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September 29, 2011

People of the Times

ReillyJohn J. Reilly Jr., executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine, has been named the Jack D. Myers Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine.

Reilly came to the School of Medicine in 2008 as a professor of medicine. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed research reports and co-authored chapters in two well-known internal medicine textbooks.

His areas of interest include the genetic and environmental factors associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the role of alveolar macrophage enzymes in emphysema, COPD and lung cancer.

Reilly is the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant titled “The Emphysematous Microenvironment Promotes Lung Tumorigenesis and Progression” and is a co-investigator on several other grants, including the recently funded specialized program of research excellence in lung cancer, which aims to improve detection and treatment of lung cancer and to understand the mechanisms of increased susceptibility of women to lung cancer.

Reilly started his academic career on the Harvard faculty. He also was an attending physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he served in several roles: medical director of the lung transplant program, the Center for Chest Diseases and the pulmonary rehabilitation program; director of the bronchoscopy service and the pulmonary function laboratory; interim chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and vice chair of Brigham’s integrated clinical services.

Reilly is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and by that board’s pulmonary subspecialty board. He also holds a board certificate of competence in critical care, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is a past chair of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute clinical trials study section.

Reilly replaces Steven Shapiro as the Myers chair. Shapiro was named chief medical and scientific officer of UPMC last year.

studenskiStephanie A. Studenski, a faculty member in the School of Medicine and director of research at the Division of Geriatric Medicine, will be honored as this year’s Grand Champion at the 2011 Celebrating Senior Champions event.

A collaboration of UPMC Senior Services, the Aging Institute and the geriatric medicine division, the annual event gives Pitt and UPMC the opportunity to honor those who make a difference in the lives of seniors in western Pennsylvania and beyond, while raising proceeds that support geriatric education programs.

Studenski is being honored for her multidisciplinary work with seniors. Her research interests include mobility, balance, rehabilitation, frailty and disability in the senior population.

Before coming to the University, Studenski served as the chief of rehabilitation medicine services at the Durham VA Hospital and then as director of the Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

She has served as chair of three NIH study sections and as chair of the research committee of the American Geriatrics Society. She is associate editor for the Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences and the Hazzard Textbook of Geriatrics and Gerontology. Studenski has been included in the Best Doctors in America since 1998.

She will be honored Nov. 3 at the Circuit Center and Ballroom on the South Side.

EscolarMaria Escolar, a faculty member in pediatrics at the School of Medicine, has been appointed director of the new program for the study of neurodevelopment in rare disorders (NDRD) at Children’s Hospital. The program is the only one of its kind in the United States.

Children’s NDRD program will provide evaluation, education, research and intervention for patients from around the world with rare, inherited neurological conditions. The program’s multidisciplinary approach focuses on the interactions of genes, the brain and behavior, and their effects on child development. The goal is to improve quality of life and help children reach their full potential through innovative research and clinical interventions.

Escolar heads a team that provides ongoing services for more than 500 patients with rare metabolic disorders. Their experience, combined with ongoing clinical research, provides the expertise to assess the multi-system needs of these children and to plan appropriate management, therapies and palliative care.

The NDRD team also consults with local health care providers and educators to assist them in providing care to children with these rare diseases.

Escolar is recognized for her research into the neurodevelopment of children with leukodystrophies and mucopolysaccharidosis. Her research focuses on behavioral and neuroimaging outcome measurements, and she is engaged in multiple research studies to examine new treatments for Krabbe disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Escolar began her program in 2000 at the Center for Development and Learning at the University of North Carolina to help children and their families understand the overall impact of rare neurological diseases in child development.

She is board-certified in neurodevelopmental disabilities and has had 15 years of experience as a clinician and researcher. Her research is funded by NIH and has been published in numerous academic journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine.

Louis A. Picard, a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs since 1987, has been named director of the Ford Institute for Human Security, which is housed at GSPIA.

A specialist in international development with a focus on Africa, Picard is the former director of GSPIA’s international development program; he has done teaching, research and consulting around the world.

Picard’s research and consulting specializations include governance, development management, local government, civil society and human resource development. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. Department of State. He is the author or editor of 11 books.

The Ford Institute promotes research and discussion of human security issues.

litmanDiane J. Litman, director of the intelligent systems program and a senior scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), has been granted senior member status in the inaugural class of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

Litman, who holds a faculty appointment in the computer science department, is one of only nine members to be so honored. She was awarded the status in recognition of her achievements and long-standing efforts in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as for her long-term participation in AAAI.

Litman’s expertise is in the area of artificial intelligence, tutoring systems and natural language processing. Along with colleagues at LRDC, Litman has developed computational tutorial dialogue systems that promote learning through conversation.

In 2008, she received the Leverhulme Trust’s Visiting Professorship Award, which allowed her to collaborate with researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

From 2000 to 2003, Litman served as chair of the North American chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

AAAI is a nonprofit scientific membership society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the computational mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.

McMasterLori McMaster has joined the School of Law as director of career services.

McMaster brings to the position experience as an attorney in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and as a legal recruiter with the firm Special Counsel in its Pittsburgh office. Prior to that, she spent 20 years as an attorney specializing in corporate litigation.

A member of the local bar, she recently completed a term as president of the women in the law division of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

AbuElmagdKareemKareen Abu-Elmagd, director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center at UPMC’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, has been named president of the Intestinal Transplant Association. The appointment is for two years.

