April 21, 2021
Pitt Cyber announces new affiliates
Ahmed Ibrahim is joining the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security as an affiliate scholar, and Lt. Col. James J. Straub Jr. is joining the institute as an affiliate practice scholar.
Ibrahim is an assistant professor in the Department of Informatics and Networked Systems in the School of Computing and Information. His research is primarily focused on improving cybersecurity education.
Straub is commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 730 at the University of Pittsburgh and also serves as department chair and professor of aerospace studies. He is a cyber operations officer and a joint cyberspace and communications subject matter expert.
Pitt Cyber affiliate scholars are drawn from faculty across the University of Pittsburgh and are selected for their excellence in cyber-themed research and teaching.
April 21, 2021
Max Laun named director of new online graduate law program
Max Laun (LAW ’88) has been named director of the new International Business Law and Dispute Resolute Online Graduate Certificate Program in Pitt’s School of Law.
Laun serves on the boards of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc., the organization that oversees 16 organizations the provide civil legal services to the indigent in Pennsylvania and the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, the nationwide organization committed to improving legal access in both criminal and civil matters.
He was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve on the PA Continuing Legal Education Board and serves on the Advisory Council to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Center for International Legal Education.
Laun retired in April 2020 as vice president, general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer of Arconic Inc., following the split of Fortune 150 integrated aluminum company Alcoa Inc., into Arconic and Alcoa Corp. He was vice president and general counsel for Alcoa from 2012-16, following 25 years in roles of increasing responsibility in Alcoa’s legal department.
His major area of legal practice was international mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, and over the course of his Alcoa career, he led transactions on six continents, including major greenfield investments by the company in Saudi Arabia and Iceland, state privatizations in Hungary, Italy, Spain, Russia, China and Venezuela, and other private transactions in more than 15 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia.
April 21, 2021
Taofeek K. Owonikoko named new chief of Hematology Oncology
Taofeek K. Owonikoko will join the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh as chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology. Owonikoko, a physician-scientist board-certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine, also will serve as associate director for translational research and co-leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at Hillman. He will hold the Stanley M. Marks—OHA Endowed Chair in Hematology/Oncology Leadership and will begin his appointment on July 1, 2021.
“Taofeek has an extraordinary track record of clinical and academic success and a deep commitment to helping early career researchers and clinicians achieve their fullest potential,” said Robert Ferris, director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We are thrilled he is joining the senior leadership team at Hillman.”
Owonikoko will lead a division of more than 65 faculty members, who are recognized leaders in hematology and oncology clinical care and research. He will oversee translational research and efforts to expand clinical trial access across the Hillman network of more than 70 sites.
“I’m very excited to join such an exceptional team of physicians and scientists at Hillman,” said Owonikoko. “I look forward to being an active and engaged member of this community with a strong culture of improving patient’s lives through translation of cancer research from the bench to bedside.”
Owonikoko has co-authored numerous publications and serves on the editorial boards of several organizations. He has also received many awards, including the Michaele C. Christian Oncology Development Lectureship and Award from the National Cancer Institute in 2020, the Heine Hansen Award for Small Cell Lung Cancer research from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and the Leadership Development Program award from the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO). He will begin a four-year term on the ASCO Board of Directors in June 2021.
April 21, 2021
Sandra Murray speaks at annual African Summit in Morocco
Sandra Murray, professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Biology, was one of five Americans invited to speak at the second annual African Summit in Morocco.
The summit, held April 5-7, 2021, focused on “Made in Africa: African Women’s Success Story” and there were more than 60 speakers from 40 different countries.
Murray spoke on the role of the adrenal glands in stress and disease and gave strategies based on using movement to control stress-related health problems that affect not only woman but all. Her presentation was based on research that shows that heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and many other conditions are linked to stress and the findings that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of stress.
The goal of the African Summit was to support and organize women leaders and young people of Africa. The summit is sponsored by the Trophy Foundation of Africanity to honor those who contribute to the development of Africa, particularly between Morocco and its African sister countries in the human, social, cultural, spiritual, economic and sports fields.
April 21, 2021
Nicole Sekel joins American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
Nicole Sekel, first-year doctoral student and research assistant in the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, has joined the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).
The ASBMR membership comprises basic research scientists and clinical investigators in bone and mineral metabolism and related fields along with physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Current worldwide membership numbers approximately 4,000.
Sekel graduated from George Mason University with a master’s degree in Human Nutrition and Food Studies. Her research interests include vitamin D deficiency among collegiate athletes and members of the military.
April 21, 2021
Alyson Stover receives Occupational Therapy advocacy award
Alyson Stover, assistant professor of occupational therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Lindy Boggs Award for advocacy leading to far-reaching change. This award will be conferred at a recognition ceremony on April 26, 2021.
