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

January 12, 2012

People of the Times

Cognition scientists Anthony Grace and Christian Schunn have been named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for contributions to the advancement of their respective fields.

grace• Grace, Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, was honored for his contributions to cellular and systems studies of the brain’s dopamine system (the group of cells affecting happiness and personality) as it relates to understanding the mechanisms of schizophrenia. Grace also serves as a faculty member in psychiatry and psychology and is a training faculty member in the Center for Neuroscience.

He is the co-principal investigator for five grant-related projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.

Grace has received the CINP-Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award (2008); a Merit Award (2007) from the National Institute of Mental Health; the Dr. Paul Janssen Schizophrenia Research Award (2000) from the International Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology; the Daniel H. Efron Award (1999) from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a Distinguished Investigator Award (1998) from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

schunn• Schunn, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and a senior scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center, was honored for his contributions in bridging cognitive science research on reasoning and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Schunn studies the processes of science and engineering teams, the web-based peer-to-peer interactions that support learning and the ways in which student engagement and reasoning processes interact in the science and technology arenas.

He serves as co-principal investigator for 10 grant-related projects funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Institute for Educational Sciences. In 2009, he was honored with a Society Fellowship from the American Psychology Association. Recently, he was named chair of the executive committee of the International Society for Design and Development in Education.

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society comprising 262 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals. The two Pitt honorees are among 539 new fellows selected this year.

Two Pitt affiliates will be honored March 12 at the 76th annual Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction.

FuFreddie H. Fu, Distinguished Service Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; David Silver Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine and UPMC, and founding medical director of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, will receive the Sports Leadership Award.

Fu also holds secondary appointments as a professor of physical therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, professor of health and physical activity in the School of Education and professor of mechanical engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering. In addition, he has been the head team physician for the Department of Athletics for more than 20 years.

Fu’s research efforts have led to more than 160 professional awards and honors and editorship of 28 major orthopaedic textbooks.

Pitt alumnus Mike Ditka, an all-America tight end for the Panthers and an enshrinee of both the college and professional football halls of fame, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Following his Pitt career, Ditka won three Super Bowls and one NFL championship and was a five-time Pro Bowl selectee. He has spent the past several years as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

LittleSteven R. Little, Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow in the Swanson School of Engineering, was awarded the 2012 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials. The award annually recognizes outstanding achievements in biomaterials research within 10 years following a terminal degree.

Little, who holds faculty appointments in the departments of chemical and petroleum engineering, bioengineering and immunology, as well as at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has received Career Development awards from both the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health for his approach to drug-delivery-based therapeutics.

Little also recently was named a Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which makes grants to program-related, nonprofit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences and to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg has been named to the steering panel overseeing the transition of the new Allegheny County chief executive, Rich Fitzgerald.

cheloskyDrew Chelosky, director of development at the School of Law, has been named president of the board of directors of Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council.

The 150-member council provides educational and networking resources to gift planning and allied professionals to promote charitable estate planning.

Pitt has named Greg Miller head coach of the women’s soccer program. Miller comes to the University from Ohio State, where he served as associate head coach.

In 11 years at Ohio State, which includes the last six as associate head coach, Miller helped guide the Buckeyes to three Big Ten Championships and seven NCAA Tournament berths. Miller has coached five consensus All-Americans, four freshman All-America honorees and 12 All-Big Ten First Team selections.

Prior to Ohio State, Miller was an assistant coach at Butler University for two seasons (1999-2000). He was a four-year member of the men’s soccer team at Xavier.

The Staff Association Council (SAC) recently announced the winners of the SAC Endowed Book Fund for Children of Staff, which annually provides financial assistance toward the purchase of books for select University undergraduates whose parent or guardian is a University staff member.

This year’s winners are:

• Julia M. Dawson, a sophomore enrolled in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Dawson is the daughter of Margaret M. Clemons-Dawson, a staff member in the School of Dental Medicine.

Sarah McPartland, a senior enrolled in the Center of Humanities at the Johnstown campus. McPartland is the daughter of Timothy McPartland, a staff member in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition.

Susan Soltis, a sophomore enrolled in the College of Business Administration. Soltis is the daughter of Linda Soltis, a staff member in the plant maintenance department at the Greensburg campus.

SAC also announced four new associate members: Meaghan Beck, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences; Angela Linn, School of Medicine; Andrew Stephany, School of Medicine, and Emma Zink, College of Business Administration. New members serve for six months as non-voting associates.

Two members of the Pitt-Johnstown staff have been recognized for outstanding service by campus President Jem Spectar.

CooperFrancine Cooper, administrative assistant in the Institutional Advancement and Alumni and Community Relations offices, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community. A member of the UPJ staff for five years, Cooper was recognized for her involvement in numerous community projects including the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society’s Light the Night event, the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days and the American Heart Association’s Pink Ribbon Ball.

