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Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Johnstown Make "Best Northeastern" Colleges List

Two University of Pittsburgh regional campuses have been named to The Princeton Review’s “Best Northeastern” colleges list — Bradford for the 14th and Johnstown for the 12th consecutive year.

Their inclusion, based on student survey data, places the schools among the 229 universities most “academically outstanding and well worth consideration” in the region, the nationally known education services company says.

Both campuses gained high student ratings for admissions selectivity, while Bradford scored well in financial aid offerings and Johnstown for campus life.

Pitt-Bradford also appears on The Princeton Review’s recent list of green colleges.

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Ryan McDonough Named New Sports Information Director at Pitt-Bradford

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has named Ryan McDonough as its new sports information director. McDonough, who grew up in Rochester, N.Y., graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2016 with a degree in journalism and mass communication. During college, he spent all four years interning in the St. Bonaventure sports information office and was then brought on as an office assistant following graduation. During the 2016-17 academic year, McDonough served as the primary media contact for six of St. Bonaventure’s sports, while assisting with game day operations for all others sports as well.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work with the talented staff, coaches and student-athletes at Pitt-Bradford,” McDonough said. “I am honored to join such a passionate and successful staff, and am looking forward to getting started.”

Pitt-Bradford boasts seven women and six men Division III sports in addition to club ice hockey and wrestling.

Waxman in a light blue shirt with a dark blue patterned tie and a blue coat in front of a purple background

Vice Chair for Medical and Resident Education Recognized for Teaching

Pitt's Vice Chair for Medical and Resident Education, Evan Waxman, is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education for 2017, an annual honor given by the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Waxman is an associate professor of ophthalmology at Pitt. He is also the director of the UPMC Eye Center, of comprehensive eye services and of inpatient consult services at UPMC.

The award celebrates the critical role of the medical student education director. Waxman will be recognized and deliver a speech at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology in Austin, Texas.

Sanjeev Shroff, a man with dark hair in a gray suit

National Institutes of Health Renews Funding for the Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program

The National Institutes of Health has renewed funding for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering’s Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program (CBTP). The award is worth nearly $1.9 million over the next five years. CBTP is a mentoring and support program for advanced students pursuing cardiovascular research and PhDs in bioengineering, particularly researchers studying the basic mechanisms of the cardiovascular system. Awardees receive support in the form of a monthly stipend, tuition scholarship, health insurance and travel budget.

Sanjeev Shroff, the Distinguished Professor of and Gerald McGinnis Chair in Bioengineering at Pitt, established the CBTP in 2005 to train bioengineering doctoral students for careers in basic and/or translational cardiovascular research.

Amanda Poholek

Researcher Amanda Poholek Receives American Lung Association Biomedical Research Grant

Amanda Poholek, assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and immunology at Pitt School of Medicine, was awarded a $40,000 Biomedical Research Grant from the American Lung Association to study the causes of allergic asthma, a chronic lung disease that occurs in response to allergens in the environment. There is no cure, and current therapies treat symptoms rather than causes.

Asthma is mediated in part by the inappropriate activation of T cells, a vital component of the immune system. Poholek’s research is focused on a protein called Blimp-1 whose presence in T cells has been shown to drive allergic airway inflammation in experimental models. “We expect these studies to identify potential drug targets for specific therapies that would treat the causes of asthma, rather than symptoms,” she said.

Klunk in a dark suitcoat

William E. Klunk Receives 2017 Zaven Khachaturian Award from the Alzheimer’s Association

William E. Klunk has been honored by the Alzheimer’s Association with the 2017 Zaven Khachaturian Award. Klunk is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and the Levidow-Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Disorders.

He is recognized for his many contributions to Alzheimer’s research, including his influential work on amyloid imaging in humans, which was cited in Discover Magazine’s “100 Top Science Stories of 2002.” His team's benchmark 2004 paper in amyloid imaging was awarded the “Best Neuroimaging Paper from 2002-2004” by the Alzheimer’s Association and was cited by Nature Medicine as No. 1 among “key papers in the field” of Alzheimer’s disease research from 2003 to 2006.

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Chair of Occupational Therapy Named American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Fellow

Chair and professor in Pitt's Department of Occupational Therapy, Elizabeth Skidmore, has been named a 2017 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine fellow. Her research focuses on cognitive impairments, mood symptoms and activities of daily living in persons with brain injury and neurocognitive decline, and interventions that promote independence among adults with cognitive impairments. Skidmore joins a long roster of professionals in the field of rehabilitation science who have not only served ACRM, but have also made contributions of national significance to the field of medical rehabilitation.

