Pitt Names Six Distinguished Professors, Four Distinguished Service Professors

Issue Date: 
August 20, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh has honored 10 faculty members by naming six of them Distinguished Professors and four of them Distinguished Service Professors.

The honorees and their new titles are: Derek C. Angus, Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Medicine; Ivet Bahar, Distinguished Professor of Computational and Systems Biology; Yuan Chang, Distinguished Professor of Pathology; Nancy E. Davidson, Distinguished Professor of Medicine; Patrick S. Moore, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; and David H. Perlmutter, Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics.                               

The new Distinguished Service Professors are: Jacqueline M. Dunbar-Jacob, Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing; Wishwa N. Kapoor, Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine; Loren H. Roth, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry; and Richard Schulz, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry.

The rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field. The title of Distinguished Service Professor recognizes distinctive contributions and outstanding service to the University community in support of its multifaceted teaching/research/service mission, as well as performance excellence in the faculty member’s department or school, and national stature in his or her discipline or field.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointments based on the recommendations of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. The appointments of Bahar, Davidson, Dunbar-Jacob, and Roth were effective Aug. 1; Angus and Kapoor, July 1; Perlmutter and Schulz, April 1; and Chang and Moore, March 1, 2012.

Brief biographies of the honorees follow.

Derek C. AngusDerek C. Angus, the Mitchell P. Fink Chair in Critical Care Medicine within the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is internationally renowned for his research in the field of critical care medicine. His research interests incude clinical, epidemiologic, and translational aspects of sepsis and the related syndromes of pneumonia, acute lung injury, and multisystem organ failure, as well as the optimal delivery of acute care and intensive care services. 

An extremely prolific researcher, Angus has led multiple large NIH studies and published several hundred papers, including articles in leading journals such as JAMA, the Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Angus is a respected educator who has taught and mentored junior faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, residents, and medical students. He is a dynamic and an engaging speaker, and has given several hundred talks at virtually every major national or international congress related to critical care medicine.

Angus earned his medical degree from the University of Glasgow in 1984. After completing residency training in Internal Medicine in Glasgow, he worked in Asia with Medecins Sans Frontieres before moving to Pittsburgh, where he completed a fellowship in critical care medicine at Pitt. Pitt’s Department of Anesthesiology hired him as an assistant professor in 1991 and he rose to his current position as Chair of the Department of Critical Medicine in 2009. Angus has won numerous accolades for his work.

Ivet BaharIvet Bahar, founding chair of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology within Pitt’s School of Medicine, is an international leader in the fields of polymer chemistry and computational biology. Her research focuses on structure-based modeling of biomolecular machinery and on understanding how complex macromolecules interact and execute their biological functions. The examination of these structure-based systems using quantitative tools has broad applicability in emerging fields, such as polypharmacology and personalized medicine.

Bahar earned her PhD in physical chemistry from Istanbul Technical University in 1986, and subsequently served as a professor at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, for 15 years. In 2001, Pitt hired her as a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. Bahar’s work bridges multiple disciplines, including biophysics, computational biology, structural biology, engineering, cell biology, oncology, and pharmacology. She has published 217 scientific articles and coauthored 13 book chapters. Her articles have been published in leading scientific journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Chemical Biology, PLoS Computational Biology, and Biophysics Journal.

In addition to her current position at Pitt, she also serves as associate director of the Drug Discovery Institute and codirector of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Molecular and Systems Modeling Core. She is the founding director of the Carnegie Mellon/University of Pittsburgh Joint PhD Program in Computational Biology. In addition, she serves as teaching faculty in the Program in Integrative Molecular Biology and the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, among others. She has supervised and mentored postdoctoral fellows and graduate students and has given numerous seminars and invited lectures in the United States and abroad.

Yuan ChangYuan Chang is internationally recognized for her work in virology and cancer research. Her research collaborator is Patrick Moore, a Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Together, they have made two discoveries that have revolutionized the study of human tumor viruses and infectious diseases: first, the identification of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus as the cause of AIDS-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma; and second, the identification of Merkel cell polyomavirusin, or Merkel cell carcinoma. Chang’s research has appeared in 113 peer-reviewed articles and has resulted in 20 patents.

She earned her MD in 1987 from the University of Utah College of Medicine. She completed a residency in anatomic pathology at the University of California, San Francisco, in 1989 and a fellowship in neuropathology at the Stanford University Medical Center in 1991. Chang remained at Stanford as a clinical instructor before joining the faculty of Columbia University, which hired her in 1993 as an assistant professor of pathology. She was promoted to professor in 2000, and two years later, she joined Pitt as a professor in the Department of Pathology in 2002.

