University Of Pittsburgh

Kathy Willens / AP

Pennsylvania earned a "D" in a study that grades states based on the way they handle criminal cases from the time defendants are arrested to the time they’re found guilty or innocent. "D" was the average grade nationally.

 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

It’s a muggy afternoon, and Mark Oleniacz is walking through the tall grass of "Frazier Farms" -- a small community garden adjoining a baseball diamond in the heart of South Oakland. He stops by his own plot, near the back fence.

“I had some garlic left over from last year, ‘cause actually I transplanted it, ‘cause I had that bed -- long story,” he says.

Seth Weing / AP

Eight medical schools, including the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have been approved by the state to do clinical research on medical marijuana, Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week.

The move is an important one, advocates say, because of how federal drug laws have hindered research into the medical benefits of cannabis over the years.

The state’s Department of Health chose the schools as Certified Research Centers in a competitive process, said J.J. Abbott, a spokesperson for the governor.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Two major proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could cause 70,000 Pennsylvania households to lose eligibility.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Eight of Pennsylvania’s universities have received the go-ahead to start studying medical marijuana.

Governor Tom Wolf’s administration is billing the move as the commonwealth’s “first step towards clinical research” on the drug.

The eight medical universities and colleges in question are:

Keith Srakocic / AP

For college students, finding the right tutor at the right time isn't always easy.

Using an approach similar to that of companies like Lyft and Uber, two faculty members at the University of Pittsburgh's electrical and computer engineering department are hoping their app can help bridge that gap.

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Medical research has historically excluded minority participants, creating a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. UPMC primary care physician Dr. Mylynda Massart said the problem is pervasive, as her patients come from a variety of backgrounds.

Maya Alleruzzo / AP

The sleep lab at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC looks like an extended stay hotel suite. There’s a small kitchen, sitting room and a nice TV. It’s clean and sparse, dark and quiet.

Ryan Devlin / Submitted Photo

For a month last summer, U.S. teachers worked alongside their Ethiopian counterparts to create lesson plans, PowerPoints and videos to give students in the U.S. a more nuanced understanding of the people and customs of Ethiopia.

That curriculum, called Teach Africa, is now being piloted in classrooms across the region.

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

In all of the U.S., there are only a few dozen sets of instruments that qualify as gamelan ensembles – the collections of gongs and other tuned percussion instruments needed to play this form of music indigenous to Indonesia.

One such gamelan resides at the University of Pittsburgh, whose University Gamelan group marks its 20th anniversary this week with a pair of concerts. Guest performers include composer Ismet Ruchimat, vocalist Masyuning, and musician Idra Ridwan.

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

These days, jazz studies programs are common at American universities and colleges. In 1969, there were only two at major universities. That’s the year Dr. Nathan Davis arrived at the University of Pittsburgh to establish its program.

A respected saxophonist, the Kansas City native had spent most of the 1960s living in Paris where he was an integral part of that city’s particularly vibrant jazz scene performing and recording with world renowned artists. That background influenced his approach to running Pitt’s jazz program, according to drummer Thomas Wendt.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Most people associate ultrasound technology with pregnancy and the little heartbeat on the monitor. A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh has a slightly different application in mind.

Nitin Sharma, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Pitt, recently received more than $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop algorithms that could measure muscle function in patients with partial paralysis due to spinal cord injuries — just by looking at ultrasound images of affected areas.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

How prepared is the city of Pittsburgh for a ransomware attack?

The former top federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania says cities like Pittsburgh can take simple steps to protect themselves from ransomware attacks like the ones crippling computer systems in Atlanta and Baltimore.

David Hickton served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania under President Barack Obama from 2010 to 2016. He is the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.

Thomas Altany / University of Pittsburgh

Last week, the University of Pittsburgh celebrated the launch of a new makerspace at its Manufacturing Assistance Center in Homewood with a small ceremony.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Multi-layer constructs, the plastic packaging used for some food and beverage items like juice boxes and bags of chips, are composed of multiple layers of different materials. Because the different materials can't be separated, this packaging is not recyclable, and ends up in landfills or the environment.

