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August 31, 2006


John Markoff, professor of sociology, history and political science and chair of the Department of Sociology, has been named a University Professor of Sociology, effective Sept. 1. The University Professor title is given in recognition of eminence in several fields of study, transcending accomplishments in, and contributions to, a single discipline.

Markoff also is a research professor in Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies and Center for West European Studies, all within the University Center for International Studies.

He studies social movements, the history of democratization and comparative revolutions. He is the award-winning author of “The Abolition of Feudalism” and co-author of “Revolutionary Demands,” a book that explores the French Revolution. Markoff also has written extensively about Latin American politics and studies how social movements and democratization have become intertwined. He looks at how globalization will impact the future of democracy and how the meaning of democracy has been altered in social struggles.

Markoff received the 2005 Distinguished Sociologist Award from the Pennsylvania Sociological Society for his contributions to the literature on social movements. His books have won the Pinkney Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, the Sharlin Prize of the Social Science History Association and the Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award of the American Sociological Association. In 2001, he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award.

Markoff received a BA in physics from Columbia University and a PhD in sociology from Johns Hopkins University.


John T. Yates Jr., R.K. Mellon Professor of Chemistry and Physics, and director of the University Surface Science Center, has been named as the winner of the 2007 ACS Peter Debye Award in Theoretical or Experimental Physical Chemistry. The award marks the fifth time that Yates has been honored by the ACS during his career at Pitt.

Yates’s research group is engaged in a variety of surface chemistry studies on both single crystal and high area substrates. A number of new surface measurement techniques are being developed and used by the group for the study of molecular processes on metal, semiconductor and insulator surfaces.


Larry J. Shuman, professor of industrial engineering and associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Engineering, recently was recognized as one of 12 new fellows of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Founded in 1893, ASEE is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology.

Fellow member status is a distinction conferred upon those who have been members for at least 10 years and have made outstanding contributions to engineering or engineering technology education.

Shuman received a PhD in operations research from Johns Hopkins University in 1969, joining the Pitt industrial engineering department that same year. His primary areas of research are improving the engineering educational experience, applying operations research to health-delivery systems and studying the ethical behavior of engineers and engineering managers.

Shuman is the founding editor of the ASEE’s new journal Advances in Engineering Education. He previously served as co-editor of the Journal of the Society for Health Systems and was senior associate editor of the Journal of Engineering Education.

Shuman has directed several National Science Foundation-funded studies, including a redesign of Pitt’s freshman engineering experience, which resulted in methods for assessing changes in student attitudes and predicting those students most likely to leave engineering, and “The Ethical Behavior of Engineers: An Analysis of the Space Shuttle Program,” which examined how engineers perceive, articulate and resolve ethical dilemmas arising from complex, advanced technologies.

In the area of health delivery, Shuman has helped to design and simulate prehospital care systems and hospital subsystems, including diagnostic imaging, emergency departments, operating rooms and nurse scheduling and staffing.

Shuman has served as principal or co-principal investigator on more than 20 sponsored research projects funded by government agencies and private foundations.


Thomas E. Starzl, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine and director emeritus of the Starzl Institute, was awarded the American Society of Transplantation/Roche Ernest Hodge Memorial Award, the group’s highest honor.

Starzl was presented the award for his discoveries associated with immune tolerance and innovative surgical techniques. The award includes a plaque and $25,000 cash award.

Starzl performed the world’s first liver transplant in 1963 and the world’s first successful liver transplant in 1967, both at the University of Colorado. In 1980, he advanced the field further when he introduced the anti-rejection medications anti-lymphocyte globulin and cyclosporine. When, in 1981, Starzl joined the Pitt School of Medicine, he refined this approach, which soon became the accepted transplant regimen for patients with irreversible liver, kidney and heart failure.

Several other Starzl Institute faculty members also received awards for basic science research, presented at the AST’s 2006 World Transplant Conference, held this summer.

Adrian Morelli received a $10,000 AST/Wyeth Basic Science Career Development Award.

Geetha Chalasani received the American Society of Nephrology-AST John Merrill Transplant Research Scholar Award. The award is worth $100,000 annually and is a two-year award contingent upon satisfactory progress at the end of the first year.

Heth Roderick Turnquist received a 2006-2008 AST/Astellas Basic Science Fellowship Grant. The two-year grant totaling $80,000, will support Turnquist’s research work on “Inhibition of Chronic Rejection Through Immune Modulation by Recipient-Derived Rapamycin-Conditioned Myeloid DCs.” Turnquist also received an AST Trainee Travel Grant.

Masanori Abe, Yuk Yuen Lan and Timucin Taner all received Young Investigator Travel Awards of $1,000 each.


