Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 4, 2016

People of the Times

The Rotary Club of Greensburg has named Carl Rossman, vice president for administrative affairs at Pitt-Greensburg, its Rotarian of the Year.

Rossman was recognized for his 15 years of service to the organization, where he was a member of the board of directors, president and a Paul Harris fellow, a designation that recognizes individuals who contribute a specified amount to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Rossman has chaired the Rotary Youth Leadership Award in District 7330 and has overseen the Greensburg club’s participation in the World Affairs Institution for Student Leaders, an annual collaborative project of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Rotary International that engages high school student leaders in a discussion of key issues in international affairs.

Terrance Hayes, faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English, is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for his book of poetry,“How to Be Drawn.”

The awards, presented in autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, are the only prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. They will be presented March 17.

Jenny Johnson, a lecturer in the Department of English and a faculty consultant in the Writing Center, has been named a 2016-17 Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder fellow by The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.

The Hodder fellowship provides artists and humanists in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to undertake significant new work. As a Hodder fellow, Johnson will begin work on her second book of poems.

Johnson is the recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, and her first collection of poems, “In Full Velvet,” will be published next year.

The German Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Brandenburg is awarding Nicholas Rescher, Department of Philosophy, its most distinguished prize, the Helmholtz Medal, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to philosophy. The award ceremony will take place in Berlin in June.

Dennis Galletta, faculty member in business administration and director of the doctoral program at the Katz Graduate School of Business, has received the LEO Award for Lifetime Exceptional Achievement in Information Systems from the Association for Information Systems.

School of Dental Medicine faculty member Anitha Potluri has been elected chair for Image Gently in Dentistry, the Alliance for Radiation in Pediatric Imaging.

This Image Gently steering committee is made up of full professors, medical radiologists and the CFO of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Image Gently has a worldwide campaign to encourage radiation safety in pediatric patients and is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency/Atoms for Peace organization to develop worldwide radiation protection teaching material.

Potluri will be one of the reviewers of the developed material as it relates to dental medicine.

Pharmacy faculty member Sandra L. Kane-Gill has been re-elected to the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) Council, the decision-making body regarding SCCM governance. Kane-Gill will begin her three-year term this month.

Criteria for candidates for SCCM Council are visionary leadership, a track record of hard work and productivity in service to SCCM and to critical care, and specific expertise (e.g., in education or finance) germane to the business operations of the society.

Kane-Gill is a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Five faculty members from the Swanson School of Engineering and the School of Medicine will be inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows April 4.

Xinyan Tracy Cui, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering, Department of Bioengineering.

Cui was elected for outstanding contributions to the research and development of neural interface technology, drug delivery and biosensors.

Steven R. Little, William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; faculty member in bioengineering, pharmaceutical sciences, immunology, ophthalmology and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine; University Honors College Faculty fellow.

Little was elected for exceptional contributions to the field of controlled release and the establishment of the nascent field of biomimetic drug delivery.

Robert M. Nishikawa, faculty member in the Department of Radiology.

Nishikawa was elected for outstanding contributions to the development, assessment of physical image quality, and translation of digital mammographic imaging and computer-aided detection.

Ronald K. Poropatich, faculty member, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine; executive director, Center for Military Medicine Research; senior adviser for telemedicine, UPMC; adjunct professor of medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

Poropatich was elected for outstanding contributions in the field of medical informatics with particular emphasis on mobile health and telemedicine in military/civilian settings.

James H-C. Wang, faculty member in orthopaedic surgery, bioengineering, mechanical engineering and materials science, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering.

Wang was elected for outstanding contributions to developing biotechnologies for biological research and discoveries that advance understanding and treatment of tendinopathy.

The College of Fellows is comprised of the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. The most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators and entrepreneurs comprise the College of Fellows.

School of Information Sciences faculty member Leanne Bowler, who also is the director of the Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology, has been awarded the 2016 Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) research grant for her study, “Mindful Makers in Libraries.” The “Mindful Makers” study looks at how question prompts can assist with the development of technical skills and thinking in maker space settings within libraries. The study “seeks to explore the intermediation between librarians and teens in maker spaces specifically in relation to self-reflective question prompts.”

ALISE is a nonprofit organization that serves as the intellectual home of university faculty in graduate programs in library and information science within North America.

In the School of Education, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean Alan Lesgold received the Voice of Advocacy Award from The Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents.

