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May 2, 2013

People of the Times

resnickLauren Resnick, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Class of 2013.

Resnick also is Distinguished University Professor of Learning Sciences and Education Policy, co-director of the Institute for Learning, senior scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education.

She is the 11th Pitt professor to be elected to the academy, whose members include scholars, scientists, writers, artists, musicians, philanthropists and civic and corporate leaders from around the globe. The 198 new members will be inducted Oct. 12.

She served as director of Pitt’s LRDC for 31 years. She is the founder and co-director of the Institute for Learning, which provides professional training services and research on learning and teaching advances to urban school districts across the nation. She also was the co-founder and co-director of the New Standards Project, which developed educational standards and assessments for school districts and governments.

Among Resnick’s honors are the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction Oeuvre Award for outstanding contributions to the science of learning and instruction, and two awards from the American Psychological Association: the Edward L. Thorndike Award for distinguished psychological contributions to education and the Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training Award.


schulz_richardRichard Schulz, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry and director of the University Center for Social and Urban Research, will receive the 2013 M. Powell Lawton Distinguished Contribution Award for Applied Gerontology at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association July 3.

The award, which includes a prize of $1,500, recognizes those who have improved the quality of life of older persons.


Francis Mulcahy, faculty member in chemistry at Pitt-Bradford, has received the 2013 Chairs’ Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

Yong-Zhuo Chen, chair of the Division of Physical and Computational Sciences and the one who nominated Mulcahy, said students consider him a very accessible instructor who always is available after class for questions dealing with homework or lab reports.

Mulcahy was chosen for the award by the chairpersons of Pitt-Bradford’s five academic divisions, who review letters of recommendation, student evaluations of teaching, syllabi and grade distribution. They also consider the teachers’ knowledge of subject matter and their advising and dedication in working with students beyond the classroom in activities such as internships and research projects.

Chen cited Mulcahy’s ability to maintain high evaluations from students whether the class had eight upper-level students or more than 60 students in an introductory lecture class.

Former student Jake Loree said that Mulcahy “has the ability to not only engage his students in a difficult subject, but also to keep the subject of chemistry fun.”

Chemistry program alumni also praised Mulcahy’s work outside the classroom, advising chemistry and pre-pharmacy majors, repairing lab equipment, supervising directed study and internships, and growing the chemistry program from fewer than 10 students five or six years ago to as many as 30 today.

Mulcahy has taught at Pitt-Bradford since 1989 and has served as director of the program since 1998. He teaches general, analytical and environmental chemistry.


The Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital has named Stephen Maricich and Timothy Sanders, both faculty members in pediatrics, as the first physician-scientists in its Mellon Scholars Program.

The program enables promising physician-scientists in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine.

Scholars are selected on the basis of work that is highly innovative, delivering new expertise to the biomedical research community; likely to lead to major breakthroughs, and capable of having a long-lasting impact on the practice of medicine.

Maricich is a child neurologist whose research focuses on understanding sensory system development. His work on the sense of touch is funded by NIH and centers on the development and function of Merkel cells, which are a critical component of touch receptors involved in the detection of object curvature shape and size. Deranged growth of these cells also is thought to cause a type of cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. Maricich’s lab also studies development of neurons in the brain that are important for hearing, and how disruptions of development lead to reorganization of connectivity and function of the auditory system.

Maricich graduated from the State University of New York-Buffalo and received his medical and doctoral degrees from Case Western Reserve University.

Sanders is a neonatologist who conducts research on the control of neural and limb development, having worked on molecular mechanisms of signaling and patterning within the vertebrate limb. One of the technologically advanced tools Sanders uses to study development is high-end cell imaging using real-time video-microscopy that can visualize organ development as it happens.

Sanders graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, received his medical degree from Weill Medical College of Cornell University and his doctorate from the University of Chicago.


HatfullGraham Hatfull, Eberly Family Professor of Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, is the recipient of the 2013 Carski Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. This recognition, given by the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes an exemplary educator in the field of microbiology.

Hatfull has been a member of  Pitt’s faculty since 1988, and served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, 2003-11.

During his tenure as chair, he helped spearhead a department-wide effort to dramatically increase undergraduate participation in course-based and laboratory research. He encourages many undergraduate students to assist his team in conducting research in his laboratory, where he studies molecular genetics of mycobacteria and bacteriophages related to a number of medical conditions.


holderGerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been elected to serve a two-year term as vice chair of the American Society for Engineering Education’s Engineering Deans Council Executive Board.

The American Society for Engineering Education develops policies and programs that enhance professional opportunities for engineering faculty members and promotes activities that support increased student enrollments in engineering disciplines.


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

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