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December 7, 2000


The Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) honored chemistry professor Kenneth D. Jordan as the 2000 Pittsburgh Award recipient at a dinner Dec. 2 in the William Pitt Union.

The director of Pitt's Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations, Jordan is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the University of Pittsburgh's Distinguished Research Award. Jordan has twice served as chair of the Theory Subdivision of the Physical Chemistry Division of the ACS.

Jordan uses computational methods to aid in understanding the behavior of isolated molecules as well as aggregates of molecules, and of molecules on solid surfaces. His theoretical studies of semiconductor surfaces have provided insight into the role of bond-breaking/reforming processes in chemical reactions on such surfaces.

His work on intramolecular interactions shows how chemical linkers, or bridges, between two chemically active groups facilitate electron transfer between the active groups. This work helps experimental groups to produce chemical bridges that are more effective in promoting electron transfer.

Jordan also has used computational methods to characterize small clusters of water molecules. His research group has shown that clusters containing as few as eight water molecules can undergo a solid-to-liquid melting transition.

The Pittsburgh Award recognizes leadership in chemical affairs in the community.


Barbara Mellix, executive assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and interim director of the CAS Advising Center, has been named director of the CAS Advising Center.

As Advising Center director, Mellix will work with the associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in conjunction with the University Challenge for Excellence Program, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Provost's Office, and advising centers for other Pitt schools and regional campuses.

Mellix received both of her degrees from Pitt: a B.A. in English in 1984 and an M.F.A. in creative writing in 1986. She taught for one year at the Greensburg campus, then moved to the Pittsburgh campus as assistant to the dean of CAS. In 1994, Mellix was promoted to assistant dean and, in 1998, became executive assistant dean.


Jill Marie Siegfried, professor and vice chair of pharmacology in the School of Medicine and co-director of the lung cancer program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, has been selected to receive the 15th Annual Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health.

The award was presented at the annual convention of the American College of Chest Physicians.

For 18 years Siegfried has studied the cellular and molecular aspects of lung cancer and developed methods to study the biological changes that occur in human lung tumors. She initially demonstrated that within laboratory-cultured human lung tissue, specific changes take place in response to carcinogens, biologically active hormones, growth factors and smoking. These changes are similar to those seen in cells from human lung tumors.

More recently, she and her colleagues discovered that women may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of tobacco exposure due to the more frequent expression in women of a specific gene on the X-chromosome, since women have two X chromosomes and men have only one.

The Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association has named business management professor David Blackmore the recipient of the 2000 PBAA Teaching Excellence Award.

The alumni association recognized Blackmore for his commitment to the community of learners ethos through the classroom, his involvement in campus activities and his pursuit of professional interests outside the college.

Blackmore received a plaque of recognition; a $1,000 cash award will go to Blackmore's department to be spent as he directs.

Blackmore has been at Bradford since 1977, one of the first professors hired when UPB switched from a two-year to a four-year college.

He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Grove City College in 1964 and a master's degree in business administration in 1967 from Harvard University Graduate School of Business.


Kenneth S. Thompson, associate professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, has been awarded a Soros Advocacy Fellowship to document health status disparities in western Pennsylvania and to advocate for the formulation of public policies to address them.

The fellowship was awarded by the Open Society Institute's Program on Medicine as a Profession. The Open Society Institute, part of the Soros Foundation, is a private, New York-based grantmaking foundation founded by George Soros.

The fellowship will enable Thompson to work with communities, local government agencies and other physicians to fundamentally change the landscape of care in the Pittsburgh region.

"In Pittsburgh and Allegheny County the risk of illness, the need for care and access to it are not evenly distributed," said Thompson. "There are really two Pittsburghs — one that is healthy and secure economically and socially and one that is marginalized due to economic insecurity or for other social reasons, like the frail elderly, gay and lesbian persons and various ethnic groups. The burden of illness is predominantly located in marginalized Pittsburgh. The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, has called for a national mobilization to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. I hope that by working closely with the Consumer Health Coalition, a local organization composed of advocacy groups, we can mobilize our community to eliminate these health disparities by the year 2009, ahead of the Surgeon General's timetable."

Geoff Webster, executive director of the Consumer Health Coalition, said: "With Dr. Thompson's leadership and his work with the Consumer Health Coalition, Pittsburgh can be the national role model for dissolving inequalities in access to health care."

