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January 8, 2015

People of the Times

George A. Klinzing, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, recently received a Doctorate of Engineering honoris causa from the University of Newcastle in Australia.


Pathology faculty member Alka Palekar received the Award for Outstanding Teaching in Anatomic Pathology from the chief residents on behalf of the medical school’s pathology residents and fellows.


The Johnson Institute has announced the winner of this year’s Exemplary Leadership Award: Sandra Taylor, executive director of Sustainable Business International.

As a consultant to companies — mostly in the agriculture, food and beverage sectors — Taylor assists in developing effective corporate social responsibility strategies.

The award will be presented March 20.


Pitt-Bradford has named two new members to its advisory board and reappointed 21 members.

Newly elected to the board were Maurice Cashman and Chris Napoleon.

In addition, George Repchick, president of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association, was appointed an ex officio member of the board.

Cashman is mayor of Warren and an alumnus of Pitt, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. He went on to earn a Master of Business Administration in finance from Penn State.

Cashman is retired from the National Forge Co. He also was executive director of the Struthers Library Theatre.

Napoleon is the outgoing president of the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association and the owner of Napoleon Engineering Services, a bearing inspection, testing and manufacturing company in Olean, New York.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Pitt and a Master of Science in manufacturing management from Kettering University.

Repchick is co-owner and president of Saber Healthcare Group. He is the newly elected president of the PBAA.


Mark Collins, lecturer and environmental science coordinator in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Ampco-Pittsburgh Award for Excellence in Advising. This annual award recognizes Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences faculty members for outstanding academic advising of undergraduate students.

Mark Abbott, chair of the department, recommended Collins for the award: “Each student merits his full time and attention. He is truly available to all and will do his best to provide an answer. If he himself does not have the answer, he will follow through and put the student in touch with someone who does. It seems unlikely any one (advising) model could substitute for the simple but necessary one-on-one time that Mark spends with students. Therefore, I would characterize his advising model as one of being present and accountable.”


News from faculty members in the School of Education includes:

Anna Arlotta-Guerrero, Department of Psychology in Education, recently was elected to a committee for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She will serve on the committee for the “The Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success.”

The goal of this committee is to provide the institute with opportunities for ongoing engagement with individuals with a range of practice experience in relevant fields.

Kelliann Davis, Department of Health and Physical Activity, has achieved fellow status in the American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM fellowship recognizes high standards of professional service, professional achievement in the related disciplines of sports medicine via education, and a demonstrated interest in and/or contribution to the goals of sports medicine.

Marigold “Goldie” Edwards, emerita professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity, was elected to the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame.

Sean Kelly, Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, has received an outstanding reviewer award from the journal Sociology of Education. Kelly is a long-time reviewer for the journal, and served on the editorial board 2010-12.

Roger Klein, Department of Psychology in Education, has written, produced and narrated eight brief videos about psychology for Cengage Learning. Instructors who use Cengage textbooks for introductory psychology courses will have access to the videos for classroom purposes. The videos present research from institutions across the United States and are designed to also introduce undergraduates to prominent and up-and-coming psychologists.

Renee Rogers, Department of Health and Physical Activity, was selected as one of five winners of the Obesity Society’s eHealth/mHealth section poster competition.

Jennifer Lin Russell has been named a Carnegie Fellow for 2014-15 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Fellows are expected to participate in the foundation by contributing blog posts, offering presentations, and participating in the annual summit and fall offsite retreat.


Steven P. Levitan, the John A. Jurenko Professor of Computer Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, has been named an IEEE fellow. Levitan was recognized “for contributions to mixed-technology micro-systems education.”

The title of fellow, the highest grade of membership, is conferred by the IEEE board of directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest.

Levitan’s research interests include computer-aided design for optoelectronic computing systems consisting of very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI), optical mechanical electrical micro-systems (OMEM) and optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEIC). His recent research focus is on the design and implementation of non-Boolean parallel computing systems for computation, communication and storage.

Through its 400,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.


