Accolades

Russell in a white jacket in front of a panther statue

Jennifer Russell receives $1.4 Million grant to improve schools

Jennifer Russell, associate professor in the School of Education and research scientist in the Learning and Research Development Center, was awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her project titled, "Conceptualizing and Measuring Network Health in the Networks for School Improvement Initiative."

The NSI Initiative funds organizations who will “support groups of middle and high schools working together to identify and solve common problems that best fit their needs, learning what works as they go and refining their approaches.”

At LRDC, Russell leads the Partners for Network Improvement team that specializes in the developmental evaluation of improvement networks. Other Pitt group members include scientist Jennifer Post Iriti, research associate Jennifer Shearer, and research assistant Christ Matthis.

sparklers in the dark spelling H2P

Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence receives grant to help small businesses in coal-impacted communities

A $1.035 million Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant will assist individuals displaced by the declining market for Appalachian coal by providing job-search and business startup assistance through Western Pennsylvania Small Business Services for Coal-Impacted Communities (SBS) programs.

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE), part of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, has received $285,000 for its part in the program and will match the ARC grant for a total of $664,950. The IEE will offer three programs through its Small Business Development Center:

  • Launch My Business” for startups and those thinking of starting a business due to displacement.
  • Planning for Profits” where business owners use the Business Model Canvas tool to analyze direct feedback from existing and potential clients for sales growth and revenue.
  • Decision Makers” in which business owners resolve issues in a confidential group setting. 

It also will draw upon the expertise of PantherlabWorks, a resource for innovative companies seeking to bring new technologies, services and products into the marketplace.

“We have a long history of working with manufacturers, small businesses and individuals in communities affected by shifts in the economy,” said IEE executive director Robert Stein. “This partnership is an important outreach to communities where job losses have accelerated with the closing of coal mines.”

The SBS is a joint initiative of Pitt’s IEE, Innovation Works/Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. Working together, these organizations provide coworking spaces, accelerators and incubators to serve business owners, independent contractors and entrepreneurs in communities where there are limited resources.

Pitt–Bradford signage

Pitt–Bradford recognized as military-friendly school

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has for the 10th year been named a Military Friendly School for its dedication to the success of veterans and their spouses. Among the resources that Pitt–Bradford makes available to these students are academic coaching and tutoring, an academic advising center and career and counseling services.

“The Military Friendly school designation is a reflection of the hard work and dedication made by so many different offices and people at Pitt–Bradford who actively help returning veterans and their dependents to be successful in their pursuit of higher education,” said James Baldwin, vice president of enrollment management at Pitt–Bradford.

Designated a recipient in the small public school category, Pitt–Bradford was one of just 766 schools to earn the designation among the nearly 9,000 schools evaluated nationwide by Viqtory Media (previously Victory Media). Institutions are evaluated based on survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, degree advancement or transfer and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. 

The military-friendly designation aims measure and assess an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.

Wang in a tan coat and blue shirt in front of a panther statue

Ming-Te Wang receives American Psychological Association award

Ming-Te Wang, who serves as associate professor in both the School of Education and the Department of Psychology, and as a research scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center, received the 2019 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology. 

The award recognizes psychologists who are at early stages of their research careers. It is one of the most prestigious and influential awards for early career scholars’ scientific achievement.

Wang’s research focuses on child and adolescent development. He will be honored at the APA’s annual convention in August.

tree-lined sidewalk near the Cathedral

Center for Urban Education receives portion of $1.5 million grant

The Center for Urban Education (CUE) has been awarded a portion of a grant totaling $1.5 million that will help support the re-emergence of the Ready to Learn program.

The Chan Zuckerburg Initiative grant was awarded to researchers at CUE and its partners at Carnegie Mellon to “support a group of urban and rural districts in the Pittsburgh region … to develop a set of culturally sustaining and digital approaches to improving literacy and numeracy.”

The year-long Ready to Learn program will provide math tutoring and culturally relevant mentoring to kids in Pittsburgh Public Schools — matching students with Pitt undergrads who can apply to serve as mentors across three different school sites.

Housed in the School of Education, CUE is planning for a 2019 launch date for Ready to Learn.

“Our school partnerships are deeply meaningful to us. This program underscores CUE’s two-fold commitment to educate the whole student and to identify the pathways and possibilities for change in education systems. I am excited about what this program can mean for student learning and support in the Hill District and surrounding communities,” said CUE Director T. Elon Dancy II.

“We look forward to supporting students in learning not just math skills, but other life skills that will support them in their futures,” added Kenny Donaldson, associate director of strategic programming and initiatives at CUE. “We recognize the communities we are collaborating with already have tremendous assets, and we are just aiming to partner and engage with these entities.”

