Woman riding bike in a Pitt shirt

Pitt’s Bike-Friendly Efforts Recognized

Each year, the League of American Bicyclists recognizes colleges and universities that support bicycling with its Bicycle Friendly University status. This year, Pitt earned the status with a bronze distinction, joining nearly 200 other universities on the overall list.

“This is the first year we applied for recognition on campus, but we have had the infrastructure and programs in place for quite some time,” said Jeff Yeaman, senior manager, Department of Parking, Transportation and Services. Yeaman cited specific examples like the bike rooms in Nordenberg Hall and fix-it stations around campus as evidence of Pitt’s commitment to being a bike-friendly campus.

The league’s bronze distinction recognizes institutions that have taken notable steps in supporting bicycling for recreation and tranporation, which can be seen in above-average numbers of students, faculty and staff riding bikes. The league scores institutions that apply for distinction across five categories, including engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

Read more information about the distinction process online.

Beth Piraino to receive Kidney Foundation's Lazarus Award

Beth Piraino, professor of medicine and associate dean of admissions and financial aid at the School of Medicine, will receive the J. Michael Lazarus Award by the National Kidney Foundation.

The award was established to honor Dr. J. Michael Lazarus for his contributions to the clinical science and care of dialysis patients, and to recognize individuals whose research has yielded novel insights related to renal replacement therapy. 

Piraino is a pioneer in peritoneal dialysis (PD) clinical research, with particular focus on prevention of PD-related infections and improving outcomes for patients treated with home dialysis.

Piraino will receive the award at the National Kidney Foundation’s Spring Clinical Meetings in May 2019.

Natalie Leland named a Fellow of Gerontological Society of America

Natalie Leland, associate professor of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was named as a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Leland's research focuses on understanding and improving care quality for older adults with a particular interest in how occupational therapy can contribute to interdisciplinary patient-centered outcomes


Utibe Eissien lead author of study on blood thinner use by race

Utibe R. Essien, assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Division of General Medicine, was the lead author for study published in JAMA Cardiology that found striking differences in the use of blood thinners for stroke prevention by race, especially in the newer class of these medications. Black patients were far less likely to receive blood thinners, even after controlling for socioeconomic status.

The study used the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation II (ORBIT-AF II) to source patient data for the study. He conducted the research during a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Many factors, including limited access to specialists, out-of-pocket costs, medication adherence and implicit bias, have been suggested as possible reasons for the disparities in care for patients with atrial fibrillation, but further research is needed to address and correct these issues, according to a UPMC news release.

Utibe, who came to Pitt in September and also is a core investigator for the VA Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity and Research Promotion, co-authored the study along with physicians and academics from Harvard, Duke, Yale and UCLA.





Headshot of Tao Han in sweater and collared shirt

Tao Han Elected Vice Chair at the American Physical Society

Tao Han, distinguished professor of High Energy Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected vice chair of the executive committee for American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields.

The American Physical Society represents more than 55,000 physicists across the globe and uses advocacy, research journals, meetings and other forms of outreach to promote its work. Han will begin his duties in January 2019 and will assume as chair in 2021.

Harms in front of a blue background

Viktoria Harms Honored by American Association of Teachers of German

Viktoria Harms, lecturer in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of German, has been selected by the American Association of Teachers of German and the Goethe-Institut as a recipient of their Certificate of Merit.

The award honors language educators for “achievement in furthering the teaching of German in the United States.”

Harms serves as the Department of German’s director of language studies and director of undergraduate studies within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She was honored at the AATG and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Convention and World Languages Expo on Nov. 17 in New Orleans.

Blain in black rimmed glasses

Keisha Blain’s Book Named One of the Best History Books of 2018 by Smithsonian Magazine

Keisha N. Blain’s book "Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom" was named one of the best history books of the year by Smithsonian Magazine. Blain is an assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of History. To read the full list of best books, visit the magazine's website.

yellow statue in front of a building

20 Pitt Researchers Named to ‘Highly Cited’ List

Twenty professors from varying fields at the University of Pittsburgh were named to Clarivate Analytics’ list of Highly Cited Researchers over the past decade.

The list “recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top one percent by citations for field and year in ‘Web of Science.’” To view the full list, visit their website.

