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 Thursday, July 24, 2003
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Michel Bruneau Named Director of Earthquake Engineering Center at UB

photo of Michel BruneauSucceeds George Lee, who served 11 years as director

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., a leading expert on earthquake-resistant design and retrofit of buildings and infrastructure, has been named director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) headquartered at the University at Buffalo. MCEER is a National Science Foundation "Center of Excellence" in earthquake engineering.

Bruneau, who has served as MCEER deputy director since 1998, was selected for the post after a nationwide search. His appointment takes effect on Aug. 25. He came to MCEER and UB from the University of Ottawa, where he headed that institution's Ottawa-Carleton Earthquake Engineering Research Centre.

He succeeds George C. Lee, Ph.D., Samuel P. Capen Professor of Engineering at UB, who will continue to serve leadership roles within MCEER and the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Mark H. Karwan, SEAS dean, said Bruneau's appointment "assures that MCEER will build upon the reputation for excellence that George Lee worked so hard to establish.

"Under Bruneau, MCEER will forge ahead in developing new knowledge and technologies to improve seismic resiliency, and will pursue application of its expertise within related areas, such as design of blast-resistant buildings and improvement of emergency-response systems."

As director, Bruneau assumes overall stewardship of MCEER and its major research, education, and industry-outreach initiatives. These include projects that involve research and development of tools and technologies that strengthen the nation's built environment and improve emergency response and recovery activities following earthquakes. Bruneau becomes the fourth director in the center's 17-year history.

In addition to his MCEER responsibilities, Bruneau will help manage completion of a $20 million expansion of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory on UB's North (Amherst) Campus. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the State University of New York, the facility will be equipped with twin shake tables capable of real-time seismic testing of structures up to 120 feet in length. The facility is part of the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a nationwide "collaboratory" for earthquake engineers and students. Bruneau will help UB assume a leadership role in future NEES research activities.

Bruneau also is a professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering within UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and is one of UB's top recipients of federal research grants. He is author and co-author of numerous research articles and one book on earthquake-engineering principles, and he has participated in several reconnaissance visits to assess structural damage caused by earthquakes and other disasters around the world. In 2001, Bruneau was part of an MCEER team that investigated structural damage to buildings near the World Trade Center towers after their collapse on Sept. 11.

He is a resident of Clarence.

Lee, who served as MCEER director since 1992, will administer the center's $10.8 million Federal Highway Administration project to improve highway-system seismic performance and reliability, and he will work with Karwan to develop a school-wide focus on multiple-hazard mitigation. Lee previously served as dean of the UB engineering school from 1977-95.

MCEER's mission is to reduce earthquake damage and losses through multidisciplinary team research and the application of advanced technologies that improve earthquake engineering, pre-earthquake planning and post-earthquake recovery strategies. For more information about MCEER, go to http://mceer.buffalo.edu.


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