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a statue of a panther on the campus

Pitt–Greensburg Nursing Program Awarded $1.5 Million

The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg was recently awarded $1.5 million in grant money by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation in support of a growing nursing degree program at the school.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is in its second year at the Greensburg campus and follows the same curriculum as the Pitt School of Nursing, the latter of which is consistently ranked among the top 10 nursing schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The foundation has supported a wide range of important initiatives at the Greensburg campus throughout the years, including supporting two academic building on campus, McKenna Hall and Frank A. Cassell Hall; upgrading and improving technology resources; and helping to address economic growth and revitalization through the Smart Growth Partnership

Leland in a dark sweater in front of a tan background

Natalie Leland Named Fellow of Gerontological Society

Natalie Leland, an associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Occupational Therapy, has been named a fellow of The Gerontological Society of America.

Leland's research focuses on understanding and improving care quality for older adults, with a particular interest in how occupational therapy can contribute to interdisciplinary patient-centered outcomes.

The society is the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. The status of fellow — the highest class of membership within the society — is an acknowledgment of outstanding and continuing work in gerontology. Leland was one of 89 fellows selected for the class of 2018.

Doiron in a collar shirt in front of a blue background

Brent Doiron Joins NIH BRAIN Initiative as Theoretical Neuroscience Investigator

Brent Doiron, a professor in the Department of Mathematics, will work with a team from Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute to develop mathematical models of the brain’s primary visual cortex.

The effort is supported by a five year, $16.75 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s BRAIN Initiative. Doiron will serve as a theoretical neuroscience investigator, receiving $1.7M for his investigations as part of the grant. Doiron, who’s also a member of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, collaborates extensively with faculty in other departments to advance theoretical models of brain activity and cognition.

Chimielus in a suit and tie

Swanson School and General Carbide Team Up for 3D Printing Advancement

Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering is collaborating with General Carbide Corporation in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to research better base powders and 3D printing methods for more effective and economical use of tungsten carbide in additive manufacturing.

The project was financed in part by a $57,529 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and the first round of the PA Manufacturing Innovation Program. Cost share from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and General Carbide will provide a total funding of $145,000.

Pitt’s principal investigator for this project is Markus Chmielus, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

Freitag in a black and white striped shirt in front of a window

Student Thomas Freitag Wins Top Scholarship for LGBT STEM Undergraduates

Thomas Freitag won the top undergraduate National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) Out to Innovate scholarship. The $5,000 scholarships are intended for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics programs who are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or an active ally of the LGBT community.

Freitag is in his third year at Pitt, double majoring in neuroscience and psychology with minors in chemistry and social work. After graduation, he plans to pursue a medical degree and a master’s in public health. He intends to work in psychiatry and public health policy focusing on issues affecting LGBT and associated communities and to conduct research on health disparities among underprivileged communities.

Freitag’s achievement follows a summer interning with the City of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Freitag received a David C. Frederick Public Service Internship Award, which provides a stipend so students with an interest in leadership and community service can pursue unpaid public service internships. As an intern with the City of Philadelphia, Freitag helped craft groundbreaking legislation to make tax documents gender-neutral, which removed barriers and will help to streamline legal proceedings.

three young women packing a stack of books

Office of Child Development Donates Resources to Children in Squirrel Hill

The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development held a book drive to provide resources for children affected by gun violence in Squirrel Hill and the surrounding community.

Pitt students, staff and faculty have started delivering the nearly 3,000 books to approximately 200 schools and early childcare facilities, just in time for the holidays. They plan to finish their deliveries in January.

The Pitt community and people from across the country donated the books, which will be used to help local children heal and embrace diversity.

“The outpouring of donations and support we’ve received has been remarkable, and we are hopeful that the Office of Child Development can deliver even more resources to help children process fear and embrace diversity,” said Director Shannon Wanless.

The Office of Child Development and its partners in the Pitt Early Childhood Community, including Falk School, the University Child Development Center and early childhood programs in Pitt’s School of Education, are part of this ongoing effort.

Woman riding bike in a Pitt shirt

Pitt’s Bike-friendly Efforts Recognized

Each year, the League of American Bicyclists recognizes colleges and universities that support bicycling with its Bicycle Friendly University status. This year, Pitt earned the status with a bronze distinction, joining nearly 200 other universities on the overall list.

“This is the first year we applied for recognition on campus, but we have had the infrastructure and programs in place for quite some time,” said Jeff Yeaman, senior manager, Department of Parking, Transportation and Services. Yeaman cited specific examples like the bike rooms in Nordenberg Hall and fix-it stations around campus as evidence of Pitt’s commitment to being a bike-friendly campus.

