Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

December 8, 2011

People of the Times

mcconachieBruce McConachie, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, won the American Society of Theatre Research (ASTR) Distinguished Scholar Award.

ASTR is a U.S.-based professional organization that fosters scholarship on worldwide theatre and performance, both historical and contemporary. It was founded in 1956 to encourage theatre scholarship and to provide a link with other similar groups represented in the International Federation for Theatre Research.

The Distinguished Scholar Award is given each year to a scholar whose body of work has made a significant contribution to the field of theatre, dance, opera and/or performance studies.

McConachie has chaired Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts since 2006.  He is a specialist in American theatre history and theatre historiography. McConachie has served the academic field of theatre studies on several boards of directors and as the president of the American Theatre and Drama Society and the American Society for Theatre Research.

albertSteven M. Albert has been appointed as chair of the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) Department of Behavioral and Community Health Services. He has served as associate chair of the department since 2007.

Albert’s research centers on the assessment of health outcomes in aging and chronic disease, including physical and cognitive function; health service use and the cost of care; quality of life, and clinical decision-making. He examines how societies can ensure optimal aging. This effort includes such topics as how health in midlife affects prospects for old age and ways people can maintain quality of life at the end of life.

Albert’s efforts focus on physical, cognitive and mental health rather than primary prevention of chronic disease, because the changes of aging directly affect these domains.

Albert serves as president-elect of the GSPH Faculty Senate and he is a member of Pitt’s Sigma Xi chapter. He received a Doctor of Distinction from Pitt’s Ladies Hospital Aid Society in 2010 and was a faculty member in health science and social welfare at the University of Haifa in Israel in 2005. In 2002, Albert served as a fellow at the Gerontology Society of America.

Before Albert came to Pittsburgh, he was a faculty member in clinical sociomedical sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also was a faculty member in neurology at Columbia.

Pitt has appointed Jian-Min Yuan as the associate director for cancer control and population sciences and the head of the cancer epidemiology, prevention and control program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). In addition, Yuan will serve as a faculty member in epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health.

Yuan is recognized for his contributions in the area of cancer epidemiology and the role of dietary and other environmental exposures, genetic variations and gene-environmental interaction in the cause and prevention of cancers of the lung, liver, colon, rectum, breast and urinary bladder. His research aims to develop cancer prevention strategies.

Yuan has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute (NCI), including a research training grant in nutrition and cancer. Currently, he is the principal investigator of four NCI-funded research grants.

He oversees research groups of approximately 80,000 Chinese men and women in Shanghai and Singapore to maintain a biospecimen bank and assess the roles of genetic and dietary factors in the cause of cancer.

In another study, he is focused on the role of the tobacco carcinogen nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone and its metabolites, along with other environmental and genetic factors, in predicting lung cancer risk.

Yuan also studies the effectiveness of oral supplementation of 2-phenethyl isothiocyanate, which is present in cruciferous vegetables, on reduction of risk markers for lung cancer in smokers, and the effectiveness of oral supplementation of green tea polyphenols on reduction of risk markers for breast cancer.

He comes to Pittsburgh from the University of Minnesota, where he served as a faculty member in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Raina_Ketki_krainaKetki Raina, a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received the 2011 Academic Educator Award from the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association for her excellence in innovations in education.

Raina designs cutting edge teaching methods that promote student learning. She is nationally recognized for her clinical expertise and research in rehabilitation related to cardiac care and fatigue. She has blended this clinical and research expertise with her teaching methods to provide novel learning opportunities.

Her innovative approach was recognized in 2010 when she received a Pitt Innovation in Education Award. Her project addressed the challenge of how to create an environment in the educational setting that simulates the clinic environment sufficiently to maximize competency in the performance of entry-level skills.

Raina incorporated the technology of UPMC’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research, which uses high-technology mannequins that simulate real-life patients, as training on how to aid medically complex patients. Her students reported increased confidence in their ability to manage transfers with medically fragile and clinically complex clients and demonstrated improved clinical reasoning skills.

brandRandall Brand, a faculty member in the School of Medicine; director of UPMC’s gastroenterology malignancy early detection, diagnosis and prevention program; academic director of UPMC Shadyside’s Gastrointestinal Division, and a pancreatic cancer expert, is the 2011 recipient of the national Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research’s first Moore Memorial Award.

