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September 25, 2014

People of the Times

Bernhard Kühn, a physician-scientist whose research focuses on heart failure, has been named a scholar within the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research and director of research for the Division of Cardiology at Children’s Hospital. He also is associate professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

Kühn is the third physician-scientist in the Mellon scholars program, which enables promising researchers in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine.

Kühn is a board-certified and practicing pediatric cardiologist whose research focuses on regenerative therapies for the heart. The long-term objective of his research is to provide novel approaches and molecular targets for the treatment of heart failure, primarily by studying the mechanisms of growth and regeneration of the myocardium, the muscle tissue of the heart.

Kühn earned his medical and doctoral degrees from Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he established an independent research lab in 2005.

In a landmark paper published in Cell, Kühn showed that heart muscle cells, previously thought to be incapable of proliferating, could be induced to divide with the growth factor neuregulin1. This research has opened up the possibility of using this growth factor to stimulate heart regeneration. In a follow-up study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Kühn lab showed that in humans, heart muscle cell proliferation is a mechanism of heart growth in infants and children. Together, these two papers provide the foundation for administering the growth factor to stimulate heart regeneration in pediatric patients with heart failure.

Mellon 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.

Stephen Maricich and Timothy Sanders were the first two physician-scientists recruited for the Mellon scholars program.

Established through a gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the institute is an incubator for research that challenges conventional wisdom and can lead to paradigm shifts in pediatric medicine. This kind of high-risk, high-impact investigation is not typically funded through government or conventional sources, placing Children’s Hospital in a unique group of pediatric research centers. Kolls’ goal is to recruit a total of five scholars.

Located within the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center on Children’s main campus, the institute’s faculty and programs are part of the School of Medicine.


At its opening meeting for the year, the Pitt-Bradford Staff Association presented Sharie Radzavich with the Staff Appreciation Award.


The Katz Graduate School of Business has given its 2014 JoAnn Hartz Excellence in Administrative Support Award to Charmaine Evans and Nicole Hudson. The award recognizes outstanding administrative assistants who go above and beyond expectations in performing daily work.


Dental medicine’s Paul Moore is this year’s recipient of the Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research from the American Dental Association.

The Ross award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in clinical investigations that advance diagnosis, treatment and prevention of craniofacial, oral and dental diseases.


The Association of Yale Alumni will honor Pitt law faculty member and Yale alumnus Michael J. Madison with the 2014 Yale Medal in November.

Inaugurated in 1952, the Yale Medal is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni and is conferred solely to recognize and honor outstanding individual service to Yale University.

Yale News indicated that Madison “has shown exceptional commitment to Yale. He has brought endless time, passion and insight to his Yale volunteer activities. He has been active in a range of Yale volunteer endeavors, in leadership roles in clubs in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh; as reunion co-chair for his class, and as an inspiring leader of the AYA Board of Governors.”


Nativio_DonnaDonna Nativio has been named a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The fellows program recognizes those nurse practitioner leaders who have made outstanding contributions to health care through clinical practice, research, education or policy.

Nativio is a faculty member in the School of Nursing and has been a certified pediatric nurse practitioner since 1968. In addition to her role as director of the school’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, she also is the coordinator of four of the nurse practitioner areas of concentration. She has been recognized for her pioneering work and leadership in the nurse practitioner movement and was honored as the Nurse of the Year by the Pennsylvania Nurses Association, the Nurse Practitioner of the Year by the American Nurses Association, and as an outstanding alumna by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing.


LaRueNursing faculty member Elizabeth LaRue has been selected for a Fulbright Award to Malawi.

LaRue will be creating and teaching introductory nursing informatics courses and seminars as well as developing new teleconferencing informatics curricula at the University of Malawi Kamuzu College of Nursing to train nursing and midwifery students in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

LaRue is the coordinator for the nursing informatics concentration in the MSN program.


Social work’s Valire Carr Copeland, associate dean for academic affairs, has been appointed to the editorial board of Health and Social Work, a journal of the National Association of Social Workers.


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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