Research of Impact

Pitt set new records in research—drawing in an unprecedented $764.5 million in external support—and innovation, with Pitt faculty members and students acquiring more than 90 patents in just 11 months.


July 6, 2016
Pioneering Support for Revolutionary Precision Medicine Study

Pitt is tapped by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to set in motion a landmark national research effort that will revolutionize medicine. The Precision Medicine Initiative—involving 1 million or more U.S. participants—will make possible disease prevention and treatment tailored to each individual’s own lifestyle, environment, and genetics. With $46 million in NIH support, Pitt will build the cornerstone partnerships and infrastructure needed to carry out this research.

July 17, 2016
Alzheimer's Research Honored

William E. Klunk, whose work has attracted numerous awards and accolades, is honored by the Alzheimer’s Association with the 2017 Zaven Khachaturian Award. He is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and the Levidow-Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Disorders. His influential work with Pitt radiology professor, Chet Mathis, on amyloid imaging in humans was cited among Discover magazine’s top science stories of 2002.

July 21, 2016
Record-High Results for Inventions and Innovation

The Innovation Institute reports record-high numbers of invention disclosures filed and patents received by Pitt faculty members, students, and staff as well as record-high total license revenues received and start-up companies formed from Pitt-developed innovations.

August 15, 2016
Jewish Studies Scholar to Co-Lead Flagship Journal

Adam Shear, director of Pitt’s Jewish Studies Program, is named coeditor of AJS Review, published by Cambridge University Press for the Association for Jewish Studies, the largest learned society and professional organization of Jewish studies scholars worldwide. He is an associate professor of religious studies.

September 14, 2016
Building a Nationwide Model for Caregiving

The Caregiver Project is launched by Pitt’s Health Policy Institute and the University Center for Social and Urban Research. Pitt and the RAND Corporation will collaborate on this joint research hub for local, state, and national policy efforts, which will make the region a nationwide model for caregiving. Pitt’s Richard Schulz, a Distinguished Service Professor, chaired the effort to produce the related landmark report, Families Caring for an Aging America, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

October 12, 2016
A Leading Center for Brain Research Nationwide

Pittsburgh is a leading national center for brain research according to the White House’s BRAIN Initiative, which lists 10 research projects in Pittsburgh on its map of federally funded research projects. Of those 10, seven are Pitt projects, and the University is actively assisting in several others. With more than 150 faculty members involved, the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute seeks to unlock the mysteries of brain function and then translate discoveries.

October 13, 2016
A First-Ever Conference Explores the Frontiers of Science and Technology

Humans living on Mars. Renewable energy powering cities. Health care tailored to personal genetics. Global innovators gathered on campus to explore the frontiers of science and technology. The “guest in chief” was then-U.S. President Barack Obama. He chose Pitt and nearby Carnegie Mellon University to host the first-ever White House Frontiers Conference. Among the breakthroughs highlighted was a brain-computer interface developed at Pitt that can guide thought-controlled movement of a prosthetic arm and enable the sensation of touch. 

October 16, 2016
A Revolutionary Robotic Wheelchair

Jorge Luis Candiotti (ENGR ’10), a graduate student researcher and PhD candidate in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) takes the MEBot, a revolutionary robotic-powered wheelchair, to the first-ever Cybathalon race in Zurich, Switzerland. The MeBot, developed at the SHRS Human Engineering Research Laboratories, competes against 11 other robotic wheelchairs in the power wheelchair division and qualifies for the finals. The race pits the latest assistive technologies against each other on a simulated course, which sparks lively discussions between technology developers and people with disabilities, including how to bring advanced wheelchairs like these to market.

October 19, 2016
Leading a National Network for Trauma Care

The schools of the health sciences are selected to create and lead a nationwide network of trauma systems and centers that will contribute to research aimed at improving trauma care. Awarded through a U.S. Department of Defense contract, this effort could grow to $90 million in research over the next decade to improve trauma care for both civilians and the military.

October 28, 2016
Historic Creation of New School

For the first time in more than two decades, trustees approved the creation of a new school at Pitt, the School of Computing and Information, which will host an array of academic programs that integrate computing and information with core disciplinary strengths across the University. The result will be a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment that supports discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship driven by data and technology.

November 4, 2016
Breakthrough Clinical Trial on Exercise and Brain Health

With $21.8 million in support from the National Institute on Aging, Pitt will lead the first-ever large-scale clinical trial to study the link between exercise and brain health in older adults. The study—led by Kirk Erickson, a psychology professor in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences—will further address whether exercise influences cognitive and brain health and provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of the effects of physical activity on the brain.

December 2, 2016
In Search of Better Clean Energy Technologies

A better understanding of how protons move in water offers promise in developing better clean energy technologies, according to research by Pitt chemistry professor Kenneth Jordan, left, and chemistry grad student Tuguldur Odbadrakh, who are both part of an international team of scientists exploring this potential breakthrough.

December 7, 2016
A Potential Antidote for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In the lab, researchers from Pitt and UPMC engineer a protein that reverses carbon monoxide poisoning, a discovery that could potentially lead to the creation of the first antidote in humans to the often-deadly poison, which is one of the leading global causes of poisoning death.