The forum, sponsored by Pitt’s School of Education, is among the oldest regional superintendent professional development organizations in the nation. It established the Voice of Advocacy Award in 2012 to “acknowledge exceptional leadership and advocacy” by practicing and retired administrators and educators, higher education faculty and others, consistent with the forum’s mission of being advocates for children and youth.

Two Pitt faculty members have been designated Rising Stars by the Association for Psychological Science (APS), which is the “primary professional organization of psychology researchers.”
Melissa Libertus, psychology, and Ming-Te Wang, education, are recognized as “outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions.”
Libertus works on a significant problem for children’s learning of mathematics by focusing on the nonsymbolic, approximate numerical system.

Wang researches factors in children’s lives that determine whether they work hard in school.

L. Dade Lunsford, the Lars Leksell Distinguished Professor of Neurological Surgery at the School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, is the winner of the American Association of Neurological Surgery’s 2016 Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery.

The award is bestowed on an AANS member for technical prowess and skill and/or innovation in the development of new procedures that have become part of the arsenal neurosurgeons use to treat disease or trauma.

The AANS cited Lunsford for his “ability to improve the delivery of neurosurgical care by enhancing safety and efficacy and by making the field of neurosurgery safer, more accessible, more efficient and more effective.” The award is one of the highest recognitions bestowed upon a neurosurgeon.

Lunsford is an internationally recognized authority on stereotactic surgery, radiosurgery and minimally invasive surgery. In 1987, he was responsible for bringing the Gamma Knife to then Presbyterian University Hospital, the first hospital in North America to offer the innovative, noninvasive, bloodless form of brain surgery.

In the nearly 30 years since its installation, more than 13,500 patients have undergone radiosurgery in the department’s Gamma Knife units. Lunsford’s team has published numerous books and more than 400 peer-reviewed outcome studies, and his team has trained more than 1,700 physicians and physicists from around the world in the role, methods and long-term outcomes of Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Rama K. Mallampalli, UPMC Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, will receive a Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award for his development of inhibitors that prevent lung transplantation rejection.

The award from Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, supports breakthrough work of physician-scientists whose discovery research shows promise of advancing the standard of care.
In addition to financial support (up to $700,000) awarded to each selected physician-scientist, the institute offers continual mentoring and expertise by leaders in the pharmaceutical industry charged with fostering pragmatic drug development.

Mentors with the institute’s Innovation Support Center offer guidance around target validation, commercial development and FDA regulatory strategy. While working with the institute, physician-scientists (and their institutions) retain the intellectual property rights for their work.

As part of the Year of the Humanities, the Provost’s office created a special initiative to support significant and innovative scholarship in the humanities and creative arts. Individuals or groups of faculty in the humanities were eligible to submit proposals for new scholarly projects or to advance existing efforts.

Winners of the Provost office’s special initiative to promote scholarly activities in humanities are:

• Principal investigator Shalani Ayyagari, Department of Music: “The Kamaicha: A Cultural History of a Musical Instrument.”

• Principal investigator Mazviita Chirimuuta, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, and co-investigator Mark W.D. Paterson, Department of Sociology: “Evolving Concepts of Body Sensation and Motor Control in the Neuroscience of Movement.”

• Principal investigator Angie Cruz, Department of English: “Once The Sun,” a novel and website.

• Principal investigator Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff, Department of English, Pitt-Johnstown: “Preserving the Memory of the World: A Study of Jataka Tales, Folktales, Local Myths and Legends in the Endangered Palm-Leaf Manuscripts From Mahachai Temple, Mahasarakham, Thailand.”

• Principal investigator Michael Meyer, Department of English: Nonfiction book on Benjamin Franklin.

• Principal investigator: Benjamin Miller, Department of English; co-investigators: Alison Langmead, Department of History of Art and Architecture and the School of Information Sciences; Matthew Lavin, Department of English; Annette Vee, Department of English: “Computational Approaches to Textual Networks.”

• Principal investigator Matthew Rosenblum, Department of Music: Music composition, “Ostatnia runda (Last Round).”

• Principal investigator Amy Williams, Department of Music: Original music composition.

The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages last month presented Nancy Condee with the 2015 AATSEEL Award for Distinguished Service. Condee is a faculty member and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She also is director of the Global Studies Center in the University Center for International Studies.

AATSEEL promotes the study and teaching of Slavic and East European languages, literatures and cultures on all levels, elementary through graduate school.


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

We welcome submissions from all areas of the University. Send information via email to:, by fax at 412/624-4579 or by campus mail to 308 Bellefield Hall.

For detailed submission guidelines, visit “Deadlines” page.

Leave a Reply