Abu-Elmagd came to Pitt in 1989 to complete a clinical fellowship in transplant surgery. He joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, a year later.

Abu-Elmagd is recognized for developing and standardizing many of the surgical techniques and post-transplant management methods that have made intestinal transplants, either alone or with other organs, both feasible and increasingly successful.

Under his direction, more than 500 intestinal transplants have been done at UPMC, more than any other center in the world. The program’s one-year survival rate for adult patients is 89 percent, well above the national average of 75 percent.

Abu-Elmagd’s research interests include immune modulation of the intestinal graft, induction therapies for intestinal and multivisceral transplantation and recurrence of primary biliary cirrhosis and autoimmune hepatitis after liver transplantation. He has published widely and has authored more than 30 book chapters. He is a frequent presenter at scientific congresses and has given more than 100 invited lectures.

Abu-Elmagd’s is a member of a number of professional societies, including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the International Liver Transplantation Society, the American Medical Association, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Society of Transplantation, the Transplantation Society and the American Surgical Society.

He holds a degree in medicine from Mansoura University School of Medicine in Egypt, and a doctorate in surgery awarded jointly by Mansoura and Emory universities.

rosenblumMathew Rosenblum, chair of the Department of Music and co-director of the Music on the Edge new music series, is one of 11 composers to receive a Barlow Endowment commission to create an original work.

The new work, titled “Falling,” will be written for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and will be a vocal setting of the James Dickey poem of the same name, which details a stewardess’s intense psychological and physical journey to the ground after falling out of a plane (based on a New York Times article).

The work will be scored for amplified ensemble of bass-baritone voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano/sampler and percussion and will incorporate unusual tunings, interactive lighting, surround-sound audio and video projections.

Rosenblum’s works have been performed throughout the United States, South America and Europe.

In 2009 he was a senior faculty composer at the June in Buffalo Festival. Other honors include four Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Music Fellowship grants, a Heinz Endowments Creative Heights Award, two Fromm Foundation commissions, a National Endowment for the Arts Music Fellowship grant and a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship grant.

He also has received awards and fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Institute of Contemporary American Music, the Rockefeller Foundation, BMI, the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo.

Rosenblum received degrees in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music and Princeton.

In 1983, Milton A. and Gloria Barlow established the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University to promote excellence in music composition.

Staff member Mary Rodgers Schubert, director of continuing education at the School of Nursing, has been named president of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania (NAP), a nonprofit foundation that aims to improve recruitment and retention of nurses in the state.

NAP also has named three School of Nursing faculty members as 2011 Nightingale Award finalists and has awarded a Nightingale scholarship a Pitt postdoctoral student.

As the nursing school’s director of continuing education, Schubert is responsible for planning, development, implementation and assessment of live and online educational opportunities for professional nurses with a focus on advanced practice, education, leadership and re-entry into practice.

Pitt School of Nursing Nightingale Award finalists for 2011, all from the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care, are faculty members Michael Beach; Alice Blazeck, who also is vice chair for administration, and Annette DeVito Dabbs, who also is vice chair for research.

Elizabeth Crago, a postdoctoral student in the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care, has been awarded a Nightingale scholarship.

NAP was established in 1989 by nursing and health care leaders to increase the supply of nurses to match the rising demand throughout the state.

Each year, the group awards scholarships to nurses in the spring, and in the fall honors nurses at an annual awards gala, held in November.

The nonprofit group is governed by a 24-member volunteer board of trustees, consisting of leaders in business, industry, nursing and other health care fields.

swaminathan-vanithaVanitha Swaminathan, the Robert W. Murphy Faculty Fellow in Marketing at the Katz Graduate School of Business, has been appointed as area editor of the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

In addition, she and Katz colleague Ramaswamy Venkatesh, area director in marketing and business economics, have been appointed as members of the editorial review board of the Journal of Marketing.

Swaminathan, who joined the faculty here in 2002, primarily conducts research on branding strategy and consumer-brand relationships. Specifically, her focus is on understanding why consumers are attached to certain brands, and the conditions that foster consumer-brand relationships.

Her research has been cited in various media including Sirius Radio, Science Daily, EurekAlert!,, the Houston Chronicle, the Pittsburgh Business Times and internationally in media outlets in Canada, India, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Venkatesh joined the Katz school in 1996.

His research is in the areas of pricing, product bundling, co-branding, e-commerce and sales force management. His articles on these topics have appeared in journals including the Journal of Business, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science and Marketing Science.

He also writes periodically on related issues in Tech.Biz, the technology supplement to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Venkatesh has applied his frameworks and methodologies to address real-world problems in high technology, digital goods and entertainment.

spragueCarol Sprague, senior associate athletics director, was inducted into the Slippery Rock University Athletic Hall of Fame this month.

Sprague has served as the sport administrator for nearly all of Pitt’s teams and currently serves in that capacity with women’s basketball. She also is responsible for capital project management and facilities and event operations management.

Sprague began her career at Pitt in 1974 as an assistant swimming coach. She has held a variety of positions including program coordinator for women’s sports, coordinator of student affairs for student athletes, assistant athletics director for women’s sports and associate athletics director for Olympic sports.

Sprague has served on the NCAA Management Council, the NCAA Council and the NCAA administrative, administrative review and playing and practice seasons committees. She has served on the executive board of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors.

In 2007, Sprague was named Administrator of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. She is a member of the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In 1993, Sprague was the recipient of the Women in Sports Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.


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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