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May 27, 2004

People of the Times

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected to its membership Peter L. Strick, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry and co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Pitt.
Strick is one among 202 men and women who, according to the academy, “are world-renowned leaders in scholarship, business, the arts and public affairs.” The academy has among its members 150 Nobel laureates, 50 Pulitzer Prize winners and numerous influential world leaders.
Strick’s research is leading to new discoveries in how the human brain works. Among his lab’s most important discoveries are the six “premotor” areas in the frontal lobe through which the brain projects to the spinal cord to generate movement. In addition, Strick has made progress into defining the complex pattern of neural connections that is the substrate of human behavior.
“Dr. Strick’s work in mapping the brain circuitry involved in behavior and motor function has the potential to impact the lives of millions who have mental illnesses or difficulty with physical tasks due to brain injury,” said Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor, health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are pleased that the academy has recognized these achievements.”
“I am deeply honored to be elected to the academy,” said Strick. “To have one’s work recognized along with the best of the best in this nation is an incredible feeling of achievement.”
Election to the academy is one of the highest honors in the United States. Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholars “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people,” the academy has had as members some of the greatest minds from each generation, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, Daniel Webster, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.

E. Maxine Bruhns, director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs, received a YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s 2004 A Tribute to Women Award May 13.
Bruhns joined the University in 1965. She works closely with more than 35 ethnic groups to create new Nationality Rooms; maintains the existing rooms, which are historic landmarks that perpetuate the cultures and traditions of the countries and groups they represent, and administers Pitt’s Summer Study Abroad Scholarship Program, which has 40 scholarship recipients this year.
During her tenure, the African Heritage, Armenian, Austrian, Indian, Israel Heritage, Japanese and Ukrainian Rooms were dedicated. On the drawing board are the Danish, Finnish, Latin American, Philippine, Swiss, Turkish and Welsh Rooms.
Bruhns was the national chair for the Cornaro Tercentenary Observance in 1978 honoring Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in the world to earn a university degree. She is facilitating the translation and publication of the Cornaro biography by the late Benedictine monk, Ludovico Maschietto.
Bruhns earned a B.A. in psychology and philosophy from Ohio State University. Following that, she spent 15 years traveling and living in such areas as Austria, Lebanon, Jordan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Germany, Greece and Gabon, West Africa.
During that time, Bruhns worked with CARE, taught English in binational centers and studied several languages and cultures. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in education at the American University of Beirut.
Among Bruhn’s honors are the World Affairs Council’s David Glick Award in 1992, the Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 1993, and the American Lebanese Congress Ethnic Heritage Award in 1995.
Since 1983, the A Tribute to Women awards have been recognizing the accomplishments of extraordinary women from throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. The awardees – innovators, visionaries and advocates of change – have helped to shape their communities.

Helen Ruggieri, an assistant professor of writing at Pitt’s Bradford campus, has won three awards for her poetry, one from Kent State University and two others from competitions in Japan.
From Kent State, Ruggieri won the 2004 Hart Crane Award for her poem, A Japanese Fable, which was selected from more than 200 entries. The poem will be published in the May issue of Icon magazine, which is published by Kent State.
Ruggieri received an award of merit in the Baika Literary Festival at the Daichu-ji Temple in Namazu Shizioka, Japan, for a haiku she wrote. Ruggieri’s haiku was one of six, out of 405 entries in her division, that received an award.
She also received third prize in the Kusamakura International Haiku Competition, which is sponsored by Kumamoto City in Japan, for another haiku she penned.
Ruggieri’s award-winning poetry is the product of her visit to Japan in 2000, where she taught at Yokohama College of Commerce, part of an exchange program between Pitt-Bradford and Yokohama College.
Ruggieri, who has been teaching at Pitt-Bradford since 1985, is a member of the Asian Studies Center, part of the University Center for International Studies at Pitt. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Penn State University, a master’s degree in English literature from St. Bonaventure University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Penn State.