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Seven Alumni Make Pittsburgh Business Times '30 Under 30' List

For its inaugural 30 Under 30, the Pittsburgh Business Times selected seven Pitt alumni as city influencers. They include Jennifer DeCaro (CBA ’09), tax manager at Calgon Carbon Corporation; John Frazier (GSPIA ’15), CEO of uTranslated; Alexandra Good (LAW ’16), associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Laura Griffin (GSPH ’13), director of network nursing operations at Allegheny Health Network; Aster Teclay (A&S ’10), senior manager at the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh; Neal Walker (GSPIA ’16), associate director at Brother’s Brother Foundation; and Josh Wigod (BUS ’10), account supervisor at MARC USA.

Frazier and uTranslated were recently deemed one of two Pitt startups among the 40 Best University Startups 2017

people with fireworks sparklers spelling out H2P in the dark

Engineering's Bryan Brown Receives 5-year, $1.57 Million Grant From NIH

The National Institute on Aging, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded Bryan Brown, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, a five-year, $1.57 million grant to examine how aging affects implantable medical devices. This is the second so-called "R01 grant" from the NIH that Brown has received this year to support his research of implantable materials.

His study, “Assessing the Impacts of Aging upon the Macrophage Response to Implantable Materials,” will specifically address reactions to implantable medical devices by the aged body, including deterioration of the immune system brought on by aging, dysregulation of white blood cell function and polarization, and delayed resolution of acute immune responses. Read more about this grant's work.

Redwood speaking in front of a mike holding a sheet of paper

Alum Carl Redwood is Thomas Merton Center's New Person of the Year

Carl Redwood (MSW ’87) has been named the Thomas Merton Center's New Person of the Year, an award which recognizes local social justice advocates who dedicate their lives to peace and justice in Pittsburgh. Redwood is the chair of the Hill District Consensus Group's board of directors and a lifelong community activist who fights for economic and social justice. He advocates for affordable housing in Pittsburgh and works to prevent the forces that are pushing some residents of color to less accessible outskirts of the city.

Two Students and One Alum Win Graduate Scholarships for Study from Germany

Two Pitt students and a recent alumnus have been awarded Graduate Scholarships for Study from Germany’s Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), translated in English as the German Academic Exchange Service.

DAAD is Germany’s national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. The agency provides a variety of educational and research opportunities, including support of study abroad experiences within German laboratories and research institutions.

Biographical information on Pitt’s 2017 DAAD Scholarship recipients follows:

  • Sofia Beatriz Vera Rojas, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, will continue her doctoral research at the German Institute of Global and International Affairs. Her work examines the social conditions by which government officials are held accountable for corruption by voters and political parties.
  • Thomas A. Elvins, a Bachelor of Philosophy degree candidate majoring in Russian, German, and Slavic Studies with a minor in Serbo-Croatian linguistics, will place his focus on West Slavonic studies at the University of Leipzig. Elvins aspires to work in diplomacy within the European Union or other European partner nations.
  • Alex R. Lederer will study the unique intricacies of the human genome at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. His scholarship project furthers research pursuits he began while studying as a Pitt undergraduate. Lederer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology and computer science in April. 

three photos stitched together of the student winners

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Kevin Chen to Lead Study of Nuclear Sensors

Kevin Chen, the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Pitt, will lead a collaborative study to develop radiation-hard, multi-functional, distributed fiber sensors and sensor-fused components that can be placed in a nuclear reactor core to improve safety and efficiency. The United States Department of Energy announced the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering will receive $1.275 million for collaborative research that includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Reactor Laboratory, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Chen’s research into fiber optical sensing technology earned him a 2017 Carnegie Science Award.

Lindsay Hilton Retchless at Pitt-Bradford Receives Fitzgibbons Award

Lindsay Hilton Retchless, director of alumni relations at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, received this year’s Gloria Fitzgibbons Memorial Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Retchless earned her Master of Public Policy and Management degree from the school this spring.

The Fitzgibbons award is given in recognition of women who have achieved a strong academic performance and have demonstrated the potential for leadership in areas related to public administration or planning. Retchless, a 1998 graduate of Pitt-Bradford, has served as director of alumni relations since 2006 and teaches in Pitt-Bradford’s freshman seminar program.