Announcing Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grant Recipients

The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security has announced the winners of the fall 2018 Pitt Cyber Accelerator Grants Program. Winners will receive funding for research projects that examine the swiftly changing technological landscape and the rules, practices and safeguards designed to keep it secure. Spring 2019 grant applications are due April 5. For more information, email

Awards have been granted to:

  • Kevin Ashley, professor of law and intelligent systems in the School of Law
  • Jaromir Savelka, Ph.D. candidate, School of Computing and Information
  • Elena Baylis, professor of law in the School of Law
  • Julia Santucci, senior lecturer in intelligence studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
  • Lt. Col Diana Bishop, chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies
  • Michael Colaresi, William S. Dietrich II Chair of the Department of Political Science
  • Jon Woon; departmental chair and professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science
  • Ronald Idoko, adjunct faculty in the public service program at the College of General Studies
  • Christopher Wilmer, assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering

Three Pitt Professors Named American Association for Advancement of Science Fellows

The American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) has appointed three University of Pittsburgh professors as members of its 2018 lifetime fellowship cohort. 

AAAS will recognize James Woodward, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Jeremy Levy, a Distinguished Professor of Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Adam K. Leibovich, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, during its annual meeting on Feb. 16. The professors were among 416 fellows selected this year and will join a list of distinguished scientists including inventor Thomas Edison, astronomer Maria Mitchell and computer scientist Grace Hopper.

More information on the winners can be found here.


Three Pitt Professors Named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has appointed three University of Pittsburgh professors as members of its 2018 lifetime fellowship cohort. 

AAAS will recognize James Woodward, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science; Jeremy Levy, a Distinguished Professor of Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics; and Astronomy and Adam K. Leibovich, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, during its annual meeting on Feb. 16. The professors were among 416 fellows selected this year and will join a list of distinguished scientists including inventor Thomas Edison, astronomer Maria Mitchell and computer scientist Grace Hopper.

More information on the winners can be found here.

Moran in a salmon shirt, wearing a diamond-patterned tie and a sport coat

Pitt Grounds Department Gets a Green Star

Andy Moran, senior manager of grounds in Facilities Management, accepted a 2018 Green Star Award on behalf of the University at the Professional Grounds Management Society’s recent awards dinner in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complementing other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction.

Pitt was recognized with an Honor Award in the Urban University Grounds category for exceptional grounds maintenance.

Pitt Grounds’ 31 full-time and 15 seasonal grounds employees provide 24-hour maintenance to all landscaped areas, lawns, parking lots, garages and athletic fields across the University’s 145-acre Pittsburgh campus as well as winter maintenance of 30 miles of sidewalks and over 2,000 steps. 

Newman and Schulz

Pitt Researchers Honored for Senior Service Efforts

Two medical researchers from the University of Pittsburgh were recently recognized for their efforts in the field of medicine by UPMC Senior Services.

Anne Newman, professor and chair of Pitt’s Department of Epidemiology, was named Grand Champion for her work in the epidemiology of aging, longevity and disability. It is the highest honor awarded by UPMC Senior Services.

Richard Schulz, distinguished service professor of psychiatry, was honored as Caregiver Champion. Schulz’s work focuses on social-psychological aspects of aging, including the impact of disabling late-life disease on patients and their families.

Both, along with Community Champion United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, were honored at an October ceremony in Pittsburgh.

Three professors get nearly $1 million DARPA grant

Paul R. Cohen (pictured), founding dean and professor at the School of Computing and Information, along with Mark Roberts in the Graduate School of Public Health and Greg Cooper in the Department of Biomedical Informatics, have received nearly $1 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for their project titled, “Curating Probabilistic Relational Agent-based Models.”

Agent-based models, which simulate interactions between individuals to assess their effects on systems, are widely used in fields such as epidemiology, traffic engineering and systems biology.  However, the technology to build agent-based models is surprisingly primitive.  No algorithms exist to create large-scale ABMs semi-automatically, and current ABM development frameworks make no contact with modern knowledge technologies such as ontologies, machine reading, and machine learning.

