The University of Pittsburgh

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The Allegheny Intermediate Unit hosted 10 educators from Northern Ireland on Monday to discuss best practices for special education.

Administrators with the AIU, a service provider for 42 Allegheny County school districts, met with principals, speech therapists and teachers from the Belfast area. The educators have been hosts to students in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Study Abroad in Ireland program.


  Our sense of smell can tell us what’s for dinner when we walk in the front door, or bring us back to our fondest memories of childhood.

But how much do we know about the nose? Unfortunately, not enough.

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Skin lesions are a heath concern that many will face in their lifetimes, with 76,000 Americans being diagnosed every year with skin cancer. New research, blending technology and medicine, hopes to make the detection process easier and more accurate.

In collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, scientists at Pitt and UPMC have created a computer program that can scan photos of skin lesions and assess whether or not they will require further treatment.

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It’s an evolving debate in healthcare academia; is it a conflict of interest to have a health care instructor also serve in a leadership role at a for-profit healthcare institution?

In a follow up study to one that looked at the overlap of those in leadership roles for pharmaceutical companies and those employed by academic centers, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have now focused on those in leadership roles with publicly traded healthcare companies who are also employed by non-profit academic institutions.

The analysis found that one in 10 American for-profit health care company board positions are held by an individual with an academic affiliation.

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  When several student leaders at the University of Pittsburgh attended an open meeting on the school's strategic plan, they all agreed that something felt wrong.

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The volume and complexity of health research can make it difficult for legislators to keep up.

Larry Stern, a retired health care executive, says with the growing number of interest and advocacy groups, it’s difficult to determine positions of those groups based on evidence from those based on belief.

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A University of Pittsburgh researcher was recently a sleep expert on a study led by UC San Francisco to determine the connection between sleep and health; namely if the amount of sleep a person gets is related to their susceptibility of catching a cold.

The teen brain values reward over risk. That’s been long-known. But a new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers says teen aren’t risk-takers because they’re seeking a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brains reward and pleasure centers.

According to new research, when faced with the prospect of a reward, their dopamine neurons are less activated than in adults.

A gene therapy to reduce production of a brain protein successfully prevented Parkinson’s disease from developing in rats, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers said the findings, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new understanding of how genetic and environmental factors merge to cause the disease, which can cripple the nervous system affecting movement, speech and daily activities.

Essential Pittsburgh: Corporate Equity and Pittsburgh Jazz

Jun 15, 2015

In 2010, the Post-Gazette reported the Pittsburgh region was ranked "dead last" on indicators of racial and economic parity with regard to the Black working poor and African American children. This was done in comparison to 30 other regions in the country. A 2012 analysis prepared by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board reported African Americans in the Pittsburgh region make less than other groups in the same sector of work. Black Political Empowerment Project President Tim Stevens and organizational psychologist Barry Nathan join us to discuss a possible solution to this problem; the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable.

Stevens addresses what the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable encounters as they strive to change Pittsburgh’s racial inequalities:

"We’re dealing with uprooting history and creating a new history. We’re creating a commitment where there has not been a commitment." -Tim Stevens

Nathan gives a social solution to inequality in the workplace, especially in regards to Pittsburgh’s newcomers:

“It’s about making one on one relationships over and over again. … We have to somehow create a sense of critical mass so that when newcomers come into the region they say, even if there’s not a lot of people yet, like me, there’s a network that I can form, people are reaching out to me.” –Barry Nathan

Also, The Pittsburgh Jazz Celebration opens in the Steel City tomorrow, and an archive of jazz pianist and Pittsburgh native Erroll Garner's musical career will find a home at the University of Pittsburgh.

City Council members gave preliminary approval to updated cooperative police services agreement between city officers and University of Pittsburgh Police.

“Departments that overlap have to have agreements in place so they can share information and act in their partner’s jurisdictions,” said Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar. “The University of Pittsburgh sits in the city and quite often there are issues where our police officers are responding to an incident in the city but within the campus.”

More than 3.5 million Americans currently live with some form of autism spectrum disorder, according to the Autism Society.

The University of Pittsburgh will soon begin a study testing two different non-drug treatments for adults with autism, thanks to a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Shaun Eack, associate professor of social work and psychiatry at the university, will lead the research.

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How do residents and visitors perceive the South Side? Pitt students enrolled in Professor Michael Glass’ urban skills seminar spent a semester interviewing people from all parts of the neighborhood. Michael Glass and student Jason Wald join us to reveal the findings of their research. 

Professor Glass says the goal of the study was the capture the different perspectives of South Side's diverse community rather than to call attention to its rowdier, more buzz-worthy elements.

"We don't want to say the nightlife is a bad thing...What we want to be mindful of is that South Side is used not only by those drinkers but also the people living above the bars, living on Sarah and Jane Streets. Trying to figure out a way where those two communities can coexist is really important." - Professor Michael Glass

Also in today's show, Elaine Labalme tells us where to find art hotels in the Pittsburgh area. 

Israel has been referred to as “Start-Up Nation” due to the strong entrepreneurial spirit displayed by its citizens, and a conference this week at The university of Pittsburgh is hoping to use a small group of visitors to foster that spirit here.

