The University of Pittsburgh

Sung Kwon Cho

In the 1966 movie The Fantastic Voyage, a team of scientists were shrunk to microscopic proportions and sent inside the human body. Now, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are taking that idea into the 21st Century -- sort of. 

Pitt mechanical engineering associate professor Sung Kwon Cho hasn't figured out how to shrink a submarine, but he has figured out how to control the movement of a tiny device through a simulated blood stream using nothing more than an air bubble and an ultrasound machine.

Chuck Szmurko / Wikipedia

Though Pittsburgh lost out on the $50 million Smart Cities grant, city officials are still participating in a project called MetroLab, under the same federal initiative.

The MetroLab network is a city-university partnership that’s part of the White House’s Smart Cities project, where schools serve as research and development arms.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

An audience of about 50 people watched uncomfortably as a man named Jon confessed he raped a girl in high school.

The confession was actually part of a scene in the play, “Tape,” a story about sexual assault, performed at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The play follows the character Jon’s confession to his friend, Vince, that he raped a woman 10 years earlier. In the play, the two men both dated the woman, Amy, in high school.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA


The lead acid battery, invented in the mid-1800s, has been the technology of choice when it comes to starting cars for decades. Though small advances over the years have made car batteries more reliable, lead acid batteries are still essentially the same.

Flickr/Nate Steiner

Throat cancer survivor Larry VanDyke drinks kale protein every day. He's been in recovery since August of 2014 when he endured seven weeks of radiation and three rounds of chemotherapy.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are making tiny strides -- no, really -- that could revolutionize the solar industry.

Paul Leu runs a lab at the university where students work with tiny particles called nanotubes.


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.”

Jamie / Flickr

Pennsylvania has used a prescription drug monitoring program and database since 1972 and it’s due for an upgrade.

“Although it was a prescription monitoring system, it was woefully inadequate,” said Michael Zemaitis, a University of Pittsburgh pharmaceutical science professor.

Flickr user t b

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

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Lab rats can be taught to do just about any simple task for food or a treat. 

Scientists can also watch what is going on inside a rat’s brain by inserting a few electrodes. So it's not unusual that researchers at the University of Pittsburgh attached wires to the brains of a group of rats while performing menial tasks. The researchers wanted to understand the effect of anxiety, but what they learned was unusual.

Kamran Jebreili / AP


Vice President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh next week to address campus sexual assault.

Biden's speech at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday will be the first in a multi-city tour as part of the White House's "It's On Us" campaign.

Listen Live:

Creative Commons / Wikipedia

For more than a century, the Pittsburgh area has been home to the longest-running Serbian newspaper on the continent, written in a quiet office in Green Tree before being shipped off to readers across the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe -- including, of course, Serbia itself.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

If your primary care physician says you need a test or procedure, and he suggests a location to get it done, what do you do?

“There is data that shows that patients do what their doctor says,” said Mark Roberts, chair of the department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “When your doctor tells you, ‘I want you to see a cardiologist and I want you to see this cardiologist,’ that’s who you go see.”

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr


New research found that one hookah session could leave you with much higher rates of toxicants than a cigarette.

University of Pittsburgh researchers took the findings of 542 scientific articles and pared them down to 17 studies comparing hookah use to smoking cigarettes. 

Gordon Wrigley / Flickr

Nationwide, more than 2 million people have some form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to the National Eye Institute. And a new study conducted, in part, by the University of Pittsburgh sheds more light on the disease.

Sights And Sounds Of Pittsburgh Holiday Traditions

Dec 18, 2015
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

On this special edition of Essential Pittsburgh we'll enjoy the sights and sounds of the Steel City's holiday traditions. Included in our jaunt around the city, via a decorated Port Authority bus, are stops at the Benedum for a dress rehearsal of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker, tour Clayton Mansion at The Frick and more.

Alyssa L. Miller / Flickr

Experts hope to learn more about Alzheimer's disease by studying adults who suffer from it and also have Down syndrome.  

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) is funding a five-year study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as with three other partners, in the hope of exploring the development of the biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. They'll also be looking at cognitive function in adults with Down syndrome.

Rebecca Devereaux / 90.5 WESA

Steubenville, Ohio made headlines in 2012 when a high school girl was raped by a group of boys after she passed out following a night of partying. The assault was captured on cell phones and shared on social media, forcing the town and the country into a conversation about sexual violence against female students.

That night, what lead up to it and its aftermath are the subject of the play ‘Good Kids’ being performed through Sunday by University of Pittsburgh students at the Stephen Foster Memorial. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 FM WESA

Nestled firmly in a bill passed last week by the Pennsylvania Senate is a long list of reporting requirements that, if passed by the House and signed by the governor, would force the University of Pittsburgh and the three other state-related universities to disclose data ranging from minutes of meetings to ratios of course credits awarded to various types of students.

Russell Tucker / Flickr

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.

hobvias sudoneighm

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.

Luis Villa del Campo / Flickr

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.

Sabreguy26 / flickr

  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.

Jeffery Smith / Flickr

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.

William Brawley / Flickr

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.