Kenneth Jordan

Kenneth Jordan's paper on hydration, surfactants published in PNAS

Kenneth Jordan, professor of Computational Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, is part of the research team behind the paper “Molecular-Level Origin of the Carboxylate Head Group Response to Divalent Metal Ion Complexation at the Air-Water Interface,” published in the July edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper examines at a microscopic level the hydration of a model surfactant system. Surfactants such as soaps have one end that is attracted toward water, with the other end being attracted to oily substances.

John V. Williams

Pediatrics researcher Williams to be presented award for scientific contributions

John V. Williams was recently announced as the recipient of the 2020 Norman J. Siegel Outstanding Science Award by the American Pediatric Society for “his considerable contributions to pediatric science.”

Williams is the division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology; professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and director of the Institute for Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in Children (i4Kids). 

Williams is an international leader in the field of respiratory virus biology, particularly human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and a recognized researcher and contributor to leading scientific journals. He will be presented the award on May 3 during the APS Presidential Plenary at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2020 meeting in Philadelphia. 

Read more about Williams and the American Pediatric Society's honor.

Jim Karpa

Second annual Facilities Management awards honor six

The second annual Facilities Management staff recognition event drew more than 300 people to Alumni Hall earlier this month.

The event honored tradespeople, custodians and staff from across the department.

Greg Scott, senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations, cited numerous “remarkable achievements,” including work being done at Salk Hall, Forbes Street Market and the new Community Engagement Center in Homewood and the several LED lighting projects that are providing energy savings. 

“Equally, if not more important for the campus operation is our custodial services team,” Scott said, which makes up half of the Facilities staff. “They’ve done a terrific job not only with cleaning, but in their emergency response efforts, and strong support of what is really a never-ending demand for event set ups across the University.”

The awards given out included:

  • Star Award: Jim Karpa (pictured), project engineer

  • Custodian of the Year (new this year): Ruth Mullen, who works in the Cathedral of Learning. 

  • Rookie Award: Kayla Wengerd, Tech Services

  • Team Award: Contract Administration group, including Tawanda Stamps, Cheri Hoffer, and Shannon Pisano. 

Two Nursing faculty named to Pittsburgh Magazine list

Two faculty members from Pitt’s School of Nursing were among seven honored by Pittsburgh Magazine for Excellence in Nursing.

The winners include:

  • Jennifer Lingler, professor and vice chair for Research, Health & Community Systems. 
  • Catherine Grant, assistant professor and family nurse practitioner; owner, Associates in Family Health Care
The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Katz MBA program rises in Poets & Quants rankings

For the sixth year in a row, Pitt’s Katz Graduate School of Business MBA program is ranked among the top 20 in U.S. public universities by Poets & Quants.

Katz was number 39 in the U.S. and number 17 among U.S. publics in the Poets & Quants 2019-20 MBA rankings. Pitt saw the largest rise among the top 40 schools, up five spots from last year’s ranking.

Katz is one of only 42 business schools across the country that placed in all major MBA rankings this year, an honor shared by just 5 percent of all Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited schools and less than 0.3 percent of schools worldwide that grant business degrees.

To learn more about Pitt’s highly ranked MBA programs, visit the Katz programs page

Feng Xiong

Feng Xiong receives Career Award for AI energy efficiency project

Feng Xiong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, received a $500,000 Career Award from the National Science Foundation for his work developing the missing element in spiking neural networks (SNN), a dynamic synapse, that will dramatically improve energy efficiency, bandwidth and cognitive capabilities of SNNs.

A human brain — which is still more proficient than CPUs at cognitive tasks like pattern recognition — needs only 20 watts of power to complete a task, while a supercomputer requires more than 50,000 times that amount of energy. The project aims to make computers complete cognitive tasks using less energy.

Jorge Luis Borges

Library system acquires poet Jorge Luis Borges’ papers

Manuscripts by Argentinian writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges have been acquired by the University Library System (ULS). The new items include two poems and two essays — "El otro tigre (The Other Tiger)"; "La nadería de la personalidad (The Nothingness of Personality)"; "Poema conjetural (Conjectural Poem)"; and "Anotación al 23 de agosto de 1944 (Annotation to the 23rd of August of 1944)."

In March 2018, ULS acquired the Cuaderno Avon (Avon notebook) and several loose accompanying pages (Páginas sueltas), which included the story "La espera (The Wait)" and the notes for "El escritor argentine y la tradición (The Argentine Writer and Tradition)."

Borges, considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century, was born on Aug. 24, 1899, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and died on June 14, 1986, in Geneva, Switzerland. He wrote essays, poems and short stories and was also a translator.

These new materials will contribute to the enrichment of the Eduardo Lozano Latin American Collection at the ULS and will be housed in Archives and Special Collections. Other pieces of Borges’ original work are held at the University of Virginia Library, the New York Public Library, Michigan State University, the National Library of Spain, the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.  