According to the Hirshberg Foundation, this award represents the foundation’s commitment to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. The award was established in memory of  Ken Moore, a friend and fundraiser of the foundation who died from pancreatic cancer in November 2010.

Brand’s research studies focus on the early detection of pancreatic cancer and pancreaticobiliary disorders. He specializes in the care of individuals at high risk for developing the disease.

Two faculty members in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science have been recognized recently.

macheryEdouard Machery, who directs the department’s graduate studies program, has been selected as a fellow of Pitt’s Humanities Center for the academic year 2012-13. During his appointment, Machery, whose research focuses on the philosophical issues raised by the cognitive sciences, will be working on his new book project, “Evidence and Cognition.”

mitchell• Department chair Sandra Mitchell has been appointed for a three-year term to the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting scientific program committee.

Mitchell’s research focuses on epistemological and metaphysical issues in the philosophy of science centered on scientific explanations of complex behavior and multi-level, multi-component complex systems.

WagnerWilliam R. Wagner has been named interim director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

A faculty member in surgery, bioengineering and chemical engineering, Wagner also serves as the director of thrombosis research for the artificial heart and lung program, and deputy director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center on Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials.

Wagner is the coordinator for the cellular and organ engineering track for bioengineering graduate students and teaches in the areas of biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Wagner is a past president of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs and serves on the executive board of the International Federation of Artificial Organs. He is a fellow and former vice president of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and also has been elected as a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and the American Heart Association.

He succeeds Alan J. Russell, Distinguished University Professor of Surgery and founding director of the McGowan Institute, who will remain on the faculty in the departments of bioengineering, chemical engineering and rehabilitation science and technology.

Di_GaoDi Gao, William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, was presented with the inaugural Owens Corning Early Career Award for his creativity in the area of nano-materials design and development.

The Owens Corning Award recognizes outstanding independent contributions to the scientific, technological, educational or service areas of materials science and engineering.

Gao’s research focuses on the synthesis, assembly and characterization of novel nano-structures, as well as the integration of these nano-structures into functional devices and systems for biomedical, environmental and sustainable engineering applications.

saatyThomas Saaty, Distinguished University Professor in the Katz Graduate School of Business, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Jagiellonian University in Poland.

Saaty is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is best known as the architect of the decision theory known as the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and its generalization to complex decisions with dependence and feedback, the Analytic Network Process (ANP).

Saaty has published numerous articles and more than a dozen books on AHP/ANP and decision-making and the workings of the brain. His nontechnical book on AHP, “Decision Making for Leaders,” has been translated into more than 10 languages. He also is the author of numerous other books on mathematics and mathematical modeling. In 2009 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award.

Sandra Kane-Gill, a faculty member in the pharmacy school’s Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, will chair the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Paragon quality improvement committee in 2012. The Paragon critical care quality implementation program aims to bring effective, tailored improvement strategies to hospitals.

Kane-Gill also was appointed as a member of the quality and safety committee for 2012-13.

MeyerAlso at the School of Pharmacy, Susan Meyer, associate dean for education, was honored by Ohio Northern University’s Raabe College of Pharmacy with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Meyer was recognized for her achievements in the pharmacy profession.

VitaleIn addition, Frank Vitale, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Live CME Activity Award by the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education. Vitale was chosen as the recipient of the award for his continuing education program on smoking cessation for health care professionals at the Bon Secours Health Care System in Richmond, Va.

School of Law alumnus Matthew Shames recently was named executive director of JURIST Legal News and Research Services.

Housed in Pitt’s law school, JURIST produces a web-based legal news publication and real-time legal news research powered by a mostly volunteer team of more than 50 part-time Pitt law student reporters, editors and web developers.

As executive director, Shames will oversee JURIST’s business and development efforts, including outreach and educational initiatives, fundraising and corporate management. Shames also will serve as JURIST’s in-house general counsel.

