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April 1, 2010

People of the Times

Two School of Education faculty members have been named 2010 American Educational Research Association (AERA) fellows.

Suzanne Lane, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology in Education, and Margaret G. McKeown, a faculty member in the Department of Instruction and Learning and a senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, are being recognized by AERA “for their exceptional scientific or scholarly contributions to educational research or significant contributions to the field through the development of research opportunities and settings that are nationally and internationally recognized.”Lane

Lane’s research focus is on educational measurement and testing, particularly design, validity and technical issues related to large-scale assessment and accountability systems, including performance-based assessments.

She is a member of the National Council on Measurement in Education and AERA, and has served as the council’s president, 2004-05, and AERA’s vice president of Division D, Methodology, 2000-02. She also is a member of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics and the Psychometric Society.

Lane is a member of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Technical Advisory Council and also served as a member of the joint committee on revision of the standards for educational and psychological testing. She has been the principal investigator on several large grants examining the validity of large-scale assessment systems.

McKeown has pursued two major lines of research at Pitt — the development of vocabulary as it influences reading comprehension and the comprehension students achieve from school texts. She is a member of AERA, the International Reading Association, the National Reading Conference and the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

She was editor of the teaching, learning, human development section of the American Educational Research Journal, 2001-04; vice president for Division C, Learning and Instruction, of AERA, 1998-2000, and is on the editorial board of several journals.Mckeown

McKeown also is a member of the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading standing committee.

McKeown’s honors include being named to the International Reading Hall of Fame in 2008, receiving a Pitt Innovator Award in 2007 and being awarded a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship in 1988.

The new Pitt AERA fellows will be inducted in May.

Founded in 1916, AERA is an international professional organization of more than 26,000 members with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application.

Pitt chemistry professor Dennis P. Curran was among eight scientists worldwide selected to receive an honorary doctorate from France’s University of Pierre and Marie Curie during a March 26 ceremony at the Sorbonne. The honorary degree was awarded in recognition of Curran’s three-decade career that includes pioneering contributions to organic chemistry.


The Parisian university’s biennial award recognizes scientists for their contributions to their fields and dedication to academic values.

A Distinguished Service and Bayer Professor of Chemistry, Curran has written approximately 400 papers, been granted 30 patents and published two books since joining Pitt in 1981. His work revolves around synthetic chemistry, particularly radical and fluorous chemistry.

Curran is considered one of the pioneers of organic radical chemistry, using radical reactions to initiate cascade processes wherein complex molecules are produced organically from simple materials.

He has received, among other awards, the Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, which goes to renowned foreign researchers and is awarded by the regional government of Ile-de-France (metro Paris). In 2009, he joined 162 scientists in the inaugural class of American Chemical Society fellows.

Robert Stein, manager of the information technology program at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, part of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, has won a 2010 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the seventh consecutive year.


The MVP award honors exceptional technical community leaders from a wide range of backgrounds who share their real-world technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

Stein assists members of the Katz institute with technology issues, including cost reduction and new technology.

The Schools of the Health Sciences recently announced faculty and staff awards and accolades.

• J. Anthony Graves, a faculty member in pediatrics in the School of Medicine and a researcher and physician in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children’s Hospital, is an awardee of the Harold Amos medical faculty development program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The award, which is named after the first African American to serve as a department head at Harvard University, is part of the foundation’s Building Human Capital initiative. As many as eight scholars are selected each year who receive a yearly stipend of $75,000 and $30,000 to use toward research. The award runs for four years.

• Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Magee-Womens Hospital, was elected to a three-year term on the governing council of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) section for maternal and child health.

The governing council is a 15-member body comprised of CEOs and senior executives from women’s and children’s providers who advise the AHA on member service strategies, public policy issues, advocacy positions and emerging issues.

• Elizabeth Skidmore, a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received the 2009 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Academic Educator Award. Skidmore was selected for this honor for her excellence in teaching and mentoring occupational therapy students and practitioners in neurobehavioral science and the treatment of neurological disorders.

• Joanne Baird, also a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received the 2009 Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Educator Award. Baird was selected for this honor because of her longstanding and exemplary contributions to fieldwork education for occupational therapy students.

• Jong Jin Kim, a research assistant in the Department of Bioengineering, received an American Heart Association Claude R. Joyner, MD Research Award for his work that will focus on the mechanism of complex cardiac arrhythmias and their role in sudden cardiac death.

