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Accolades


Gill-Peterson in a red coat and white sweater

Julian Gill-Peterson Wins Lambda Literary Awards Prize in Transgender Nonfiction

Julian Gill-Peterson, an assistant professor in the Department of English, received top honors in the category of Transgender Nonfiction during the 31st Annual Lambda Literacy Awards in June. The awards, known as the “Lammys,” recognize the year’s best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature. Gill-Peterson was nominated for his book, “Histories of the Transgender Child.” Gill-Peterson is also a member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program steering committee at Pitt.

Victory lights on the Cathedral of Learning

Nine from Pitt Community Named to New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40

Nine members of the University of Pittsburgh community have been named to the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 Class of 2019 list.

The Fab 40 list recognizes African-Americans under the age of 40 who make a positive difference in the Pittsburgh area through their fields of expertise.

Current Pitt staff members that are named to the Class of 2019 include: Cassandra Brentley, program manager in the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education; Tenecia Ross, director of employee and labor relations in the Office of Human Resources; and Deborah Todd (A&S ’03), communications manager in the Office of University Communications.

The following members of the University’s alumni community were also named to the Class of 2019: Camille A. Clarke-Smith (A&S ’06, EDUC ’08G), UPMC Health Plan/T.H.A.W.; Ronald B. Coursey (A&S ’08), Woodland Hills School District; Alyssa P. Lyon (A&S ’12), Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group/AmeriCorps VISTA; Julius Ridgley (BUS ’15G), Eat ‘N Park Hospitality Group, Inc.; Aster Teclay (A&S ’10), Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh; and Terri White (BUS ’19G), Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

All Fab 40 honorees will be celebrated at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel on July 19.


Dostilio in a royal blue blazer

Lina Dostilio Named First Research Fellow for Center for Urban and Metropolitan Universities

The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) has named Lina Dostilio CUMU’s first research fellow. During a five-month appointment, Dostilio, associate vice chancellor for community engagement at the University of Pittsburgh, will work to establish a cross-city research agenda on the effects of hyperlocal engagement on community capacity. Over the course of the fellowship, Dostilio will work to create a space for dialogue and collaboration on data, instruments, policy, and strategies.

“This project is interested in how universities honor the existing capacities of the communities they engage and how hyperlocal efforts may influence those capacities over time. Examples of the kinds of capacity we are exploring are community readiness for change, civic engagement and social connectedness, among others,” said Dostilio.

“There’s never been a more important time for institutions to be authentic about their responsibility and capacity for place-based engagement and service. Lina’s scholarship on hyperlocal engagement will help to define CUMU’s research agenda and move this important work forward,” said Bobbie Laur, CUMU executive director.


Stephen D. Meriney

Stephen D. Meriney Receives Grant for Neuromuscular Disease Research

Pitt’s Stephen D. Meriney has received one of 26 The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) grants for rare neuromuscular disease research.

Meriney, a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry, focuses on studying the mechanisms that control peripheral nervous system plasticity, including mechanisms that underlie neuromuscular diseases. The MDA awarded him more than $300,000 in critical funding to support the development of a new therapeutic approach for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  This novel therapy is based on a new small molecule that was developed in a collaboration between the Meriney lab and Distinguished University Professor Peter Wipf from the Department of Chemistry

Meriney’s lab focuses on regulating and modulating presynaptic ion channels — essentially looking at how one neuron “talks” to another by releasing neurotransmitters across both healthy and diseased synapses. He will use the grant to address current gaps in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that destroys motor neurons which control essential voluntary muscle movements such as speaking, walking and swallowing.  


Hall in a black top in a lab

Martica Hall Receives Outstanding Educator Award

Martica Hall, professor of psychiatry, psychology, and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh, recently received the Sleep Research Society Mary A. Carskadon Outstanding Educator Award for excellence in education related to sleep and circadian research. The award honors outstanding educational contributions to disseminating the knowledge base, research methods and health and safety significance of the field.

Hall’s research explores the effect of sleep on behavioral and physical health, and she has published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles on topics in this area. Her current research pertains to sleep, circadian rhythms and cardiometabolic risk in retired shift workers.

Hall received the award at SLEEP 2019, the annual meeting of the Sleep Research Society.


Oscar E. Swan

Oscar E. Swan Receives Award from President of Poland

Oscar E. Swan, professor in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and advisor for the Polish minor, was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland.

Swan received the award "in recognition of [his] outstanding services in promoting Polish language and Polish culture, and for outstanding achievements in Slavic Studies."  

Swan accepted the prestigious award, presented by the Polish Ambassador to the United States, in May in Washington, D.C.


Pitt¬–Johnstown Supervisor of Campus Grounds Dave Finney

Pitt–Johnstown Is Pennsylvania's First Campus Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has been designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Pitt–Johnstown is the first Pennsylvania university to earn this certification, and only the eighth overall. 