This project aims to develop probabilistic models and algorithms for incremental, human-machine development of ABMs. These methods will be demonstrated in both a disease outbreak problem and a long-term economic risk-modeling problem.

More details here.

Nindl holding a plaque

Bradley Nindl Delivers Keynote on Research

Bradley Nindl, director of the Neuromuscular Research Lab/Warrior Human Performance Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, recently spoke about how scientific and technological advances in physical education and exercise science will make way for an injury-free military as a featured speaker for Springfield College’s Karpovich Lecture.

Nindl researches science and strategies to help members of the military be able to perform at their best physical and mental peak through best practices in rehabilitating and preventing injuries.

He is also a professor in Pitt’s Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, part of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Dean Burke wins John Snow Award for epidemiologic work

Dr. Donald S. Burke, dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and professor of health science and policy, has received the John Snow Award from the American Public Health Association and the Royal Society for Public Health.

The award, which annually recognizes an outstanding scientist for excellence in epidemiologic practice or research, was be presented to Burke on Nov. 12 in San Diego at the 2018 APHA annual meeting.  

Awardees are chosen for their contributions to the improvement of human health or substantial reduction in burden of disease through innovations in public health practice, based on clear epidemiologic foundations or implementation of epidemiologic approaches to the solution of health problems.

More details here.

Forbes 30 Under 30 picks two Pitt researchers

Two Pitt researchers were named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in the health care category for 2019.

  • Inmaculada Hernandez, 28, assistant professor in Pharmacy and Therapeutics, started her own research group in 2016 at Pitt after her completing her Ph.D. at 25. Forbes cited her research on drug pricing, which found prices of drugs increase twice as fast during a shortage as they would otherwise and quantified the full cost of recently approved CAR T-cell cancer therapies.
  • Shinjini Kundu, 28, a doctor at UPMC and medical researcher at Pitt, developed a new technology to analyze medical images and detect disease using artificial intelligence while enrolled in the joint Pitt/Carnegie Mellon Medical Scientist Training Program.

Med school professor Beigi to head Magee hospital

Dr. Richard Beigi, a professor of reproductive sciences in the School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, is set to become the president of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. He will be the first physician to lead a UPMC hospital.

Beigi, who currently serves as Magee’s chief medical officer, will succeed Leslie Davis on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Dr. Beigi has deep compassion for patients, and combined with his intelligence and leadership, he is the ideal new president of Magee. I have full confidence that the hospital, supported by an excellent executive team, is in highly capable hands,” Davis said in a news release. “Dr. Beigi also will bring his commitment to academic rigor and, combined with his compassionate leadership, Magee will only get better because of him.”

More details here.

University Wins Innovation and Economic Prosperity Award

The University of Pittsburgh Office of Economic Partnerships has been awarded the Association of Public and Land-grant University (APLU) Innovation and Economic Prosperity award. The award recognizes exemplary initiatives spurring innovation, entrepreneurship and technology-based economic development. Winners are limited to universities that have conducted internal studies examining its local and regional economic engagement and have been designated by APLU as Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities. The University of Pittsburgh first earned the designation in 2014. Sixty-four institutions have been named IEP University designees since the program was launched in 2012.

In its announcement of the award, the APLU praised Pitt for work with the Brookings Institution and Pitt’s Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, noting the latter as "one of a host of innovation hubs the university is launching across the city to support pathbreaking research and business development."


Mary Rugh Inducted Into Electric League of Western Pennsylvania’s Hall of Honor

Mary Rugh, senior manager for electrical in Facilities Management, has been inducted into the Electric League of Western Pennsylvania’s Hall of Honor.

This lifetime achievement award recognizes those who have made significant contributions in furthering the high ideals and goals of the industry. 

Rugh’s career in electrical engineering includes her work over the past 33 years on the University’s electrical infrastructure systems.

She is responsible for operation and maintenance of the University’s Pittsburgh campus 5kV electric power distribution system. Rugh has negotiated University electric contracts since the inception of deregulation, saving the University more than $10 million over the past two decades.

A professional engineer, she came to Pitt in 1985 as a control systems engineer, was promoted to senior electrical engineer in 1997 and became senior manager for electrical in 2015.

She has been part of the Electric League since 2008 and serves on its education and expo committees.