Prior to joining JURIST, Shames worked as a transactional attorney at the Pittsburgh law firms Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and Cohen & Grigsby.

Shames earned his JD degree from the law school in 2005; while a student, he served as editor-in-chief of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. Additionally, Shames helped develop JURIST’s Paper Chase legal news operation and was instrumental in recruiting the first class of JURIST student news anchors for JURIST’s flagship service.

An award-winning physician-journalist has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Albert C. Muse Prize for Excellence in Otolaryngology, an honor that is sponsored by the Eye and Ear Institute and Foundation and recognizes significant contributions to the medical field.

snydermanNancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, is a regular contributor to “Nightly News,” “The Today Show,” “Rock Center With Brian Williams” and “Dateline.”

In May, she was selected for the 2011 William S. McEllroy Award, which is given annually by the Pitt School of Medicine’s Medical Alumni Association to a physician who is not an alumna but did residency training through Pitt and UPMC.

In addition to being a journalist, Snyderman is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Health System, medical director of General Electric’s healthy imagination initiative, a board member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a fellow of the American College of Surgery.

The Muse Prize, which is given in alternate years to experts in otolaryngology and ophthalmology, is named for Albert C. Muse, who has worked with the Eye and Ear Foundation and supported its research efforts for more than 30 years.

bloomSue Anne Bloom, director of financial aid at the Titusville campus, has been elected to the executive council of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. PASFAA represents more than 300 Pennsylvania educational institutions, lenders and organizations involved with higher education. Bloom will serve as the state-related sector representative.

Her primary responsibilities will include making the views and concerns of members of the state-related sector known to the leadership of the association and to keep sector members informed of the actions of the PASFAA executive council.

Bloom earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Pitt, an MBA at Clarion University and recently completed an advanced certificate program in strategic enrollment management.

Several faculty members in the Department of Psychology were honored recently.

brownellCelia Brownell, who is the department’s developmental program chair, was elected secretary of division 7 of the American Psychological Association, 2011-14.

Brownell’s primary research interest is development of social skills and social understanding in very young children, especially in prosocial behavior and peer interaction.

MonahanKathryn Monahan was named a 2011 Jacobs Foundation Young Scholar for her research project titled “Adolescence: Exploration and Self-regulation of the Unknown.”

Monahan’s research interests include adolescent psychosocial development; developmental psychopathology; risk and resilience; peer relationships; juvenile justice, and the implications of developmental research for legal and social policy and prevention science.

Pogue-GeilejpgMichael Pogue-Geile, who also serves as the departmental clinical program chair, was named president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology.

Pogue-Geile studies schizophrenia, behavior genetics, neuropsychology and development.

ShawDaniel Shaw, chair of the psychology department, received the 2011 Friend of Early Career Preventionist Network Award from the Society for Prevention Research.

Shaw researches development and prevention of early child conduct and emotional problems, family-centered interventions for treating conduct problems in early childhood, identification of gene X environment interactions in relation to brain function and child psychopathology.

Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal has been named the 2011 recipient of the Foundation for Child Development Young Scholar Award.

The goal of Votruba-Drzal’s research program is to understand how key contexts support learning and socio-emotional development during the transition to school and the elementary school years. Her research emphasizes ethnically diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged children, who tend to be underrepresented in developmental research.

morelandJohn Levine and Richard Moreland each were named recipients of the Joseph McGrath Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Study of Groups by the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research.

The McGrath award goes to individuals whose work has shown an enduring commitment to advancing the interdisciplinary science of team or small-group behavior, dynamics and outcomes.

Levine, who also is a senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, researches innovation in work teams; group reaction to deviance and disloyalty; majority and minority influences; conflict and learning, and social processes in online groups.

Moreland’s primary research interests are social behavior in groups and organizations, temporal changes in groups and group composition effects.


The People of the Times column features recent news on faculty and staff, including awards and other honors, accomplishments and administrative appointments.

We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412/624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

For submission guidelines, visit

Leave a Reply