Faculty Profiles & Research News

Pitt Public Health to Lead Creation of Global, Cloud-Based Data System for Infectious Diseases

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UPMC - Backed by a five-year, $6.7 million NIH grant, PHDL's Wilbert Van Panhuis plans to lead a culture shift in data-sharing rippling through scientific fields and harness it to improve global knowledge of infectious diseases.   

Beyond Clairton: Are we ready to really improve Pittsburgh's air? Wenzel comments.

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NEXT PITTSBURGH - While U.S. Steel has recently completed repairs and pledged to spend $1 billion to upgrade facilities, public outrage over violations hasn't been quieted. "I think the economic factors have outweighed the health factors," says EOH's Sally Wenzel. "I think that has been an issue with the Pittsburgh area for a while."   

Garland to participate as lawmakers review clean slate law

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WESA - BCHS's Richard Garland said that by expanding access to jobs, the clean slate law plays a crucial role in preventing low-level ex-convicts from committing future crimes. Before the law, he said, those individuals too often were defined by their criminal records when seeking work.   

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center strengthens the current and future public health workforce

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The Center for Public Health Practice's latest training center works to strengthen the public health workforce through collaboration with schools and agencies across a five-state region. The center meets workforce training needs on topics from project management and data analytics to the opioid epidemic. "Our ultimate goal is to improve the public's health by working even better   together," says Center Director Elizabeth Van Nostrand.   

Roberts talks to the LA Times about the measles outbreak

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LA TIMES - Los Angeles County officials dealing with a measles outbreak say they expect that more people will be diagnosed with the illness in the coming weeks, while the nation stares down what will like be its worst measles year in decades. As they search for outbreak's start, HPM and PHDL's Mark Roberts reminds us, "What matters is not the case that started it, what matters is how many people that one case infects."   

Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video)

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WPXI - Antivaxxers left negative business reviews for Kids First Pediatrics after they posted a social media video encouraging HPV vaccination. So, they teamed up with researchers at Pitt including Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '23) who found that we have to "...start thinking about how to deliver tailored messages that really get at all of these concerns we're seeing."   

Finegold talks about the importance of handling WES properly

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MD ALERT via REUTERS - Whole exome sequencing (WES) may identify genetic causes of idiopathic liver disease after an unrevealing conventional workup, researchers say. "WES is now broadly available in a wide range of genomics laboratories, both hospital-based and commercial. The interpretation of this data is profoundly challenging and absolutely requires special expertise within the laboratory."   

Yuan comments; State says no cancer cluster in Washington County school district

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THE ALLEGHENY FRONT - The Pennsylvania department of health has determined that there is no cancer cluster in a Washington County school district. The agency conducted the study after several cases of a rare bone cancer were reported there. EPI's Jian-Min Yuan told the Allegheny Front agreed that the state used appropriate methods.   

Albert’s research leads to evidence-based approval for Pennsylvania's Healthy Steps in Motion Falls Prevention Program

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Research by BCHS's Steven Albert put the HSIM falls-prevention program on the pre-approved list for future federal funding.  The study showed a significantly lower incidence of falls in older adults who completed program workshops than in a comparison group at the same sites. HSIM participation reduced falls by about 28 percent.  

Online simulation FRED developed by Pitt researchers used to simulate measles outbreak in Florida

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - FRED Measles Florida is just the latest simulator to shows how quickly measles can spread when vaccination rates dip too low. It models the state’s actual population and considers how people move about the region and interact. Beginning with a single case, it shows how the virus would spread over a nine month period.  

Angus’ Early Sepsis Indicator Receives 510(k) Clearance from FDA

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MANAGED CARE - HPM's Derek Angus contributed to a first-of-its-kind, hematology-based cellular biomarker that is designed to help emergency department physicians identify patients with sepsis or who are at increased risk of developing sepsis. Compared to the traditional method of reviewing white blood cell count alone, the Early Sepsis Indicator strengthens a clinician’s suspicion of sepsis by 43%.  

Songer: 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for Teaching and Dissemination

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Thomas Songer (EPI ’86, ’90) is an assistant professor and the director of doctoral programs in the Department of Epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. Consistently one of the most highly rated teachers in the school, he is the primary instructor for graduate courses in injury epidemiology and injury prevention and control as well as the undergraduate Introduction to Research and Introduction to Epidemiology classes. Since 2007, Songer has been th... 

King: 2019 Delta Omega Inductee

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Wendy King (EPI ’04) is associate professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. Her work is focused on the design, coordination, and analysis of multicenter cohort studies and randomized clinical trials. She is currently the principal investigator of the data coordinating center for three prospective cohort studies.   