Chris Driscoll

Chris Driscoll of Pitt Businss named 2019 Preservationist of the Year

Chris Driscoll, director of IT for Pitt Business, was named 2019 Preservationist of the Year by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

The organization advocates for the preservation of historic sites and structures in the Greater Pittsburgh region. The annual award recognizes significant contribution in the area of historic preservation. 

Driscoll is part owner and founder of the restaurant Revival on Lincoln, which is housed in a historic mansion in Bellevue. The previously dilapidated building required extensive restoration to be recognized as an historic landmark by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Driscoll was presented the award in November. 

Janice Pringle

Janice Pringle to receive Excellence in Patient Care Award

Janice Pringle, founder and director of the Pitt School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit, received the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation’s Excellence in Patient Care Award.

Pringle was recognized for her work at the 21st annual NACDS Foundation dinner on Dec. 4, 2019, in New York City.

Pringle’s research helped combat opioid abuse and improved individual and population health outcomes in Blair County, Pa.

Pringle is a professor of pharmacy and therapeutics in Pitt’s School of Pharmacy. Her research has helped develop health care policy research and briefs that have been used to inform policy development at both the state and federal levels.

Pitt Pharmacy unit wins ‘Best Professional Abstract’ at expo

An abstract co-created by the Pitt School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) won the “Best Professional Abstract” award at the American Public Health Association annual meeting and expo.

The abstract, “Pharmacy Student’s Knowledge and Perceived Competency in Conducting SBIRT for Substance Use Disorders,” was written in collaboration with Heather Santa, senior research specialist at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy, and project partners at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The abstract presented results from a training grant with the University of the Sciences with more than 314 student pharmacists trained to proficiency.

The abstract was the highest scoring entry out of 74 submitted.

John Williams

New institute will improve pediatric health and research

The Institute of Infection, Inflammation and Immunity in Children — i4Kids for short — is a new strategic research effort focused on improving pediatric health by combating infectious and inflammatory diseases through accelerating new multi-disciplinary collaborations across the health sciences, natural and physical sciences, and computer science. 

The institute is being led by John Williams, Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology and professor of pediatrics at Pitt.

Infection is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years old worldwide, and infectious and inflammatory diseases are the leading causes of child hospitalization in the U.S. The i4Kids project aims to become the epicenter of research, discovery, prevention and treatment of these diseases in children as the foundation of improving the health of future generations. 

The institute will host a launch symposium from 2 to 6 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Rangos Research Auditorium at Children’s Hospital. The institute is working with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to invite leaders of foundations and philanthropists across the nation.

For more information on i4Kids, visit their website

Rob Rutenbar and William Federspiel

Two Pitt researchers named fellows for National Academy of Inventors

Rob Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for Research, and William Federspiel, professor of Bioengineering, were recently named fellows for the National Academy of Inventors’ 2019 fellowship class.

The fellows program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election as a National Academy Inventors fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.  

Rutenbar and Federspiel have a combined 26 patents to their names, and have more than 300 peer-reviewed journals and papers published.

The complete list of fellows is available on the National Academy of Inventors’ website

John Jakicic

Healthy Lifestyle Institute hosts second annual summit, announces ‘Schools on the Move’ initiative

The Healthy Lifestyle Institute hosted its second annual summit on Dec. 6 on the Pittsburgh campus. The summit consisted of presentations and updates from researchers across campus on their work to transform lifestyle research into health and well being for people in all stages of life.

Housed within the School of Education, the Healthy Lifestyle Institute was founded in 2017 with a mission “to develop, translate and implement health and wellness programs” for the Pitt community and around the Pittsburgh region.

At the summit, the institute’s founding director John Jakicic (EDUC ’95G), introduced the Schools on the Move initiative, which will provide grants to support innovative physical activity programming at 43 K-12 schools in the Pittsburgh area.

“We’re asking teachers to get creative. We’re not just providing schools with basketballs and nets,” said Jakicic, who also serves as chair of the Department of Health, Physical Activity, and Exercise in the School of Education. “We’re really interested in seeing how these projects unfold.”

Falk School teacher and Pitt grad Barnett wins Carol R. Brown award

Cameron Barnett, who teaches language arts and world history to elementary students at Pitt’s Falk Laboratory School, is the recipient of this year’s $15,000 Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award for Emerging Artist.

Barnett, 30, is the author of the 2017 book of poetry “The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water.” He studied poetry at Pitt with Terrance Hayes, Yona Harvey, Lynn Emmanuel and Dawn Lundy Martin.

Receiving the award will allow him to attend a writers’ retreat next year, pay off some student loans and do more in-depth research on his family history, he told the Post-Gazette.