The league’s bronze distinction recognizes institutions that have taken notable steps in supporting bicycling for recreation and tranporation, which can be seen in above-average numbers of students, faculty and staff riding bikes. The league scores institutions that apply for distinction across five categories, including engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

Read more information about the distinction process online.

Architectural detail in nationality room

Nationality Rooms on National Geographic Traveller UK’s ‘The Cool List 2019’

The Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh were named on the “The Cool List 2019” by National Geographic Traveller UK.

The article features 19 “destinations set to hit the headlines” in the year 2019, and names Pittsburgh as one of its “must-see” sites, with a mention of the Nationality Rooms.

The 30 Nationality Rooms inside the University’s Cathedral of Learning represent different cultures from the world. Most also function as classrooms, and the public is available to tour the rooms year-round. The 31st room, the Philippine Nationality Room, will be dedicated in a June 2019 ceremony.

Headshot of Tao Han in sweater and collared shirt

Tao Han Elected Vice Chair at the American Physical Society

Tao Han, Distinguished Professor of High Energy Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected vice chair of the executive committee for American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields.

The American Physical Society represents more than 55,000 physicists across the globe and uses advocacy, research journals, meetings and other forms of outreach to promote its work. Han will begin his duties in January 2019 and will assume as chair in 2021.

Steven Little headshot in jacket and tie

Steven Little Receives Pittsburgh Award

Steven Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, was named the recipient of this year’s Pittsburgh Award.

The award is given by the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society. Little received the award for his “service and commitment to the field of chemistry over the years, with particular emphasis on efforts to reinvent chemical engineering education in the Pittsburgh area.”

Little’s research focuses on novel drug delivery systems that mimic the body’s own mechanisms of healing and resolving inflammation. The society’s annual award banquet was held Dec. 6.

Harms in front of a blue background

Viktoria Harms Honored by American Association of Teachers of German

Viktoria Harms, lecturer in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of German, has been selected by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and the Goethe-Institut as a recipient of their Certificate of Merit.

The award honors language educators for “achievement in furthering the teaching of German in the United States.”

Harms serves as the Department of German’s director of language studies and director of undergraduate studies within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She was honored at the AATG and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Convention and World Languages Expo on Nov. 17 in New Orleans.

Barson in a yellow jacket with gray lapels

Jazz Studies PhD Student Debuts New Opera

Benjamin Barson, who is working toward a PhD in jazz studies at Pitt, will present his new opera “Mirror Butterfly: the Migrant Liberation Movement Suite” on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre. The event is part of the 2018 conference of the National Performance Network. It is open to the public but attendees must RSVP.

Barson, on baritone saxophone, will be joined by members of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, who represent a blend of funk, jazz, hip-hop, rap, African music and indigenous music of Northern Mexico, along with powerful political themes of liberation and community.

“Mirror Butterfly” focuses on the journey of three women and their engagement with a violent colonial oppression they are trying to flee. The piece is sung in multiple genres, and the title aria is sung in the Yaqui language of Yoeme, with translation into English provided by a narrator.

“This multi-genre and multi-ethnic approach is meant to communicate a diversity of migrant experiences and culture,” said Barson.

Blain in black rimmed glasses

Keisha Blain’s Book Named One of the Best History Books of 2018 by Smithsonian Magazine

Keisha N. Blain’s book "Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom" was named one of the best history books of the year by Smithsonian Magazine. Blain is an assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of History. To read the full list of best books, visit the magazine's website.

Three From Pitt Named Forbes ‘30 Under 30’

Three University of Pittsburgh-affiliated researchers were named to Forbes magazine’s 2019 “30 Under 30” list.

The list features 600 business and entrepreneurial leaders from 20 industries, including healthcare, energy, art and education, among others.

The following from Pitt were named to this year’s list: Inmaculada Hernandez, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy, for her work in drug pricing research; Shinjini Kundu, a biomedical engineering graduate from Pitt’s Medical Scientist Training Program for developing new technology to analyze medical images and detect disease using artificial intelligence; and Coleman Stavish (A&S ’16), chief technology officer and co-founder of Proscia, a company that uses artificial intelligence to speed up pathology tests for cancer patients.

images of the three

yellow statue in front of a building

20 Pitt Researchers Named to ‘Highly Cited’ List

Twenty professors from varying fields at the University of Pittsburgh were named to Clarivate Analytics’ list of Highly Cited Researchers over the past decade.

