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August 29, 2013

Pitt honors 10 faculty members

The University has awarded the title of Distinguished Professor to six faculty members and the title of Distinguished Service Professor to four others.

The new Distinguished Professors are: Derek C. Angus, Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Medicine; Ivet Bahar, Distinguished Professor of Computational and Systems Biology; Yuan Chang, Distinguished Professor of Pathology; Nancy E. Davidson, Distinguished Professor of Medicine; Patrick S. Moore, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and David H. Perlmutter, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics.

The new Distinguished Service Professors are: Jacqueline M. Dunbar-Jacob, Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing; Wishwa N. Kapoor, Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine; Loren H. Roth, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, and Richard Schulz, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry.

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 to the University community in support of its multifaceted teaching/research/service mission, as well as performance excellence in the faculty member’s department or 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.

AngusDerek C. Angus, the Mitchell P. Fink Chair in Critical Care Medicine in the School of Medicine, conducts research into the clinical, epidemiologic, and translational aspects of sepsis and the related syndromes of pneumonia, acute lung injury and multisystem organ failure, as well as the optimal delivery of acute care and intensive care services.

Angus has led multiple large National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies and published several hundred papers, including articles in JAMA, the Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.

He joined the Department of Anesthesiology in 1991. He has been chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine since 2009.

Ivet BaharIvet Bahar is the founding chair of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on structure-based modeling of biomolecular machinery and on understanding how complex macromolecules interact and execute their biological functions. The examination of these structure-based systems using quantitative tools has broad applicability in emerging fields, such as polypharmacology and personalized medicine.

In 2001, she joined Pitt as a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry.

Bahar’s work bridges multiple disciplines, including biophysics, computational biology, structural biology, engineering, cell biology, oncology and pharmacology. She has published more than 200 scientific articles and coauthored 13 book chapters. Her articles have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Chemical Biology, PLoS Computational Biology and Biophysics Journal.

She also is the associate director of the Drug Discovery Institute and co-director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s molecular and systems modeling core. She is the founding director of the Pitt/Carnegie Mellon joint PhD program in computational biology.

ChangYuanYuan Chang is recognized for her work in virology and cancer research. With her research collaborator, Patrick S. Moore, a Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, she has made two discoveries that have revolutionized the study of human tumor viruses and infectious diseases: the identification of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus as the cause of AIDS-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma and the identification of Merkel cell polyomavirus, or Merkel cell carcinoma. Chang’s research has appeared in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has resulted in 20 patents.

She joined Pitt as a faculty member in the Department of Pathology in 2002.

Chang has received several awards, including the Carnegie Life Sciences Award, an American Cancer Society Research Fellowship and the Paul Marks Prize from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center.

She has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Pathology and the Journal of Human Virology.

Nancy DavidsonNancy E. Davidson was recruited by Pitt in 2009 as the Hillman Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter, and associate vice chancellor for cancer research. She holds secondary appointments in pharmacology and chemical biology and in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Davidson was the first to demonstrate that the estrogen receptor gene, ESR1, is epigenetically regulated, and that the epigenetic silencing of this gene could account for the lack of estrogen receptors in a fraction of human breast cancers. Her research has been supported by NIH, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Susan Komen for the Cure.

Davidson has coauthored more than 280 articles in publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2011.

Davidson has been an elected member of the boards of directors of the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the two largest organizations for cancer researchers and oncology professionals.  She was president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2007-08.

MoorePatrickPatrick S. Moore joined Pitt in 2002 as a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

He and his collaborator, Distinguished Professor of Pathology Yuan Chang, have discovered two of the seven known human cancer viruses. In 1994, they discovered Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Moore and Chang reported on a new method to identify human cancer viruses in 2007 called digital transcriptome subtraction. The researchers used this method to isolate fragments of another human cancer virus, Merkel cell polyomavirus.

He is a member of the National Academy of Science. His research has been recognized with several international honors, including the Langmuir, Meyenburg, Koch, Mott and Stephenson prizes.

Moore has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and editorials.  He also holds 20 patents for his discoveries.