Gregory Reed, faculty member in electrical and computer engineering, has been appointed director of the Center for Energy in the Swanson school. Reed succeeds Brian Gleeson, who was named chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science last August.

Reed has served as the center’s interim director since August and as associate director since the center’s inception. He also serves as director of the school’s Electric Power Initiative and Power Systems Lab, and as director and technical lead of the Grid Technologies Collaborative for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

His research interests, teaching activities and related pursuits include advanced electric power grid and energy generation, transmission and distribution system technologies; power electronics and control technologies (FACTS and HVDC systems); micro-grids and DC infrastructure development; renewable energy systems and integration; smart grid technologies and applications, and energy storage.

Reed earned his PhD in electric power engineering at Pitt.

The Center for Energy is dedicated to improving energy technology development, including energy and electric power delivery and reliability, advanced materials for energy applications, carbon management and utilization, energy sustainability and efficiency, and energy resource diversification.


Pharmacy research associate Venkateswaran Chithambaram Pillai is the recipient of the 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Postdoctoral Fellow Award sponsored by Merck.

The AAPS Postdoctoral Fellow Awards are given annually to three individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their research work during a postdoctoral training period and show exceptional promise in future contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences. The award is based on the scientific merits of their abstract submission to the AAPS annual meeting and exposition, research accomplishments and recommendations of mentoring scientists.

Pillai’s research is focused on improving drug therapy in various patient populations by understanding the absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, safety and efficacy of drugs.

The specific population of patients that he has been working with includes those with HIV, organ transplantation, pregnancy and breast cancer. These patient populations use a large number of drugs and there is limited data on optimal use of various drugs in these populations.


Pharmacy and therapeutics faculty members Pamela L. Smithburger and Sandra Kane-Gill were awarded the 2015 Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)’s clinical pharmacy and pharmacology section’s Medication Safety Award for their project, “A Multicenter Evaluation of Off-Label Medication Use and Associated Adverse Drug Reactions in Adult Medical Intensive Care Units.”

This work evaluated the safety of using medication for non-FDA approved indications, doses, populations and routes of administration.

The clinical pharmacy and pharmacology section exists to further the education and promote the interest of SCCM members who have special interest and maintain activity in clinical pharmacy and pharmacology.

The section informs and advises the society on matters pertaining to clinical pharmacy and pharmacology and the practice of multiprofessional critical care, and works to foster the interest of pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists in critical care. In addition, the section encourages and supports research practices and teachings in clinical pharmacy and pharmacology as they relate to critical care.


Warren Shlomchik, a leading expert in investigating the immunologic mechanisms underlying graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), a common complication for some stem cell transplant patients, has been named director of stem cell transplantation and cell therapies for the University’s Division of Hematology-Oncology and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), a partner with UPMC CancerCenter, and UPCI’s scientific director of hematopoietic malignancies.

Shlomchik’s appointment is effective March 1. He also will serve as a faculty member in medicine and immunology at the School of Medicine.

He comes to Pittsburgh from Yale Cancer Center at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he had been on the senior faculty for 16 years.

At Pitt, Shlomchik will continue his research on GVHD mechanisms as well as work to develop novel immunologic-based and cell therapy approaches to circumvent and/or overcome the development of GVHD.

Shlomchik earned his medical degree at Penn. He completed his residency in internal medicine at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and was a fellow at Penn in hematology-oncology.


Chicago author and rapper Nathaniel Marshall has won the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press for his manuscript “Wild Hundreds.” Marshall described the collection as a “long love song to Chicago,” proudly noting he hails from the city’s South Side.

“Wild Hundreds” prevailed over 465 manuscripts submitted for the annual award. It will be published next fall. The final selection was made by Ed Ochester, editor of the Pitt Poetry Series.

Marshall said “Wild Hundreds” celebrates the people, culture and places often left out of the civic discourse and the travel guides. “It’s a book that displays the beauty of black survival and mourns the tragedy of black death.”

Marshall’s work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, The New Republic and Indiana Review.


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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