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Inside Pitt Research
Top Stories  

Pitt Momentum Funds Awardees Share Four Project Stories

Ann Sinsheimer, Rachel Robertson, Cesar Escobar-Viera, Shannon Wanless

Each spring Pitt Research announces the Pitt Momentum Funds project team awardees in each of the Priming, Teaming and Scaling categories that support faculty and their collaborators’ research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. The next cycle of applications opens September 5, 2023. This year, select research teams had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes on their research projects and share their team's project story.

One Scaling team led by César Escobar-Viera, assistant professor of psychiatry, shares how they are working to better understand loneliness and perceived isolation in marginalized youth. Director of the Office of Child Development Shannon Wanless and her team are taking a whole-child approach to early childhood education interventions with their Scaling award.

Ann Sinsheimer, associate dean for equity and inclusive excellence, and her team are putting their Teaming award to work to develop methods for helping law students build psychosocial resilience. Associate Professor of Special Education Rachel E. Robertson and her team discuss how they will support mental and physical wellbeing for autistic adults through community-based, accessible yoga classes.

From special education to medicine and from law school to psychiatry, these teams share how the Pitt Momentum Funds program provides faculty the opportunity to collaborate strategically to advance their research interests while meeting genuine needs in local communities.

Read More >> 

Omid Fotuhi and Ann Sinsheimer
On Campus  

Michael Hatridge Named PQI Director

The Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI), a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University, has appointed Michael Hatridge, associate professor of physics, the new director of the institute. Earlier this year, Pitt invested $11.6 million in a quantum information core designed to attract students and industry to the Greater Pittsburgh Area and to increase interest in the benefits of quantum computing for several research efforts. “Quantum science and technology have the potential to revolutionize various fields, from computing and communication to sensing and materials science. I look forward to working with our exceptional faculty, researchers and students to push the boundaries of quantum research and innovation,” says Hatridge.



New Faculty Orientation Facilitates Subject-Specific Research Discussions

To kick off the New Faculty Orientation events hosted by the University Center for Teaching and Learning for the 2023-24 Academic Year, Pitt Research hosted two webinars to give new faculty an overview of the Pitt Research ecosystem with specific details on the individual research areas for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the Humanities & Social Sciences.

Next week, at the New Faculty Orientation Resource Fair on August 24, 2023, a University photographer will be available for taking faculty portraits from 10 to 11 a.m. Then, in September, there will be a formal Welcome to New Faculty reception hosted by Interim Provost Joseph McCarthy. Follow the link below to register for these future events and to review the recordings of each of the presentations made available to all new faculty including additional resources provided by the Office of Research, Health Sciences and the University Library Systems.


Researchers In The News  
Salah Al-Zaiti

New Tool Detects Heart Attacks Sooner with Machine Learning

Every minute counts during the onset of a heart attack, and researchers at Pitt developed a machine learning model to move faster in providing medical staff and doctors the quality data needed to make life-changing decisions at rapid speed. “With machine learning, you do not give rules to the computer, you give the data,” said Salah Al-Zaiti, lead author of the study and vice chair for research in the Pitt School of Nursing. “Eventually, the machine learning model learns the rules and how to reach from echocardiogram [data] to a certain conclusion. It may start learning rules that we do not know about and start identifying new insights.”

Read More >> via Fierce Healthcare

Two students at Pitt-Bradford CSI Camp

Pitt-Bradford’s CSI Camp Students Study Blood Splatters

A few weeks ago, Pitt-Bradford held its Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Camp for students entering grades 7-9. Led by Charles Choo, assistant professor of physics, and Robin Choo, assistant professor of biology, students worked with campus police throughout the week and learned to examine blood splatter, extract DNA from samples and analyze handwriting and ink on a note left at the fictitious scene.