Two Pitt School of Medicine faculty have received two of three Clinical Science Achievement Awards at the American Transplant Congress, the joint scientific sessions of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
At the congress, held this month in Boston, the American Society of Transplantation (AST) bestowed the Fujisawa Clinical Science Achievement Award on Steven A. Webber, associate professor of pediatrics at the medical school and medical director of Heart and Heart/Lung Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Rakesh Sindhi, associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine and director of Pediatric Transplantation Research at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, received the Wyeth Clinical Science Achievement Award.
Only three clinical science and three basic science achievement awards are given by the AST each year.
The Fujisawa Clinical Science Achievement Award honors an investigator at the associate professor level who has made substantial contributions to the field of transplantation. It carries a $25,000 award, which Webber will use to support his research programs in pediatric heart transplantation.
This year, Webber received a $14.2 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop novel approaches that seek to improve the outcomes of pediatric heart transplant recipients.
Webber is vice president and president-elect of the International Pediatric Transplant Association and was named last month to the board of directors of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation.
The Wyeth Clinical Science Achievement Award honors an investigator at the assistant professor level who has made significant contributions to the field of transplantation. Since his nomination, Sindhi has since been promoted to associate professor.
The Wyeth honor also carries a $25,000 award, which Sindhi plans to use to support his research focused on the development of immunological biomarkers in children. The work stems from an ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded study for which he is principal investigator.
A pediatric liver transplant surgeon at the Starzl Transplantation Institute and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Sindhi recently was elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
In addition to Webber and Sindhi, three researchers from the Starzl Transplantation Institute received Young Investigator Awards. Such awards are given to those under the age of 40 who submit a scientific abstract judged to be among the very best. The award provides the recipient with $1,000 to help defray the costs of attending the meeting.
Cheng-Hsu Chen won for his abstract “Prevention of Islet Allograft Rejection by Co-Transplant With Activated Hepatic Stellate Cells Without Systemic Immunosuppression.” Chen is a research fellow working under the tutelage of Shiguang Qian and Lina Lu.
An De Creus, a research associate working in the laboratory of Angus Thomson, was recognized for her abstract “Low Toll-Like Receptor 4 Expression on Liver Dendritic Cells Correlates With Reduced Capacity to Activate Allogeneic T cells in Response to Endotoxin.”
Yuk Yuen Lan, a pre-doctoral researcher who also works in Thomson’s lab, won for her abstract “The Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor Agonist FTY720 Regulates Dendritic Cell Trafficking by Modulation of Adhesion Molecule Expression.”

Recipients of this year’s Excellence in Education Awards were announced at the School of Medicine’s 12th annual curriculum colloquium this month.
The Kenneth E. Schuit Award, recognizing the dean’s master educators, was presented to David E. Eibling, professor of otolaryngology, and Cynthia Lance-Jones, associate professor of neurobiology.
The award recognizes clinical and basic science faculty for education-related contributions (teaching, planning and organization of courses or course sections) to the medical school curriculum.
The Donald S. Fraley Award (School of Medicine, Class of ’68) was presented to Diemthuy D. Bui, assistant professor of medicine, and Susan M. Dunmire, associate professor of emergency medicine.
Achievements of individuals receiving this award include extended service as a medical student mentor at the School of Medicine and significant mentoring contributions that extend beyond a single student or group of students.
The Sheldon Adler Award was presented to the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER) for Innovation in Medical Education.
Achievements of the institute include the development of significant innovative contributions to medical education.
Honorees were selected by the curriculum committee executive subcommittee from a list of nominations received from the School of Medicine’s curriculum committee.
Awards also were presented at the May 11 colloquium by first- and second-year medical students to honor faculty and recognize their contributions and dedication to teaching in the basic sciences and organ systems courses in the School of Medicine.
Second-year medical student awardees are: James R. Johnston, course director; John W. Kreit, lecturer; William P. Follansbee, small group facilitator, and Joseph A. Kithas, mentor.
First-year medical student awardees are: Gregory J. Naus, course director; David L. Paterson, lecturer; Jonathon Erlen, small group facilitator; Ashok J. Bharucha, small group facilitator, and Andrea R. Fox, mentor.
New this year is the Award for Excellence in Clinical Precepting.
Awardees are: Robert H. Potter Jr., clinical instructor of family medicine; Russell J. Sacco, clinical assistant professor of medicine, and Scott L. Tyson, clinical instructor of pediatrics.
This award was established to recognize clinical preceptors who consistently provide outstanding clinical instruction, in a community setting, for medical students of the School of Medicine.
Achievements of individuals receiving this award include significant service as a medical student preceptor, and a clinical academic appointment in the medical school.
Honorees are selected by the curriculum committee executive subcommittee and Dean Arthur S. Levine.

