Eight Pitt People Win 2012 Carnegie Science Center Awards

Issue Date: 
February 6, 2012

Eight University of Pittsburgh people are recipients of the 2012 Carnegie Science Awards, given annually by the Carnegie Science Center to celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that work to improve lives through their commitment and contributions to science and technology in Western Pennsylvania. In addition, one organization led by a Pitt alumnus is an awardee, and one Pitt graduate student with a Pitt undergraduate degree earned an honorable mention.

The honorees were announced Feb. 2; they will be recognized in a formal ceremony at Carnegie Music Hall on May 11.

Advanced Manufacturing Award

Paul Ohodnicki (A&S ’05, ENGR ’05), senior research associate, PPG Industries. He and three PPG colleagues created, developed, and commercialized Solarban R100 glass, a novel solar-control low emissivity coated architectural glass.

Advanced Materials Award

Eric Beckman, Bevier Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering, and codirector of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

Beckman developed TissueGlu, a biodegradable surgical adhesive designed to complement traditional tissue suturing techniques in medicine.

University/Post-Secondary Educator Award

Melissa Bilec (ENGR ’97, ’07G), assistant professor of engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering; assistant director for education and outreach of Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation; and director of the Construction Management Program and Green Construction Project at Pitt.

Amy Landis, assistant professor of engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering.

Both Bilec and Landis promote sustainability as it relates to engineering issues in their research and the classroom. Bilec is currently conducting research on green building metrics with a team of students. Landis is performing biofuel research and environmental modeling.

Catalyst for Professional & Community Education Award

Evan Waxman, assistant professor of ophthalmology and vice chair of the medical and resident education program in Pitt’s School of Medicine. Waxman and Pitt’s ophthalmology residents donate their time to conduct clinics and provide comprehensive eye exams to people in need in Western Pennsylvania.

Emerging Female Scientist Award

Lillian Chong, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, who is an expert in computational biophysics, molecular dynamics simulations, and protein structure and function.   Chong’s lab is pursuing protein-related questions that cannot be addressed by traditional laboratory experiments, developing approaches for accurate computational analysis of protein structure and function.

Leadership in STEM Education Award

The Math and Science Collaborative, which provides innovation and evidencebased, regional approaches to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science from preschool through university levels. The collaborative was formed in 1994 at the Carnegie Science Center and supports all schools in 11 Southwestern Pennsylvania counties. Pitt alumnus Nancy Bunt (EDUC ‘74G, ’97G) is the collaborative’s program director.

Life Sciences Award

Joel Schuman, Eye and Ear Foundation Professor and chair of ophthalmology in the Pitt School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Eye Center.

A leading expert on glaucoma, Schuman has been recognized for making contributions to science and technology in Western Pennsylvania. Schuman was selected specifically for improving lives through his scientific innovations.

University/Post-Secondary Student Award

Douglas Nelson (A&S ’09, ENGR ’09), graduate teaching assistant in the University of Pittsburgh Simulation and Medical Technology R&D Center. Nelson’s research includes 3-D tracking technologies, gesture-based interfaces, and methods to incorporate intelligent tutoring systems into medical training.

University/Post-Secondary Student Honorable Mention

Sam Rothstein (ENGR ’11), PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering of Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Rothstein invented a more efficient method for designing time-release medications and championed its development through successful preclinical testing of several dosage forms. With these patent-pending formulations, a drug that would normally require daily doses could be taken safely just once a month or even once a year.