Pitt­–Johnstown Supervisor of Campus Grounds Dave Finney, who led the effort to obtain sanctuary designation, was recognized by Audubon for his environmental stewardship. The Johnstown campus maintains a 655-acre grounds with 15 miles of trails.

"The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on their property," said Christine Kane, CEO at Audubon International. “By taking action to implement indoor and outdoor conservation projects, the administration, faculty and staff at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown have demonstrated their commitment to the sustainable management of their natural resources.”

Certification demonstrates an organization’s leadership, commitment and high standards of environmental management in areas such as environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water quality and conservation, resource management and outreach and education. Recertification is required every three years to maintain the designation.


Kumta in a suit and tie

New Pitt Partnership Expands Research into Rechargeable Battery Systems

The Next-Generation Energy Conversion and Storage Technologies Lab at the University of Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center recently announced a new energy research partnership with Malvern Panalytical that will enable the lab to see the chemistry of what is happening inside a battery while it is in use.

The lab, headed by Prashant N. Kumta, focuses on energy conversion and storage, including rechargeable battery systems. Malvern Panalytical’s Empyrean X-ray Platform, a multipurpose diffractometer, will be used in the lab to identify solid-state materials by determining their internal structure, composition and phase while they are in use.


Delitto in a light shirt and red tie

SHRS Dean Delitto Appointed Member of National Advisory Council

Anthony Delitto, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, was recently appointed as a member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health.

The council is responsible for advising, consulting with and making recommendations to the director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health on matters relating to the research activities and functions of the center.

Delitto treats people with painful musculoskeletal disorders, and his current research is focused on implementing classification and treatment effectiveness studies into quality improvement initiatives. He is also conducting trials in exercise interventions for people with Parkinson's disease.


Blain smiling

Keisha N. Blain Wins Book Prize

Keisha N. Blain, associate professor in the Department of History, has been awarded the annual Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize for her recent publication “Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom.”

The book, which “[draws] on a variety of previously untapped sources, including newspapers, government records, songs and poetry,” tells the stories of Black women nationalists in the 20th century. The book prize is given annually for “a first book that deals substantially with the history of women, gender and/or sexuality.”

According to a statement, the selection committee said, “Featuring an impressive archive and transnational in scope, every single chapter in this book offers serious interventions, contributions, and reinterpretations of familiar historical narratives.”

Blain also won the 2019 Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians for the same publication.


Nine Mile Run storm flow

Pitt Researchers' Report Pushes for Regional Green Infrastructure Database

The Pittsburgh Collaboratory on Water Research, Education, and Outreach, has released the white paper “Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches.” The paper proposes methods to comprehensively study stormwater management and green infrastructure projects underway in local governments throughout Allegheny County. The recommendations are based on a meeting of 32 stakeholders in water management, including representatives from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Allegheny County Sanitary Authority. The collaboratory is an initiative founded by Professor Emily Elliott, Associate Professor Daniel Bain and Assistant Professors Eitan Shelef and Brian Thomas, all from the Department of Geology and Environmental Science, with support from The Heinz Endowments.


Runyan in a dark blouse with flowery spots

Caroline Runyan Named Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

Caroline Runyan, assistant professor of neuroscience, has been named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The program provides funding to promising young investigators advancing human health who are in their first few years of their appointment at the assistant professor level.

Runyan, who arrived at Pitt in 2017, was one of 22 early career researchers named to the 2019 class of scholars by leading U.S. academic and research institutions. The award comes with four years of flexible funding to invest in exploratory research.

Runyan’s research focus is on the brain’s ability to flexibly control perception and behavior in different situations — specifically, she images and manipulates cells and circuits to learn how the brain is able to shift gears quickly, as well as how it processes different types of sensory information depending on behavioral context.

The Pew funding is helping the lab image activity both within and between brain regions, “so we can start to get a sense of how the brain is able to filter out irrelevant information, or amplify important information. We’re developing methods to study the local circuit mechanisms that control how two brain regions interact to transmit information.”

This will all hopefully enable new, systems-level approaches to understanding brain disorders with altered network communication, such as autism and schizophrenia, Runyan said.


Rogers in a red blouse

Renee J. Rogers Inducted as Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine

Renee J. Rogers (EDUC ’09G, ’12G), assistant professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity in the School of Education, was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) at their conference in May. The fellowship “recognizes individuals who exhibit a deep and ongoing interest and dedication to the goals and long-range activities of the ACSM.”

Rogers’ work includes research on the health benefits of physical activity, with an emphasis on research into practice.

Rogers, who is also the programming director of Pitt’s Healthy Lifestyle Institute, also recently appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine for her expertise on weight loss and exercise physiology.


