Accolades

Peter Gianaros Helps Create New Health Disparities Report for American Psychological Association

At the beginning of 2018, the American Psychological Association published its first comprehensive report on stress and health disparities, compiled by a working group of interdisciplinary scientists from top institutions around the country, which included the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter Gianaros.

A professor of psychology and of psychiatry, Gianaros studies how the human brain influences and is influenced by physical health — particularly cardiovascular health, a major focus of the APA report. He directs the behavioral neurophysiology lab at Pitt and he is the former director of the Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Gianaros and Anna Marsland, also a professor of psychology and leading expert on the immune system and stress, funding to study socioeconomic disadvantage and brain aging.

“The new APA report is timely. Discrimination, living in poverty, and other sources of stress are linked to inequalities in health and longevity,” Gianaros said. “These problems will continue to grow unless there is more evidence-based support and advocacy for research funding on health disparities, greater public education and awareness, and community-level interventions that promote health equality for everyone in this country. The work that Dr. Marsland and I are doing is directed at better understanding and addressing these pressing issues.”

Melanoma Research Gets Financial Boost

The Woiner Foundation of Pittsburgh recently donated $50,000 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Treatment Program, directed by John Kirkwood to support his internationally acclaimed melanoma research.

Under Kirkwood’s direction, more than 20 faculty researchers are leading multiple local, national and international studies that are advancing new therapies for the treatment of melanoma, a cancer that kills more than 10,000 people in the United States each year.

Kirkwood leads a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.

Department of Occupational Therapy Welcomes New Faculty Member

Natalie Leland joined the Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences on Jan. 1. 

Leland is an associate professor whose health services research program evaluates the quality of long-term care for older adults and examines best practices to improve quality of care and outcomes. Most recently, Leland received a $4 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute to conduct a comparative effectiveness research study examining two non-pharmacological treatment strategies for older adults with dementia.

Melanoma Research Gets Financial Boost

The Woiner Foundation of Pittsburgh recently donated $50,000 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Treatment Program, directed by John Kirkwood to support his internationally acclaimed melanoma research.

Under Kirkwood’s direction, more than 20 faculty researchers are leading multiple local, national and international studies that are advancing new therapies for the treatment of melanoma, a cancer that kills more than 10,000 people in the United States each year.

Kirkwood leads a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma.

Department of Occupational Therapy Welcomes New Faculty Member

Natalie Leland joined the Department of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences on Jan. 1. 

Leland is an associate professor whose health services research program evaluates the quality of long-term care for older adults and examines best practices to improve quality of care and outcomes. Most recently, Leland received a $4 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute to conduct a comparative effectiveness research study examining two non-pharmacological treatment strategies for older adults with dementia.

French Faculty Member Named Officer in Medieval Academy of America

The Medieval Academy of America has named Pitt faculty member Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski an officer of the organization. Blumenfeld-Kosinski is a distinguished professor of French in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences whose research interests include French medieval literature and culture. She was affiliated with the Medieval Academy of America as a councilor (1998-2000), member of its nominating committee (2001-03) and book review editor (French) for the journal Speculum (2007-12). In 2020, she will assume the presidency of the organization, which has fostered medieval studies since 1925.

French Faculty Member Named Officer in Medieval Academy of America

The Medieval Academy of America has named Pitt faculty member Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski an officer of the organization. Blumenfeld-Kosinski is a distinguished professor of French in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences whose research interests include French medieval literature and culture. She was affiliated with the Medieval Academy of America as a councilor (1998-2000), member of its nominating committee (2001-03) and book review editor (French) for the journal Speculum (2007-12). In 2020, she will assume the presidency of the organization, which has fostered medieval studies since 1925.

English's Dawn Lundy Martin Awarded Creative Writing Fellowship From National Endowment for the Arts

Dawn Lundy Martin, a professor in the Department of English and co-director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, has been awarded a 2018 Creative Writing Fellowship in nonfiction from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Martin is one of only 36 literary professionals awarded this fellowship for 2018.

