Awards & More

Issue Date: 
June 7, 2010

Amanda Meighan was awarded the 2010 Dick Thornburgh Prize for Public Service during the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s May 14 graduation ceremony. The prize, which includes a $4,000 award, was established on the 50th anniversary of Dick Thornburgh’s 1957 graduation from Pitt’s law school. It is given annually to a graduating Pitt law student who has chosen to enter public service and to emulate Thornburgh’s own public career, which includes service as the governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1979-87), attorney general of the United States (1988-91), and under-secretary-general at the United Nations (1992-93). Meighan will work as a contract specialist with the Veterans Health Administration in Pittsburgh. An emeritus member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Thornburgh received the LLB degree from Pitt’s School of Law, where he served as an editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.

The National Science Foundation awarded research grants to the following four Pitt faculty members.

• Mohammad Ataai, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, received a three-year, $348,426 grant for his project, “Collaborative Research: Maximizing Therapeutic DNA Process Productivity.” The research is to help advance the field of metabolic engineering.

• Daniel Bain, an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science, received a two-year, $166,469 grant for his project, “Early Career: Acquisition of an Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) for Research in Geochemical, Environmental, and Paleoenvironmental Geoscience.” The funds will support a spectrometer that will facilitate geochemical investigations by multiple faculty.

• Graham Hatfull, the chair and Eberly Family Professor of Biological Sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, received a $449,900 grant for his project, “The Population Dynamics of Forest Understory Invasion: Mechanistic Experiments With Generalist Herbivores, Natives, and Invaders.” The research will continue Hatfull’s research into the direct, indirect, and synergistic interactions of deer and the garlic mustard plant on the sustainability of forest native plant populations and the forest plant community as a whole.

• Lise Vesterlund, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences, received $276,640 grant for her project, “Charitable Giving and Cooperation.” The grant will support three research projects aimed at improving the understanding of why people give and how they can be encouraged to give more.

Joan C. Rogers, a professor and chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy in Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received the AOTA-AOTF Presidents’ Commendation Award, the highest award given by the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. It honors a respected leader within the profession who has made significant contributions to occupational therapy over a lifetime of service. The award has been given only 12 other times since its inception in 1990.

Mark Gladwin, chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Vascular Medicine Institute in Pitt’s School of Medicine, was elected to serve on the council of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). He is one of six council members who, together with ASCI’s top office holders, manages the organization and considers all nominations for membership. The ASCI elects a maximum of 80 new members annually for their research accomplishments.

Robert Stein, assistant director of the Small Business Development Center in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business’ Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE), was named a 2010 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for the seventh consecutive year. The MVP award is given to technical community leaders who share their expertise and provide feedback to help people enhance their use of technology. A nationally renowned innovator and advisor in the technology industry, Stein is also the manager of the Information Technology Program at IEE.

Sally Wenzel, a professor of medicine in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute, received the 2010 Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference in New Orleans. Wenzel has a long-standing interest in severe asthma and is one of four National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded investigators in the NIH-sponsored Severe Asthma Research Program.

Amir H. Faraji, who is pursuing a medical degree in Pitt’s School of Medicine and a PhD in chemistry through the joint Pitt-Carnegie Mellon University Medical Scientist Training Program, was selected to attend the June 27-July 2, 2010, Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting in Lindau, Germany. The annual gathering is an interdisciplinary meeting of up-and-coming researchers from around the globe and Nobel Laureates from the fields of physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry.

The following Pitt Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) faculty and staff members have been recognized recently for their accomplishments.

• Bernard Goldstein, a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and former dean of GSPH, testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security about an Institute of Medicine committee’s report, Biowatch and Public Health Surveillance: Evaluating Systems for the Early Detection of Biological Threats. Goldstein also was invited to serve on the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, which provides a forum for sharing views, information, and analyses related to sustainability.

• Meryl H. Karol, a professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, received the 2010 Ambassador of Toxicology Award from the Mid-Atlantic Society of Toxicology for advancing the understanding of the science of toxicology.

• Drew Michanowicz,
a staff member of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Vespucci Summer Institute on Geographic Information Science in Florence, Italy, in June.

Faculty and staff in Pitt’s schools of the health sciences have been recognized for the following accomplishments.

• Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, was elected to a three-year term on the governing council of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Section for Maternal and Child Health. The council is a 15-member body comprising CEOs and senior executives from women’s and children’s providers throughout the United States who advise the AHA on member service strategies, public policy issues, advocacy positions, and emerging issues.

• John Pacella,
an assistant professor of medicine in Pitt’s School of Medicine, received an American Heart Association Claude R. Joyner, M.D., Research Award for his research on coronary collateral blood vessels, the body’s natural bypasses to blocked arteries.

• Kareem Abu-Elmagd, director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, and a professor of surgery, in the School of Medicine, was named president-elect of the Intestinal Transplant Association. He will serve a two-year term, followed by a two-year term as president.

The Global Studies and African Studies Programs within Pitt’s University Center for International Studies received grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad program. The Global Studies Program’s “Understanding Islam, Through the Egyptian Lens” will provide the opportunity for secondary school teachers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to travel to Egypt to develop curricula related to the study of African, Middle Eastern, and Islamic studies. The African Studies Program’s “Summer Curriculum Development Project in Ghana” is part of the program’s agenda for outreach to K-12 schools in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas to promote African Studies in the curriculum. Fourteen teachers and administrators from South Hills school districts will be selected to participate in the June 30-July 28 trip to Ghana.