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December 4, 2008


M. Ilyas Kamboh, professor at the Graduate School of Public Health, has been appointed chair of the Department of Human Genetics. In his new position, Kamboh will guide the department in its mission to study the role of genetics in causing and contributing to human disease.  

Kamboh, who holds a secondary appointment as professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, is a molecular geneticist and genetic epidemiologist with more than 20 years of experience working on the genetics of common diseases, including coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and lupus. He has received funding for the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $20 million, and has published hundreds of scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Kamboh is a fellow of the American Heart Association and a founding member of the scientific advisory board of the Alzheimer’s CURE Foundation.

He has served on the editorial boards of Ethnicity and Disease, as well as Human Biology, and is associate editor of the Annals of Human Genetics.


Jacob G. Birnberg, the Robert W. Murphy Jr. Professor of Management Control Systems Emeritus at the Katz Graduate School of Business, was chosen to receive the Lifetime Contribution to Management Accounting Award by the American Accounting Association.

The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to management accounting education, research and/or practice over a sustained period of time through scholarly endeavors, teaching excellence, educational innovation and/or service to the management accounting section.

Birnberg’s research focuses on the application of behavioral sciences to accounting problems from both macro and micro perspectives.

His research interests center on the role of modern management techniques, both analytical and behavioral, in planning and controlling an organization and its activities.


Also at the Katz school, Robert Perloff, professor emeritus of business and psychology, received the President’s Award from the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality for his “unfailing support for those whose voices would not otherwise be heard.”


Mathew Rosenblum, professor of music and director of graduate studies in the Department of Music, will be one of five senior faculty composers at the June in Buffalo Festival and Conference, set for June 1-7, 2009.

In addition to offering master classes and lectures about his compositions, Rosenblum will have three works performed by the New York New Music Ensemble and the Verge Ensemble and by faculty members of the University of Buffalo’s Department of Music, which co-sponsors the event with the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music.


Clark Chilson, assistant professor of religious studies, was awarded a 2008-2009 Lilly Endowment/Wabash Center grant to conduct two workshops for university and college faculty on pedagogies for civic engagement in the study of religion.

Chilson was in Japan in 2007-2008 working on a manuscript titled “The Consequences of Concealment: A Comparative Study of Two Underground Traditions of Shin Buddhism” with the support of a Social Science Research Council/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship.

His “Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions,” co-edited with Paul Swanson, was selected as a 2007 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.


The Association of Departments of English (ADE) executive committee will present this year’s Francis Andrew March Award to David Bartholomae, professor and chair of Pitt’s Department of English, at the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention in San Francisco this month.

Established in 1984, the ADE Francis Andrew March Award recognizes distinguished service to the profession of English at the post-secondary level. The committee looks for candidates whose impact reverberates beyond the local to affect the ADE and MLA communities and the profession at large.

Bartholomae is a well-known scholar in composition, literacy and pedagogy. His most recent book is a collection of essays, “Writing on the Margins: Essays on Composition and Teaching.”

Among Bartholomae’s awards are the 2006 Conference on College Composition and Communication Exemplar Award and the 2004 MLA Mina Shaughnessy Award.

He served a 2004–06 term on the ADE executive committee and a 1998–2001 term on the MLA executive council. He was the 2006 ADE president, served on the ADE ad hoc committee on assessment, and chaired the ADE ad hoc committee on staffing and the MLA ad hoc committee on MLA style.


Also in the English department, associate professor Nancy Glazener was awarded this year’s Foerster Prize for her essay, “Benjamin Franklin and the Limits of Secular Society.”

The Norman Foerster Prize is given annually for the best field-shaping essay published during the year in the journal American Literature. The award will be presented at the MLA convention this month.

Glazener’s scholarship and teaching focus on 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century U.S. literature, especially fiction. Her interests include gender studies, reception theory, cultural materialism, psychoanalysis, the institutional history of literary studies and the history of versions of personhood.


Ty Ridenour, associate research professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the School of Pharmacy, has been named first chair of the newly created Database Taskforce, a collaborative effort of the Society for Prevention Research and the Early Career Preventionist Network.

The purpose of this task force is to encourage and facilitate collaborative secondary analyses of existing prevention-oriented databases as a way of utilizing these resources to improve people’s lives through preventive intervention.


Thomas E. Smithgall, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the School of Medicine, has been appointed chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

His appointment becomes effective Jan. 1.

Smithgall has been a faculty member at the medical school for 10 years. He studies the structure, regulation and signaling mechanisms of the Src enzyme family and its role in the development of cancer and AIDS.

In particular, his work has identified Src signaling proteins as potential targets for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Some of those findings were published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and were cited by scientific peers of the Faculty of 1000/Biology for their significance to the field. He also is exploring the Src protein family as therapeutic targets for HIV/AIDS.

Smithgall currently serves as principal investigator on three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and is a co-investigator on several additional grants.

He is the primary author or co-author of more than 90 peer-reviewed research reports, as well as 14 invited reviews and book chapters.

He also serves as a member of an American Cancer Society study section and previously served on several NIH study sections, as well as other review panels for the NIH and the National Science Foundation.


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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