A distinguished educator, Chang has mentored more than 20 postdoctoral fellows and served on 13 thesis committees, including seven for which she served as thesis director. She has been a course lecturer in the Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Immunology, and Integrative Molecular Biology graduate programs as well as numerous medical student courses. Chang has received several awards, including the Carnegie Life Sciences Award in 2009, an American Cancer Society Research Fellowship in 2008, and the Paul Marks Prize from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research in 2003. Chang has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Pathology (1997-2006) and the Journal of Human Virology (1997-2001).

Nancy E. DavidsonNancy E. Davidson is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who was recruited by Pitt in 2009 as the Hillman Professor of Medicine in Pitt’s School of Medicine, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter, and associate vice chancellor for cancer research. She holds secondary appointments as professor of pharmacology and chemical biology and professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Davidson was the first to demonstrate that the estrogen receptor gene, ESR1, is epigenetically regulated, and that the epigenetic silencing of this gene could account for the lack of estrogen receptors in a fraction of human breast cancers. Her research has been supported by a portfolio of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan Komen for the Cure.

She earned her MD degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Subsequently, Davidson completed a medical oncology fellowship at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute.   Prior to joining Pitt, she served as director of the Breast Cancer Program and as the breast cancer research chair of oncology in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Davidson has coauthored more than 280 articles in the top journals of her field, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She has won several awards, including being elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 2011.

Davidson has served as an elected member of the boards of directors of the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the two largest organizations for cancer researchers and oncology professionals in the world.  She was president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology from 2007-2008. 

Patrick S. MoorePatrick S. Moore joined Pitt in 2002 when the University appointed him a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. As one of the world’s leading molecular virologists and epidemiologists, he and his collaborator, Distinguished Professor of Pathology Yuan Chang, have discovered two of the seven known human cancer viruses. In 1994, they discovered Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and developed tests to diagnose it. This virus causes the most common cancer among AIDS patients. Moore and Chang reported on a new method to identify human cancer viruses in 2007 called digital transcriptome subtraction. The researchers used this method to isolate fragments of another human cancer virus, Merkel cell polyomavirus, causing Merkel cell carcinoma. New diagnostic and treatment options already are emerging from their research.

Moore graduated from Westminster College, earned an MS in chemistry from Stanford University, and MD and MPhil degrees at the University of Utah in 1985. He also earned an MPH in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990. Between 1986 and 1993, Moore held a number of positions, including epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New York City Epidemiologist. He was a CDC team leader to control famine during the 1992 Somalian civil war. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, he joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1994, and became a professor of public health.

He is a member of the National Academy of Science and his research has been recognized with numerous international honors, including the Langmuir (1989), Meyenburg (1997), Koch (1998), Mott (2003), and Stephenson (2012) Prizes. Moore has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, reviews and editorials.  He also holds 20 patents for his discoveries.

David H. PerlmutterDavid H. Perlmutter is recognized internationally as an authority on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children. His work has had a profound impact on therapy in children with the deficiency as well as for children with other liver disorders.

Within the last eight years, Perlmutter has completed 12 NIH-funded research projects on which he served as principal investigator. He has published more than 170 articles in highly regarded scientific and medical journals and books.

Perlmutter received his MD degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine. After completing his residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he moved to Children’s Hospital, Boston, for clinical and research fellowships. Perlmutter began his academic career at Harvard Medical School, and in 1986 he was recruited to Washington University School of Medicine, where he became Chief of Gastroenterology and the Donald Strominger Professor of Pediatrics. He joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2001 as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the Vira I. Heinz Professor. He also holds a secondary appointment as professor of cell biology and is scientific director and physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

In work on the Advisory Board for Liver Research for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, he was instrumental in the development and funding of the Biliary Atresia Research Consortium, a multicenter study of pediatric liver disease. He has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. 

Under Perlmutter’s leadership, Pitt’s Department of Pediatrics has become one of the fastest growing research programs in the country, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has become a national leader in pediatric residency and subspecialty fellowship training.

Jacqueline M. Dunbar-JacobJacqueline M. Dunbar-Jacob is an accomplished researcher and scholar. She conducts research on patient compliance with treatment regimens. Her work has yielded information that influences the care of people with chronic illnesses as well as how clinical trials are used to examine issues of adherence.

Dunbar-Jacob earned her PhD in counseling psychology from Stanford University in 1977. She held professorships at both the University of Iowa and Stanford University before joining the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing in 1984 as an assistant professor. She was promoted to professor in 1993 and was appointed dean of the School of Nursing in 2001.

