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July 12, 2012

Distinguished faculty named

Five faculty members have been named Distinguished Professors and one has been named a Distinguished Service Professor.

They are:

  • Susan G. Amara, Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology.
  • Jennifer Grandis, Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology.
  • George Michalopoulos, Distinguished Professor of Pathology.
  • Andrew B. Peitzman, Distinguished Professor of Surgery.
  • Sanjeev G. Shroff, Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering.
  • Larry Shuman, Distinguished Service Professor of Industrial Engineering.

The rank of Distinguished Professor acknowledges extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field. The title of Distinguished Service Professor recognizes distinctive contributions and outstanding service (e.g., professional, regional, national, international) to the University community in support of its teaching/research/service mission, as well as performance excellence in the faculty member’s department/school and national stature in his or her discipline or field.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointments based on the recommendations of Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. The appointment of Amara, Grandis, Michalopoulos and Peitzman were effective July 1. Shroff and Shuman’s appointments will be effective Sept. 1.

amaraSusan Amara is the Thomas Detre Professor and chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Neurobiology and co-director of the Center for Neuroscience. In the late 1980s, Amara’s Yale University lab was the first to clone the norepinephrine and dopamine transporters, two of many molecules that regulate neurotransmitter concentrations within the brain. Since then, her work has produced significant insights into the structure, function and biology of neurotransmitter transporters, with implications for understanding addiction, antidepressant action and degenerative brain conditions.

Amara, who joined the Pitt faculty in 2003, also holds a secondary appointment as professor of pharmacology and chemical biology.

She has received a number of awards and fellowships, among them the 1992 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the 1993 John J. Abel Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, an investigator award from the McKnight Foundation, a 1997 MERIT Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the 2006 Julius Axelrod Award from the Catecholamine Society.

She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and, in 2007, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her outstanding contributions to neuroscience.

Amara received a BS degree in biological sciences from Stanford University and a PhD in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California-San Diego.

GrandisJennifer Grandis is the UPMC Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Cancer Surgical Research in the School of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology and director of the head and neck program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. She studies the genetic alterations that characterize head and neck cancers, with the ultimate goal of improving patient treatment and survival.

Grandis, who also is the assistant vice chancellor for research program integration in the Schools of the Health Sciences, began her career at Pitt in 1987 as an intern in the School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. She completed her residency in the Department of Otolaryngology in 1993 and became a research fellow for the School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases in 1991.

Through her teaching, many of Grandis’s doctoral students have developed successful careers as faculty members in tenure-stream positions and as researchers at prominent cancer centers and hospitals.

On the national level, Grandis secured funding in 2005 for a conference on research training, which resulted in a new National Institutes of Health funding opportunity aimed at training ear, nose and throat physicians to conduct research.

She received a BA in biology and art history from Swarthmore College and an MD from Pitt.

MichalopoulosGeorge Michalopoulos is professor and chair in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.

He has been recognized for his contributions to understanding the pathways of growth factors leading the liver to regenerate. In 1989, his laboratory, in conjunction with two other laboratories, independently discovered Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), a protein that is a major driver of the regeneration of liver and other tissues. His laboratory subsequently identified the receptor for that protein.

Michalopoulos joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1991, also serving as associate vice chancellor for the Schools of the Health Sciences and as interim dean for the School of Medicine 1995-98.

He is co-founder of Kytaron, a local biotech company working on building small tissues in culture and capitalizing on several new lines of biotechnology, including some that were invested in and patented by him and his collaborators.

He continues his research in liver regeneration and the connection between growth regulation of normal liver and the genomically altered pathways seen in liver cancer. For his work, he received the Rous-Whipple award from the Society for Investigative Pathology and the Distinguished Research Award from the American Liver Foundation.

Michalopoulos received an MD from Athens University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in anatomic pathology and a PhD in oncology at the Wisconsin Medical Center in Madison.

PeitzmanAndrew Peitzman is the Mark M. Ravitch Professor of Surgery and vice chair for clinical services in the School of Medicine. His career has focused on all aspects of trauma care with extensive international involvement, particularly in Latin America.

In 1984, Peitzman started what has become one of the busiest trauma centers in the country at UPMC Presbyterian. He led the paradigm shift toward non-operative management of blunt abdominal injury and helped establish equipoise in the management of blunt splenic injury. In conjunction with liver surgeons at UPMC, Peitzman helped change the operative approach to major liver injury, with a threefold decrease in mortality.

Peitzman earned his MD at Pitt and completed his residency here. During his residency, he spent two years engaged in basic science research at Weill Cornell Medical College (formerly Medical Center).

ShroffSanjeev Shroff is professor and Gerald E. McGinnis Endowed Chair in Bioengineering in the Swanson School of Engineering; professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, and professor of clinical and translational science in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Additionally, he is a core faculty member in the Pitt-UPMC McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and an affiliated faculty member at the Magee-Womens Research Institute. Shroff also is associate chair of the Department of Bioengineering.

Shroff received his PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Penn.

His research interests involve studies of the cardiovascular system — including the evaluation of contractile and regulatory proteins and overall whole heart function; vascular stiffness and cardiovascular function, and large-scale mathematical simulations of biological systems for research, education and engineering design.

He is an elected fellow of the American Physiological Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Shroff received the 2007 Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence (University/Post-Secondary Educator). He also received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011.

shumanLarry Shuman is professor of industrial engineering and senior associate dean for academic affairs in the Swanson School of Engineering. He is recognized for his work in improving the engineering educational experience and for his studies of the ethical behavior of engineers and engineering managers.

In his administrative role, he is responsible primarily for supervising the school’s cooperative engineering education program and developing the international education program.

His assessment of engineering education outcomes (with five partner institutions) resulted in methodologies for assessing changes in student attitudes and predicting those students most likely to leave engineering; his assessment technique was adopted by a number of other engineering programs.

Shuman, who previously served as interim dean of the school, joined the industrial engineering department in 1969.

He received his PhD in operations research from Johns Hopkins University, and his BS in electrical engineering degree from the University of Cincinnati.

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