Fullerton in a gray jacket and purple collar shirt

Susan Fullerton awarded NSF funding for ‘2D’ materials research

Susan Fullerton, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, recently received the $540,000 CAREER Award for her research in super-thin “2D” materials.

The award, which comes from the National Science Foundation, supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Fullerton and her group invented a new type of ion-containing material, or electrolyte, which is only a single molecule thick. This will ultimately introduce new functions that can be used by the electronic materials community to explore the fundamental properties of new semiconductor materials and to develop electronics with completely new device characteristics.

Lin in front of a white wall with gold painting behind her

Yu-Ru Lin receives funding from Adobe Research

Associate Professor Yu-Ru Lin recently received a funding from Adobe Research to support her work in data science and computational social science. The funding will provide the resources to help Lin and her team to investigate research topics including visualization for interpretable artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for understanding human social behavioral patterns and outcomes. This gift will also help build and strengthen the collaboration between Adobe Research and School of Computing and Information at Pitt.

Kavalieratos

Dio Kavalieratos honored for work in palliative care

Dio Kavalieratos, assistant professor of medicine, palliative care and medical ethics and director of implementation research for the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, has been awarded the 2019 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Early Career Investigator Award. 

Kavalieratos, who is the first Ph.D. to ever win this award, is a health services researcher who is passionate about studying and developing best practices regarding palliative care implementation within health systems. 

Robert Arnold, medical director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute, and Yael Schenker, director of palliative care research at Pitt, nominated Kavalieratos for this distinction. They describe him as “one of the most talented Ph.D. health services researchers in palliative care.”

“My overarching goal for my work is to create systems, based on scientific evidence, that make palliative care an assumed part of everyone’s health care,” Kavalieratos said.

Panther head fountain

LifeX to partner in ‘liquid biopsy’ cancer diagnostics

GeneNews Limited, which provides innovative solutions for early cancer detection, has announced a partnership with LifeX to develop strategies for incorporating several proprietary early-cancer diagnostics into healthcare settings to improve patient compliance with cancer screening, as well as to bridge diagnostic gaps in current screening procedures.

Early detection of cancer is known to improve outcomes. Toronto-based GeneNews has several tests proven to detect cancer at an early stage using a simple blood test, or “liquid biopsy.”

“Other liquid biopsy companies are focused on monitoring response to chemotherapy or detecting recurrence of tumors after initial treatment,” said LifeX founder Dietrich Stephan.

“GeneNews, one of the pioneers of the liquid biopsy principle, has developed the ‘holy-grail’ — a suite of tests that have the correct sensitivity and specificity to see tumors in Stage 1 and perform correctly as a screening tool at the population level. We look forward to bringing these solutions to the marketplace to make a tangible difference in global health by enabling cures when tumors are most treatable.”

LifeX, based on Pittsburgh’s South Side, develops first-in-class solutions to alleviate suffering and death from prevalent and intractable diseases. The LifeX team partners with innovator-entrepreneurs to unlock the potential of their technologies and deliver them to patients and their physicians across the globe. LifeX was founded with support from the University of Pittsburgh and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

Evans in front of a dark background

Katz accounting professor receives Lifetime Contribution Award

John H. Evans III, the Katz Alumni Professor of Accounting and professor of business administration at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, received the 2019 AAA Lifetime Contribution Award for his 40-plus years of research and teachings of key management accounting issues and other contributions to the profession.

Given by the American Accounting Association (AAA) and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the award recognizes professionals who have made a significant contribution to management accounting education, research and practice. The award is given on behalf of the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation, which distinguishes a unique group of 150,000 management accountants worldwide who have reached the highest benchmark of quality and competency.

Evans has received numerous awards for his research, including the Outstanding Management Accounting Paper Award from the AAA in 2012 and the Best Paper Award for the Management Accounting Section from the Journal of Management Accounting in 2012. He is also recognized for his excellence in teaching. In 2011, he was honored with Pitt’s Provost Award for Excellence in Mentoring and has been named teacher of the year numerous times.

Pitt engineering team wins award for big brain data research

The National Science Foundation BIGDATA program awarded $1.2 million to a research team led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering to study data of complex brain disorders and design new algorithms that address computational challenges in multi-site collaborative data mining.

Heng Huang, the Swanson School’s John A. Jurenko Professor of Computer Engineering, is principal investigator of the study. In this project, Huang will create a framework to address these issues and facilitate data and computing resource sharing.

The goal of this project is to ease computational challenges and enable investigators in neuroimaging, genomics, neuroscience and other brain-related disciplines to securely and more efficiently further their research.

Carson in front of a blue background

Urban Studies advisor recognized for outstanding work

Carolyn Carson, coordinator and undergraduate advisor in the Urban Studies program and senior lecturer in the Department of History, has been awarded the 2019 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising. The $4,000 cash award honors outstanding faculty and staff academic undergraduate advisors.