Freddie H. Fu, professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the School of Medicine, has been elected president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). Fu will serve as vice president this year, president-elect in 2007, and will be installed as president in July 2008.

AOSSM has a membership of more than 2,000 national and international leaders in sports medicine and focuses largely on research and education to improve patient care, physician knowledge and the overall quality of life for millions of people around the world.

Fu is known worldwide for his pioneering surgical techniques to treat sports-related injuries to the knee and shoulder and his extensive scientific and clinical research in the biomechanics of such injuries.


Willa M. Doswell, associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development at the School of Nursing, has been selected to serve as a member of the National Institutes of Health’s nursing science: children and families study section, Center for Scientific Review.

As a member of the study section, Doswell, who will serve a four-year term, will review grant applications submitted to NIH, make recommendations on those applications and conduct general reviews on the status of research in the section’s field of specialty. She was selected based on NIH criteria that included the quality of her research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.


Pitt neuroscientist Beatriz Luna has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE), the nation’s highest honor for scientists at the beginning of their research career. The White House reported that 56 scientists from across the country received the honor this year.

The PECASE is given to recognize and support researchers whose early work shows exceptional promise for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the 21st century. Awardees are nominated by one of eight federal departments, which provide the researchers with up to five years of funding to further their research. Luna was nominated by the National Institutes of Health.

Luna, who is associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, was recognized for her research in adolescent brain development, investigating how changes in the brain impact memory and decision-making capabilities.

Her current research, funded through the National Institute of Mental Health, seeks to establish a template for normal maturation of cognitive control that can be used to identify impairments in developmental psychopathologies, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders, that emerge in adolescence.


Melissa Somma, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics, was presented with the Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association during its annual meeting held this month.

Somma was recognized for her work in developing patient care practices in community-based pharmacies. The award, instituted by Pharmacists Mutual Companies, is designed to acknowledge young pharmacists in each state for individual excellence and outstanding contribution to their pharmacy association and community.


Randall Smith, School of Pharmacy senior associate dean, received the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA) Mortar and Pestle Award during PPA’s annual meeting this month. The award was given to recognize Smith’s outstanding service to PPA and to the profession of pharmacy.

Margie Snyder, School of Pharmacy community pharmacy practice resident, has been appointed to the 2006-07 ASHP New Practitioners Forum executive committee and will be chairing the education advisory group this year.


Raman Venkataramanan, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, has been elected as vice chair for the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and drug metabolism section of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Venkataramanan’s one-year term begins Nov. 1.


Michelle S. Garraux has been named assistant vice chancellor for University Marketing Communications (UMC), effective July 1.

Garraux came to Pitt in May 1993 as director of marketing for the offices of business and finance, supervising one employee and the production of a few hundred printed publications per year. Prior to her most recent promotion, she was executive director of UMC.

Garraux oversees the production of more than 5,000 print, advertising, video and web projects annually.


M. Pervaiz Rahman, a medical oncologist at UPMC Cancer Center, Steubenville, has been honored with the Leo H. Criep Excellence in Patient Care Award from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and UPMC Cancer Centers.

Rahman is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The Leo H. Criep award is given annually to a health care provider at UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers who exhibits a strong commitment to improving patient care.

Rahman received his initial training in medical oncology at The Royal Australian College in New Zealand. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at Georgetown University.


Kenton J. Zehr, an internationally renowned cardiac surgeon, has been appointed chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery and professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, and associate director of the Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute at UPMC.

Zehr specializes in mitral and aortic valve repair, aortic root reconstruction, thoracic aneurysm surgery and left ventricular assist device therapy for advanced heart failure. His research interests include development of cardiac surgical devices to improve minimally invasive techniques, and he has co-developed techniques for sutureless anastomoses and percutaneous mitral valve repair.

Prior to joining UPMC, Zehr was a cardiovascular surgeon on the faculty at the Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn.

Zehr received his undergraduate education at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., and his medical degree from Penn State University College of Medicine. He did his surgical residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Zehr is a member of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Society for Heart Valve Disease. He is a past member of the editorial board of the scientific journal Chest.


A children’s book project initiated by Linda Winkler, associate professor of anthropology and biology at the Titusville campus, and Katie Moran, a New York artist, was selected as the recipient of a 2006 International Rotary grant.

The project is designed to create two children’s books — “Nyumbani Mwa Grace” (“Grace’s Home”) and “Kukua Kwa Adelina” (“Adelina Grows Up”) — with local African cultural content and drawings of the local community life.

Winkler and Moran spent May and June in rural Tanzania in the Karagwe district developing the book project, where they were hosted by members of the Karagwe Rotary Chapter.

The grant will be matched with contributions from Rotary clubs in the United States and used to publish books and distribute them to the Karagwe community in Tanzania.

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