Pitt Welcomes New Faculty for Beginning of 2009-10 School Year

Issue Date: 
August 26, 2009

The University welcomes a number of new faculty this year who bring a tremendous breadth and diversity of experience as well as a shared commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and service. The profiles here offer an introductory sampling of those new faculty.

Jorge D. Abad,
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Swanson School of Engineering

Abad is an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he completed his PhD. Abad’s research interests are a combination of fundamental and applied topics. Fundamental topics include the mechanics of sediment transport, the high-resolution description of hydrodynamic and morphodynamics in subaerial and submarine meandering channels, the long-term prediction of river morphodynamics, the development of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for environmental flows, environmental hydrodynamics, and transport and mixing processes. Applied topics include river restoration, bank protection using in-stream structures, development of geographic information systems (GIS) tools for river management, and the development of CFD models for hydraulic structures (drop shafts and fish passage/canoe chutes). Abad’s research group seeks to understand the geophysical processes at both the laboratory and field scales.

Geoffrey C. Bowker,
School of Information Sciences

Bowker joins the University as a professor and senior scholar in cyberscholarship in the School of Information Sciences. Previously, he served as the executive director and the Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society in Santa Clara University, California, where he was a professor of communication and environmental studies. He has also served on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego. He earned his PhD in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Melbourne.

Bowker has authored or coauthored numerous journal articles and three books, including Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences with Susan Leigh Star (MIT Press, 1999) and Memory Practices in Science, 1830-1990 (MIT Press, 2006). He won the Ludwig Fleck Prize for Best Book in Science, Technology, and Society, as well as the American Society for Information Science and Technology’s Best Information Science Book Award for Memory Practices in Science.

Bowker’s research interests include cyberscholarship, cyberinfrastructure for the sciences, critical reading of databases, classification and its consequences, science and technology studies, memory practices, and the history of information practices. At Pitt, he will research the use of Web and other digital resources across a set of disciplines, working with scholars to uncover ways in which new forms of knowledge are being (or could be) generated by the creative use of these resources. For example, could intensive, long-term monitoring of ecosystems contribute to a new policy framework for sustainability? His work is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Hunter Clay Champion,
Department of Medicine,
School of Medicine

Champion joins the University as a professor of medicine and scientific director of translational vascular medicine for the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, as well as for the interdisciplinary Hemostasis and Vascular Biology Research Institute. Champion has been named director of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program.

Champion comes to Pitt from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor of medicine (cardiology) and director of the Bernard A. and Rebecca S. Bernard Laboratory for Fundamental Research in Preventative Cardiology. Champion received both his MD and PhD in cardiovascular pharmacology from the Tulane University School of Medicine. His research focuses on mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension and right-ventricular failure, the molecular determinants of pulmonary hypertension, and stem cell and gene therapy for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension and right-heart failure.

Robert L. Engelmeier,
Department of Prosthodontics,
School of Dental Medicine

Engelmeier is a professor and chair of the Department of Prosthodontics in the School of Dental Medicine. Previously, he directed the implant program and the graduate prosthodontic residency program in the University of Texas’ Dental Branch at Houston. Engelmeier, who received his DMD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, has served in numerous administrative and clinical positions in the military and in academia during the course of his career.

Engelmeier is a nationally recognized teacher, having received the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award in eight of the last 10 years at the University of Texas, and he has a distinguished record of publications in peer-reviewed journals. He has special expertise in implant research and in maxillofacial prosthodontics, which is the restoration of disfigured faces through prosthetics. He serves as the civilian national consultant for prosthodontics to the Surgeon General of the United States Air Force.

Mirit Eyal-Cohen,
School of Law

Eyal-Cohen joins the School of Law as an assistant professor. She will teach courses in taxation law, including federal income tax and a seminar on small-business taxation. Her expertise in small-business taxation will contribute to the law school’s new Innovation Practice Institute. (See story on page 3.)

Eyal-Cohen received the Bachelor of Law, Master of Law, and Master of Arts degrees from Tel Aviv University. In addition, she is completing a doctorate in law (SJD) at the UCLA School of Law. She comes to Pitt from Washington, D.C., where she was a judicial law clerk for Judge Mark V. Holmes on the U.S. Tax Court.

A scholar in the emerging field of tax history, Eyal-Cohen has had numerous works published, including “When American Small Businessmen Hit the Jackpot: Taxes, Politics and the History of Organizational Choice in the 1950s” in a forthcoming issue of Pittsburgh Tax Law Review and “Preventive Tax Policy—Chief Justice Roger J. Traynor’s Tax Philosophy” in the Hastings Law Journal.

Renã Sowell,
Department of Chemistry,
School of Arts and Sciences

Sowell comes to the University of Pittsburgh from the University of Kentucky, where she was a United Negro College Fund/Merck postdoctoral fellow. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Louisville and her PhD in analytical chemistry from Indiana University.

Sowell’s research group will be investigating the molecular basis of aging and immunosenescence in human and mammalian tissues using proteomics techniques. In addition, her laboratory is also working on the development of novel hybrid ion mobility-mass spectrometry instrumentation.”

Susan “Leigh” Star,
School of Information Sciences

Star is a professor and the Doreen E. Boyce Chair in Library and Information Science in the School of Information Sciences. She comes to Pitt from Santa Clara University in California, where she was a professor in the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. She has held academic positions at the University of California, Irvine; University of Caligari, Sardinia, Italy; University of California, San Diego; and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Star earned her PhD in sociology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Star is coauthor, with Geoffrey C. Bowker, of Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (MIT Press, 1999). She teaches information literacy, and her research interests include information worlds and naturalistic studies of information infrastructure; classification and standardization; sociology and the history of science, medicine, technology, and information systems; qualitative methods; feminist theory; and the sociology of work. Star will take a leadership role in the development of a research agenda and a revised curriculum on the changing role of libraries in the networked environment.

Chao-Hsing Yeh,
Department of Health Promotion and Development,
School of Nursing

Chao-Hsing Yeh is a professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Health Promotion and Development. Previously, Yeh was a professor in Chang Gung University’s Graduate School of Nursing in Taiwan. She earned her PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and has conducted research on the coping skills, quality of life, and symptom management for pediatric oncology patients. At Pitt, Yeh plans to continue her research in pediatric oncology and extend it to interventions for symptom management. She also will teach nursing research for undergraduate students.