“Pittsburgh is very strong in medical device technology, drug innovation and medical IT,” said Paul Harper, Entrepreneurship Professor at Pitt. “Those happen to also be areas that Israel leads the world in.”

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Two bills are sitting in the Senate Committee on State Government aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

Legislation introduced by Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna) would bring more transparency to state-related universities, while Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s (R-Delaware) bill would establish a fee structure for commercial requests and update definitions within the law.

The University of Pittsburgh has debuted a new crowdfunding site where people can make gifts to specific projects and campaigns.

Through EngagePitt, donors can fund a medical musical the fourth-year students at the Medical School are putting on, or if they want to give to the Pitt Men’s Glee Club, that too is an option.

Despite the frigid temperatures, a few dozen people showed up to a fossil fuel divestment rally at Oakland’s Schenley Plaza Friday.

Those gathered wanted the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to divest from coal, oil and natural gas. It's unknown how much of the universities’ investments are in those fields.

Pitt junior Mihir Mulloth went to the rally because he said he reads climate reports and the state of our planet becomes more alarming the more he reads.

Encouraging people  to lose weight has been a challenge in the health care field, but a new study focused on middle aged women showed that having a physician's assistance and guidance in getting fit had better outcomes than going at it alone.

Local Meets Global When It Comes to Fossil Fuel Divestment

Feb 12, 2015
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Diplomats from all over the world are meeting in Geneva this week to draft a crucial plan to address climate change. For this reason, a worldwide fossil fuel divestment movement has marked February 13 and 14 Global Divestment Days.

University of Pittsburgh researchers might have stumbled onto a cost-effective way to fight cancer – with cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins.

When it comes to cancer, Dr. Zoltán Oltvai, senior author of the study and associate professor of pathology, said most patients don’t die from their original tumor but rather from the cancer spreading throughout their bodies.

An increasing number of studies show that the more time people spend sitting, the more likely they are to develop heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has received a $3 million grant to conduct a comprehensive study on the effects of sitting.

The list of individuals in Pennsylvania who must report suspected child abuse grew at the close of 2014 thanks to the state’s newly enacted child protection law and the University of Pittsburgh wants to help. 

Along with expanding the universe of those who must report, the law, which went into effect Dec. 31, 2014, also changes the way suspected abuse is reported. In reaction, the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work began offering on-line training that lives up to the new mandates included in Act 31.

The way chemistry is taught has changed a lot over the years. With the advent of new technology, molecules and chemical reactions can be brought to life through digital models.

Now, a new quantum repository at the University of Pittsburgh will supplement college science lessons with a web-based database of 3D molecules and other data. Chemistry professor Daniel Lambrecht says the repository will begin with 50,000 to 100,000 molecules and chemical data.

For years, heavy drinking was believed to be one of the main factors that led to pancreatitis, but after a 12-year study at the University of Pittsburgh, doctors have found a few genes that are the culprits in some cases.

Most heavy drinkers never pancreatitis, but many who don’t drink heavily are affected. The research found that genes determine if the pancreas will be susceptible to drinking, smoking and abnormal processes.

  People living closer to the equator have darker skin due to higher UV radiation, and this is passed down through generations of people having higher levels of melanin, but is the same true for flowers? Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say yes, but it’s not noticeable to the human eye.

“Pigmentation patterns getting darker towards lower latitudes is ... an ecological rule called ‘Gloger’s Rule’, and it’s been formulated towards animals, so this is kind of the first extension of this ecological rule to plants,” said researcher and grad student Matt Koski.

The more public health data is shared, the better the world’s public health outcome.

So says an analysis that was recently released by a team of researchers, including several from The University of Pittsburgh. The analysis was published in the journal BMC Public Health.

At present, public health data isn’t always shared on a local, national or international data. Researchers wanted to know why public health data isn’t shared as widely as for example genomic data is.

A group of University of Pittsburgh scientists is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to create an international network of wheelchair professionals.

The newly formed International Society of Wheelchair Professionals was recently launched with a two-year $2.3 million award from USAID to teach and professionalize device repair, build affiliations and improve the lives of the nearly 70 million people worldwide who require a wheelchair for mobility.

Pitt Study Reveals Stem Cells In Esophagus

Nov 9, 2014

A new discovery by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine could impact the treatment of esophageal cancer and a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus.

In a study released in the current issue of Cell Reports, researchers found a pool of stem cells in the esophagus, something that was never considered before.

The study, which was done in mice, could unveil major implications if similar results are found in humans.

33 Genes Linked to Autism by CMU, Pitt Study

Oct 29, 2014

An international research team led by professors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University has identified 33 genes that contribute to the risk of autism.

The team also uncovered 70 genes that are “likely” linked to autism risk, and have estimated that more than 1,000 have yet to be identified. According to the researchers, the discovery, which is the largest to date, enhances the scientific community’s understanding of how a brain with autism spectrum disorder works.

Ebola has killed thousands of people in West Africa — yet the absence of victims’ names and faces could be just one reason why large numbers of people have not been donating money to the fight the outbreak.

“Unlike many natural disasters that we have seen in the past with massive outpouring of donations support, we’re not seeing people making donations … it’s something that everybody’s talking about, but it’s not driving us to donate,” said Nicole Coleman, assistant professor of business and marketing at University of Pittsburgh.