Read More >> via The Bradford Era

Carla Ng

Carla Ng Maps Regional “Forever Chemicals” in Soil

While water is a well-established pathway for per- and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) to reach across city and state lines, these “forever chemicals” also seep into the air we breathe and the soil in which we garden and farm. Excluding areas near military facilities, landfills and other hotspots for chemical exposure, more direct PFAS exposure comes from household cleaning products, personal care items, textiles and food packaging, points out Carla Ng, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

“There are potentially thousands of PFAS in our environment that don’t get as much attention …” says Ng. “What are we going to do about those?”

With a grant from The Heinz Endowments, and as a Pitt Momentum Funds awardee, Ng works alongside her students to develop a map of industries associated with PFAS and for use to facilitate the sampling and testing of soils in the surrounding region for forever chemicals, and will include areas where PFAS-containing firefighting foams may have been used, as in the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment earlier this year.

Read More >> via Pittsburgh Quarterly

CB Bhattacharya

Marketing Professor Raises Sustainability Concerns

CB Bhattacharya, founder of Pitt’s Center for Sustainable Business, believes all consumers—and especially business professionals—need to understand the impact their products make in the world and on the balance sheet at every stage in the lifecycle of the product and as part of the global economy. Since the new Barbie movie premiered a few weeks ago, millions of hot pink and jeweled promotional materials have been sold and consumed around the world, and “one-off” outfits will soon clutter landfills. “Families who can’t pay for staples are being pushed to pay for this extravaganza. This is myopic and irresponsible marketing at its best, given our macro environment,” says Bhattacharya.

Read More >> via Adweek

Top Stories
Cathedral of Learning  

Fueling our Future: The Fourth Internal Funding Showcase

Thursday, Sept. 21 | 11:30 AM to 1 PM (In-person)

Each year faculty apply for internal funding through the Pitt Momentum Funds to undertake societal and global problems from multidisciplinary perspectives to develop competitive proposals, collaborate across schools and departments and ultimately secure follow-on funding. Following a panel of select winners, Momentum Funds awardees will be available to answer questions about their research in a poster session with light refreshments in the University Club. The Internal Funding Showcase is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research.

Learn More and Register >>

Videographer shooting film  

Generative AI and the Future of Creativity

Thursday, Aug. 24 | 1 PM (Virtual)

New tech doesn’t always stifle creativity. Learn how to incorporate generative artificial intelligence (AI) models into your research projects from Adobe with trainings on the Adobe products Firefly, Creative Cloud, and Stock. These tools can help scale productivity and create content safely and securely.

Learn More and Register >>

Research Resources  

Research of Impact: The CRC Annual Report

Research at Pitt has surpassed a landmark $1 billion in research expenditures for over two years, and the Center for Research Computing enables and consults on projects representing nearly one-third of the university’s external funding - over 254 active grants, supported by over $342 million in external funding, as published in CRC's 2022-23 Annual Report. In addition to news on funding, the Annual Report has highlights of training and workshops and the Advanced Research Computing #ARC2023 Symposium, along with a detailed overview of hardware and cybersecurity infrastructure upgrades.

Learn More >>


Pitt's Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pitt services business owners and sole proprietors around the western Pennsylvania region to write a business plan, connect with area entrepreneurs and chambers of commerce, and to help existing small businesses improve profitability. In 2022 alone, the SBDC helped just shy of 2,000 businesses work through supply chain disruptions and changing consumer expectations for digital experiences. Faculty are encouraged to consult with an SBDC consultant when planning for a small business venture or collaboration in a research or classroom context. SBDC is a Center of Excellence in Supply Chain and Digital Services in Pennsylvania.

Learn More >>

Top Stories


Wilfrid Sellars  

Philosopher Wilfrid Sellars and the Pittsburgh School

Not many cities have a school of philosophical thought named after them. Pittsburgh does—thanks to Wilfrid Sellars, who developed a philosophical approach that unites scientific reality with more intuitive ways of describing the world. Sellars’ approach became known as the “Pittsburgh School” after he arrived at Pitt in 1963, where he taught until his death in 1989. He began a legacy that has made Pitt’s department of philosophy nationally and globally recognized.