The Lindy Boggs Award, established in 1982, recognizes the significant contributions by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant in promoting occupational therapy in the political arena by increasing recognition of occupational therapy in federal or state legislation, regulation and/or policy or by increasing appreciation and understanding of occupational therapy by elected or appointed officials.
April 21, 2021
Christel N. Temple wins College Language Association Book Award
Christel N. Temple, a professor with Pitt’s Department of Africana Studies in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2021 College Language Association's (CLA) Book Award for “Black Cultural Mythology.”
Founded in 1937 by a group of Black scholars and educators, CLA is an organization of college teachers of English and world languages that serves the academic, scholarly and professional interests of its members and the collegiate communities they represent. Part of the CLA’s mission is to encourage scholarly research in and the teaching of Black literatures and cultures as necessary aspects of higher education. The association will also publish a journal.
Temple’s “Black Cultural Mythology” surveys more than 200 years of figures, moments, ideas and canonical works by such visionaries as Maria Stewart, Richard Wright, Colson Whitehead and Edwidge Danticat to map an expansive yet broadly overlooked intellectual tradition of Black cultural mythology and to provide a new conceptual framework for analyzing this tradition.
Among other comments, judges said the book is “a very necessary and long overdue call for the development of a Black (Africana) Cultural Mythology. It is extraordinarily well researched, having been some 10 years in development, and builds on the idea of black culture as ‘a sacred inheritance.’”
Temple, former chair of Pitt’s Africana Studies department, is also an affiliate of the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, the Critical European Culture Studies doctoral program and the African Studies Program. Her major fields of interest are Africana Cultural Memory Studies, Comparative Africana Literature, Black Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Afroeuropean Studies.
April 21, 2021
Nicholas Rescher honored by University of Tehran
The University of Tehran held a Zoom webinar in honor of Pitt's Nicholas Rescher, on April 11, 2021.
Rescher, now 92 years old, is a German-American philosopher, polymath and author, teaching at the University of Pittsburgh. He is chair of the Center for Philosophy of Science and was formerly chairman of the philosophy department in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences.
In the webinar, Nadia Maftouni, a prominent Iranian academic, author, artist and Yale senior research scholar hosted Rescher and talked with him about his achievements.
Maftouni said: “Rescher’s 'A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes' is an actually successful framework to reach a broader audience in the field. At first glance it seems easy to write. But at least in philosophy, it’s easy to write in a complicated style and it’s hard to write in a simple, clear and readable fashion.”
April 21, 2021
Helen Cochrane recognized by Women Who Advance Associations
Helen Cochrane, the program director of the Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics program in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, is one of the 21 Women Who Advance Associations across the international association community.
Women Who Advance Associations is honoring 21 female association leaders in 2021. According to the organization, "As representatives of civil society, association leaders act as role models and engines for transformation."
Cochrane was recognized during Women's History Month this March.
April 16, 2021
Pitt professors join effort to examine how COVID-19 measures impacted opioid users care
The University of Pittsburgh, NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Arizona will assess the impact of COVID-19 measures on providers and at-risk opioid use disorder populations in Pennsylvania, New York and Arizona.
Antoine Douaihy, professor of psychiatry and medicine, and Janice Pringle, professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, are leading Pitt’s efforts.
In 2017, Pennsylvania designated 45 primary care providers, hospitals, community health centers and substance use disorder treatment providers as Centers of Excellence for Opioid Use Disorder. The University of Pittsburgh will examine how providers at these whole person, integrated care centers implemented COVID-19 policies related to providing medications for opioid use disorder and telehealth services. The project will look at the impact of temporary COVID-19 policies on opioid use disorder treatment, workforce morale and patient outcomes.
Pitt's researchers received $100,000 as a part of a larger project by the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts to assess the impact of COVID-19 on opioid use disorder treatment and equity.
April 16, 2021
Jonathan Rubin elected fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Jonathan Rubin, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was recently elected a fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Rubin, one of 28 new fellows, was recognized for his contributions to mathematical neuroscience, mathematical biology and dynamical systems theory.
Rubin majored in mathematics as an undergraduate at The College of William and Mary and received his PhD in applied mathematics from Brown University in 1996. He was a Zassenhaus Assistant Professor and then a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics at The Ohio State University before joining the Pitt mathematics faculty in 2000.
In addition to his mathematics position, he is a Center for Neuroscience at University of Pittsburgh Graduate Training faculty member, a member of the Center for the Basis of Neural Cognition, an affiliate of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a visiting professor in computational biology. Fourteen students have completed their Ph.D.s at Pitt under Rubin’s supervision or co-supervision. He has also mentored eight postdoctoral fellows.
April 16, 2021
Pitt Sustainability efforts recognized with Gold rating
Three years after achieving its first ever Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS) rating of silver, Pitt has been recognized for its sustainability accomplishments over the last three years with an AASHE STARS gold rating, valid through 2024.