The NEA’s most direct investment in American creativity, the fellowship program is designed to encourage ascending writers to produce new works of literature. It seeks to give fellows the means, space, and time to develop individual projects. Martin will use the award to write a collection of linked autobiographical essays. These essays will serve as a memoir of Martin’s experiences growing up in a working-class Black community in Hartford, Connecticut, and being bussed to the affluent, predominantly Caucasian suburb of Glastonbury for school. The memoir will highlight the effects of these divergent race and class experiences.

English's Dawn Lundy Martin Awarded Creative Writing Fellowship From National Endowment for the Arts

Dawn Lundy Martin, a professor in the Department of English and co-director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, has been awarded a 2018 Creative Writing Fellowship in nonfiction from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Martin is one of only 36 literary professionals awarded this fellowship for 2018.

The NEA’s most direct investment in American creativity, the fellowship program is designed to encourage ascending writers to produce new works of literature. It seeks to give fellows the means, space, and time to develop individual projects. Martin will use the award to write a collection of linked autobiographical essays. These essays will serve as a memoir of Martin’s experiences growing up in a working-class Black community in Hartford, Connecticut, and being bussed to the affluent, predominantly Caucasian suburb of Glastonbury for school. The memoir will highlight the effects of these divergent race and class experiences.

Marlene Cohen Receives National Academy of Sciences Award

Marlene Cohen, associate professor of neuroscience, has won a Troland Research Award, bestowed by the National Academy of Sciences. The $75,000 grant is given annually to two young researchers whose work is expanding empirical research in the broad field of experimental psychology.

Cohen’s research in neuroscience looks at how visual information is encoded and processed in the brain, and how quick decisions get made based on that visual information. By recording simultaneous responses from multiple neurons at a time, she’s able to get a clearer picture of the mechanisms behind cognitive processes like paying attention and perceptual learning.

Cohen will accept the Troland Award at the 155th NAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 19, 2018. 

Marlene Cohen Receives National Academy of Sciences Award

Marlene Cohen, associate professor of neuroscience, has won a Troland Research Award, bestowed by the National Academy of Sciences. The $75,000 grant is given annually to two young researchers whose work is expanding empirical research in the broad field of experimental psychology.

Cohen’s research in neuroscience looks at how visual information is encoded and processed in the brain, and how quick decisions get made based on that visual information. By recording simultaneous responses from multiple neurons at a time, she’s able to get a clearer picture of the mechanisms behind cognitive processes like paying attention and perceptual learning.

Cohen will accept the Troland Award at the 155th NAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 19, 2018. 

Associate Dean Minking Chyu Presented With Distinguished Service Professor Medallion

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Provost Patricia E. Beeson recently presented the Swanson School of Engineering's Minking Chyu with a medallion recognizing his appointment as Distinguished Service Professor. The presentation was held during a virtual board meeting between representatives at Pitt and Sichuan University in December. 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. Read more about the award and Chyu's work here.

Associate Dean Minking Chyu Presented With Distinguished Service Professor Medallion

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Provost Patricia E. Beeson recently presented the Swanson School of Engineering's Minking Chyu with a medallion recognizing his appointment as Distinguished Service Professor. The presentation was held during a virtual board meeting between representatives at Pitt and Sichuan University in December. 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. Read more about the award and Chyu's work here.

Mervat Abdelhak Named to Information Management Organization Board of Directors

Mervat Abdelhak, department chair and associate professor of Health Information Management and Health Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, was recently named to the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education’s board of directors.

The commission is the accrediting body for health information management education programs.

Abdelhak is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on health information practice issues and education. She is widely published with more than 40 publications in top health information management and health informatics journals including the textbook, “Health Information: Management of a Strategic Resource,” now in its fifth edition.

Mervat Abdelhak Named to Information Management Organization Board of Directors

Mervat Abdelhak, department chair and associate professor of Health Information Management and Health Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, was recently named to the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education’s board of directors.

The commission is the accrediting body for health information management education programs.

