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January 8, 2009


Three School of Medicine faculty members recently were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Bernie Devlin, associate professor of psychiatry and human genetics; George K. Michalopoulos, Maud L. Menten Professor and chair of pathology, and Herbert L. Needleman, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, were selected for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications.

Devlin, Michalopoulos and Needleman are among the 486 AAAS members who will be inducted as fellows on Feb. 14 during the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago.

Devlin was elected as a AAAS fellow as part of the association’s section on statistics for his novel statistical methods to detect disease-causing mutations and his research on the validity of DNA fingerprinting, IQ heritability and the cause of heritable paragangliomas, which are rare tumors of certain kinds of neuroendocrine tissues.

Michalopoulos was elected as a AAAS fellow as part of the section on medical sciences for his contributions to understanding the pathways of growth factors that lead the liver to regenerate.

Needleman was elected as a fellow as part of the section on neuroscience for his exemplary commitment to translating findings to public policy, particularly as it influences child health.

AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world. The tradition of AAAS fellowship began in 1874 and is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

The full list of this year’s AAAS fellows can be accessed in the AAAS news and notes section of the Dec. 19 journal Science.


Dawn Lundy Martin, assistant professor of English, has been awarded the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) Poetry Prize. Martin is among five poets to receive the AAAS award, which recognizes emerging poets of exceptional promise and distinguished achievement.

Martin is a founding member of the Black Took Collective, a group of experimental black poets; co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation, and co-editor of “The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism.” Her books include “The Morning Hour,” a collection of poems that was selected for the Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship, and “A Matter of Gathering/A Gathering of Matter,” which won the 2006 Cave Canem Book Prize.

Presented for the first time this year, the poetry prize was established to honor the memory of longtime AAAS fellow May Sarton, a poet, novelist and teacher who encouraged the work of young poets during her career.

The AAAS Poetry Prize carries a $2,000 honorarium. In addition, Martin’s work will be published in Daedalus, the academy’s journal.


Three staff members in the Swanson School of Engineering have been named as winners of the inaugural Swanson School Staff Awards. The awards were established this year by U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder to recognize staff who provide outstanding performance and service to the school and to highlight the accomplishments of staff members. Staff with two or more years of service at the school are eligible.

The staff award recipients are:

• Betty Victor, director of the Office of Administration, who manages the school’s fiscal activities, including the University budgets, gifts, research, endowments and cost centers. She also oversees faculty and staff personnel actions and undergraduate probation and dismissal, as well as legal and audit issues.

Victor has served in various capacities at the school for nearly 50 years. She also has served on various Pitt committees.

• Richard Colwell, who started working at the University in 1985 as an electronics technician. He currently is responsible for maintaining the computer systems, network and servers for several of the school’s departments, in addition to three state-of-the-art computer teaching labs and various other high-tech labs.

Colwell has served as president and vice president of the Staff Association Council and as a member of various University search committees.

• Brittany Guthrie, who started at Pitt in 2002. Despite the fact that the engineering undergraduate student body has doubled since she began working, Holder said, Guthrie has continued to maintain an extensive student database, develop solutions to students’ academic concerns and serve as web editor for her department, mechnical engineering and materials science.

She also is a member of the Staff Association Council.


William Brice, Pitt-Johnstown professor emeritus in geology and planetary science, recently received the Gerald M. and Sue T. Friedman History of Geology Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Society of America (GSA).

The Friedman award is given to an individual or individuals for exceptional service to the advancement of “our knowledge of the history of the geological sciences.”

Brice was on the UPJ faculty from 1971 to 2005, and has been a member of GSA for more than 20 years.

He also is a charter member of the History of Earth Sciences Society (HESS), serving as president-elect 2001-2003, and president 2003-2005. He continues to engage in HESS activities and publishes on topics of historical interest in the society’s journal, Earth Sciences History.

Brice was a founding member and inaugural president of the Petroleum History Institute and in 2003 he became editor, production manager and supervisor of publishing and chief contributor to Oil Industry History.

He has been a member in the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the Association for Women Geoscientists, where he served as a member of the education committee, 1993-1994.


University Professor Savio L-Y. Woo recently received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University Council of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The honor recognizes the contributions Woo has made to the advancement of musculoskeletal biomechanics and engineering sciences, especially in the area of novel orthopaedic sports medicine and rehabilitation treatments.

Woo is the founder and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the Swanson School of Engineering. He is a pioneer in bioengineering and is renowned for his almost 40 years of translational research in knee ligament healing and repair.

More recently, his work has focused on functional tissue engineering for ligament and tendon regeneration from the molecular to cellular to tissue and organ levels, as well as the use of robotic technology to examine the joint function.

