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November 24, 2004

People of the Times

George E. Klinzing, vice provost for research and professor of chemical engineering, has been awarded the Particle Technology Forum Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award recognizes Klinzing’s distinguished career, contributions to particle technology research and scholarship and outstanding leadership in the worldwide particle technology community.

Klinzing, who also is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, has logged more than 30 years of research and lectured nationally and internationally on particle technology, specifically pneumatic conveying. He has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and five books and holds five patents and eight copyrights.

The lifetime achievement award was sponsored by E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co.


Paul Supowitz, associate vice chancellor for commonwealth and city/county relations in Pitt’s Office of Community and Governmental Relations, has been appointed to investigate irregularities in Allegheny County in the recent general election, particularly those involving provisional ballots. He was appointed by County Executive Dan Onorato.

Prior to joining Community and Governmental Relations, Supowitz served as associate general counsel at Pitt for five years.

He joins Bob King, an attorney with Reed Smith law firm, who was appointed by Country Councilman Dave Fawcett to the two-person panel.


An internationally renowned structural biologist has been recruited from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to direct the new structural biology program at Pitt’s School of Medicine.

Angela M. Gronenborn, professor in the Department of Pharmacology, will oversee the development and growth of the structural biology program as well as its move next year to the Biomedical Science Tower 3.

Structural biology is a discipline that explores the architecture and organization of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids — the building blocks of cells — and how they move and interact within the cellular environment.

Gronenborn is considered an expert in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a method that provides information about the physical and chemical properties of molecules.

For the last 13 years she has served as chief of the structural biology section in the laboratory of chemical physics at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

While at NIH, Gronenborn and her lab team developed 3- and 4-dimensional NMR methods and, more recently, techniques for macromolecule alignment — approaches that provide significantly more detailed information about protein structures and are widely used by laboratories worldwide.

In 1988, the first protein NMR structures to appear in the Protein Data Bank, an international resource for biomedical research, came from her lab. In addition, she is credited with developing a novel way to label DNA with isotopes, which has made it feasible to use heteronuclear, multidimensional NMR spectroscopic methods to study nucleic acids and their complexes.

Gronenborn attended the University of Cologne in West Germany, where she received undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry, and a doctorate in organic chemistry, summa cum laude.


J. Timothy Greenamyre has joined the faculty at the School of Medicine as professor and chief of the new movement disorders division of the Department of Neurology.

Greenamyre also will direct the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, which brings together clinical and laboratory investigators to develop new understandings, treatments and methods of prevention for a wide array of neurological diseases.

Greenamyre comes from Emory University, where he was professor and vice chair of neurology, co-director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease and director of the movement disorders program.

He chairs the research grants subcommittee of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, and was a member of the National Institutes of Health Parkinson’s disease research agenda planning committee, the Parkinson’s disease implementation committee and the neurological sciences and disorders B study section of the National Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke.

Greenamyre’s research in-cludes mechanisms that cause nerve cell death in disorders such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

He received his B.S. from Michigan State University and his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.


A new trail that connects Pitt’s Bradford campus and the community has been named after Richard E. McDowell, president emeritus, to recognize him for his leadership and service both to UPB and to Bradford.

The trail, 1.5 miles long, has five raised walkways and three bridges, which are being funded through donor support and named by the donors.

The trail extends about one mile from the north side of the west branch of the Tuna Creek directly across from Onofrio Street to Blaisdell Hall on the Pitt-Bradford campus. After passing Blaisdell Hall, the trail crosses a 70-foot bridge then continues an additional half mile to Clarks Lane on the south side of the creek through a natural scenic area.

“I have been a longtime advocate for the development of a community trail, which will connect more safely the Pitt-Bradford campus to the community,” McDowell said.

In addition to McDowell’s longtime service as UPB president, he also was instrumental in establishing the Allegheny Research and Development Center at Pitt-Bradford, which provides assistance to various businesses and industries in northwestern Pennsylvania.


Colleen Motter has been promoted to director of the George J. Barco Center for Continuing Education at the Titusville campus. The continuing education office is part of the Department of Enrollment Management.

Motter is responsible for the recruitment, advisement and retention of part-time students and for adult enrollment activities.

In addition, she will assist the admissions office with high school visits and college fairs for traditional students during the peak recruiting season.  Motter will continue to manage the Barco Center’s requests for non-credit courses for regional businesses and the public.

Motter has been employed at UPT since 1992 and previously served as assistant director of continuing education. She is a 1991 graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.


Recent faculty accomplishments at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy include:

Susan J. Skledar, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics and director of UPMC’s Drug Use and Disease State Management Department, has been invited to serve on the 2004 selection panel for the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists Foundation literature awards program for the pharmacy practice research award. The awards program recognizes important contributions to the literature in the area of pharmacy practice in hospitals and health systems.

Along with Denise M. Sokos, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, Skledar also received the second-place Presidential Performance Improvement Award for Quality for their project “To Give or Not To Give: Vaccination Is the Question.”

Gary Stoehr, associate dean of student and academic affairs, received a “Faculty Partner” Award from the staff of Career Services at Pitt. The award honors Stoehr for having a consistently high level of interest in students’ career goals and support of Career Services.

Brian Potoski and Blair Capitano, both assistant professors of pharmacy and therapeutics, and David Paterson, associate professor of the Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, received the first-place President’s Award for Quality at the UPMC Quality Fair for their project, “Promoting Optimal Use of Antimicrobials Through Implementation of an Antibiotic Management Program.”

Amy Calabrese Donihi, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, was presented with the inaugural 2004 Chairman’s Award. The award, established by Robert Weber, chair of the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, recognizes Donihi’s contributions to the residency research program.

Donihi also received the first- place Presidential Performance Improvement Award for Patient Safety at the UPMC Quality Fair for her project, “Development and Implementation of a Standardized Sliding Scale Regular Insulin Program.”


Claudia Leiras, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health, has been honored with the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Award, an individual fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. Her research interest is in finding markers for early cancer susceptibility.

The primary objective of the Kirschstein award program is to support those with exceptional academic credentials and potential for careers that have a significant impact on biomedical research.


Transplant pioneer Thomas E. Starzl, professor of surgery at the School of Medicine and director emeritus of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC, received the John Scott Medal Award Nov. 19 for his achievements in the field of organ transplantation.

Starzl was honored at the American Philosophical Society meeting.

He performed the first human liver transplant in 1963 and the first successful liver transplant in 1967. Thirteen years later, Starzl brought transplantation a step forward when he introduced anti-lymphocyte globulin and cyclosporine, the next stage in immunosuppressive medication after the development of azathioprine and corticosteroid.

By 1989, Starzl had introduced the anti-rejection medication FK506, which served to increase survival rates for liver and other organ transplants. This led to successful surgeries for other types of organ transplants, including pancreas, lung and intestine.

The John Scott Medal Award is given to persons whose inventions have contributed in some outstanding way to the comfort, welfare and happiness of humankind. The medal carries a $15,000 award. The award committee said Starzl’s influence on transplantation and surgical science, particularly in the area of liver and kidney transplant, has made him one of the most important figures in modern medicine.

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