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June 28, 2012

People of the Times

RosiNathaniel Rosi, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, has been named a 2012 National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow. The fellowship honors young researchers who have made recognized contributions to science.

Rosi and his lab focus on developing strategies for the design and synthesis of new materials having broad potential applications in areas such as catalysis, sensing and drug delivery.

As one of 25 Kavli Fellows, Rosi will participate in the German-American Frontiers of Science Symposium in Potsdam, Germany, this fall.

AsherAlso in the Department of Chemistry, Distinguished Professor Sanford Asher was awarded the fourth annual Charles E. Kaufman Award by the Pittsburgh Foundation for his developments in chemistry of new materials and spectroscopic techniques for the study of molecules.

Asher’s research program brings together scientists in analytical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, materials science and physical chemistry to address scientific and technological problems.

The Kaufman award carries a prize of $50,000.

Kent HarriesKent Harries, a faculty member in structural engineering and mechanics at the Swanson School of Engineering, this month received the 2012 President’s Award from the International Institute for Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) in Construction (IIFC). This award, given every two years, is in “recognition of his distinguished services to the International Institute for FRP in Construction for advancing the understanding and the application of fiber-reinforced polymers in the civil infrastructure, in service of the engineering profession and society.”

IIFC is the only international professional organization dedicated to the use of fiber-reinforced composite materials (FRP) in civil infrastructure.

Harries is a member of IIFC Council and the IIFC executive committee, and is the editor of FRP International.

Harries’s research interests include the use of nontraditional materials in civil infrastructure, the seismic design and retrofit of building structures, the design and behavior of high-rise structures, applications of full-scale structural testing and the history and philosophy of science and technology.

Two faculty members in the Health Sciences Library System were honored recently.

Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, has been appointed to the Board of Governors of the American Osler Society.

Melissa Ratajeski, reference librarian, earned senior member status in the Medical Library Association’s Academy of Health Information Professionals and has been appointed to the association’s Kronick Traveling Fellowship Jury for a one-year term.

Ratajeski also was appointed to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region’s regional advisory committee for a four-year term.

Ron_NeufeldRonald D. Neufeld, a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Swanson school, is one of 23 professionals named by the Water Environment Federation as this year’s group of WEF fellows. The designation recognizes members’ achievements, stature and contributions in professional segments served by WEF. The WEF fellow recognition program, now in its second year, identifies individuals with outstanding accomplishments who have made an impact in their field of expertise.

WEF fellows are recognized in various areas of expertise including education, operations, regulation, research, utility management and leadership.

Neufeld is an environmental engineer, with expertise in environmental process fundamentals and pollution control science and technology. His research interests encompass biological and advanced physical/chemical contaminant management systems, and waste recovery technologies.

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated associations representing water quality professionals around the world.

The 2012 fellows will be recognized during WEF’s annual technical exhibition and conference to be held Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in New Orleans.

RitcheyA. Kim Ritchey, vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital, has been named president of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO).

Ritchey will focus the work of the society on its primary mission of promoting optimal care of children and adolescents with blood disorders and cancer by advancing research education, treatment and professional practice. He will be responsible for developing a mission-directed system of reporting and accountability that will decrease overlap of committee responsibilities and improve communication with the board and its members.

In addition, he aims to develop an international outreach program to include pediatric hematologists/oncologists from around the world.

Ritchey is the principal investigator at Children’s Hospital for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which is the only pediatric clinical trials organization funded by the National Cancer Institute. In that position he is responsible for overseeing clinical research trials in different types of childhood malignancy. COG currently has more than 75 active clinical research trials for children with cancer.

ASPHO is the primary professional organization for pediatric hematologists/oncologists in North America.

PollackIan F. Pollack, the Walter Dandy Professor in Neurosurgery at the School of Medicine, will receive the National Brain Tumor Society’s Mahaley Clinical Research Award for his paper, “Peptide Vaccine Therapy for Childhood Gliomas: Interim Results of a Pilot Study.”

The award will be presented at the 2012 Congress of Neurological Surgeons in October.

The study demonstrated that peptide vaccines in children with gliomas, the most common type of brain tumor, not only were well-tolerated but also showed evidence of immunological responses.

Pollack and his colleagues enrolled 32 children with gliomas, including 18 with newly diagnosed brainstem gliomas, five with newly diagnosed cerebral high-grade gliomas and nine with recurrent gliomas. Each child received serial doses of a peptide vaccine designed to stimulate an immune response to a protein fragment present on their tumor cells.

“This was the first study of its type that examined peptide vaccine therapy for children with brain tumors like this, and the fact that we are now seeing tumor shrinkage is extremely encouraging in moving forward with this therapy,” said Pollack, who also is chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital’s Brain Care Institute and co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) brain tumor program.

The Mahaley award is given to a neurosurgery resident or fellow who has submitted the top clinical study in neuro-oncology.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

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