Woo has been inducted into the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering and the Academia Sinica, only one of four individuals who have received all three of these honors.


Christina Graham, Pitt-Bradford’s director of student activities, has been named Outstanding Professional at the National Association for Campus Activities mid-America awards conference.

Graham joined Pitt-Bradford in 2002 and has demonstrated outstanding leadership at the regional campus, said Holly Spittler, associate dean of student affairs.

Spittler said, “She has a strong impact on students as she serves as the adviser of the Student Activities Council, the co-adviser of Student Government Association and coordinator of the fall new student orientation program.”

Under Graham’s leadership, SAC and SGA have flourished to the point that Pitt-Bradford was one of five colleges nominated for Campus Activities Magazine’s Campus of the Year for 2008.

Graham serves on the national advisory board of Campus Activities Magazine and was the regional conference coordinator of the 2004 NACA Mid America regional conference.


Three faculty at the iSchool — part of the School of Information Sciences — will be honored this month by the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) consortium, a collaborative distance education model that increases the quality, access and diversity of online education opportunities in library and information science.

Professors Mary Kay Biagini, Bernadette Callery and Ellen Detlefsen will receive 2008 awards for Excellence in Online Teaching, Best Practices. The awards are given to faculty nominated by WISE students from institutions other than the faculty member’s home institution. 

Biagini was nominated by students who took her Resources for Young Adults class in spring 2008. Her students noted that “her passion for working with young adults came across in many ways throughout the course, and it was clear that she keeps up with trends in the field.”

Callery was nominated by WISE students in her Museum Archives course, offered in summer 2008. The nomination noted that her “courses were extremely well designed, covering all aspects of the profession and presenting multiple points of view.”

Detlefsen was nominated by students who took her Health Sciences Resources and Services course in fall 2008, particularly for her efforts to be “aware of those of us who are virtual students, both mentioning our ‘presence’ to the class and including us with her style of lecturing.” 

The three faculty members are among seven educators honored by this Excellence in Teaching Award, offered annually by the WISE consortium.

The consortium was created to expand online course offerings, increasing the educational opportunities available to students at any of the participating WISE schools. WISE uses advanced online technology to enrich education and foster relationships among students, faculty and universities.


Several faculty in the Schools of the Health Sciences recently received awards or accolades.

Ian McGowan, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, has been named chair of the Food and Drug Administration’s antiviral drugs advisory committee.

Andrew B. Peitzman, Mark M. Ravitch professor and vice chair, and chief of general surgery in the School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery, recently was elected president-elect of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Kenneth McGaffin, assistant professor of medicine at the medical school and UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, has received the American Heart Association’s James A. Shaver, M.D., Research Award. The award is presented to the top-scoring project by a physician-scientist in western Pennsylvania.

Mary Beth Happ, associate professor in the Department of Acute/Tertiary Care at the School of Nursing, was selected as an American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Circle of Excellence Award recipient. The award recognizes excellent outcomes by individuals in the care of acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

Nursing school faculty members Yvette Conley, associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, and Janice Dorman, professor and associate dean for scientific and international affairs, received the President’s Award at the International Society of Nurses in Genetics’ recent conference. ISONG is a global nursing specialty organization dedicated to fostering the scientific and professional growth of nurses in human genetics and genomics.


Abhinav Humar, a nationally recognized expert in abdominal organ transplantation, has been appointed clinical director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and chief, Division of Transplantation in the Department of Surgery at UPMC.

Humar will oversee all clinical and clinical research activities of one of the world’s most active transplant programs. He is expected to assume the position by March.

“Dr. Humar is known as a gifted surgeon and a man of integrity and his credentials speak for themselves,” said Timothy R. Billiar, the George V. Foster professor of surgery and chair, Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine. “His presence at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute will enable us to continue providing the most advanced care possible to patients with end-stage organ failure. Additionally, his skills as a scholar in academic medicine will help bolster the mission of the Starzl Institute by fostering the continual improvement of the clinical, scientific and social aspects of transplantation to improve the lives of our patients.”

Humar currently is medical director of the liver and living donor programs at the Transplant Center of the University of Minnesota Medical Center and professor of surgery in the Division of Transplantation Surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, said: “With Dr. Humar joining an already outstanding transplant team, the Starzl Institute will continue its distinguished tradition of leading the field in research and clinical advances that improve treatment not only for our own patients but for transplant patients everywhere.”