The awards are sponsored by the Heinz Endowments and the Pittsburgh Foundation. Barnett and Adriana Ramirez, winner of the $15,000 Carol E. Brown Established Artist award, will be honored at a free, open-to-the-public event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse.

Brenda Cassidy, Jennifer Lingler and Patricia Tuite

Pitt Nursing faculty stand out in statewide awards

Three Pitt School of Nursing faculty members were recognized in November at the 30th annual gala and celebration of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania. Each faculty member who was nominated for her category received the award. 

Brenda Cassidy (NURS ’86G, ’97G, ’11G), assistant professor, won the Doctorate of Nursing Practice award; Jennifer Lingler (NURS ’98G, ’04G; A&S ’03G), professor, won the Nursing Research award; and Patricia Tuite (NURS ’85, ’92G), assistant professor, won the Nursing Education-Academia award.

The Nightingale Awards are a statewide program designed to recognize excellence in nursing. Over the past 30 years, more than 100 nursing professionals who best exemplify compassionate care, clinical expertise, education and leadership have been celebrated at the awards ceremony.

Peter Strick

Peter Strick honored for brain research

Peter Strick, founding scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, was selected for a 2019 Krieg Cortical Kudos Discoverer Award in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of the cortical circuits involved in motor control.

He was presented the award by the Society for Neuroscience at the Cajal Club in Chicago. Each year, neuroscientists at senior, intermediate and beginning stages in their careers are honored by the society for outstanding research on the structure and connections of the cerebral cortex.

Strick's research focuses on four major areas: the generation and control of voluntary movement by the motor areas of the cerebral cortex; the motor and cognitive functions of the basal ganglia and cerebellum; the neural basis for the mind-body connection; and unraveling the complex neural networks that comprise the central nervous system.

Gina Garcia

Gina Garcia appointed to board of directors of National Higher Education Organization

Gina Garcia, assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, has been elected to the board of directors of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

With more than 2,000 members, ASHE is a national organization for scholarship in higher education administration. Garcia’s appointment will run from 2019-2021.

Garcia focuses her research on Hispanic-serving institutions (not-for-profit, degree-granting colleges and universities that enroll at least 25 percent or more Latinx students) in post-secondary education, Latinx college student experiences, and the effects of racism and microaggressions in collegiate settings. Pitt celebrated the launch of her book, “Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges and Universities,” on Oct. 15.

Jeanne Marie Laskas

Laskas pens 'The Mister Rogers No One Saw' essay in New York Times

Jeanne Marie Laskas, distinguished professor of English in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and founding director of Pitt’s Center for Creativity, published an essay in the New York Times Magazine on her friendship with Fred Rogers.

Laskas first met Rogers after finishing graduate school and remained friends with him until his death in 2003.

“Fred Rogers’ philosophy guided me to teach in the way that I do now. He gave me the confidence to become a writer,” said Laskas, a New York Times best-selling author of eight books.

During Pitt’s Year of Creativity, Laskas said we can all learn a lot from Rogers. “Fred believed that the creative process was a fundamental function at the core of every human being,” Laskas wrote in her essay.

Her essay appeared in the Nov. 24 New York Times Magazine. In addition to serving as a contributing writer for the New York Times, Laskas is also a correspondent at GQ. Her bylines have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Esquire.

Catherine Palmer

Study on hearing loss and social participation receives award

Catherine Palmer, associate professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at Pitt, has been approved for a $2.23 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study hearing aids’ role in participation in senior communities.

Through this three-year award, Palmer and her team in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) will find out if people are more satisfied with their social participation when more hearing support is available, and if people with hearing loss find their quality of life improves when they have access to hearing help more frequently.

Palmer’s study was selected for PCORI funding through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders and their methodological rigor among other criteria.

Palmer is also director of the SHRS Audiology Program, director of the Center for Audiology and Hearing Aids at UPMC and the current president of the American Academy of Audiology. Other Pitt researchers who will work with Palmer in this study include audiology associate professor Elaine Mormer, occupational therapy associate professor Natalie Leland and physical therapy professor Charity Patterson.

Alex Toner

Alex Toner recognized as Western PA Rising Star

Alex J. Toner (SCI ’11G), assistant director of community engagement in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, was recognized as a 2019 Western PA Rising Star by Get Involved!, Inc., at its 10th annual Pittsburgh Service Summit on Sept. 12.

The Rising Star awards recognize 21 local young professionals who “dedicate their time and talent to community organizations and who are making a positive difference in the region.”

In addition to his role at Pitt, Toner serves as a high school mentor at Brashear High School through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor 2.0 program, is an active member of Brookline Together and is pursuing a masters of public policy and management from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

According to its website, Get Involved!, Inc. “provides leadership and development programs and initiatives that engage, energize, educate and empower students, young professionals and lifelong learners to make a positive difference in their communities and to become civically engaged.”