AASHE’s STARS is a transparent framework for colleges and universities to measure and benchmark their sustainability performance across all aspects of higher education. Pitt’s gold rating is based on strong achievements from 2018 to 2021 in five areas: academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
Among Pitt’s many sustainability initiatives, three points of distinction celebrate the lowest total energy use per square foot in fiscal year 2020, the new anti-Black racism course for all first year students and Pitt's Cool Food Pledge to cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2030.
“While the 2018 Pitt Sustainability Plan provides the strategic framework and goals for creating a culture of sustainability at Pitt and in Pittsburgh,” said Aurora Sharrard, director of sustainability, “our AASHE STARS gold designation is a demonstration to the Pitt community, University partners and our higher education peers that we are making serious progress balancing equity, environment and economics so that current and future generations can thrive.”
April 15, 2021
Kinloch and Feingold selected for American Council on Education Fellowship
Dean of the School of Education Valerie Kinloch and Executive Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health Eleanor Feingold were both named fellows in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) 2021-22 class.
The ACE Fellows Program is the longest-running, cohort-based higher education leadership development program in the United States. Many of its alumni are now university presidents and provosts.
Acceptance into the ACE Fellows Program is extremely competitive at the national level. The 2021-22 cohort has 52 college and university leaders.
The ACE Fellowship Program is distinctive for its mentorship model. The fellowship combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations and a placement experience at another higher education institution. It is designed to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year.
During the placement experience, ACE fellows will select a university president to serve as their mentor. The fellows will observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest.
April 15, 2021
Jeremy Levy leads research to create one-dimensional lattice for electrons
A recently published paper in Nature Physics by a research group led by Jeremy Levy, distinguished professor of condensed matter physics at the University of Pittsburgh and founding director of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute, describes how the Kronig-Penney model is reproduced within a programmable oxide material.
The Kronig-Penney model, introduced in 1931 by Ralph Kronig and William Penney, shaped the understanding of semiconductors, metals and insulators—the materials that are used to create computers and many other technologies.
The lead author, Megan Briggeman, used an atomic force microscope in a manner they describe as analogous to an Etch-A-Sketch toy, and created an artificial one-dimensional lattice of buckets for electrons that repeats every 10 nanometers. In real materials, the buckets are formed from individual atoms spaced from one another by a fraction of a nanometer.
Briggeman found that electrons placed into this artificial lattice interact in unexpected ways, and in some sense behave as though the charge carriers were fractions of an electron. The experimentally observed behavior, partly explained by theory, extends far beyond the simple model of Kronig and Penney. In contrast to the Kronig-Penney model, the real system contains hundreds of electrons, which interact in complex ways that give rise to the observed behavior.
The research is part of a larger effort to produce, through quantum simulation, new electronic states of matter which could be helpful in developing future quantum technologies like quantum computers.
Other researchers involved in the research are Hyungwoo Lee, Jung-Woo Lee and Ki-Tae Eom at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, François Damanet, Elliott Mansfield, and Andrew Daley at the University of Strathclyde, and Jianan Li, Mengchen Huang, and Patrick Irvin at the University of Pittsburgh. The research was supported by the Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Air Force of Office of Scientific Research and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK).
April 9, 2021
Doris Rubio receives diversity and inclusion award
Doris Rubio, received the 2021 Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Award for Contributing to the Diversity and Inclusiveness of the Translational Workforce. ACTS presents its annual Translational Science Awards to recognize investigators for their outstanding contributions to the clinical research and translational science field.
Rubio has been committed to the mentorship and development of faculty of color and women in science in her role as assistant vice chancellor for clinical research education and training for the health sciences and director of the Institute for Clinical Research Education. With the goal of addressing the limited number of people who are underrepresented in science, she started the LEADS (Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success) program at Pitt. Additionally, she has a U01 funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Diversity Program Consortium to test an intervention for underrepresented biomedical researchers to help launch their research careers. Among other honors, she recently received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award given her work on diversifying the workforce.
“These awards reflect the outstanding contributions of our community of clinical and translational scientists, and their enduring commitment to healing and to the health of the world,” said ACTS President Christopher Lindsell.
April 8, 2021
Lisa Garland recognized by National Association of African Americans in Human Resources
The Office of Human Resources’ Lisa Garland was recently recognized for her efforts as a person of color breaking glass ceilings in the modern workplace by the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Pittsburgh chapter.
As Human Resources' director of talent acquisition, Garland oversees hiring and onboarding for more than 8,000 staff positions across the University.
She was previously recognized as a 2012 New Pittsburgh Courier 50 Women of Excellence.
April 6, 2021
Kay Brummond wins award for encouraging women into chemical sciences
Kay Brummond, associate dean for faculty in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and professor in the Department of Chemistry, is the recipient of the 2021 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.
