Student Profiles & News

Student News

Schuyler wins Bernard D. Goldstein Award for work on environmental exposures and asthma

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Alexander Schuyler (EOH '23) is the latest winner of the Bernard D. Goldstein Award in Environmental Health Disparities and Public Health Practice for his project entitled, Impact of redlining and environmental exposures on airway gene expression, oxidative homeostasis and asthma outcomes. One reviewer commented, "I am intrigued by the potential for this project to make an explicit connection between disparities and the historical practice of re... 

Covid vaccine misinformation target of Pitt study

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KDKA CBS NEWS — Fueled by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Pitt researchers are studying and combating false online information about vaccines. “Vaccines are often the victim of their own success,” said BCHS doctoral student Beth Hoffman, a research assistant at the Center for Research on Behavioral Health, Media and Technology. “I think one of the reasons we’ve seen a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment over the years is people are l... 

Public comments on RGGI move Pa. closer to slashing power plant carbon pollution

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EDF — Virtual public hearings show support for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a proven cap-and-invest program that curbs climate pollution from the power sector. EOH's Bernard Goldstein testified, “Pollution trading actually began with acid rain, and would not have occurred without Sen.John Heinz of Pa. The outcome of the acid rain program should reassure both industry & environmentalists that regulated market-based approaches ca... 

Lead in game meat a health risk for hunting families and food bank recipients

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THE ALLEGHENY FRONT - In an extensive podcast interview, MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21) discusses the risks of lead shot in hunted meat.  Scientists have found concentrations of lead more than 100 times the limit in the meat of lead shot carcasses, which can be particularly dangerous if the meat is ground and donated to food banks. PA has no inspection requirement for game meat donations.    

Lagged Association of Ambient Outdoor Air Pollutants with Asthma-Related Emergency Department Visits within the Pittsburgh Region

Brandy M. Byrwa-Hill, Arvind Venkat, Albert A. Presto, Judith R. Rager, Deborah Gentile, and Evelyn Talbott find an association between O 3 exposure in children and NO 2 and CO exposure in adults and asthma-related ED visits within the greater Pittsburgh area.   

Sundermann: 2020 Delta Omega Initiate

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Alexander Sundermann is a clinical research coordinator and a DrPH student in epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. As a doctoral student and clinical research coordinator, Sundermann works in the Microbial Genomic Epidemiology Laboratory (MiGEL). He and the MiGEL team are working with experts at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Carnegie Mellon University to build an Enhanced Detection System for Healthcare Associated Transmi... 

Study shows how HIV and cancer drugs accelerate cellular aging

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INSIDE LIVE CHANGING MEDICINE - Why do HIV patients tend to show premature signs of aging: cancer, cognitive diseases, osteoporosis? Is the virus itself is causing aging or the drugs being used to treat the virus? In a new study published in Nature Communications , doctoral student Samantha Sanford (EOH '21) found that HIV drugs hasten aging by blocking telomeres—the protective tips on the end of our chromosomes—from replenishing themselves. ... 

COVID-19 & Health Disparities

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As part of the Conversations about COVID-19 seminar series, EPI doctoral candidate Chantele Mitchell Miland , and Pitt's director of health sciences diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mario Browne (BCHS '05), discuss COVID-19 and health disparities.  

Staying social can boost healthy ‘gray matter’ in aging brains

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US NEWS (HealthDay News) — Older adults who get together with friends, volunteer, or go to classes have healthier brains, which could help them ward off dementia, according to a new study led by postdoc Cynthia Fox of EPI. Being socially engaged—even moderately—with at least one relative or friend activates parts of the brain needed to recognize familiar faces and emotions, make decisions, and feel rewarded. "We need to do more research on the d... 

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS -  Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year according to a recent article by MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21).  

PSI students volunteer for raccoon rabies baiting

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PSI students Matt Duespohl (IDM ‘20) and Annette Curry (IDM ’21) had the opportunity to volunteer for the annual oral rabies baiting that occurred the first week of August in southwestern Pennsylvania. Since 2001, ACHD has partnered with the USDA Wildlife Services each summer to distribute hundreds of thousands of oral raccoon rabies vaccine baits across Allegheny County by hand. To learn more about how the program impacts local wildlife from pr... 