Mike Stewart / AP

The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead catalyzed a series of actions this week as Dick's Sporting Goods, WalMart, L.L. Bean, REI and Kroger joined the growing chorus of companies restricting weapon sales or rescinding NRA member perks and discounts.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The UrbanKind Institute held a community forum Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh to discuss how Amazon's second headquarters, or HQ2, could impact Pittsburgh's university communities.

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A small explosion in a lab at science complex at the University of Pittsburgh prompted a brief evacuation, officials said Wednesday.

University spokesman Joe Miksch said the blast happened at about 2:45 p.m. in the Life Sciences Annex in the Clapp, Langley and Crawford Hall complex, which houses the biological sciences and neuroscience department. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

A memorial wall that includes 22,000 pills — each engraved with the face of someone who died of an opioid overdose — has arrived at the University of Pittsburgh.

The National Safety Council will host an unveiling of the memorial during a private event Monday at the William Pitt Student Union. It will be open to public on Tuesday.

The memorial was initially launched in Chicago in November. It's also due to make stops in Atlanta, Ohio and Washington D.C. later this year.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Pittsburgh macroeconomist Marvin Goodfriend is still awaiting official Senate confirmation this week to help lead the nation's central banking system.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The University of Pittsburgh has suspended a fraternity and temporarily barred all Greek life organizations from hosting events with alcohol after a student was hospitalized in an "alcohol-related incident."

University officials have not released specifics about what led to the student's hospitalization on Thursday. They declined Tuesday to comment on the student's condition.

The school did not identify the fraternity involved, but Sigma Chi's national office says the Pitt chapter has been suspended for apparently violating alcohol and drug policies.

Keith Srakokic / AP Photo

There's evidence to suggest that cocaine is more addictive for adolescents than adults. Scientists believe that at least part of this has to do with biological mechanisms in the brain, but they're not sure exactly what those mechanisms are.

A special sensor being developed at the University of Pittsburgh could help give them a better understanding.

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A policy proposal from the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center aims to cover tuition and fees for eligible recent high school graduates who attend community college or a state university.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

No one masters a skill without mistakes, but when you’re a health care provider, screw ups can be deadly. 

In 2016, the National Academy of Sciences found that every year up to 30,000 civilian and military deaths of trauma patients could be prevented if the injured people had received optimal care.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

This year, Avonworth High School students arrived at their first period, for the most part, after sunrise.

The district recently shifted its first period start time from 7:15 to 8 a.m., and Superintendent Thomas Ralston said his students now pass what he calls "the eye test."

“You can see that kids are coming to school, and they’re awake. They’re coming in when it’s light outside,” he said. “Our faculty have reported that kids are more attentive in class … and faculty feel more prepared.”

Damian Devorganes / AP

The rate of early cancer diagnosis was higher in some states that expanded Medicaid compared to other that did not.

Sajad Haghanifar / University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working to improve the next generation of solar panels.

They’re using something called fused silica glass. Imagine tiny blades of grass, almost 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, tightly packed together.

That’s how the surface of fused silica glass will look under a microscope after Paul Leu, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and Sajad Haghanifar, a Ph.D. student in Leu's lab, bombard the glass' surface with charged particles called ions.

UPMC/Pitt Health Sciences

Prosthetics researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have landed a $5.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a lower limb prosthesis that mimics the feeling of a leg or foot.

Current prosthetics lack sensory feedback, so people who have lost a leg often struggle to walk. To recreate the sensations of balance and pressure, researchers are experimenting with an implant that transmits electronic signals to a simulator worn on the belt. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

University of Pittsburgh police have issued a warning about a stalking suspect.

In a campus alert, police say they have received several complaints about Daniel Dintino approaching females on or near the campus and making them feel uncomfortable.

Dintino was released on bail after he was arrested on Monday on an outstanding theft warrant.

Police fear he may have returned to campus after he was warned not to.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a Tuesday night, the first floor of the Cathedral of Learning is brimming with students, their conversations bouncing off the high, arched ceilings. They sit on the ground, in more than a dozen small circles; at the center of each circle is a dog. 

Oliver, a golden retriever, lays on his side as he's pet by five or six people at once. Despite all the attention, Oliver is calm and quiet. That's because he, like every other dog here, is a therapy dog from the College Canines program at Humane Animal Rescue

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