Critical Language Scholarships Awarded to Record 12 Pitt Students and Alumni

Twelve current Pitt students and recent alumni have been awarded 2017 Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State. The awards provide fully funded summer language and cultural immersion opportunities for American graduate and undergraduate students. The scholarship program is part of the U.S. government’s ongoing effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

While setting a new institutional record this year with 12 honorees, Pitt has now won 55 Critical Language Scholarships since the award’s founding in 2007. Pitt’s 2017 scholars are currently studying abroad in the nations of Azerbaijan, China, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, Tanzania, and Tajikistan.

This year's winners are Jacky Chen, JoEllen Marsh, Ruba Idris, Isaac Joseph, Elaina Zachos, Cian Stryker, Alicia Houser, Sana Chowdhry, Alexander Stetser, Adam Shirer, Chisom Obasih and Karlee Williston.

Bradford’s Alan Hancock Receives Staff Recognition Award

Panther Shop online associate Alan Hancock has been chosen by his fellow University of Pittsburgh at Bradford staff members as the recipient of the annual Staff Recognition Award. He was nominated by conference services manager Lynette Campogiani, who said, “Alan is one of the most optimistic and positive people on our campus. He has been involved with Staff Association and is very creative when asked to complete a task. He is an all-around great individual.”

In 2015, Hancock received the Excellence in Service to Students Award from the campus’s National Society for Leadership and Success. Hancock can also be seen on campus filling in at the mail center and as a photographer for the University.

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Matt Ziance (UPJ ’13) Wins Sports Emmy Award

Alumnus Matt Ziance, a social media and consumer engagement coordinator at NBC Sports, was part of a team that won the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The award ceremony was held in New York City on May 9. Ziance's social media content was a large contributor to NBC’s coverage of the games.

“It’s a special feeling, something that definitely brought a smile to everyone’s face, something that you really want to work hard for,” said Ziance, who has worked at Stamford, Connecticut–based NBC Sports since 2014. Previously, Ziance was part of a team nominated for an Emmy for its coverage of the 141st Kentucky Derby in 2015. Read more about Ziance and his time at the University of Pittsburgh–Johnstown.

Engineering Professor Minking Chyu Appointed Distinguished Service Professor

In honor of Minking Chyu’s significant contributions to Pitt, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has named him a Distinguished Service Professor, effective Sept. 1. Chyu is currently the Leighton and Mary Orr Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, associate dean of international initiatives and the inaugural dean of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute in China. Chyu teaches Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the Swanson School of Engineering. His research focuses on thermal and heat transfer phenomena associated with energy and propulsion systems, such as gas turbines and power plants.

Royal Society of Chemistry Journal Calls John Keith an Emerging Investigator of 2017

An assistant professor at the Swanson School of Engineering was recently recognized for his research efforts on methods to convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals and fuels. John Keith, who is also the inaugural Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the school, was featured in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in its list, Emerging Investigators in 2017.

The journal’s themed issue highlighted “rising stars” of materials chemistry research recommended by experts in the field. Keith studies atomic-scale reaction mechanisms to understand how to design better catalysts, whether the goal is a commodity chemical made from CO2 or an anticorrosion coating for the US Navy.

Engineering’s Wei Xiong Receives Office of Naval Research Award to Develop Next-generation Steel

A research project led by Wei Xiong, assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, has received a three-year, $449,000 award from the Office of Naval Research. The project, titled “Integrated Computational Materials Design for Additive Manufacturing of High-Strength Steels Used in Naval Environments,” aims to find novel ways to develop next-generation metals, especially new ways to manufacture steel and other alloys that would further enhance additive manufacturing — a technology that builds 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material. Xiong's team also includes Pitt's Esta Abelev and Susheng Tan.

Dean of Pharmacy Patricia Kroboth Receives Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania's 2017 Woman of Distinction Award

Patricia D. Kroboth, dean of the School of Pharmacy since 2002, was one of eight recipients of the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania's 2017 Woman of Distinction Award. The award each year honors eight women in various disciplines across the Pittsburgh area for their commitment and dedication to their field of work and community. Kroboth, who was given the award in the category of Health Care, said there is “no greater distinction” than being awarded by the Girl Scouts. “It’s wonderful,” Kroboth said. “They build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”