Wang receives RAC graduate student fellowship from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

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Xinjun (David) Wang (BIOST ’22) has been awarded a graduate student fellowship from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He received a perfect review score in the application despite the strong competition this year. The fellowship will provide support for two years for him to work on his thesis “Machine Learning and Statistical Methods for Analyzing Single-cell Multi-omics Data.” Congratulations Xinjun!  

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Student Profiles

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Salunke accepted into Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Connecticut 

Salunke accepted into Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Connecticut

Graduating master's student in IDM's community practice track Rajeev Salunke (IDM '20) has been accepted into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Connecticut. Hear directly from Rajeev about his background, his experiences at Pitt Public Health, and his aspirations for the ... (04/28/2020)
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Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data 

Beth Hoffman, using systems science and social media data

Doctoral student Beth Hoffman (BCHS '19 '23) uses system science methods to analyze social media data related to health topics such as vaping and vaccination. Her master's thesis examining anti-vaccine sentiment on Facebook through social network analyses was featured by multiple media outlets incl... (03/05/2020)
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Jessica Frankeberger, modeling social-ecological contributions to postpartum opioid use 

Jessica Frankeberger, modeling social-ecological contributions to postpartum opioid use

In her dissertation work, doctoral student Jessica Frankeberger (BCHS '23) will use spatial analysis and modeling approaches to understand the social-ecological contexts that contribute to opioid use and related problems among postpartum women. (03/05/2020)
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Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health 

Jessica Thompson, using systems science in community health

Doctoral candidate Jessica Thompson (BCHS '21) is interested in community-engaged approaches, chronic disease prevention, rural and Appalachian women's health, mixed-methods research, and systems science approaches to community health research. (03/05/2020)
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Meet Ruishen Lyu, MS student in biostatistics 

Meet Ruishen Lyu, MS student in biostatistics

Just like with his interest in preventative medicine, Ruishen Lyu (BIOST MS '20) had two main reasons for choosing Pitt from among the other universities to which he was accepted. The first was the great reputation of a large research university like the University of Pittsburgh. The second was the... (01/29/2020)
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Students share practical advice on practica 

Students share practical advice on practica

A panel of six current students highlighted last week’s sixth annual Practicum and Internship Symposium, sharing their own experiences and tips on how to secure an internship. Perspectives were provided by faculty, staff, and administrators engaged in internship/practicum sites and advised students... (01/14/2020)
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Meet Ashika Mani, accelerated MS student in statistics and biostatistics 

Meet Ashika Mani, accelerated MS student in statistics and biostatistics

Ashika Mani (BIOST MS '21) joined Pitt Public Health this year via our Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Program. “It was a pretty natural choice as I was looking to jumpstart my graduate studies early,” she said. “I was almost done with my undergraduate requirements.” She felt like she had so much m... (12/11/2019)
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Meet Dominic DiSanto, MS student in health data science 

Meet Dominic DiSanto, MS student in health data science

“I’m especially excited about my health data science concentration. It’s a very dynamic skill set and one that translates well to all different kinds of problems," said Dominic DiSanto (BIOST MS '21). "The curriculum in general looks like a very applied curriculum and the idea of having a consultin... (12/11/2019)
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Meet Arvon Clemons, MS student in statistical and computational genomics 

Meet Arvon Clemons, MS student in statistical and computational genomics

Part of what led Arvon Clemons to Pitt Public Health was the city of Pittsburgh. He felt a connection to a city that was similar to his hometown of St. Louis. His academic background doesn’t feel as congruous with his current study. But ultimately, both the city and the program are turning out to b... (12/09/2019)
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Meet Lingyun Lyu, Pitt Biostats MS graduate and PhD candidate  

Meet Lingyun Lyu, Pitt Biostats MS graduate and PhD candidate

Lingyun Lyu (BIOST PhD '22) is a second-year Ph.D. student in Biostatistics at Pitt Public Health. She came to Pitt in 2016 and earned her M.S. in Biostatistics in 2018. She loved the master’s program and thinks that it’s really well-designed. In addition to many essential statistical theory and ap... (12/09/2019)