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been honored by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology as a 2014 ARVO Gold Fellow. He will be formally inducted during the association’s annual meeting in May in Orlando, Fla.

A UB faculty member since 2008, Fliesler is an internationally recognized scientist and current president of the International Society for Eye Research. He is vice chairman and director of research for UB’s Department of Ophthalmology. He also directs research for UB’s Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Vision Research Center, housed in Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, where Fliesler also is a research health scientist.

Fliesler has been studying cholesterol metabolism in the retina for more than 30 years. For the past two decades, the National Institutes of Health has funded his pioneering studies into retinal dysfunction and degeneration associated with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, a rare, sometimes deadly, birth defect.

A member of the association for 40 years, Fliesler is chairman of its Retinal Cell Biology Section and Publications Committee.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com

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