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July 21, 2017
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.
July 19, 2017
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.
July 19, 2017
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.
July 13, 2017
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.
July 12, 2017
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.
July 12, 2017
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.
July 11, 2017
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.
July 6, 2017
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.
July 5, 2017
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.
June 28, 2017
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.
June 28, 2017
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.
June 28, 2017
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.
June 28, 2017
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.
June 21, 2017
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.
June 15, 2017
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.
June 15, 2017
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.”
June 15, 2017
Bradford's Tammy Haley Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Teaching and Dissemination
Tammy Haley, associate professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford since 2003, has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Teaching and Dissemination by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Haley is director of nursing and radiological sciences at Pitt–Bradford. The School of Public Health recognized Haley for her work using research as a means to engage students, enhance her teaching, add to the body of knowledge in her field and provide service to the global community.
June 15, 2017
Lindsay C. Page Awarded Education Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lindsay C. Page has been awarded a 2017 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academy of Education. The program supports important research as well as career development opportunities for scholars with potential to make significant contributions to the field of education. One of only 30 postdoctoral fellows in 2017, Page was awarded $70,000 to support her research on improving postsecondary outcomes among college students who are from low-income backgrounds or who are first in their family to attend college. Page is an assistant professor of research methodology in Pitt’s School of Education and a research scientist in the University’s Learning Research and Development Center.
June 3, 2017
Pitt Alumnus Samir Lakhani Named CNN Hero
Samir Lakhani's (A&S ’15) nonprofit project in Cambodia, called Eco-Soap Bank, recycles discarded bars of soap from hotels and distributes it to people in need. Read more about Lakhani and Eco-Soap Bank at CNN.
May 22, 2017
James Van Poolen Named the National HDI Analyst of the Year
A support analyst who helps provide technical services throughout campus has been named the National HDI Analyst of the Year. James Van Poolen, 31, who has worked at Pitt’s Financial Information Systems for two and a half years, won a national competition for his understanding of industry standards and his commitment to excellent service. Van Poolen and his colleagues support more than 750 customers and respond to more than 500 requests for IT help across campus every month. He accepted his award at a national competition in Washington D.C.