Three alumni were inducted into Pitt Public Health's Omicron Chapter of Delta Omega at the 2014 Alumni Awards dinner.
Delta Omega is an honorary society for graduate studies in public health that recognizes merit and encourages further excellence in, and devotion to, public health work.
This year's honorees included the following graduates:
Aaron Mendelsohn (EPI '96) is well-recognized in the field of pharmacoepidemiology. He consults for numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and has delivered multiple webinars and training courses to regulators and international audiences on conducting drug registries for benefit-risk evaluation of medicinal products. Prior to joining the Quintiles team as senior director of epidemiology, Mendelsohn headed the drug safety epidemiology and product risk management functions for MedImmune (Astra Zeneca) and MacroGenics. He is an alumnus of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), where he was assigned to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with the primary responsibility of conducting active surveillance for adverse drug events. In his role at the FDA, Mendelsohn earned an Outstanding Service Award for his efforts as part of the NSAID (Cox 2 inhibitors) Scientific Review Team. In addition to his experience in government and corporate settings, Mendelsohn has strong ties to academia, having served on the research faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, and presently holding adjunct appointments with George Washington University and Walden University. He has authored/co-authored approximately 100 peer-reviewed publications and scientific presentations at international and domestic meetings. Mendelsohn is an active member in several professional societies. He currently serves as section councilor for the epidemiology section of the American Public Health Association and previously chaired the section’s Programming Planning Committee.
Sean Rinella (EPI 0'10), is a professional research assistant with the Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado. A childhood cancer survivor, has continued to be motivated and has excelled both academically and professionally. Graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in biology and anthropology, he continued to develop his interests in science and public health. He graduated magna cum laude and with Phi Beta Kappa honors and also earned a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. Rinella graduated with an MPH in epidemiology from Pitt Public Health where he continued to pursue opportunities in cancer research, including investigating the androgen receptor CAG repeat polymorphism and risk of developing prostate cancer. He later was selected to receive an award from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation as part of the Cancer Research Summer Fellowship at the University of Colorado Cancer Center where he explored the use of novel therapeutic strategies for leukemia with Christopher Porter. Rinella was also selected for the prestigious Pediatric Research Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine/Children’s Hospital Colorado with Doug Graham. His contributions were included in a presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and published in Blood. Currently, he is working at the Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado, one of the largest diabetes institutes in the world. A professional research assistant, Sean is working with Janet Snell-Bergeon and Marian Rewers on the Coronary Artery Calcification in Type I Diabetes (CACTI) Study, focusing on another of his research interests, cardiovascular disease. Rinella continues to volunteer with various charitable organizations, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society. He hopes to continue to contribute to public health and research in cancer biology and cardiovascular disease.
Adam Straub (EOH 0'08) is assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In addition to holding the position of assistant professor in the Pitt School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Adam Straub is also a principal investigator in Pitt’s Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute. He received his BS from Allegheny College and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health under the tutelage of Aaron Barchowsky. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, Straub moved back to Pittsburgh where his laboratory focuses on understanding basic mechanisms controlling systemic blood pressure in physiology and disease and how these basic science discoveries can be applied to public health improvement. His work has translated into several publications in journals such as Nature, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Hepatology and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. He has been supported by a number of funding mechanisms including EPA STAR fellowship, University of Virginia Institutional T32 Training Grant, an NIH NRSA fellowship, and a NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. Straub has also received several honors including the Pappenheimer Post-doctoral Award, the 2010 Robert M. Berne Outstanding Trainee Award, and the American Heart Association Irvine H. Page Young Investigator Research Award.