University Of Pittsburgh

Susan Walsh / AP

The National Department of Transportation announced Thursday that Pittsburgh had received an $11 million grant for advanced technology transportation projects. The announcement was made shortly before Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a panel discussion during the White House Frontiers Conference at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

When then-Pittsburgh Mayor Richard Caliguiri died from amyloidosis in 1988 not much was known about the disease. Since then, research and awareness has increased and now an endowed chair is being created to further research and treatment at the University of Pittsburgh.

Amyloidosis is a systemic disease that usually attacks the heart but can impact other internal organs.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Law enforcement, public health officials and policy experts are hoping a 64-page report released Wednesday will serve as a model for the rest of the world when it comes to combating the growing opioid crisis.

Mel Evans / AP

Michelle Obama told supporters in Philadelphia on Wednesday that candidates don't change once they become president and that America "needs an adult in the White House."

The first lady never mentioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the rally at LaSalle University. But there was no question that she was warning voters that President Trump would be the same as candidate Trump.

"The presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are," she told the cheering crowd.

Morry Gash / AP Photo

First lady Michelle Obama will be in Pennsylvania on Wednesday to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

She's attending a late afternoon rally for Clinton at the University of Pittsburgh following a Democratic Party event at noon at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

Obama will speak at Fitzgerald Field House at 3:30 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Scott Barnes said traditional rivalries like the one between Pitt and Penn State University are an essential part of college football. On the eve of the first gridiron clash between the Panthers and Nittany Lions in 16 years, Barnes sat down with 90.5 WESA’s Paul Guggenheimer to discuss Saturday's sold out game at Heinz Field and what the future holds for a rivalry that dates back to 1893.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity


Michael Righl / Flickr


Faculty and staff members at the University of Pittsburgh now receive transgender benefits, including behavioral health support, medications and surgery.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports officials say the change, which was sent to employees last week, is meant to bring the university into compliance with federal rules on sex discrimination in employment.

Michael Ward / University of Pittsburgh

Researchers are a step closer to figuring out how our brains turn those squiggly lines on papers and screens into words.

A team of cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have completed a landmark study looking into how the human brain recognizes and processes written words – or, more simply, reads.

“We really don’t really think about it when we’re reading a word, but all you’re really seeing are black and white lines and you turn that into a story, a sentence, a word, something with real meaning,” said Avniel Ghuman, one of the lead researchers.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The healthy human gut is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria species.

But people who are missing a few hundred or so particular species are at greater risk for certain health issues, including Crohn’s disease, which is characterized  by chronic inflammation of the bowels. 

Richard Duerr, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is co-senior author of a study linking that lack of gut diversity with a specific genetic variation.

Flickr user Shaine Hatch

The state of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh announced a new partnership aimed at helping stem the tide of opioid addiction, county by county.

“It doesn’t matter where you go in the commonwealth, in southwestern PA, in urban PA, rural Pennsylvania and suburban Pennsylvania. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what zip code you come from, too many lives are being taken by heroin and opioids,” said Josh Shapiro, head of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, which is funding the new center.

Flickr user TheKarenD

Black Americans with the heart condition atrial fibrillation are nearly twice as likely to suffer stroke, heart failure and coronary heart disease as their white counterparts, according to a new study from University of Pittsburgh professor Jared Magnani.

The finding is based on data from a 30-year study of more than 15,000 people in four communities: Forsyth County, N.C.; Jackson, Miss.; suburbs northwest of Minneapolis, Minn. and Washington County, Md.


Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working on technology that could help make a human mission to Mars possible.

Flickr user Hitthatswitch

A lab worker at the University of Pittsburgh has contracted the Zika virus by accidentally sticking herself with a needle.

The Allegheny County Health Department reported the county’s fourth case Thursday.

According to a Pitt spokesman, the accident occurred on May 23. The worker developed symptoms by June 1 and returned to work on June 6.

In a statement, ACHD director Karen Hacker said, “there is still no current risk of contracting Zika from mosquitos in Allegheny County.”

Flickr user t b

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have unraveled one of the longstanding mysteries of how our sense of smell works.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

A doctorate project-turned-start up by two University of Pittsburgh students has grown from its days sharing a space at AlphaLab in East Liberty.

Kasey Catt and Noah Snyder first started InterPhase Materials with the intent of developing nontoxic coatings to be used inside the body for brain or dental implants. But after hitting roadblocks with the FDA, they refocused their efforts on coatings to keep marine life, such as mussels and barnacles, and mold from sticking to boats and buildings. 

