Awards & More

Issue Date: 
November 30, 2009

Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) awarded its annual Steven D. Manners Faculty Development Awards to Irina Murtazashvili, an economics professor, and Brian A. Primack, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics in Pitt’s School of Medicine. Murtazashvili’s award-winning project, “Heterogeneity of Family Motives: Altruism vs. Exchange in Intergenerational Transfers,” seeks to expand society’s understanding of the motives for monetary transfers between generations. Primack’s project, “Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking at the University of Pittsburgh: A Longitudinal Study,” will address some limitations of his earlier waterpipe-related studies, including low response rates and a lack of focus on first-year students, who seem to be the most impacted by hookah smoking. The Manners awards, which honor promising research and infrastructure projects on campus, were named in memory of Steven Manners, a sociologist who began working at UCSUR in 1974 and served as its assistant director from 1989 until his death in September 2000.

Alec Stewart, the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Chair and dean of the University of Pittsburgh Honors College, was selected for The Simon Award for Excellence in Education by the Kiwanis Club of Oakland. Stewart received the award for his outstanding contributions in teaching and administration. He was recognized during a reception at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children (WPSBC) in Oakland. The Kiwanis Club makes a donation in honor of the awardee to the charity of his or her choice, and the recipient of this year’s contribution was WPSBC.

Edward Krenzelok, the Dr. Gordon J. Vanscoy Chair of Pharmacy at Pitt and director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center and Drug Information Center at UPMC, received the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology Career Achievement Award. The award is presented to an Academy member in recognition of a lifetime of dedication to and distinction in the field of clinical toxicology.

Dexi Liu,  a professor in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, received a two-year $485,889 grant from the National Institutes of Health to assess the efficacy of a hydrodynamic procedure for liver gene delivery. The project is an extension of his work on the development of a computer-controlled gene-delivery system for gene therapy.

Michael Shullo, an assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, was selected to serve on the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation task force on heart transplantation. He will help to develop guidelines for immunosuppression and rejection management in heart transplant recipients.

Janice Pringle, a research assistant professor in Pitt’s School of Pharmacy, and William Johnjulio, chair, Department of Family Medicine UPMC Mercy, are coprincipal investigators on a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. The grant will be used to develop a statewide training program to educate medical residents about the importance of identifying substance issues within their patient populations. The initiative is a collaborative effort among several institutions, including UPMC.

Eileen R. Chasens, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, has been awarded a $416,625 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The two-year grant will support Chasens’ research on obstructive sleep apnea, sleepiness, and activity in diabetes management. Her study will examine whether treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure results in increased physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes.

Annette Duensing, an assistant professor of pathology in the School of Medicine, has received a $135,000 award from the GIST Cancer Research Fund to support her research with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). Duensing’s studies aim to better understand the biology of GIST responses to the drug Gleevec, as well as the mechanisms underlying drug resistance.

J. Wallis Marsh, professor of surgery at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, and Cathy Freehling, hepatology coordinator at the UPMC Center for Liver Disease, were honored by the Allegheny Division of the American Liver Foundation (ALF) for their commitment to liver health and disease prevention. They received the Tribute to Excellence Award, which is given to individuals and organizations demonstrating the highest level of dedication to ALF through advocacy and education.

The University of Pittsburgh Police Department (UPPD) was featured in the August issue of National Tactical Officers Association magazine. The article said the department “has been steadily innovative, aggressive, and proactive in campus law enforcement since the spring of 2005. As the third-largest police force in Allegheny County, with 74 commissioned police officers, it is primarily responsible for security on campus. The UPPD has put many security measures in place throughout the past years to ensure that the University and community” are aware that their safety and security are the department’s priority.