Rosano: 2019 Delta Omega Inductee

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Caterina Rosano (EPI ’03) is a physician-scientist and neuroepidemiologist at the forefront internationally of investigating the mechanisms underlying physical and cognitive independence in older adults. Her publication record includes more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers that trace a logical and scientifically solid link between long-term exposure to cardiometabolic/lifestyle factors, integrity of selected brain networks, and maintenance... 

HUGEN's Beth Roman receives 2019 Craig Teaching Award

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Congratulations to HUGEN's Beth Roman on winning this year's award honoring faculty who have excelled in the teaching and mentoring of students. "Dr. Roman creates the best possible learning environment by making her classroom open to all questions, comments, and points of discussion. She actively seeks feedback from students in order to continually make improvements to the courses she teaches and is in charge of," said one nominator.   

New measles outbreak simulator demonstrates the importance of vaccines

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WGCU NEWS - With measles outbreaks on the rise and vaccination rates falling in some places, HPM and PHDL's Mark Roberts discusses our latest simluator, FRED Measles Florida shows how quickly this preventable disease could spread if vaccination rates were to drop by 15%, highlighting the importance of herd immunity.   

Tseng receives Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring

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Congratulations to BIOST's George Tseng on receiving the 2019 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring which annually recognizes up to four faculty members for outstanding mentoring of graduate students seeking a research doctorate degree. Vital to the University's academic mission, training the next generation of professional scholars is only accomplished by devoted faculty mentors who provide the intellectual and personal leadership to supp... 

Mailliard develops 'Swiss Army Knife' immunotherapy that kicks and kills HIV by exploiting a common virus

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - In a first on the quest to cure human immunodeficiency virus, IDM's Robbie Mailliard and colleagues developed an all-in-one immunotherapy approach that not only kicks HIV out of hiding in the immune system, but also kills it. The key lies in immune cells designed to recognize an entirely different virus.   

Albert comments on findings about aid-in-dying drugs

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REUTERS - "This is an important paper, if a state has legislation that allows terminally ill adults to request medication to hasten death, there needs to be a policy from each hospital on how they will respons. This is one of the first studies to address that," said BCHS Chair Steven Albert.   

Wenzel's new drug for people with severe asthma

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - EOH Chair Sally Wenzel was an investigator in the clinical trial for the new biologic drug dupilumab, marketed as Dupixent and approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration last fall. The drug is part of the effort to help patients with severe asthma who don’t get control by using their regular long-term control medications, such as inhaled corticosteriods and bronchodilator medication, to open up and reduce swel... 

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Research Videos

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Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video) 

Hoffman led research into anti-vaxxers on social media (video)

WPXI - Antivaxxers left negative business reviews for Kids First Pediatrics after they posted a social media video encouraging HPV vaccination. So, they teamed up with researchers at Pitt including Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19, '23) who found that we have to "...start thinking about how to deliver tailor... (04/29/2019)
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Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video) 

Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video)

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES  - Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, a team of scientists led by HuGen's Quasar Padiath has made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish throug... (02/19/2019)
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Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video) 

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video)

WPXI - Pitt researchers are looking to lessons learned about Zika when preparing for the possibility of Rift Valley Fever virus, noting that it's important to develop therapies and vaccines now. "We saw the ffects of Zika when it got into a larger population and so our work highlights the need to r... (02/11/2019)
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Hernandez's research adds to pharmaceutical industry's growing pressure over high price of drugs 

Hernandez's research adds to pharmaceutical industry's growing pressure over high price of drugs

FOX NEWS - "It's not about innovation, it's about inflation in existing products," explains Inmaculada Hernandez (HPM '16). "They are the same companies that operate in other countries and they don't show this behavior and that's because in other countries they are lucky to have this regulatory env... (01/24/2019)
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BCHS team tries new technique to share research with LGBTQ youth (video) 

BCHS team tries new technique to share research with LGBTQ youth (video)

Post-doctoral researcher Robert Coulter (BCHS '17), BCHS's Jessica Burke, and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) tried using a video approach to share highlights of Coulter's recent research on how welcoming school environments reduce drinking among both LGBT+ -identified students and their heterosexual count... (11/24/2018)
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Burke updates Pitt Public Health community on state of the opioid epidemic (VIDEO) 

Burke updates Pitt Public Health community on state of the opioid epidemic (VIDEO)

Dean Donald S. Burke's third annual address to the school on the state of the nation's opioid overdose epidemic looks at one of the most pressing issues facing our region. Burke highlights his team's research recently published in  Science  ( Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in t... (10/04/2018)
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