Humar received his medical degree from the University of Ottawa. He completed his general surgical residency at the University of Ottawa and later a surgical fellowship in transplantation at the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty at the University of Ottawa School of Medicine in 1998. A year later, he became the service director in the Division of Transplantation at the University of Minnesota and, in 2000, he was appointed medical director for the living donor transplant program. He also serves as a staff physician at Fairview University Medical Center and the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis.

His areas of research include partial liver transplants and studies of hepatic regeneration, clinical outcome studies in kidney, liver and pancreas transplants, cytomegalovirus disease in transplant recipients, outcomes in pediatric kidney and liver transplants and small bowel transplantation. His research pursuits have resulted in numerous National Institutes of Health and multi-year pharmaceutical grants.


Sharon P. Smith, president of Pitt-Greensburg, has been appointed to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation board of directors. The Securities and Exchange Commission has accepted Smith to serve as a public board member of the foundation.

FINRA is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA oversees nearly 5,000 brokerage firms, about 174,000 branch offices and approximately 677,500 registered securities representatives. Created in July 2007 through the consolidation of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the member regulation, enforcement and arbitration functions of the New York Stock Exchange, FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulations and complementary and technology-based services.

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation provides investors with high-quality information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. To further this mission, the foundation awards grants to fund educational programs and research aimed at segments of the investing public who could benefit from additional resources.

Smith earned her PhD in economics from Rutgers University and also is a professor of economics at Pitt-Greensburg. After working as an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Smith worked for American Telephone and Telegraph Co. and later as visiting senior research economist at Princeton University.

Most recently, she served in several senior administration and academic positions at Fordham University schools of business and business administration and the National University System in LaJolla, Calif.

Smith also has experience on the boards of the NASD, the Security Traders Association and its foundation and the NASDAQ Stock Market Educational Foundation, among others.


Edward P. Krenzelok has been named the inaugural Dr. Gordon J. Vanscoy Chair of Pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy. Krenzelok is director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center and Drug Information Center at UPMC and is professor of pharmacy and pediatrics at the University.

A $1.5 million endowment was established by Gordon J. Vanscoy, chair and chief executive officer of University Pharmacotherapy Associates, associate dean of business innovation and associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at Pitt’s pharmacy school.

Krenzelok plans to focus his efforts on promoting the importance of poison and drug resources throughout the University.

Krenzelok is board-certified in clinical toxicology by the American Board of Applied Toxicology and is a fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology. He was chair of the U.S. pharmacopeia clinical toxicology and drug expert committee, a former member of the Food and Drug Administration nonprescription drug advisory committee and past president of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology.

Currently, Krenzelok serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.


Bennett Van Houten has joined the School of Medicine as the Richard M. Cyert Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology. He also will direct the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s molecular and cell biology program.

Van Houten came to Pitt from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, where he held appointments in both the intramural and extramural programs. He is an expert in the mechanisms of DNA damage and repair.

Van Houten is a five-time National Institutes of Health Award of Merit winner and an NIH Director’s Award recipient.


Mark Gladwin has been named director of the newly created Hemostasis and Vascular Biology Research Institute. The institute will study disorders of the blood and blood vessels. It was created with grants from the Institute for Transfusion Medicine and the Hemophilia Center of Western Pennsylvania.

Gladwin, who also was named professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, previously worked at NIH. His research interest lies in nitrites and how they and other molecules control blood flow and vascular function.


James G. Terwilliger, a veteran health care professional with more than 20 years of management experience, has been named executive director and vice president of UPMC Cancer Centers. Terwilliger previously served as vice president of operations at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.

In his new role, Terwilliger is responsible for all clinical administration, operations and financial matters for UPMC Cancer Centers and affiliates. He also will work with Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC’s International and Commercial Services Division, on the international and commercial operations of the cancer centers, and Nancy Davidson, recently appointed as director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.


Nancy Tannery, Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) associate director for user services, has been named a National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries leadership fellow.

This one-year program focuses on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries. Five fellows are selected each year.

Tannery has worked at HSLS since 1995, beginning as a reference librarian at Falk Library. In her role as associate director, she oversees all HSLS instructional programs, reference and access services, as well as specialized information service areas such as history of medicine and molecular biology.


Several members of the Pitt community were named among 50 Men of Excellence in 2008 by the New Pittsburgh Courier.

The Pitt awardees were: trustee William E. Strickland Jr., president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp., in the social services category; Christopher Allen, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and cardiologist at UPMC Shadyside, in the health care category; Larry Davis, dean of the School of Social Work, Robert Hill, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, Clyde B. Jones III, president of the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, and John M. Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for Community Relations, in the education category, and Alonzo Webb, head coach of the women’s and men’s track and cross country teams, in the sports category.


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.

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