• John Pacella, a faculty member at the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, also received an American Heart Association’s Claude R. Joyner, MD Research Award for his research on coronary collateral blood vessels, the body’s natural bypasses to blocked arteries.

Pacella’s work will focus on determining the size of these collaterals in the microcirculation, as well as how they regulate blood flow between neighboring coronary arteries.

• Brian Zuckerbraun, Samuel P. Harbison Assistant Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine, received the American Heart Association’s James A. Shaver, MD, Research Award for his work focusing on the use of inhaled nebulized sodium nitrate as a potential therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a disease of the small arteries in the lung. The award is presented to the top-scoring project by a physician-scientist in western Pennsylvania.

• Joon Sup Lee, clinical director of the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute; associate chief, Division of Cardiology, School of Medicine, and a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, has been named president-elect of the American Heart Association, Allegheny Division. Lee will serve as president July 2010-July 2012.

• Kareem Abu-Elmagd, director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, and a faculty member in the School of Medicine, has been named president-elect of the Intestinal Transplant Association. He will serve a two-year term in this role, followed by a two-year term as president.

• Sandra Kane-Gill, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, was appointed co-chair of the Society of Critical Care Medicine program committee for Congress in 2012. Kane-Gill will be the first pharmacist to serve in this capacity.


Kane-Gill’s research interests focus on economic, clinical and humanistic evaluations for critically ill patients, specifically patient safety, quality of life in the critically ill, and developing models of cost for acute illness.

She is a fellow in the American College of Critical Care Medicine.

• Susan M. Meyer, associate dean for education at the School of Pharmacy, has been elected to a second three-year term on the board of directors of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. From 2010 through 2013, Meyer also will serve as the organization’s secretary-treasurer and as a member of the executive committee.Susan_Meyer

Her activities in pharmacy education focus on curricular and institutional quality improvement, instructional design and assessment, faculty development and interprofessional health professions education.

Anthony J. DeArdo, William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and director of the Basic Metals Processing Research Institute (BAMPRI), has been named recipient of the 2010 Benjamin F. Fairless Award from the Association for Iron and Steel Technology.

The award honors individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the field of iron and steel making and ferrous metallurgy.


DeArdo’s Pitt career includes 35 years of teaching and research in the area of structural materials composition, especially engineering alloys such as micro-alloyed steels and stainless steels. He is founder and director of BAMPRI.

Gail Austin, director of Pitt’s Academic Resource Center, is the staff recipient of the 2010 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement.

Also honored was Michelle McGowan, a senior in the School of Social Work, who received the undergraduate award.

The awards honor the late Iris Marion Young, a philosopher and social theorist who was a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Austin has worked for 40 years as an advocate for civil rights, human rights and peace — both at the University and in the community. She helped form the Afro-American Cultural Society, which works to increase the number of black students, staff and faculty at Pitt. She served on the Pitt Divestment Coalition and was active in Pittsburghers Against Apartheid, the national Free South Africa Movement, the No Dope Campaign and African Americans Against War.

Her latest work focuses on Black Voices for Peace, an organization that opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gurudev Dutt, a faculty member in physics and astronomy, has been named a 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a distinction that carries a two-year, $50,000 grant. Dutt

This program recognizes the achievements of young scholars in science, mathematics, economics and computer science. Dutt was one of 118 researchers who received a 2010 fellowship.

Dutt studies solid-state quantum systems ranging in size from single atoms to macroscopic collections of atoms coupled together. These systems show significant potential in next-generation nanotechnologies as well as in information processing and storage devices.

He uses diamond-based materials and nanostructures to test how coherence and entanglement behave in a solid-state environment similar to that of potential electronic devices.

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies has given the 2010 Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award “for outstanding scholarship in film and media studies” to Nancy Condee, a faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, for her book “The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema.”

Condee specializes in contemporary Russian culture and cultural politics, Soviet cultural politics, late-Soviet and post-Soviet cinema, imperial and postcolonial theory and Soviet and post-Soviet popular culture. She also is a film studies program faculty member.

She is co-founder and co-editor of the journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.

Robert Weber, chair of the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, has won the Jack L. Beal Post-baccalaureate Alumni Award, sponsored by the Ohio State College of Pharmacy and its Alumni Society.


Weber, also UPMC executive director of pharmacy, was recognized for his contributions to pharmaceutical sciences and to the profession of pharmacy and for having excelled in health-system pharmacy administration and mentoring.

He is interested in programs that establish patient-centered roles for pharmacists to improve the safety and efficiency of medication use.


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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