Dunbar-Jacob has won numerous accolades for her research. In 2010, she was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. She won the Pathfinder Distinguished Research Award, given by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research, in 2007. In 2001, the University of Pittsburgh awarded her its Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award. She has also played a large role in professional societies where her colleagues have elected her to numerous high-level positions. She is a past president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Additionally, she has served on the boards of the American Academy of Nursing and Society for Clinical Trials and chaired national committees for the American Psychological Association’s Health Psychology Division and the American Heart Association.

Dunbar-Jacob has held numerous offices at the state and national levels, including serving as chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap initiative. Closer to home, she has remained committed to nursing and health care at the local level.

Wishwa N. KapoorWishwa N. Kapoor has conducted seminal work in several areas. He was one of the early researchers in the field of health services and outcomes research and is now an internationally recognized authority in this field.  In this capacity, he created the Center for Research on Health Care, which is now the premier site for health services investigators at the University of Pittsburgh.

In another area, Kapoor’s work on syncope forms the fundamental building block of understanding of the evaluation and management of this condition, which is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness. His studies created the foundation for the guidelines on syncope, and this work is used by physicians throughout the world. Kapoor also worked with his mentee, Pitt Professor of Medicine Michael Fine, to do groundbreaking research on community-acquired pneumonia. As the leader of a large multicenter and multidisciplinary team, he redesigned the entire approach to the prevention, treatment, and prognosis of this type of pneumonia.

Kapoor earned his MD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975. He moved to Miami, where he completed postgraduate training at the University of Miami’s affiliated hospitals. In 1979, he was hired as an assistant professor of medicine by Pitt’s School of Medicine. He is now the Falk Professor of Medicine.

He serves as an elected member of both the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is the founding director of Pitt’s Institute for Clinical Research Education, which trains and mentors new generations of health care researchers interested in translating research from basic science to patient care and community practice. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers in journals, including the New England  Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Loren H. Roth’sLoren H. Roth research and writings, particularly those that pertain to his focus on psychiatry and the law, have led to several contributions in mental health law related to civil commitment and the insanity defense that have influenced public policy formation. He has conducted groundbreaking collaborative research on informed consent and competency assessment in both research and psychiatric treatment. He has participated in the submission of numerous briefs to the United States Appellate Courts and to the Supreme Court on national mental health issues.

As the former chief medical officer of UPMC, Roth oversaw system quality improvement and patient safety efforts.

Roth was selected by the American Psychiatric Association as the psychiatry team leader of a delegation of psychiatrists, lawyers, and human rights experts representing the NIH and U.S. Department of State. The delegation was charged with investigating the status of political dissidents in Soviet psychiatric hospitals. The group concluded that Soviet political dissidents had been inappropriately hospitalized in violation of their human rights. Roth received a Presidential Commendation from the American Psychiatry Association for his efforts to improve human rights and eliminate psychiatry abuse of patients in the USSR.

Roth earned his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH at Harvard School of Public Health. He completed an internship in internal medicine at the University Hospitals of Western Reserve University and his psychiatry residency at Yale University and Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to joining Pitt in 1974, Roth worked for two years at the National Institute of Mental Health. Currently, Roth is the associate senior vice chancellor for clinical policy and planning for Pitt schools of the health sciences.

Richard SchulzRichard Schulz is a professor of psychiatry and the director of Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (USCUR). In addition, he is director of UCSUR’s Gerontology Program, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program. He also serves as the associate director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging.

Schulz received his PhD degree in social psychology from Duke University in 1974. He began his academic career at Carnegie Mellon University in 1974, moved to Portland State University, and then was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 1984 to serve as director of the Gerontology Program and as an associate professor of psychiatry.

Schulz is a leading international social scientist in the field of aging. He is recognized as a preeminent researcher on the effects of chronic stress exposure associated with family caregiving. He has made significant contributions to understanding the relationship between psychiatric and physical morbidity and chronic stress exposure, and he has been a leading contributor to theories of lifespan development. Schulz has conducted successful intervention trials designed to mitigate the negative health effects of caregiving and, through these trials, has explored the link between the process of caregiving and health outcomes.

He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America and the M. Powell Lawton Award from the American Psychological Association for his theoretical and applied contributions to our understanding of aging.

Schulz is the principal investigator on three federally funded grants and coinvestigator on three additional National Institute of Health awards. He has published more than 280 peer-reviewed articles and has authored 11 books. He has mentored more than two dozen postgraduate students and junior faculty at the University of Pittsburgh.