Perlmutter_DavidDavid H. Perlmutter is recognized as an authority on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children.

In the last eight years, Perlmutter has completed 12 NIH-funded research projects on which he served as principal investigator. He has published more than 170 articles in scientific and medical journals and books.

Perlmutter joined the University in 2001 as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the Vira I. Heinz Professor. He holds a secondary appointment in cell biology and is scientific director and physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital.

He was instrumental in the development and funding of the Biliary Atresia Research Consortium, a multicenter study of pediatric liver disease.

He has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.

dean_dunbarjacobsJacqueline M. Dunbar-Jacob’s research on patient compliance with treatment regimens has yielded information that influences the care of people with chronic illnesses as well as how clinical trials are used to examine issues of adherence.

Dunbar-Jacob joined the School of Nursing faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor. She has been dean of the school since 2001.

Dunbar-Jacob has won numerous accolades for her research. In 2010, she was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. She won the Pathfinder Distinguished Research Award, given by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

In 2001, she won the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award.

She is a past president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Additionally, she has served on the boards of the American Academy of Nursing and Society for Clinical Trials and chaired national committees for the American Psychological Association’s health psychology division and the American Heart Association.

Dunbar-Jacob has held numerous offices at the state and national levels, including serving as chair of the scientific advisory board of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

Kapoor_WishwaWishwa N. Kapoor was one of the early health services and outcomes researchers and now is an internationally recognized authority in this field.  In this capacity, he created the Center for Research on Health Care, now the premier site for health services investigators.

In another area, Kapoor’s work on syncope forms the fundamental building block of understanding of the evaluation and management of this condition, which is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness. His studies created the foundation for the guidelines on syncope, which are used by physicians throughout the world. Kapoor also worked with medical school faculty member Michael Fine on research into community-acquired pneumonia. As the leader of a large multicenter and multidisciplinary team, he redesigned the entire approach to the prevention, treatment and prognosis of this type of pneumonia.

In 1979, Kapoor joined the Department of Medicine faculty. He now is the Falk Professor of Medicine.

He serves as an elected member of both the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is the founding director of Pitt’s Institute for Clinical Research Education.

He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers in publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Roth_LorenLoren H. Roth’s research and writings have led to several contributions in mental health law related to civil commitment and the insanity defense that have influenced public policy formation. He has conducted collaborative research on informed consent and competency assessment in both research and psychiatric treatment. He has participated in the submission of numerous briefs to the United States Appellate Courts and to the Supreme Court on national mental health issues.

The American Psychiatric Association appointed Roth the psychiatry team leader of a delegation of psychiatrists, lawyers and human rights experts representing NIH and U.S. Department of State. The delegation was charged with investigating the status of political dissidents in Soviet psychiatric hospitals. The group concluded that Soviet political dissidents had been inappropriately hospitalized in violation of their human rights. Roth received a presidential commendation from the American Psychiatry Association for his efforts to improve human rights and eliminate psychiatry abuse of patients in the U.S.S.R.

Roth is the associate senior vice chancellor for clinical policy and planning for the Schools of the Health Sciences.

Richard SchulzRichard Schulz is a faculty member in psychiatry and director of the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). In addition, he is director of UCSUR’s gerontology program, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and director of the graduate certificate in gerontology program. He also serves as the associate director of the University’s Institute on Aging.

He came to Pitt in 1984 as director of the gerontology program and faculty member in psychiatry.

Schulz is recognized as a preeminent researcher on the effects of chronic stress exposure associated with family caregiving. He has made significant contributions to understanding the relationship between psychiatric and physical morbidity and chronic stress exposure, and he has been a leading contributor to theories of lifespan development. Schulz has conducted intervention trials designed to mitigate the negative health effects of caregiving and, through these trials, has explored the link between the process of caregiving and health outcomes.

He is the recipient of the Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America and the M. Powell Lawton Award from the American Psychological Association for his theoretical and applied contributions to the understanding of aging.

Schulz is the principal investigator on three federally funded grants and co-investigator on three other NIH awards. He has published more than 280 peer-reviewed articles and has authored 11 books.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 46 Issue 1

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