In the news

Pitt's Dean of Engineering Gerald Holder to Return to Faculty in 2018

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 17 May 2017

Marking the culmination of more than two decades of leadership, Gerald D. Holder, the U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering, has announced his intention to vacate his position and return to the faculty in the fall of 2018. Holder, a distinguished service professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, has served as dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and been a member of the faculty since 1979.

Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Under Jerry’s leadership, our Swanson School has seen record enrollment levels, and total giving to the school has topped $250 million. The school has also expanded academically to support new knowledge in areas like energy and sustainability — and also new partnerships, including a joint engineering program with China’s Sichuan University. And while I will certainly miss Jerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said.

Paul R. Cohen Named Founding Dean of School of Computing and Information at Pitt

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 8 May 2017

Paul R. Cohen is the founding dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. The first new school or college established at Pitt since 1995, the School of Computing and Information is a multidisciplinary environment that supports discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by data and technology. It is a key element in Pitt’s strategy to support research in data and computation-intensive fields across the University. The school will begin operations on July 1 and will enroll its first students in the fall 2017 term.Cohen’s deanship begins on Aug. 1, 2017.

Paul is a visionary leader who will quickly drive our School of Computing and Information to the forefront of academic excellence,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “He is also an expert collaborator and a leading authority on utilizing data, technology and information in new ways to solve some of the most challenging and complex issues facing society today.”

Peng Liu to be Among Participants of the 2017 NIGMS Mentoring Workshop

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 3 May 2017

Peng Liu has been selected to participate in the 2017 Mentoring Workshop that will take place in Kansas City, MO, June 6-8, 2017.

The Mentoring Workshop for New Faculty in Organic and Biological Chemistry has been held annually and sponsored by National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) since 2005. Currently the workshop has trained around 330 new investigators. The workshop aims to mentor assistant professors at the early stage of their careers in NIH proposal preparation, establishment of unique and productive research programs, and development of skills for success in other academic and professional activities other than classroom teaching.

Kathleen M. Blee Named Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at Pitt

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 3 May 2017

Kathleen M. Blee has been named the Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the dean of the College of General Studies. She currently is the Dietrich School’s associate dean and a distinguished professor in the school’s Department of Sociology. Blee’s deanship will commence on Aug. 15, 2017.

Of her appointment, Blee said: “The continued excellence of the Dietrich School and College of General Studies is essential to maintaining Pitt’s position as a world-class university. I’m humbled and honored by this opportunity to partner with the provost, chancellor and our outstanding community of faculty, students, staff and alumni to ensure that the school’s future builds on our long tradition of exemplary education, impactful research and scholarship, and significant service to the wider community.”

Rob A. Rutenbar Named Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at Pitt

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 13 April 2017

Rob A. RutenbarRob A. Rutenbar has been named the University of Pittsburgh’s senior vice chancellor for research and will join Pitt’s senior leadership team in July. In this newly established position, he will lead the University’s strategic vision for research and innovation, enhancing existing technological partnerships. Working with other senior University officials, the senior vice chancellor for research is responsible for establishing and implementing a long-term plan for research infrastructure. The position manages the University’s Center for Research Computing, Economic Partnerships, the Innovation Institute, the Office of Export Controls, the Office of Research, the Research Conduct and Compliance Office and the Radiation Safety Office. Rutenbar brings nearly 40 years of experience in innovation and technology to Pitt. His research focuses on three broad categories: tools for a wide variety of integrated circuit design issues, methods for managing the statistics of nanoscale chip design and custom computer architectures for perceptual and data analytics problems.

Highlights from the NSF Division of Materials Research Newsletter

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 11 April 2017

Below are some highlights from the Winter 2017 NSF DMR Newsletter; also check out the updated DMR website here.

New mid-scale instrumentation program: Two Platforms, one at Pennsylvania State University (2DCC-MIP) and another led by Cornell University (PARADIM-MIP), focus on advancing the discovery of new two-dimensional (2D) electronic materials in thin film and bulk crystal form, with 2DCC focusing on chalcogenide materials and PARADIM-MIP focusing on heterostructures that include oxides, chalcogenides, graphene and other materials that enable novel electronic and magnetic functionalities. These two initial Platforms focus on 2D materials for electronic applications and will serve as a nexus of expertise where users will gain access to not only mid-scale level tools, but expertise in synthesis, characterization, and theory to help design and conduct experiments. Access to the Platforms are via a three page scientific proposal reviewed by external experts.

National Strategic Computing Initiative: On July 29, 2015, a Presidential Executive Order created a National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). The overarching goal of NSCI is to maximize the benefits of high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment. NSCI strongly couples to the “The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution” Big Idea at NSF. Specifically, Objective 3 of NSCI centers around materials development for quantum science and engineering to enable quantum-based computation. Objective 4 revolves around ecosystems, and also includes training the new “quantum workforce.” Objective 5 encourages the close collaboration of industries and research required for deployment of quantum technologies.

Venkat Viswanathan's Research Featured in MIT News

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 March 2017

Venkat Viswanathan was featured in MIT News for his research in battery technologies. In collaboration with researchers from MIT, Viswanathan is studying a new kind of electrolyte for "self-healing" lithium battery cells, which could lead to longer driving range, lower cost electric vehicle batteries. 

David Waldeck's PNAS Article Highlighted in C&EN

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 15 March 2017

Quantum effect could explain how chiral molecules interact: Electron spin polarization promotes recognition between molecules of similar chirality.

Biomolecules from small amino acids to large DNA helices are chiral, and how they interact depends on their chirality. A newly identified quantum effect could help explain how biomolecules’ chirality persists. When two molecules interact, their electron clouds reorganize. In chiral molecules, that reorganization is accompanied by electron spin polarization that enables molecules of the same chirality to interact more strongly than molecules of opposite chirality, reports a research team led by Ron Naaman and Jan M. L. Martin of the Weizmann Institute of Science and David H. Waldeck of the University of Pittsburgh (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2017).

The mechanism that they have demonstrated is different from any that was previously reported,” comments David N. Beratan of Duke University. “If the idea holds up, it could entirely change the way we think about molecular recognition in biological and organic chemistry.”

Sergey Frolov Among 2017 Young Investigator Award Recipients

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 February 2017

The Office of Naval Research has announced awards of $16 million through its 2017 Young Investigator Program (YIP). The awards were made to 33 scientists whose research holds strong promise across several naval-relevant science and technology areas.

Sergey Frolov was among this year's Young Investigator Award recipients for his proposal "Semiconductor Nanowire-Based Quantum Emulators".

Lillian Chong Receives 2017 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 February 2017

Established in 1998 with a gift from Dietrich School alumnus, David Bellet (A&S '67) and his wife Tina, and endowed in 2008 through the family's further generosity, this annual award recognizes outstanding and innovative teaching in undergraduate studies in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

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