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July 26, 2001


Miguel Estevez, resident and clinical instructor in the Department of Neurology, is the recipient of a $500,000 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award in the Biomedical Sciences. Estevez was one of 23 award recipients from a pool of 200.

Career Awards in the Biomedical Sciences are intended to foster the development and productivity of biomedical researchers who are early in their careers and help them make the critical transition to becoming independent investigators.

Estevez's research interests focus on the signaling pathways underlying disease states, such as migraine and epilepsy, caused by mutations in the P/Q-type calcium channel gene. Estevez will be studying one exemplar, the unc-2 gene of C. elegans.


Ivet Bahar, director of the School of Medicine's newly created Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, has been elected a fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

EMBO was established in 1962 to promote molecular biology studies in Europe and is comparable to the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. It includes nearly 1,000 scientists, 20 of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Members are selected by the organization on the basis of their international reputation for research excellence in molecular biology. Only 40 scientists are elected to EMBO each year.


Bahar and Richard D. Wood, who holds the Richard M. Cyert chair in molecular oncology and is director of the Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), are the only two members of EMBO from Pennsylvania.

Computational biology uses three-dimensional modeling to simulate biological processes. Bioinformatics combines mathematics, computer science and biology in order to analyze and extract useful information from biological and biomedical databases.

Bahar was named director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in March. She also is a visiting professor in molecular genetics and biochemistry. Prior to her appointment, she was a professor in the department of chemical engineering and director of the Polymer Research Center at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Bahar received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Istanbul Technical University and her M.S. and B.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Bogazici University.


Freddie H. Fu has been elected to the board of directors of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Fu is the David Silver Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the School of Medicine and UPMC Health System.

He is known for his pioneering surgical techniques to treat sports-related injuries to the knee and shoulder and his extensive scientific and clinical research in the biomechanics of such injuries. Fu has been the team physician for the Department of Athletics since 1986.


Rory Cooper, professor of rehabilitation science and technology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, won four gold medals at the 21st National Veterans Wheelchair Games held in New York City this month.

Cooper won four track events: 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 800 meters. He also earned first place in the slalom competition and received first place honors all-around in the master's division of ages 40+.

Beside his competition honors, Cooper was also the recipient of the BEWSA Endeavor Award for his contributions to other athletes during the games.

Cooper is director of Pitt/VA Human Engineering Research Laboratories (a VA rehabilitation research and development center at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System), professor of bioengineering and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery. He is a leading designer of wheelchairs.


Jeannette E. South-Paul has been appointed chair of family medicine in the School of Medicine. She is the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the permanent chair of a department at the School of Medicine, and one of a small number of African-American chairs in medical schools nationwide.

South-Paul is recognized for her research on the biological, social and behavioral factors associated with premenstrual syndrome; treatment strategies for osteoporosis; exercise and aerobic capacity during pregnancy; infant nutrition, and exercise-dependent physiologic function in obesity.

She also has an interest in socio-cultural issues in health care and health care in special populations. South-Paul is a widely recognized speaker and author on cultural competence in medical education; the impact of race, ethnicity and culture on health; cultural diversity and academic medicine, and the development of minority faculty.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Pitt's School of Medicine, South-Paul is a former chair of the minority affairs section of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The University Center for Social and Urban Research has awarded the first Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Awards in memory of the center's assistant director, who died last September.


The awardees are Paul E. Griffiths, professor of history and philosophy of science, and Miriam Hertz, assistant professor of health information management/rehabilitation science and technology.

Griffiths plans to test competing analyses of the gene concept in contemporary molecular biology and develop a proposal for National Science foundation funding for a major project involving leading researchers across the country.

Hertz will gather data based on interviews with 20 African American residents of Pittsburgh who have been disabled as a result of intentional street violence. This will include recording life histories before and after the incident, and gauging victims' uses of public and private social services and their attitudes toward their disabilities.

UCSUR plans to offer two awards annually at up to $10,000 each. Faculty may apply in two categories, both relating to work in the social, behavioral and policy sciences: a research and development grant to support pilot research, and an infrastructure development award aimed at enhancing faculty capabilities to carry out interdisciplinary research. For more information, call 4-5442.


A book by Ida Flynn, faculty member in the Department of Information Science and Telecommunications, School of Information Sciences, has been awarded the 2001 Textbook Excellence Award by the Text and Academic Authors Association."

Flynn wrote the book, "Understanding Operating Systems," with Ann McIver McHoes. It was published by Brooks/Cole Learning.


Ron Wuotila has been named director of operations for women's basketball at Pitt. He joins the Panthers after a nine-month stint as director of men's basketball operations at Robert Morris College. His head coaching career includes being named the Canadian College Athletic Association Men's Basketball Coach of the Year in 1999-2000.

Wuotila earned a master's in physical education/athletic administration at Idaho State University in 1992.


Evelyn Rawski of the Asian studies program is co-organizer of "Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits," on display at the Smithsonian through Sept. 9. Rawski also co-authored the illustrated 216-page book that accompanies the exhibit.

The exhibit includes intricately detailed, brightly colored, nearly life-size portraits, as well as textiles, furniture and other Chinese objects created between 1451 and 1943.


James McCrea has been named director of Generations Together, a program that promotes mutually beneficial interaction between the young and old, through education, community outreach and research. McCrea, a member of the GT staff for nearly 10 years, succeeds Sally Newman, founder and executive director of GT.

McCrea has managed programs that unite senior citizens with children, teens and college-age individuals. He has conducted more than 40 local, state and national workshops on intergenerational service learning.

McCrea has a B.A. in sociology from Duquesne University, a master's in public works administration from Pitt, and is working toward a doctorate in education here.

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