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September 3, 2009



Thomas Hales, Mellon Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded the 2009 Fulkerson Prize by the Mathematical Programming Society and the American Mathematical Society for the papers, “A Proof of the Kepler Conjecture” and “Sphere Packings, V. Pentahedral Prisms.”

The prize, which is awarded every three years, included a $1,500 cash award and recognition at the recent International Symposium on Mathematical Programming

Three School of Education faculty members recently were honored for their academic expertise.

• Nancy S. Elman, associate professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology in Education, was elected as a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society of Counseling Psychology Division 17. She has taught in the doctoral program in counseling psychology and the Department of Applied Developmental Psychology and was a faculty member in the School of Social Work’s family therapy certificate program.

• Roger D. Klein, associate professor in the School of Education’s Department of Psychology in Education, has received the APA 2009 Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Media Psychology.

A member of the APA’s Division of Media Psychology, Klein has worked as a freelance health reporter for WPXI-TV, CNBC and PBS.

Since 1999, he has produced a KQV 1410 AM series now called The Healthcare Quality Minute.

In 2003, Klein began working with Wadsworth Publishing, producing video segments to showcase the research labs of psychologists and neuroscientists from around the country. A total of 55 videos, which complement Wadsworth textbooks, have been published.

Among Klein’s honors are a 2001 Pitt Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the annual media award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association in 1982 and in 2007.

• Education Dean Alan Lesgold was appointed chair of the National Academies’ committee on the learning sciences: foundations and applications to adolescent and adult literacy. A National Research Council (NRC) Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education committee, the group will produce a consensus summary of the state of research relevant to adult and adolescent literacy.

The study is funded by the National Institute for Literacy in the U.S. Department of Education.

Lesgold is a national associate of the National Academies.

John F. Alcorn, a biologist in the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center at Children’s Hospital, has been awarded a 2009 Parker B. Francis Fellowship, awarded each year to scientists conducting pulmonology research.

Alcorn’s research focuses on uncovering the molecular pathway of pneumonia infections and defining novel therapeutic targets in the lung. His studies will address the role of helper T cells and their downstream signaling pathways involved in host defense, all of which may promote the resolution of pneumonia.

The three-year Parker B. Francis Fellowship provides $156,000 to each recipient in support of his or her research related to pulmonary disease and lung biology.

Adam Slivka, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, where he serves as the associate chief for clinical services, was honored as the National Pancreas Foundation 2009 Person of the Year. NPF is a nonprofit organization that supports research on diseases of the pancreas.

Slivka’s research interests include the clinical applications of gastrointestinal endoscopy for diagnosis and therapy, including the development and testing of new instrumentation to improve endoscopic therapy outcomes for pancreaticobiliary disease.

Chemistry professors Dennis Currancurran and Kenneth Jordan have been elected to the inaugural class of fellows of the American Chemical Society. The ACS fellows program was established in 2008. Unlike ACS national awards, the designation as fellow is conferred on those who have distinguished themselves in multiple areas, including the promotion of science, the profession and service to the American Chemical Society.

Curran is Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry and Bayer Professor who specializes in natural products total synthesis, new synthetic methods and stereochemistry. In 2008, Curran received the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry.jordan

Jordan is Distinguished Professor of Computational Chemistry and Director of the Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations whose specialties include reactions on surfaces; properties of molecular hydrogen-bonded, Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations, and electron-molecule interactions. Earlier this year, Jordan was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Both scholars have won the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award.

William P. Follansbee, professor of medicine and radiology at the School of Medicine and director of nuclear cardiology at the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, has been selected as the inaugural Master Clinician Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at the UPMC facility.FollansbeeWilliam

Named in his honor, the William P. Follansbee, MD, Master Clinician Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine was established to recognize a faculty member who is both an outstanding academic clinician and educator.

Follansbee has received many honors, including being named to every Pittsburgh Magazine “Top Doctors” list since 1992. He is a recipient of the American Heart Association’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award.

He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Physicians, the American Heart Association and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.

Stephen J. Bagnato, professor of pediatrics and psychology, received the 2008-2009 Penn State University School of Education Excellence in Education Alumni Award.Dr. Bagnato copy

The award is given to alumni who demonstrate national and international excellence in their research and service and a significant impact on best practices in the field of education and psychology in education.

Bagnato also was appointed to Gov. Edward Rendell’s Early Learning Council for Pennsylvania. The ELC is an executive body designed to advise the governor and the legislature on important issues regarding policy and practice in the fields of early care and education and early childhood intervention.

Bagnato also is director of the early childhood partnerships program in the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine. He holds a joint appointment in the applied developmental psychology program in the School of Education.


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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