The list “recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top one percent by citations for field and year in ‘Web of Science.’” To view the full list, visit their website.

Announcing Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grant Recipients

The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security has announced the winners of the fall 2018 Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grants Program. Winners will receive funding for research projects that examine the swiftly changing technological landscape and the rules, practices and safeguards designed to keep it secure. Spring 2019 grant applications are due Friday, April 5. For more information, email

Awards have been granted to:

  • Kevin Ashley, professor of law and intelligent systems in the School of Law
  • Jaromir Savelka, PhD candidate, School of Computing and Information
  • Elena Baylis, professor of law in the School of Law
  • Julia Santucci, senior lecturer in intelligence studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
  • Lt. Col Diana Bishop, chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies
  • Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Chair of the Department of Political Science
  • Jon Woon; departmental chair and professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science
  • Ronald Idoko, adjunct faculty in the public service program at the College of General Studies
  • Christopher Wilmer, assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering

Three Pitt Professors Named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has appointed three University of Pittsburgh professors as members of its 2018 lifetime fellowship cohort. 

AAAS will recognize James Woodward, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science; Jeremy Levy, a Distinguished Professor of Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics; and Astronomy and Adam K. Leibovich, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, during its annual meeting on Feb. 16. The professors were among 416 fellows selected this year and will join a list of distinguished scientists including inventor Thomas Edison, astronomer Maria Mitchell and computer scientist Grace Hopper.

More information on the winners can be found here.

Moran in a salmon shirt, wearing a diamond-patterned tie and a sport coat

Pitt Grounds Department Gets a Green Star

Andy Moran, senior manager of grounds in Facilities Management, accepted a 2018 Green Star Award on behalf of the University at the Professional Grounds Management Society’s recent awards dinner in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complementing other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction.

Pitt was recognized with an Honor Award in the Urban University Grounds category for exceptional grounds maintenance.

Pitt Grounds’ 31 full-time and 15 seasonal grounds employees provide 24-hour maintenance to all landscaped areas, lawns, parking lots, garages and athletic fields across the University’s 145-acre Pittsburgh campus as well as winter maintenance of 30 miles of sidewalks and over 2,000 steps. 

Newman and Schulz

Pitt Researchers Honored for Senior Service Efforts

Two medical researchers from the University of Pittsburgh were recently recognized for their efforts in the field of medicine by UPMC Senior Services.

Anne Newman, professor and chair of Pitt’s Department of Epidemiology, was named Grand Champion for her work in the epidemiology of aging, longevity and disability. It is the highest honor awarded by UPMC Senior Services.

Richard Schulz, distinguished service professor of psychiatry, was honored as Caregiver Champion. Schulz’s work focuses on social-psychological aspects of aging, including the impact of disabling late-life disease on patients and their families.

Both, along with Community Champion United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, were honored at an October ceremony in Pittsburgh.

panther statue

13 Faculty Members Receive Discipline-based Science Education Research Center Leader Award

Congratulations to 13 faculty members in the Natural Sciences Departments in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences who were recently awarded the Discipline-based Science Education Research Center (dB-SERC) Leader Award. This yearly award recognizes and celebrates their valuable contributions to the dB-SERC faculty learning community and their active participation in many dB-SERC events during the last academic year.

These faculty members have played a key role in the dB-SERC weekly lunch discussions about innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the natural sciences. The dB-SERC promotes and supports evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning in the natural sciences departments at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to workshops and special events, the dB-SERC faculty learning community gives the faculty members opportunity to share their course transformation projects involving evidence-based approaches which helps everyone who is part of this community contemplate, adopt and adapt scholarly approaches to teaching and learning. The center strives to help Pitt be a national leader in evidence-based instruction in the natural sciences.

dB-SERC Leader Award winners (2017-2018 year):

  • Danielle Andrews-Brown, Geology and Environmental Science
  • Meghan Bechman, Biological Sciences
  • Sean Garrett-Roe, Chemistry
  • Joe Grabowski, Chemistry
  • Kirill Kiselyov, Biological Sciences
  • Barbara Kucinski, Psychology
  • Jim Mueller, Physics and Astronomy
  • David Nero, Physics and Astronomy
  • Kim Payne, Biological Sciences
  • Welkin Pope, Biological Sciences
  • Jackie Powell, Chemistry
  • Katie Sinagoga, Biological Sciences
  • Kyle Whitinghill, Geology and Environmental Science