Four University of Pittsburgh faculty members have been named to the latest class of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows, one of the most distinct honors within the scientific community – and also historical, dating from 1874.
They are among the 564 scholarship recipients announced on January 26a group that results from a nomination and vetting process that includes a cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators recognized for their achievements in disciplines ranging from research, teaching, administration, industry, government and communications.
The four Pitt Fellows are:
Kay Brummond, associate dean of the faculty and professor of chemistry at the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, is a synthetic chemist known for her research and her role in promoting women in scientific careers. His laboratory has made important contributions to organic chemistry, particularly to the modulation of chemical reactivity. She is a champion of gender balance and diversity equity in the field of chemistry, as evidenced by her founding of the University of Pittsburgh Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, who provides research opportunities for students from underrepresented groups majoring in chemistry and as Executive Director of the 45th National Symposium on Organic Chemistry which had the most diverse roster of speakers in the history of that meeting. In 2021, she won the ACS award for encouraging women to pursue careers in the chemical sciences.
When Sarah Gaffe first opened its lab in 1999, the number of peer-reviewed research papers on IL-17 – a family of pro-inflammatory substances secreted by our immune cells – could be counted on one hand. Today, academic publications involving tens of thousands of IL-17, and Gaffen and colleagues over the past year have added three key papers to the list, cracking the code explaining how IL-17 activates a cascade of cellular signals leading to kidney inflammation. disease and finding a pathway in the mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Their findings could ultimately lead to targeted drugs for the growing number of people with autoimmune diseases. Gaffen is the Gerald P. Rodnan Endowed Professor in the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Steven R. Small
Steven R. Small, internationally recognized for his research in pharmacy and biomimetic drug delivery systems, is a professor emeritus and the only university professor to receive the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching, Research and Public Service Awards. Little, who is also the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, as well as a faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the departments of Bioengineering, Immunology , ophthalmology and pharmaceutical sciences, has developed many new drug formulations, including a controlled release drug that mimics the body’s healing and inflammation resolution mechanisms. Unlike traditional drugs that require large doses administered by ingestion, inoculation or intravenously, biomimetic treatments recruit the patient’s own cells to treat the disease at the source. In particular, Little’s research shows potential new applications for glaucoma, gum disease and even transplant organ rejection. In December, Little was also named to the class of 2021 of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional honor given to college inventors.
Jerry Vockley came to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2004 to lead the Division of Medical Genetics, now the Division of Genetics and Genomic Medicine. He is also Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Cleveland Family Endowed Professor of Pediatric Research at the School of Medicine, and Professor of Human Genetics at the Graduate School of Public Health. Vockley leads an active research program in inherited disorders of energy and protein metabolism, focused both on understanding the genetic causes of these disorders and on developing new treatments for them. His research has earned continued support from the National Institutes of Health since the early 1990s. The diseases Vockley treats are all linked to faulty enzymes, special proteins in the body that carry out chemical reactions.
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