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November 10, 2011

People of the Times

PerlmutterDavid H. Perlmutter, the Vira I. Heinz Professor of Pediatrics; chair of the medical school’s Department of Pediatrics, and scientific director and physician-in-chief  at  Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, has received the 2011 Shwachman Award from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

The Shwachman Award is given annually to an individual who has made major, lifelong scientific or educational contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology or nutrition in North America.

Perlmutter has made significant contributions in both clinical and basic science research of pediatric liver disease. He has carried out basic research on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency for more than 20 years. He is the principal investigator of three National Institutes of Health R01 grants in this area and also holds four other NIH grants, including the Child Health Research Center of Excellence Award for training pediatric physician-scientists in the molecular basis of pediatric disease.

Society officials noted that Perlmutter’s lab recently demonstrated that carbamazepine promotes the degradation of mutant alpha-1-antitrypsin in liver cells and reverses hepatic fibrosis in a mouse model of the disease. His work has profound implications for therapy in children with alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency as well as for children with other liver  disorders, officials stated.

Perlmutter’s research has earned him many awards, including the American Gastroenterological Association/Industry Research Scholar Award, the RJR Nabisco Research Scholars Award, the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Scholar in Experimental Therapeutics Award, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics and the Andrew Sass-Kortsak Award for Pediatric Liver Research.

He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He has served as the president of the Society of Pediatric Research and now is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases and of the Scientific Advisory Council for the March of Dimes Foundation.

Since joining the Children’s Hospital staff in 2001, Perlmutter has led an effort to expand the hospital’s basic and clinical research program so that it is poised to investigate the molecular basis of disease and to develop innovative therapies.

ChisholmDenise Chisholm, vice chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, was awarded the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences 2010-11 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award honors Chisholm for her commitment to scholarship, for practicing occupational therapy with compassion and dignity and for holding the well-being of her students as her primary concern.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Chisholm serves on the SHRS Council on Entry-Level Professional Education and the faculty advisory committee for recruitment.

BaylesConstance Bayles, a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology recently was named one of 11 2011 Mon River Fleet Women of Achievement. Awardees were selected based upon their contributions in health care, education, society, safety, recreation, spirituality, volunteerism, lifetime achievement or special projects through the fleet’s Healthier Communities PartnerSHIPS.

Bayes was recognized as the outstanding project awardee for her work in the epidemiology department’s Center for Healthy Aging, a joint collaboration among Pitt, community members in McKeesport and surrounding areas, and the Mon River Fleet, an alliance of four state health improvement plans in medically underserved communities.

The project, 10 Keys to Healthy Aging, is based on 10 areas that improve function and quality of life in old age.  It has provided insight to the health care needs of the community, enabling promotion and dissemination efforts to focus specifically on those needs.

Bayles’s research interests include health promotion and chronic disease prevention, physical activity and aging, community health education and childhood autism.

Kanwal “Ken” Nischal is the new chief of the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the UPMC Eye Center.

Under Nischal’s leadership, physicians in the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology, as part of the UPMC Eye Center, will provide examination, diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of ocular, eye-movement and vision-system disorders in neonates, infants and children.

Nischal comes to Pittsburgh from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where he was a consultant ophthalmic surgeon.

Joel S. Schuman, director of the UPMC Eye Center, said, “Dr. Nischal comes to us from the United Kingdom with over 20 years of experience in the field of ophthalmology and is regarded as one of the U.K.’s foremost ophthalmic surgeons. His expertise and pioneering ophthalmic surgery are internationally renowned.”

Nischal’s clinical expertise includes cataract and strabismus surgery. He also looks at ocular surface disease, including blepharitis and dry-eye syndromes.

Nischal is a graduate of King’s College Hospital Medical School at the University of London. He completed his senior registration rotation in ophthalmology at Oxford Eye Hospital and his fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

magdicKathy Magdic, a faculty member in the Department of Acute and Tertiary Care and coordinator of the acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) concentration in the School of Nursing, was named Pitt’s 2011 Cameos of Caring nurse educator awardee.

Magdic is the primary teacher for the Management of Adult Episodic/Chronic Health Problems in Acute Care and the Cardiopulmonary Clinical Emphasis courses.

In addition, she lectures in advanced pathophysiology, advanced physical assessment, differential diagnosis and the role seminar to graduate nursing students. She maintains a practice as an ACNP on an inpatient cardiology service at UPMC Presbyterian.

Magdic was recognized along with 63 other regional nursing professionals at the Nov. 6 Cameos of Caring awards gala.

Pitt’s nursing school created the Cameos of Caring program in 1999 to celebrate the profession and to help alleviate the shortage of nurses.

Recently hired faculty consultant Dani Weber has been named the director of Pitt-Bradford’s new writing center. The center offers one-on-one tutoring from UPB composition professors and next semester will add peer tutors.Weber

Weber comes to Pitt-Bradford from Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande, Ore., where last year she served as visiting writing center director and taught composition, methods of tutoring writing, argumentation and technical writing.

Weber earned her PhD in rhetoric and composition from Ball State University. She lived in Germany for more than a decade, teaching English as a foreign language, and for many years was an member of various fiction-writing critique groups.

Betina González-Azcárate, who in 2011 earned her PhD in Hispanic languages and literatures at the University, is the recipient of the 2010-11 Eduardo Lozano Memorial Dissertation Prize.

The prize, which carries a cash award of $1,250, honors internationally renowned librarian Eduardo Lozano, who developed and directed the Latin American Collection at Hillman Library from 1967 until his death in 2006. The award is sponsored by Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures.

González-Azcárate was awarded the prize for the dissertation “Plotting Slaves, Talking Animals: The Politics of Morals in Nineteenth-Century Latin American Literature.”

The Lozano Award faculty committee also awarded Juan Carlos Rodríguez-Raga an honorable mention for his dissertation titled “Strategic Prudence in the Colombian Constitutional Court, 1992-2006.”

Rodríguez-Raga earned his PhD in political science from Pitt this year.


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