Pendergast to Head UB Research Center

By Lois Baker

Release Date: December 15, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- David R. Pendergast, Ed.D., professor of physiology and biophysics and adjunct professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo, has been appointed director of the Center for Research and Education in Special Environments (CRESE) in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Pendergast succeeds Claes E. Lundgren, M.D., Ph.D., who has directed the center since its inception in 1985. Lundgren is relinquishing the position to concentrate on his research projects, several of which he is conducting in collaboration with Pendergast. He will remain involved in the center as associate director.

Pendergast, who has been the center's associate director since 1991, studies a broad range of human adaptations to exercise on land, in water and in outer space. Internationally known in the field of exercise and environmental physiology, he currently is working with the U.S. Navy to improve performance in extreme environments. This work includes developing a system to protect divers in extreme temperatures, as well as locomotor and respiratory muscle training. He also is conducting research with colleagues on exercise metabolism, muscle diseases and improving the performance of competitive swimmers through training and drag-reducing swimsuits.

CRESE houses specialized facilities that allow researchers to study human physiology in extreme conditions -- heat, cold, high and low humidity, high and low atmospheric pressure, high and low gravity -- and contains a unique annular (doughnut-shaped) pool and water-filled hyperbaric chamber, allowing specialized aquatic research.

Pendergast received the Albert R. Behnke Award from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) in June in recognition of his scientific contributions to advances in the undersea or hyperbaric (high atmospheric pressure) biomedical field.

The UHMS is the primary source of information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide, and the Behnke Award is the most prominent honor awarded by the society. Pendergast also received an Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement from UB in 2004.

Pendergast has been a UB faculty member since 1973. He received a bachelor's degree from Brockport State College, a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate from UB.

He lives in Hamburg.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is one of five schools that constitute UB's Academic Health Center.