In particular, ACS recognized Brummond “for serving as a pathfinder, an agent of change and mentor to women at all stages of their careers in the chemical sciences.”
In articulating to the ACS leadership her goals for the next decade, Brummond said, “I hope to prepare the next generation of chemists with practical skills in synthetic, organic and computational chemistries to thrive in highly collaborative and team-oriented environments. As an active researcher and academic leader, I hope to close diversity, equality and inclusion gaps in the sciences.”
Brummond’s scholarly endeavors have been honored with awards including the 2015 ACS Pittsburgh Award, the 2003 Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, the 2007 ACS Akron Section Award, the 2007 Carnegie Science Center Emerging Female Scientist Award and the 2005 Johnson & Johnson Focused Giving Award. She was named the 2016 Diversity Catalyst Lecturer by the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity in recognition of her efforts to enhance their departmental climate for diversity and inclusion through inclusive policies, procedures and actions. She has been recognized in Chemical & Engineering News for her efforts to increase the representation of women among chemistry faculty at Ph.D.-granting universities. Brummond became associate dean of faculty of the Dietrich School in 2017.
April 6, 2021
Ming-Te Wang garners two research excellence awards
Ming-Te Wang, assistant professor of psychology in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and professor of education and research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, has been awarded the Distinguished Research Award for Human Development and Learning from the American Educational Research Association. The award recognizes scholars who strive to improve the educational process through scholarly inquiry and dissemination of research results. Wang received the award for a series of three meta-analytic articles on parental ethnic-racial socialization and youth of color’s developmental outcomes.
Wang is also the recipient of the 2021 Society for Social Work and Research Excellence in Research Award. The award recognizes social work research that advances knowledge with direct applications to practice, policy and the resolution of social problems. The award was granted for Wang’s publication “Parental Ethnic-Racial Socialization Practices and the Construction of Children of Color’s Ethnic-Racial Identity: A Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis.”
Wang’s research on racialized experiences of children of color has also been recently recognized by a Heinz Endowment grant. In this work, Wang, with co-principal investigator James Huguley, interim director of the Center on Race and Social Problems and assistant professor in the School of Social Work, received a $500,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments. The Heinz grant will support continued work on a school discipline program Wang and Huguley have implemented in the Woodland Hills Intermediate School, the Just Discipline project. Just Discipline builds on research on racialized experiences in school contexts and is designed to reduce out-of-school suspensions. This is the third consecutive grant that Wang and Huguley have received from the Heinz Endowments, totaling $1 million. Wang and Huguley will work in collaboration with the Center on Race and Social Problems, the School of Education’s Motivation Center and the Woodland Hills School District in this research-to-practice partnership.
April 1, 2021
Maximilian Schuster receives award for research on campus climate
Maximilian Schuster, assistant professor of practice in the School of Education, was selected for the 2021 Excellence in Research Award by the NASPA Orientation, Retention and Transition Knowledge Community.
Schuster received the award for his article “‘An Experience Unlike Any Other’: The Experiences of First-Year Students with Minoritized Identities with Campus Climate During the 2016 Presidential Election,” which appeared in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education in June 2020.
NASPA’s research award recognizes exemplary research that practitioners can use to improve student services in the areas of orientation, transition and retention within higher education institutions.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with this distinction from NASPA, the leading professional association for student affairs,” says Schuster.
Schuster will be honored during the 2021 virtual NASPA Annual Conference, which is scheduled from March 17-21.
His award-winning paper examined a tumultuous time on college campuses across America: the 2016 presidential election.
Using a campus climate framework, the qualitative study reported on the experiences of 17 first-year students with minoritized identities amid this divisive political context. The students, who included people of color and LGBTQ+ students, were from an urban university within a battleground state.
The study found that students with minoritized identities experienced increased hostilities within this political context. To contend with this negativity, the students engaged in forms of activism. Their activism allowed them to rebuff the hostilities they were experiencing, raise awareness of their own identity and foster stronger peer connections.
Schuster was previously selected for the 2019-20 NASPA Emerging Faculty Leader Academy. The one-year program is for early-career faculty in student affairs and higher education graduate programs.
April 1, 2021
Adriana Kovashka’s research aims to 'teach' computers object detection
Adriana Kovashka, assistant professor of computer science in Pitt's School of Computing and Information, recently received an National Science Foundation CAREER Award to develop a framework to train computer vision models for the detection of objects from weak, naturally occurring supervision in the form of text or speech language and additional multimodal signals.
The framework considers dynamic settings, where humans interact with their visual environment and refer to the encountered objects, such as: “Carefully put the tomato plants in the ground,” and “Please put the phone down and come set the table,” as well as captions written for a human audience to complement an image, like news article captions.
The project will benefit society by exploring novel avenues for overcoming this challenge and reducing the need for expensive and potentially unnatural crowdsourced labels for training.