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February 6, 2003


Gerald Schatten, director of the Pittsburgh Development Center at the Magee-Womens Research Institute, received the Daniel Mazia award in recognition of his position as a scientific leader in the field of cell biology.

Schatten, who also is professor and vice chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, and cell biology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, accepted the award Jan. 23 at Stanford University.

He also delivered the Daniel Mazia lecture on “Life Begins at the Centrosome: Dan Mazia’s Legacy to Human Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cells and Development” at Stanford.

The Mazia lectureship and annual scholar-in-residence program are funded by a $50,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, along with $70,000 in contributions from Mazia’s friends, colleagues and students.

The program honors cell biologist Daniel Mazia, professor emeritus of biological sciences at Stanford from 1979 until his death in 1996. Mazia is best known for his insights into the mechanisms of cell division and cell reproduction.


Three Pitt nursing school faculty and one administrator were honored recently.

Susan A. Albrecht, associate dean of student and alumni services and development who also is a faculty member in health and community systems, received the Excellence in Research Award from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing.

Lisa Bernardo, associate professor, was elected co-chair of the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice.

Susan M. Cohen, associate professor, was named president-elect of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

Kim Yookyung, assistant professor, received an Early Career Investigator Award 2002 from the International Society for Quality of Life Research.


Frank A. Cassell, president of Pitt’s Greensburg campus, has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Business Central newspaper as one of the top 100 individuals who made an impact on the community in 2002.

Pennsylvania Business Central is an independently owned bi-weekly newspaper serving the business community in 16 central and western Pennsylvania counties.

Among other accomplishments, Cassell was honored for forming the Smart Partnership of Westmoreland County, which is dedicated to improving community quality of life and economic development, and Westmoreland Heritage, an economic development partnership working to build tourism and increase appreciation for local and regional history. Both organizations are headquartered at UPG.

Cassell also was one of 23 college and university presidents nationally to be named last year to the President’s Leadership Group of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, a U.S. Department of Education funded program to address drug and alcohol abuse among college students.


Pitt chemistry professor Sanford A. Asher received the 2002 Pittsburgh Award from the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society. Established in 1932, the award honors distinguished service to chemistry in the Pittsburgh community through contributions to increasing chemical knowledge, promoting industry, benefiting humanity or advancing the Pittsburgh section. The award was presented to Asher Jan. 27.

Asher’s research at Pitt has involved developing new materials and new spectroscopic techniques. He and his colleagues developed ultraviolet (UV) resonance Raman spectroscopy as a technique for studying molecules in complex matrices. They are using UV resonance Raman spectroscopy to examine the first stages in protein folding.

Asher’s research group recently pioneered the development of photonic crystal materials, which allow such optical devices as optical switches and filters and novel chemical sensing materials to be developed. One of the applications of this work is using these photonic crystal chemical sensing devices to measure glucose levels in tear fluid. The glucose sensor is part of a contact lens, and diabetic patients could determine their glucose concentration by looking in a mirror to see the color of the sensor.

In addition to scientific contributions, Asher has participated in Pittsburgh professional societies such as the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the ACS Polymer Group. Asher also served as co-director of Pitt’s Materials Research Center.


Dan Songer, director of campus police and safety at the Bradford campus, was elected vice president of the College and University Police and Security Association of Western Pennsylvania.

Songer also was named interim president while the current president is on active duty in the military.

When Songer finishes his two-year term as vice president, he will become president.

The association is an organization for college and university directors, chiefs and assistants from campuses in western Pennsylvania. Members meet four times a year to discuss issues and share information about their respective schools.

Songer, who has been UPB director of campus police and safety since 1996, also is president of the Community Relations Board for the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean County, and of the Seneca Law Enforcement Agency in McKean County, and is a member of the board of directors for the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association.

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