George J. Zimmerman, associate professor and chair of the Department of Instruction and Learning at Pitt’s School of Education, recently received the 2004 Outstanding Service Award from the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation (AER) of the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The AER is an international organization of educators, rehabilitation specialists and optometrists who serve the needs of children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.
Coordinator of Pitt’s vision studies specialization in education, Zimmerman also was nominated as president-elect of AER International. Results of the voting are expected in mid-June.
Zimmerman was a member of the AER board of directors from 1992 to 2000. He has served as chair of AER Division 17 in personnel preparation. In addition, he was a member of the executive committee of Division 9 in orientation and mobility (O&M), chair of the university review committee, chair of the AER board’s certification review committee and vice chair of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals.
Zimmerman earned a B.S. degree in education of the visually impaired at Kutztown University in 1973, a Master of Arts degree in blind rehabilitation at Western Michigan University in 1976 and a Ph.D. degree in education and human development with an emphasis in O&M research at Vanderbilt University in 1987.

Bernard D. Goldstein, dean of the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), has been selected to serve on a landmark World Health Organization (WHO) committee that will decide whether formaldehyde should be listed as a known human carcinogen.
Goldstein, an internationally recognized expert on environmental health issues, will be a voting member of WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer when it meets June 2-9 in Lyon, France.
“This decision could have substantial regulatory consequences in the United States as formaldehyde is the only pollutant that results from natural gas turbines,” Goldstein said. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with some support from the environmental movement, has announced its intention to relax its cancer-risk estimate for formaldehyde to encourage natural gas use.”
Goldstein said that a recent report from the National Cancer Institute also indicated a possible increase in leukemia incidence in epidemiological studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde.
An environmental toxicologist and former EPA assistant administrator for research and development, Goldstein’s research interests have focused largely on the field of environmental risk assessment.
He has published in the areas of blood toxicity, the formation of cancer-causing substances, known as free radicals, following exposure to inhalants and various aspects of public health decision-making and global issues in environmental health.
Before becoming dean at GSPH, Goldstein was professor and chairman of the Department of Environmental and Community Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he established and directed the largest academic environmental and occupational health program in the United States – the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.
He also has served as an officer with the U.S. Public Health Service and as assistant administrator for research and development at the EPA.
Goldstein received his medical degree from New York University and undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Melanie O. Anderson has been named assistant vice president for academic affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. Previously, she served as director of continuing education and assistant professor of business at UPT.
In her new position, Anderson will coordinate off-campus classes and programs, coordinate cooperative programs with other campuses/schools, review and develop certificate programs, supervise adjunct faculty, mentor part-time faculty who serve as academic advisers, serve as academic adviser for students in the business program, coordinate the business programs at UPT, supervise interns in the business programs, serve as academic integrity administrative officer to handle student grievances, maintain the database for transfer credit evaluation, coordinate distance learning courses and chair the academic computing Committee.
Anderson, who has been at UPT for 14 years, will continue to teach business courses.