Mpourmpakis in a light gray jacket and white shirt without a tie

Giannis Mpourmpakis Earns Prestigious Grecian Award

Giannis Mpourmpakis, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, will be honored June 19 with the Bodossaki Award in the Applied Chemical Sciences.

One of the most prestigious awards for scientists of Greek descent, the Bodossaki Award is given every two years to the most outstanding scientist of Greek descent below the age of 40. Mpourmpakis will be honored by the president of Greece as part of the award ceremony.

Mpourmpakis heads the Computer-Aided Nano and Energy Lab at Pitt, or CANELa for short. Here, he and his research team use theory and computation to investigate the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials with potential applications in diverse technological areas on the nanoscale, ranging from green energy generation and storage to materials engineering and catalysis. Read more about the award at the Swanson School website.


Shear in front of a green chalkboard

Chair of Religious Studies Receives Grant from American Academy for Jewish Research

Adam Shear, associate professor of history and associate professor and chair of religious studies, is part of a team of scholars who received a Special Initiatives Grant from the American Academy for Jewish Research. The grant will help fund a training workshop and series of webinars that will teach a growing number of students and early career scholars how to read early modern Hebrew handwriting.

“Most paleography training is for medieval handwriting but we are interested in the handwriting of people who were writing in their printed books after the invention of print,” Shear said.

Shear, who studies medieval and early modern Jewish cultural and intellectual history, says the workshop is still in planning phase.

The yearlong training course will begin with a three-day intensive workshop in New York tentatively scheduled for January 2020. Follow up webinars through spring, summer and fall 2020 will reinforce and expand upon lessons. The training is part of the larger Footprints project, a research project and database that tracks the movement of Jewish books since the inception of print. 


a man and a woman in graduation garb

Pitt-affiliated School Sends Off Inaugural Class

The Nazarbayev University School of Medicine saw its first class graduate this spring.

NUSOM, a school of Nazarbayev University in the Republic of Kazakhstan, selected the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as its strategic academic partner to assist in the development of the medical school. Since then, Pitt has helped NUSOM institute a curriculum based on the Pittsburgh model, as well as state-of-the-art teaching facilities, school leadership and faculty, policies, courses and more, allowing the new school to stand out in the republic.

Out of 937 graduates from the university as a whole, 41 received degrees from the inaugural class of NUSOM, with 14 medical doctors, 27 master’s graduates and 42 registered nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates.


Kinloch in a yellow top

Valerie Kinloch Elected Vice President of National Council of Teachers of English

Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education, has been elected vice president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

According to its website, the NCTE “amplifies the voice of educators through personal connection, collaboration and a shared mission to improve the teaching and learning of English and language arts at all levels.”

“It is my honor to have been elected as NCTE’s next vice president,” said Kinloch. “Being a member of NCTE for more than 20 years has allowed me to partner with, learn from and be inspired by dedicated educators from around the world who have an unwavering commitment to language and literacy teaching, learning, practice and research.”

Kinloch will take office during NCTE’s annual convention in Baltimore this November.


Michael Pinsky

Critical Care Medicine Professor Michael Pinsky Becomes Society Fellow

Michael Pinsky, professor of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, has been elevated to the rank of APS Fellow by the American Physiological Society

The fellowship is an honor bestowed on senior scientists who have “demonstrated excellence in science, have made significant contributions to the physiological sciences and served the society.”

Pinsky has been a society member since 1984. During his professional career, he has edited 27 medical textbooks, authored over 350 peer-reviewed publications and over 250 chapters and supported over 400 abstract presentations. He is also the editor-in-chief of Medscape’s critical care medicine section.


Jakicic in a suit and tie

John Jakicic Wins Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine

John Jakicic (EDUC ’95G), chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity in the School of Education received the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Citation Award — one of the most prestigious honors given by the organization.

The award recognizes individuals who have made “significant and important contributions to the fields of sports medicine and/or exercise science.” According to its website, ACSM is made up of more than 50,000 members and certified professionals, and “is the authority for sports medicine and exercise science.”

Jakicic, who is also the founding director of Pitt’s new Healthy Lifestyle Institute (HLI), accepted his award at an Orlando conference in late May.


head shots of each woman

Engineering Researchers to Study Pittsburgh Lead Pipes

Two researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering recently received a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant for $175,000 to study the environmental effects of new anti-corrosion treatments currently being used on Pittsburgh’s lead pipes.

Sarah Haig, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering with a secondary appointment in environmental and occupational health at the Graduate School of Public Health, and Emily Elliott, associate professor of geology and environmental science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory, will evaluate water samples provided by the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.

They will assess and monitor changes in the microbial ecology, water chemistry and nutrient availability in the water collected from pipes and urban streams connected to the system.