She also participated in a breast cancer awareness/screening event in partnership with the Cone-maugh Health System, visited nursing homes, and served as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Csikos• Andrew Csikos, director of physical plant operations, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown. A 40-year employee at UPJ, Csikos was recognized for his commitment to maximizing operating efficiency and reducing energy consumption across the campus.

Through an initiative that Csikos launched, which included the installation of energy-efficient lighting and the replacement of traditional light switches with automatic lighting controls, he has reduced the carbon footprint of the campus by more than 890,000 pounds, and helped reduce the campus’s annual utility costs by more than $45,000.

Barbara Epstein, director of the Health Sciences Library System, was appointed to a two-year term (2011-13) as co-chair of the future leadership committee of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.

Also at HSLS, reference librarian Michele Klein-Fedyshin has been appointed the Medical Library Association’s hospital library section representative to the American Nurses Credentialing Center magnet conference for a four-year term.

Faculty members in the Swanson school’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering were honored recently.

• Melissa Bilec received an Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation grant in Science in Energy and Environmental Design from the National Science Foundation. She will lead a group of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon researchers in evaluating and expanding the scope of life-cycle assessments, or LCAs. When used in construction, LCAs analyze a building’s environmental impact from the production of its basic components and raw materials to its eventual demolition and disposal.

Co-investigators include engineering school faculty members Alex Jones of electrical and computer engineering, Amy Landis of civil and environmental engineering and Laura Schaefer of the mechanical engineering and materials science.

• Karl Lewis, associate professor emeritus, was named the 2010 Distinguished Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh section.

• Willie Harper Jr. received the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association Professional Research Award. This award recognizes work being done by professionals in Pennsylvania that contributes to further understanding of wastewater treatment phenomena; enhanced system effects; guidance for process applications and treatment technology; improved facilities management, and other research areas that expand the wastewater treatment industry’s knowledge.

Several members of the Pitt-Bradford community were in the news recently.

Binder• Ron Binder, UPB associate dean of student affairs and director of judicial affairs, was the 2011 recipient of the Robert H. Shaffer Award from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. The Shaffer award is the AFA’s highest honor for a professional fraternity or sorority adviser and is presented to an individual in higher education who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to fraternities and sororities and who demonstrates a commitment to fostering positive change in the Greek community.

Binder is a past-president of the AFA, 2005-06.

GaskewTony Gaskew, a faculty member in criminal justice, has been named the director of the criminal justice program, which has more full-time equivalent students than any other UPB program.

Gaskew, who also is coordinator of criminal forensic studies, has taught at UPB for five years and has an extensive professional background in the field of criminal justice.

Mazza• Lori Mazza, UPB director of athletics and recreational sports, has been appointed to the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators board of directors.

Mazza is one of three members representing NCAA Division III schools, and was named the vice chair of the nominating committee. All board members serve four-year terms.

RanalliDennis N. Ranalli, senior associate dean at the School of Dental Medicine, was recognized by the American Dental Association for dedicated service to the Center for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning seminar speaker series.

Ranalli, who is a faculty member in Pediatric Dentistry, holds a secondary faculty appointment in sports medicine and nutrition in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

He is a past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry, The American Society of Dentistry for Children and the supreme chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon.

Ranalli is a consultant to Pitt’s sports medicine program and team dentist for the Panthers football, wrestling and women’s basketball teams.

SkledarSusan Skledar, a faculty member in pharmacy and therapeutics and a clinical pharmacist at UPMC Presbyterian, led a multidisciplinary team at UPMC that is being awarded the national American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Best Practices Award in Health-System Pharmacy for 2011.

The team is receiving the award for their work with “smart pump” technology for safe and evidence-based administration of intravenous medications.

Four current and three former School of Medicine faculty are among 20 intensivists worldwide who are the first to be selected to receive the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s highest honorific, Master Critical Care Medicine Fellow.

Peter Safar, who is being awarded the Master Critical Care Medicine Fellow title posthumously, established Pitt’s Department of Anesthesiology in 1971. Safar died in 2003.

Current Department of Critical Care Medicine faculty who were named fellows are: Derek Angus, Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair; Patrick Kochanek, vice chair and director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research; Michael R. Pinsky, vice chair for academic affairs, and Ann Thompson, vice chair for faculty development and associate dean for faculty affairs at the School of Medicine.

Founding chair of the critical care medicine department Mitchell Fink and emeritus professor Ake Grenvik also will be honored.

The Master Critical Care Medicine Fellow designation recognizes Society of Critical Care Medicine members who have achieved national and international professional prominence.


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