The School of Nursing honored three exemplary students and five individuals who have helped increase recognition for the school with alumni awards and scholarships at a special celebration held May 15.
Receiving the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards were Judith Erlen, Linda Frank and Mary E. Kerr, and the Honorary Alumni Awardees were Alexander M. Minno and Mary Rogers Schubert.
Jessica A. Cooper and Esther E. Cummings received the 2004 Nursing Alumni Senior Students Awards, and Ikeba Y. Bonas was awarded the 2004 African American Nursing Alumni Scholarship.
Erlen (B.S.N. ’66) earned a master’s in nursing at Wayne State University and a doctorate at Texas Woman’s University. She is currently a tenured professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Health Promotion and Development. She also serves as the school’s doctoral program coordinator and associate director of its Center for Research in Chronic Disorders.
A fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, Erlen maintains membership in a number of professional and scientific societies, has a long list of professional publications to her credit and has directed research on ethics in nursing and health care.
Frank (M.S.N. ’83) is an assistant professor at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. Serving as principal investigator/project director of the Pennsylvania/Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, she also directs the Communicable Disease and Behavioral Health master’s of public health track at GSPH.
Frank has developed curricula and implemented training for prison health care providers, probation and parole officers and peer educators within state correctional facilities. She is a prominent writer and speaker and has served on state and national AIDS planning coalitions, action councils and certification boards.
Kerr (M.S.N. ’81) is a professor with tenure in Pitt’s nursing school and previously directed its Center for Nursing Research for seven years. She received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Slippery Rock University and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.
With continuous research funding since 1990, Kerr is nationally and internationally renowned and has enhanced health care’s knowledge base within the area of neuroscience.
Kerr serves as associate director of the Clinical Core Brain Trauma Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Minno serves on the nursing school’s volunteer advisory committee and in 2000, he and his wife, Frances, endowed an undergraduate scholarship at the school: The Frank and Anna Minno Scholarship Fund in Memory of their Daughter Lt. Col. Julia Minno, BSN ’49, MLitt ’53.
Minno is a 1947 graduate of Pitt’s School of Medicine and practiced internal medicine and rheumatology for 53 years.
Schubert has been the School of Nursing’s director of development since 2000, where she has been instrumental in raising more than $5.9 million over the past four years and has led the school to within 69 percent of its $8.5 million Capital Campaign goal.
Schubert earned a diploma from The Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.
The awards were presented at a dinner culminating “The Voice of Pitt Nursing,” a two-day alumni anniversary celebration to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the school, the 60th anniversary of the master’s program and the 50th anniversary of the doctoral program.

Bob Evans, founder of Bob Evans Farms, has been named honorary chair of the Welsh Nationality Classroom committee, as announced by Jack Owen and Dale Richards, co-chairs of the Welsh Nationality Classroom committee of the St. David’s Society of Pittsburgh. The Welsh classroom is one of seven new rooms in the planning phase to be added to the University of Pittsburgh’s 26 ethnic classrooms.
Evans started the sausage and restaurant business by producing his sausage for the small truck stop he owned in southeastern Ohio. In 1962, he opened The Sausage Shop in Rio Grande, Ohio, the original Bob Evans Restaurant. Evans retired as president of Bob Evans Farms in 1986.
Evans, who is of Welsh heritage, has been a supporter of Welsh causes, including the Madog Center for Welsh Studies at Rio Grande University in Ohio. He has been active in numerous charitable endeavors and is the only person in Ohio to be honored three times by the National Wildlife Federation, for which he has spent more than 40 years helping to preserve wildlife.
Martin E. Powell, an architect with The Design Alliance Architects, is designing the Welsh room, which will be an accurate representation of a pre-1787 Welsh longhouse, a barn converted into a chapel with living quarters for the pastor.
“It will be a beautiful and austere setting where the history, language, literature, music and artifacts of the Welsh people are on permanent display,” said E. Maxine Bruhns, director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms Program.

Three Pitt School of Pharmacy graduate students, Michael Tortorici, Kristi Bigos and Marci Chew are the recipients of the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) pre-doctoral fellowship award, the first time in the school’s history that three graduate students have received the award in the same year.
AFPE provides the vehicle for a diverse group of talented students and faculty to be recognized and supported as they pursue advanced pharmaceutical sciences education. The awards, which were announced April 15, are designed to encourage outstanding pre-doctoral students to continue their studies and earn a Ph.D. in the pharmaceutical sciences at a U.S. school or college of pharmacy. This award provides financial support for students as they pursue their graduate degree.

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