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November 10, 2005


Two researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine have been recognized with outstanding achievement awards from NARSAD, the Mental Health Research Association. David A. Lewis and Takanori Hashimoto received their awards at NARSAD’s annual awards celebration Oct. 28 in New York.

Lewis, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the medical school and director of the Translational Neuroscience Program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, received the Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research. He was selected to receive the $50,000 award, traditionally given to a researcher who has made a significant contribution to the increased understanding of schizophrenia, based on his work in furthering the understanding of the origins and functional changes of schizophrenia. Lewis was the first to apply DNA micro-array technology successfully to the study of the disease, and his work has resulted in the current development of a novel drug treatment for the severe memory impairment that often occurs with the disease.

Hashimoto received the Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize of $40,000, which is awarded to a promising young investigator adjudged by the winner of the same year’s Lieber Prize. Lewis selected Hashimoto, a research assistant professor of psychiatry, for his work with inhibitory neurons in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia, which account for some of the behavior changes associated with the disease. Hashimoto’s research combines the study of post-mortem human brain tissue and mice genetically designed to mimic schizophrenic cognitive dysfunction.

Hashimoto’s findings have contributed to the development of a new therapeutic strategy for improving cognitive function in schizophrenia that is now being evaluated in humans.

NARSAD is the largest donor-supported philanthropy in the world dedicated to funding scientific research on psychiatric disorders. In addition to its annual prizes, NARSAD funds hundreds of research grants each year.


William E. Stanchina has been named chair of the engineering school’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The appointment was effective Oct. 1.

Stanchina has spent most of his professional career (1984-2005) at HRL Laboratories LLC in Malibu, Calif., where he most recently served as director of the microelectronics laboratory. At HRL, he and his research group were recognized as among the world’s leaders in InP hetero-atom bipolar transistor research.

Prior to working at HRL, Stanchina served on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, 1978-1984.

He holds both a master’s and a Ph.D. from UCLA.

Stanchina has authored or co-authored more than 60 publications, is a member of a number of professional societies and holds 16 patents.


The Institute of Medicine (IOM), an affiliate of the National Academies of Sciences, announced last month the election of 64 new members, including one Pitt professor.

David A. Brent, academic chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, was among those elected to membership.

Brent, who also holds the inaugural endowed chair in suicide studies at Pitt — the first such endowed chair in the United States — was named professor of psychiatry here in 1994. He also holds appointments as professor of pediatrics and professor of epidemiology.

Active members of IOM elect new members from among candidates chosen for major contributions to health and medicine or related fields. This year’s election raises the IOM total active membership to 1,461.


Pitt biostatistician Carol K. Redmond has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.

Redmond was elected an AAAS fellow for her “sustained contributions to public health through collaborative research in cancer treatment and for influential leadership in the statistical community through research, teaching and professional activities,” according to a letter from Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the AAAS journal Science.

This year’s AAAS fellows were announced in the Oct. 28 issue of Science, and they will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 18, during the 2006 AAAS annual meeting in St. Louis. In all, 376 members will be awarded this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Since the 1960s, Redmond, Distinguished Service Professor of Public Health, Graduate School of Public Health, has directed a series of industry-wide epidemiological studies of health risks in occupational settings. Most notable of these studies is her long-term investigations of early deaths among 70,000 steelworkers. These studies provided the primary epidemiologic data used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to set the standard for exposure to coke oven emissions and also provided information used to develop and refine statistical methods for subsequent risk-assessment studies.

In addition, as director of Pitt’s Biostatistical Center from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, Redmond oversaw the design, data collection and analysis of numerous large multi-center breast cancer treatment clinical trials. She also has a major interest in minority health research and has participated in studies looking at differences between African-American and Caucasian patients in cancer survival.


Kathleen Lindell and James Dauber, from UPMC’s Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease, recently received honors at the American Lung Association’s annual gala.