Felipe Dana / AP

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is stepping up its efforts to learn about the Zika virus, which has been linked to an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil and other parts of Latin America.

Tom Wolf / Twitter


Nearly 250 million Americans have the right to vote, but many don't exercise it.

University of Pittsburgh Professor Victoria Shineman said there are plenty of reasons for that.

"Voter registration is one of the biggest barriers, especially for initial participation," she said. "A lot of states have deadlines well before the actual election. A lot of people miss that deadline. Also things if you move, if you change your address, remembering to update your address."

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Emily Ahlin said three years ago, no one at the University of Pittsburgh really talked about sexual assault. 

“But I helped lead orientation week this year,” said Ahlin, a junior. “One of the things we had the kids do was a bystander intervention training. That didn’t exist my freshman year, and that exists now.” 

Criminal (In)Justice -- New Podcast

Mar 21, 2016

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh legal scholar David A. Harris—a preeminent authority on issues related to racial profiling and police procedure—has developed a new podcast series titled Criminal (In)Justice.

How Realistic Is The American Dream?

Feb 22, 2016
Marcus Charleston / WESA

Wealthy, poorly educated students are still statistically more likely to do well in college than poorer children with higher ambitions and intellectual aptitude. Income inequality and class divides are some of the most significant problems facing American society, according to public policy expert Robert D. Putnam.

Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

A University of Pittsburgh student will make her debut tonight on Jeopardy's  college edition.

90.5 WESA's Sarah Kovash talked to senior chemisty and computer science major Sarah Dubnik, a life-long Jeopardy fan, about her experience being on the show.

WESA: So what was it like getting to meet Alex Trebek for the first time?

wsilver / Flickr

Gay and bisexual adolescents in U.S. schools are twice as likely to be bullied as their heterosexual peers, which could hinder development.

That’s according to a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.

A total of 1,870 students were surveyed. Of those, 127 students identified themselves as being either gay or bisexual, and of those students, 24 percent reported being victims of bullying. Only 12 percent of heterosexual students reported the same.

Alex / Flickr

Replacing sitting with light housework or a stroll may be the new recommendation for severely obese adults looking to reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

That’s what a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-led team found after a week long study tracking 927 patients before their weight-loss surgery.

Keith Srakocic / AP Images

Anticipation is rising as the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and Duquesne University Dukes basketball teams clash in the annual City Game on Friday night, a Pittsburgh tradition which dates back to 1932.  With so much at stake for bragging rights, former Pitt point guard and current assistant coach Brandin Knight, and former Duquesne forward, Robert Morris University coach, and now color commentator for Duke’s basketball radio broadcasts Jarrett Durham previewed the matchup with Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer.

Jennifer Szweda Jordan / For 90.5 WESA

University of Pittsburgh student Chuck Ward pointed at a map inside the Cathedral of Learning. Classroom G8, where his Dustin Hoffman film class planned to meet to watch a movie, eluded him.

“Where’s Bellefield, do you know?” he asked a stranger. Then another. Then one more. 

Students and visitors at Pitt’s iconic Cathedral of Learning have been baffled by its layout since the building first opened more than 80 years ago.

Altoona-based software company Rivendell Technologies is selling a technological solution.

Phil Pavely / Trib Total Media

More than a century ago, the fight between George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, and Thomas Edison in West Orange New Jersey, over whose power system was better, ended with Westinghouse and alternating current as a clear winner. But research at the University of Pittsburgh has rekindled that fight.

Start Up Finds New Use For Medical Technology With Marine Life

Nov 24, 2015
Mussel Prevention Program / California Division of Boating and Waterways



Since boating began, sailors have been vexed by barnacles and algae that attach to ship hulls. The sea life puts a drag on movement through water.

Pitt To Celebrate Fifth Annual Audubon Day

Nov 5, 2015
John James Audubon / University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh celebrates its fifth annual Audubon Day this weekend, as 24 of the 435 prints in the John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” collection are displayed in the school’s library.  Assistant University Librarian Mike Dabrishus and President of Second Story Books Alan Stypeck joined Essential Pittsburgh to preview this event.

Local and national organizations are collaborating to bring an online diploma program for high school dropouts to Pittsburgh.

Seventy local youths ages 18-24 will be recruited by Garfield Jubilee Association to enroll in one of eight courses of study: childcare education, office management, security services, homeland security, transportation services, professional skills, retail customer service and food customer service.

Research by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has shown Emergency Medical Service personnel who work 12- to 24-hour shifts are more than twice as likely to be injured on the job than those who work 8-hour shifts.