Abdelhak is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on health information practice issues and education. She is widely published with more than 40 publications in top health information management and health informatics journals including the textbook, “Health Information: Management of a Strategic Resource,” now in its fifth edition.

Pitt Computer Engineers Win Best Paper Award at International Big Data Conference

A team of computer engineering and bioengineering researchers from the University of Pittsburgh won the Best Paper Award at the 3rd International Conference on Machine Learning, Optimization & Big Data (MOD 2017). The paper titled, “Recipes for Translating Big Data Machine Reading to Executable Cellular Signaling Models,” describes how automated machine reading can be used to pore over volumes of research and use that information to create models for understanding biological processes.

“These models are used to conduct and explain hundreds of thousands of simulated experiments, which would be impractical if done with biological material in the lab,” said Natasa Miskov-Zivanov, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “Our paper won the Best Paper Award because the methods it presents are critical to automating the process of model generation from vast amounts of literature without human intervention.” 

Read more about the research at the Swanson School of Engineering's website.

Pitt Computer Engineers Win Best Paper Award at International Big Data Conference

A team of computer engineering and bioengineering researchers from the University of Pittsburgh won the Best Paper Award at the 3rd International Conference on Machine Learning, Optimization & Big Data (MOD 2017). The paper titled, “Recipes for Translating Big Data Machine Reading to Executable Cellular Signaling Models,” describes how automated machine reading can be used to pore over volumes of research and use that information to create models for understanding biological processes.

“These models are used to conduct and explain hundreds of thousands of simulated experiments, which would be impractical if done with biological material in the lab,” said Natasa Miskov-Zivanov, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “Our paper won the Best Paper Award because the methods it presents are critical to automating the process of model generation from vast amounts of literature without human intervention.” 

Read more about the research at the Swanson School of Engineering's website.

University of Pittsburgh Press Book Receives Flutter of Praise

“Butterflies of Pennsylvania: A Field Guide” — published by the University of Pittsburgh Press — was recognized with a 2017 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature Guidebooks category. Authored by James L. Monroe and David M. Wright, the book features more than 900 color photographs of all of the recorded butterfly species in Pennsylvania. Monroe is a research associate at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity in Gainesville, Florida, and professor emeritus of physics at Penn State Beaver. Chairman of patient safety and quality control at Abington – Lansdale Hospital in Pennsylvania, Wright is an anatomical and clinical pathologist who has published extensively on the butterflies of Pennsylvania and neighboring states.

University of Pittsburgh Press Book Receives Flutter of Praise

“Butterflies of Pennsylvania: A Field Guide” — published by the University of Pittsburgh Press — was recognized with a 2017 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature Guidebooks category. Authored by James L. Monroe and David M. Wright, the book features more than 900 color photographs of all of the recorded butterfly species in Pennsylvania. Monroe is a research associate at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity in Gainesville, Florida, and professor emeritus of physics at Penn State Beaver. Chairman of patient safety and quality control at Abington – Lansdale Hospital in Pennsylvania, Wright is an anatomical and clinical pathologist who has published extensively on the butterflies of Pennsylvania and neighboring states.

Diane Litman Elected Association for Computational Linguistics Fellow

Diane Litman — director of the Intelligent Systems Program, a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science within the School of Computing and Information and a senior scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center—has been elected one of six new Association for Computational Linguistics Fellows for 2017.

The fellows program recognizes association members whose contributions to the field have been most extraordinary in terms of scientific and technical excellence, service to the association and the community and/or educational or outreach activities with broader impact.

Litman has been selected for her key contributions to dialog research, especially the application of reinforcement learning and multimodal analysis to tutoring dialog. The Association for Computational Linguistics began in 1968 and has since promoted innovative research in computational linguistics, the study of language from a computational perspective. Researchers such as Litman who are involved in this field are interested in providing computational models of various kinds of linguistic phenomena, and their accomplishments are incorporated into many working systems today, including speech recognition systems, digital voice assistants and text editors.