Lindell, a pulmonary clinical nurse specialist, is the first recipient of the Lung Champion Nurse Award, which is being given in an effort to increase awareness of the nursing professionals who serve people with lung disease. To be eligible for the award, applicants must serve as an effective advocate for patients and their families, demonstrate a commitment to consistent, pro-active clinical decision-making, be recognized as a role model in nursing and be a licensed R.N. or L.P.N.

Lindell has published several clinical articles to guide others in caring for interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients, has lectured on improving patient care at local and national forums and is the nursing program chair for the American Thoracic Society. She is conducting research on the treatment of depression in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, a form of ILD.

Prior to joining the Pitt staff, Lindell was the program director of the PENN Quit Smoking Program at the University of Pennsylvania where she developed smoking cessation programs for patients, hospital employees and the general public.

Dauber, medical director for the Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease, was honored for his contributions to the care and education of patients with chronic lung disease.

Dauber has been a professor of medicine and critical care anesthesiology at Pitt’s School of Medicine for 23 years and, prior to joining the Simmons center, was the medical director of pulmonary transplantation at UPMC.

Dauber is on the board of directors of the American Lung Association Mid-Atlantic (ALAM-A) region and serves as president of the Pennsylvania Thoracic Society, the professional arm of the ALAM-A. He has published more than 270 articles, abstracts and book chapters on pulmonary disorders and lung transplantation.

The Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease was founded in 2001 by Richard Simmons in memory of his wife, Dorothy, who suffered from the disease. The center was founded to provide state-of-the-art, comprehensive care for ILD patients, translate new understandings of the basic mechanisms of lung inflammation and fibrosis into new treatments and provide educational resources to patients and families.


A Pitt researcher and his student have been awarded prizes from the Foresight Nanotech Institute for their work in developing a “molecular Lego set” that will enable, for the first time, the quick manufacture of sturdy, predictable nanostructures.

Christian Schafmeister, assistant professor of chemistry at Pitt and a researcher in the University’s Institute of NanoScience and Engineering (INSE), was awarded the 2005 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental work, named in honor of pioneer physicist Richard Feynman.

Schafmeister’s student Christopher Levins, a doctoral candidate in chemistry, received the Foresight Distinguished Student Award for work that he did within the umbrella of Schafmeister’s research. They received the awards at the institute’s Oct. 26 banquet.

Schafmeister has designed 14 small molecules, each of which is about half a nanometer across and includes two removable molecular caps. Controlled chemical reactions strategically strip away the caps, causing the molecules to link together in predictable ways with pairs of stiff bonds — similar to Lego blocks. He has snapped together 3.6-nanometer rods and 1.8-nanometer crescents, and has developed software that can aid in the construction of a wide variety of shapes.

With this method of nanofabrication, which he calls “a completely new field,” Schafmeister is using his blocks to craft hinged, molecular traps that attract specific molecules, snap shut and light up, serving as perfect chemical sensors — just one of many possible uses.

Levins is working on one approach to constructing complex nanoscale devices by developing a systematic methodology for the design and synthesis of rigid macromolecular scaffolds.

The Foresight Nanotech Institute is a think tank and public interest organization focused on nanotechnology. Founded in 1986, the institute works to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. For more information on the institute, visit

The INSE is an integrated, multidisciplinary organization that brings coherence to the University’s research efforts and resources in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering.


The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Rory A. Cooper, Distinguished Professor and chair, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, was honored recently by Exceptional Parent magazine and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Disability Awareness Night at PNC Park.

During pre-game ceremonies Cooper was presented the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award for his longtime advocacy for the disabled and special needs community.

Cooper, who also is director of Human Engineering Research Laboratories, competed in the 25th National Wheelchair Games in Minneapolis this summer. Competing in the Class III Masters Division, Cooper placed first in the 100-yard individual medley swimming event, second in the 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke events and second in the manual chair slalom event.

Cooper was among some 500 athletes competing in the largest wheelchair sports event in the world.

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