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September 30, 2010

Grace, Woodward named Distinguished Professors

School of Arts and Sciences faculty members Anthony A. Grace and James F. Woodward each has been named a Distinguished Professor, effective Sept. 1. Grace has been named Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Woodward has been named Distinguished Professor of History and Philosophy of Science.

The rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field.

Anthony A. Grace

Anthony A. Grace

A professor of neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology, Grace serves on Pitt’s Center for Neuroscience’s executive and faculty admissions committees and on the MD and PhD degree supervisory committee.

Grace’s research interests lie at the interface of neurobiology and psychiatry. He has been involved for more than 30 years in translational research related to the limbic system and schizophrenia. His early work pioneered the identification and characterization of dopamine-containing neurons.

Grace’s most recent work involves examining the interactions of several brain regions with known involvement in psychiatric disorders and drug abuse and determining how these interactions are disrupted by stress. He has used the methylazoxymethanol acetate developmental model of schizophrenia, which was developed in his lab. Employing this model, his lab now has advanced GABAergic drugs that may be effective in the treatment of schizophrenia.

Additional studies are aimed at examining plasticity in the limbic system, with a particular focus on the amygdala, in response to chronic stress exposure and to drugs of abuse in animal models of drug addiction, craving and affective disorders.

Grace served on the Schizophrenia International Research Society board of directors and the Schizophrenia Research Forum scientific advisory board in 2005; he currently serves on the Council of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

In 2008, he received the CINP-Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award for his research into the biological bases of psychiatric disorders. The award is presented by the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to a researcher younger than age 55 who has made significant contributions to the understanding of the nervous system.

Grace earned his undergraduate degree in psychology and biology from Allegheny College and his PhD in pharmacology from Yale University.

James F. Woodward

James F. Woodward

Woodward came to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year from California Institute of Technology, where he was the J.O. and Juliette Koepfli Professor of Humanities.

Woodward’s research covers a number of different areas, including theories of causation, the philosophy of psychology and the philosophy of social science. Among his interests is the empirical psychology of causal learning and judgment.

He is part of a multidisciplinary project through the James S. McDonnell Foundation to explore the relationship between formal theories and actual observations of how children and adults learn about causal relationships. The basis of the project is that theory and experimental work should complement one another.

Woodward’s own work in this area, the book “Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation,” won the 2005 Lakatos Award, which is endowed by the Geneva-based Latsis Foundation and given annually for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science field.

Woodward also is interested in moral psychology and empirical ethics, that is, studying how people behave in moral situations and the psychological mechanisms that dictate that behavior.

Woodward currently serves as president-elect of the Philosophy of Science Association, which publishes the scholarly journal Philosophy of Science; organizes conventions; awards prizes for notable work, and promotes discussion and research.

Woodward received his bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in 1968 and his PhD from the University of Texas in 1977.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 43 Issue 3

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