January 30, 2017
Alumni Selected for Forbes Distinction

Swanson School of Engineering alumni Noah Snyder, right, and Kasey Catt were named to the Forbes international list of 30 under 30 honorees. Their company, Interphase Materials, develops specialized ecofriendly additives and coatings. The idea for the start-up began while the two were doctoral candidates in Pitt’s bioengineering program. The Forbes 30 Under 30 list involves 20 industries and seeks to “embrace the optimism, inventiveness and boldness of youth.” A team of 80 judges and 50 staff reporters/editors reviewed more than 15,000 applicants to identify 2017 honorees.

January 30, 2017
Pitt-Developed Technology Advances Prosthetic Capabilities

Pitt’s Innovation Institute and Philadelphia, Pa.’s University City Science Center are collaborating to commercialize a Pitt-developed technology that improves the alignment of lower-limb prostheses. Developed by Goeran Fiedler, an assistant professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and a former colleague, Jonathan Akins (ENGR ’08, ’13G), the technology enables extremely accurate prosthesis fittings, thereby reducing the user’s physical discomfort and the need for recurring refitting visits.

March 5, 2017
Remembering a Transplant Trailblazer

The University community mourns the death of surgeon Thomas E. Starzl, who advanced organ transplantation from a risky, rare procedure to an accessible surgery. He performed the first successful liver transplant in 1967 and pioneered advancements in immunosuppression therapy. In 1980, he joined Pitt’s School of Medicine as a professor of surgery, and he subsequently trained many of the nation’s top transplant physicians. Until he retired from clinical and surgical service in 1991, he oversaw the largest and busiest transplant program in the world. Pitt’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute is an enduring tribute to his legacy.

March 9, 2017
National Award for Distinctive Research Merit

For “distinctly superior” research competence and productivity, Mark Shlomchik receives a 10-year $3.8 million MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide long-term support for his research into autoimmune diseases and the body’s immune response. He is a professor in and chair of the Department of Immunology. Currently, nine other Pitt researchers also have the distinction of an NIH MERIT Award.

March 12, 2017
Global Recognition for Expertise in Public Health Toxicology

Three researchers in the Graduate School of Public Health are honored with 2017 awards from the Society of Toxicology, a global organization with members in more than 60 countries. The awards recognize excellence in the science of toxicology. The Pitt honorees are professors Meryl H. Karol (Founders Award), George D. Leikauf (Honorary Membership), and, right, Bernard D. Goldstein (Public Communications Award).

March 17, 2017
One of Medicine's Most Prestigious Prizes

School of Medicine professors Yuan Chang and Patrick S. Moore are awarded the prestigious 2017 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. The honor is given annually to medical researchers who have made significant contributions in the fields of immunology, cancer research, microbiology, and chemotherapy. The duo also recently won the 2017 Passano Foundation Laureate Award for groundbreaking discoveries in human virology and immunology. Their lab at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute is credited with discovering two of the seven known human viruses that directly cause cancer.

March 23, 2017
Honors for Distinguished Research Productivity

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business ranks 17th in the recently released ranking Productivity in the Premier Marketing Journals, in which business schools worldwide are ranked based on the number of research articles their faculties published in the top journals. Additionally, research projects conducted independently by two Pitt business professors have been recognized as among the most productive scholarly work in the field of marketing: J. Jeffrey Inman’s work on consumer decision making in grocery stores ranks 12th, and Cait Lamberton’s work on consumer behaviors in pair decision making ranks 28th.

April 5, 2017
Discovery of New Brain Pathway

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh and its Brain Institute identified a new brain pathway for the coordinated hand movements involved in reaching out and manipulating objects. Surprisingly, the new pathway is not in the frontal lobe, which traditionally is known to control voluntary movement. This has important implications for ongoing work to understand brain function in helping those with lost or damaged limbs through robotics and other technologies.

April 27, 2017
Polio Vaccine Pioneer Leaves Lifesaving Legacy

Virologist Julius S. Youngner worked alongside Jonas Salk at Pitt to develop a safe and effective vaccine that ended the deadly and crippling U.S. polio epidemic of the 1950s. His passing leaves a remarkable legacy of infectious disease work that saved countless lives worldwide. He was Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

May 4, 2017
Cryptocurrency Research Finds a Home at Pitt

The University Library System publishes the first peer-reviewed academic journal solely devoted to research on cryptocurrency, which also is known as “block chain technology.” Ledger is an interdisciplinary open-access publication, which allows a wider audience into the peer review process. Its goal is to create a robust discourse to supplement the wideranging cryptocurrency discussions taking place worldwide.


May 22, 2017
Fostering Regional Innovation, Capacity in the Life Sciences

The University, in partnership with 10 other regional pro-innovation groups, sponsors Pittsburgh Life Sciences Week, which brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, corporations, and investors to enhance the region’s connectivity around life sciences and foster more partnerships and bigger impact. Chancellor Gallagher launches the week of events with a presentation titled, “Life Sciences—A Powerful Driver of Growth: The Opportunities Life Sciences Holds for Pittsburgh.”