Arthur Levine, senior vice chancellor, Schools of the Health Sciences and dean, School of Medicine, noted: "Because the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and other academic hospitals in the region have traditionally provided half of the health care services delivered to disadvantaged populations as part of their core missions, we all have a stake in Dr. Thompson's work and will support him in any way we can."

The Soros Advocacy Fellowship for Physicians, created by the financier and philanthropist George Soros, seeks to inspire greater participation on the part of physicians in civil society, and active engagement on behalf of the public interest. The program enables physicians to partner with advocacy organizations in order to design and implement projects directly related to improving health and service delivery, or to confront other social issues, including racism, violence, environmental hazards and social justice.

The Open Society Institute, part of the network of Soros foundations, is a private operating and grant-making foundation that develops and implements a variety of U.S.-based and international programs in the areas of educational, social, legal and health care reform, and encourages public debate and policy alternatives in complex and often controversial fields.


Susan C. Harkins, director of the College Connections Office in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

NACEP is an organization of American colleges and universities that offer college courses taught in partnership with high schools to qualified high school students. The courses, taught by college-approved and -appointed high school instructors, provide students the opportunity to earn college credits while completing their high school graduation requirements. Concurrent enrollment partnerships also provide professional development for instructors who teach in the program, as well as opportunities for research in the area of school/college articulation.

Pitt is a founding member of NACEP.


Paul Glabicki, professor and chair of studio arts, has been selected as the 2001 Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Selected artists are honored with a special solo exhibition at the center.

Glabicki has exhibited his work in film, video, painting, animation, installation art, digital media and drawing throughout the United States, Japan and Europe, including at the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center and Whitney Biennial in New York, the Los Angeles Film Forum, the Tokyo Image Forum and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In Pittsburgh, his work has been seen at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory and in the 1996 and 2000 Pittsburgh Biennials.

His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, grants from the American Film Institute and National Endowment for the Arts and numerous awards for achievement in experimental animation.

Nominations for Artist of the Year come from the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts member guilds, previous winners and members of the regional art scene. Final selections are made by a committee of six regional leaders in the Pittsburgh art community.

Glabicki's special exhibition at the center is scheduled to open on July 14, 2001.

Anthony A. Grace, professor of neuroscience and psychiatry, received the Paul Janssen Schizophrenia Research Award from the International Congress on Neuropsychopharmacology.

Grace's research explores the effects of antipsychotic drugs on the body's dopamine systems and the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Excess dopamine is known to be a feature of schizophrenia.

Edward Stricker, chair of the Department of Neuroscience, said that, as one of Pitt's most prominent researchers, Grace deserved the award.

"Tony Grace has made many substantial contributions to the scientific literature on brain function generally and on the basis of schizophrenia in particular," said Stricker. "This is a very prestigious award given for distinguished research on the biological basis of schizophrenia."

Stricker's point about Grace's contributions to scientific literature is supported by the Institute for Scientific Information, which recently noted that one of Grace's papers on the dopamine system was one of the 10 most frequently cited articles on schizophrenia in the 1990s.

Grace has been a faculty member at Pitt since 1985. He earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology from Yale and completed postdoctoral training at New York University.


Robert Saba, business development specialist at Pitt's Mid-Atlantic Technology Applications Center has received the Federal Laboratory Consor-tium's Outstanding Service Award.

Saba was recognized for his work as program manager of the Fire Fighting Task Force, an organization of fire fighters, federal laboratory and university personnel, and fire apparatus manufacturers working together to improve fire fighting technology.


Claudio Ruibal, a doctoral student in the School of Engineering, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2001-2002 academic year.

Ruibal is taking part in the flexible doctoral program in Pitt's Department of Industrial Engineering, where he is developing costing models for new technologies' supply chain management and information systems.

Ruibal is from the Universidad de Montevideo in Uruguay, where he is a faculty member and general administrator. He has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering as well as a master's degree in business.


Assad Panah, a professor of geology at the Bradford campus, has been elected to the rank of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general science organization.

Panah is being honored for "outstanding research accomplishments and contributions," according to Richard S. Nicholson, executive officer for the association, "as well as for a leadership role in science teaching and education on behalf of the academics of science."

The association has more than 143,000 members.

Panah has been teaching at Pitt-Bradford since 1984. He is the director of Pitt-Bradford's geology and environmental science program.

He received his bachelor's degree in natural sciences from the University of Tehran in Iran; two master's degrees in geology, one from the University of Tehran, the other from the University of Texas, and his doctorate in geology from the University of Oklahoma.

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