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Inside Pitt Research
Top Stories  

Pitt’s Second Annual Report of Research Features Advances in AI and More

Pitt Research 2022-2023 Annual Report


Last year, the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research created the first annual report of research with the landmark announcement that Pitt had surpassed the $1 billion mark in research expenditures. This year’s 70-plus page write-up—on paper, with features online—includes stories, data and connections that acknowledge Pitt’s leadership in the medical field. It also highlights our strengths in such areas as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, community engagement, and, maybe surprisingly, horror films.

“As you page through, you’ll see a special focus on AI,” says Rob A. Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research. “At Pitt, we see no competition between AI and people. Instead, our researchers incorporate the technology to improve human life and expand imaginations.”

Read the Annual Report >>


OIE Helps Build Pittsburgh's Life Science Economy

hands taking swab from a petri dish


The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) is working to build a regional life science economy brick by brick. It’s helping to connect Pitt’s unmatched research enterprise with commercial enterprises to create an ecosystem of businesses, jobs and a skilled workforce in southwestern Pennsylvania.


Wishing you a season of curiosity, discovery, and joy!
On Campus  

Call for Proposals for the Year of Discourse and Dialogue


Each year, the Office of the Provost determines a theme to align goals, initiatives and research activities at the University. The 2023-24 academic year has been designated the Year of Discourse and Dialogue. Faculty at Pitt are invited to submit proposals for research projects that align with this theme. Projects should address a challenge, need or opportunity; champion diversity, equity and inclusion; and create sustained impacts beyond the year. Recipients will be notified in April and will share their projects at a celebration ceremony. The next deadline for submissions to this year’s theme is Thursday, February 1, 2024.

Learn More >>


HPCwire Awards Honor Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and its collaborating institutions have earned two HPCwire Awards—marking the 14th winning year. The winner of “Best Use of HPC in Energy” used supercomputing to run simulations revealing how coal-like material can be converted to a graphite form for cleaner energy. The winner of “Best HPC in Industry” involves the Rayleigh–Bénard convection, with applications in predicting severe weather. HPCwire is a leading trade publication in the field of high-performance computing (HPC).



School of Social Work Appoints Associate Dean for Research

Jaime Booth, associate professor in the School of Social Work, has been named associate dean for research in the school. Booth is the principal investigator of the SPIN project, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which measures stress factors in neighborhoods and develops engaging interventions for youth. She is also the co-PI of the DATA project, funded by the National Science Foundation, which uses participatory design principles to create web-based tools used by youth to analyze big data and advocate for change. Before this appointment, she served as the Acting Associate Dean of Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the School of Social Work.

Researchers In The News  
Prototypes of concrete blocks created with AI from the iSMaRT Lab, led by Amir Alavi, assistant professor in the Swanson School

New York Times Feature: AI Projects in Civil Infrastructure

Amir Alavi, assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission through the University of Pittsburgh’s Impactful Resilient Infrastructure Science and Engineering Consortium, is using generative artificial intelligence (AI) to make bridges safer and highways quieter. The New York Times recently featured his projects, one of which was focused on creating lighter roadways made of metamaterials, and the other on developing highway walls that better absorb noise, each with the goal to improve America's civil infrastructure systems.

Read More >> via The New York Times

Rory A. Cooper, founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), University of Pittsburgh

Inventor Shares His Journey with the TODAY Show

Over the course of his career, Rory A. Cooper, founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), has approached his work as a problem solver, aiming to ease daily life challenges for people who are wheelchair dependent. In a brief tour of the labs and products created at HERL, Cooper demonstrated a few of his products and spoke with the TODAY Show about the inspiration for his achievements as an inventor, engineer and leader. Cooper is also Pitt’s assistant vice chancellor for research for STEM–health sciences.