Carson started at Pitt in 1996 and began her advising position in 1998. To be considered for the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize, faculty members must be nominated by their department chair and two or more undergraduate students whom they have advised.

“This award means a great deal to me,” Carson said. “Most of my time in this position has been spent with students, teaching as well as advising. I have found it to be very rewarding as I have learned a great deal from my students. I am humbled knowing that I have had an impact on their lives. I really love them all and have worked very hard to help them get the most out of their experiences here as they prepare for the future. I am extremely grateful that they recognized the effort and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”

Campbell named director of rehabilitation nurses group

Grace Campbell, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, has been elected director of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses through fall 2021.

Campbell took office at the group’s REACH 2018 Educational Conference and Expo, last fall in West Palm Beach, Fla. She has been an active member of ARN for 20 years, having served as president, treasurer and secretary of the Southwest Pennsylvania Chapter as well as on various committees.

panther statue in front of a lush green background

Six receive Mascaro Faculty Program in Sustainability awards

Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has named the 2019 awardees in the John C. Mascaro Faculty Program in Sustainability.  

The program is designed to enhance the University’s mission of interdisciplinary excellence in research and education. Faculty from all Pitt schools and disciplines are eligible to apply as faculty fellows, faculty scholars or faculty lecturers.

Awards are for one year with the option for renewal for an additional year for the Mascaro fellowships and scholarships.

During the year, fellows are expected to contribute to intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary research and/or education as well as help to team-teach one sustainability course as part of the University’s undergraduate certificate in sustainability and master’s degree in sustainable engineering.

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Historical marker on campus celebrates city’s early radium industry ties

A Pennsylvania Historical Marker commemorating Standard Chemical Company and its role in radium production has been dedicated outside Allen Hall.

Already famous for steel, Pittsburgh became the worldwide center for radium production in the early 20th century thanks to the entrepreneurship of brothers J.J. and Joseph Flannery, founders of Standard Chemical Co.

Their company, founded in 1913 and headquartered at Forbes and Meyran avenues in Oakland, was the nation’s first commercial producer of radium.

By 1920, Standard Chemical radium researchers Glenn D. Kammer and Henry J. Koenig, two 1912 graduates of Pitt’s School of Chemistry, were supervising the production of more than two-thirds of the world’s radium.

The company produced the gram of radium that was presented to French physicist Marie Curie in 1921 as a gift from the women of America. During her tour of the U.S., Curie asked to visit Standard Chemical’s headquarters and production facilities. She also was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Pittsburgh in a convocation at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.

Flannery family members, including Sarah Flannery Hardon, great-great granddaughter of J.J. Flannery, were among the guests at the Nov. 12 marker dedication.

Barbosa

University of Pittsburgh Press publication in running for America Literary Award

A University of Pittsburgh Press publication has landed on the PEN America Literary Awards longlist for 2019.  

Shauna Barbosa’s “Cape Verdean Blues” is a semi-finalist in the PEN Open Book Award category. This specific award honors “an exceptional book-length work of any genre by an author of color, published in the United States.” A collection of poetry, “Cape Verdean Blues” addresses Barbosa’s upbringing as a Cape Verdean living in Boston.

The PEN America Literary Awards honor “literary excellence and celebrate voices that challenge, inform, and inspire.” The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in February.

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.

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.

Retired UPJ professor honored by Geological Society of America

William Brice, retired Pitt–Johnstown geology and planetary sciences professor, has been honored by the Geological Society of America with the annual Mary C. Rabbitt History and Philosophy of Geology Award for 2018.

He joined the UPJ staff in 1971, remaining at that post until 2005.

“The nice thing about the Mary C. Rabbitt Award for history of geology is that it is from my peers,” Brice said. “These are people that I have worked with and known for many years. To have your work recognized by your peers is a wonderful feeling. It is the premier history of geology award in the United States. That’s the only way to put it.”

Brice has visited more than 50 countries and helped found Pitt–Johnstown’s geology program.

He currently edits the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences Annual Record.

Pitt–Johnstown professor appointed to school board

Pitt–Johnstown journalism associate professor Leland K. Wood was appointed to the Greater Johnstown School District board in December.

Wood also is the adviser for the school’s student newspaper, The Advocate. During his career, he has served as a daily newspaper reporter, bureau manager, correspondent business manager, and deputy metro editor.

Wood said he applied to become a member of the Greater Johnstown school board out of a desire to give back to the community, having been the product of several of the city’s public schools.

“I don’t have a specific agenda. It is pure public service,” he told The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown. “I think I’m well-versed in school district issues and activities and the issues that come up as part of local government. I think I have something to offer.”