Watch the Segment >> via the TODAY Show

Lingfei Wu

Nature Article: Remote Teams Lag Behind in Innovative Ideas

More and more teams are using technology to collaborate remotely. But researchers in Pitt’s School of Computing and Information have published a study showing that remote teams are less likely to integrate members’ knowledge to produce new, breakthrough ideas than similar teams who work together on-site. The study analyzed 20 million research articles and 4 million patent applications from the past half-century. The research team was composed of Yiling Lin, a student in the School of Computing and Information; Assistant Professor Lingfei Wu; and a colleague from the Oxford Internet Institute.

Learn More >> via the article in Nature

James P. Huguley

Just Discipline Project Decreases Suspension Rates

James P. Huguley, associate professor in the School of Social Work, created the Just Discipline Project six years ago at Pitt with the goal of employing restorative justice practices that focus on relationship-building techniques to reduce suspension rates and the number of referrals to the principal’s office in Allegheny County schools. As a direct result of the project, Huguley and his team have been able to decrease suspension rates by 30% and decrease referrals to the principal’s office by 28%, while focusing on growth and relationships with students.

Read More >> via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Vanitha Swaminathan

Branding Expert Comments on Ads, Consumer Boycotts

Vanitha Swaminathan, director of the Center for Branding in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, continues to engage in national conversations about marketing strategies as they relate to consumer behavior and business goals. With big brands like Anheuser-Busch and Target experiencing prolonged consumer boycotts due to LGBTQ advertising, Swaminathan challenges people to consider strategy as brands continuously aim to attract new and future audiences.

Read More >> via ABC News

Peipei Zhou

Engineer Aims to Make Building Computers More Sustainable

Peipei Zhou, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, received the first award from the National Science Foundation's Design for Environmental Sustainability in Computing award program. She and her team of researchers at Pitt and the University of Notre Dame will use the $2 million award to develop more sustainable ways to build computers. They aim to recycle semiconductor chips used in computers for the creation of new machines, which could reduce mining of rare elements.

Read More >> via the Pittsburgh Business-Times

Top Stories
students sitting on steps with a yellow and blue soundwave  

Diversity Forum 2024 and MLK Social Justice Week

Jan. 22 to 26 | Times vary (hybrid)

Diversity Forum 2024 will happen in concert with Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Week, with the theme of “Amplifying Our Voices Through Active Listening and Constructive Dialogue.” It builds on 2023-24 being designated “The Year of Discourse and Dialogue” at the University of Pittsburgh, ensuring ample opportunities to fully participate and engage. With a variety of working sessions and speaking events, participants will be challenged to not only listen but also respond and construct new ideas together.

Learn More and Register >>

Research Resources  

Generative AI for Faculty

With ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools stealing recent headlines, Pitt’s Research, Ethics and Society Initiative created a resource page with recorded past events and trainings and helpful articles for navigating the ever-changing landscape in technology. The resources include panel discussions and lectures that explore the collective, true cost of the technological infrastructure that overlays our daily lives.

Learn More >>


Required Trainings for All Investigators

All investigators or individuals involved in research activities at Pitt, as well as faculty mentors overseeing research projects, are required to complete two training modules: Responsible Conduct of Research and Conflict of Interest, with recertifications due every four years. Supplementary workshops related to responsible conduct of research on topics like navigating mentor/mentee responsibilities and collaborative research efforts are also offered throughout the year. Additional training may be required depending on research discipline, such as trainings for investigators who use animal or human subjects in their research programs.

Learn More >>

Top Stories


Samuel P. Hays  

The Father of Industrial Society

Pioneering environmental activist and social and political historian Samuel P. Hays joined the Pitt faculty. He went on to chair the Department of History until 1990, establishing, among other things, the Archives of Industrial Society, chronicling the environmental impact of industrial development. The archives are now available in the University Library System’s Digital Collections. An early adopter of statistical analyses, he helped add new rigor to environmental research. He chronicled conflicts over forest management in the United States in an influential book, "Wars in the Woods," which outlined the rise of what he calls “ecological forestry.” Lauded as a major shaper of Pitt’s Department of History, he was the department’s first University Distinguished Professor.