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August 01, 2013

Personal Mention

Carnegie Mellon President Subra Suresh is part of a team of researchers from CMU, MIT, Brown University, the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the University of Lugano in Switzerland that has published “Lipid bilayer and cytoskeletal interactions in a red blood cell” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers — with combined expertise in bioengineering, computational science and applied mathematics — present a unique computational model for simulating the interactions between the lipid bilayer and cytoskeletal network of human red blood cells. The mechanical properties associated with these interactions strongly influence biorheology (the study of the flow properties of biological fluids), red blood cell function, and the onset and advancement of red blood cell diseases. A number of controversies and issues in red blood cell mechanics in the literature can be resolved and reconciled using this newly developed model.

Statistics Professor Joel B. Greenhouse, director of the master's degree program in statistical practice, wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post dismissing claims made in the Harvard Business Review and New York Times that suggest no universities are currently addressing the need for "Big Data" scientists. Greenhouse dismisses that data science is a new field by pointing out that statisticians have been conducting collaborative research, designing studies, analyzing data and developing new statistical theory for massive amounts of data for decades. For example, CMU's Department of Statistics has been making contributions in Big Data applications, such as genomics, astronomy and finance. Read more.

Statistics Professor Kathryn Roeder has been chosen to receive the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences. The Norwood Award, named after the first woman commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a past president of the American Statistical Association (ASA), is given annually by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health to recognize contributions to statistical sciences by women. Roeder has played a pivotal role in developing the foundations of DNA forensic inference. Her current research focuses on statistical genomics and the genetic base of complex disease with an emphasis on autism. Read the full announcement.

Scott Sandage, associate professor of history, discussed the rise of credit-rating agencies in the mid-19th century and the indignation many Americans felt at this new assessment of their "credit-worthiness" for "BackStory with the American History Guys," a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Listen to his interview at

Incoming School of Drama Associate Professor of Costume Design Suttirat Anne Larlarb has been nominated for an Emmy Award as part of the team that produced the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Larlarb was production designer and responsible for designing many of the hundreds of costumes worn during the ceremony, as well as sets and stages. Her co-nominees from NBC Universal, LLC, are Mark Tildesley, production designer, and Danny Boyle, art director. Larlarb is one of 12 individuals affiliated with CMU who have been nominated for this year’s Emmy Awards. Read about the 11 alumni nominees.  This year's ceremony will be broadcast live, beginning at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22 on CBS.

Stratos Pistikopoulos, who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from CMU in 1988, has been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering. Pistikopoulos is a professor at Imperial College in London. Membership to the Royal Academy of Engineering, which includes some of the most accomplished engineers from academia and business in the United Kingdom, is the highest recognition that an engineer can receive in the UK.

Six Carnegie Mellon professors are among the first series of grant recipients of The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, which recently announced nearly $1.6 million in research grants to support cutting-edge scientific research at institutions across Pennsylvania. CMU recipients are:

  • Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Joel McManus for research on "High-Throughput Probing of Human IncRNA Structure."
  • Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Aditya S. Khair for research on "Charges, Forces and Particles in Ionic Liquids."
  • Professor of Biological Sciences Jonathan Minden, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Veronica Hinman, Chemistry Professor Bruce Alan Armitage and Associate Chemistry Professor Danith H. Ly for research on "Developing a Sea Star Model for Regenerative Biology."

Read the full announcement.

Obituary: Lucian Caste (A'50)

Renowned architect Lucian Caste, a 1950 graduate of CMU’s School of Architecture and an Emeritus Life Trustee, passed away on July 24. He was 88.  An avid supporter of CMU, Caste joined the university's Board of Trustees in 1996 and served on the President’s Advisory Board for the College of Fine Arts and the School of Architecture. He also was a member of several trustee committees, including the Advancement Committee, Educational Affairs and Enrollment Committee, Executive Committee and the Property & Facilities Committee.  He also served on the Qatar Oversight Committee.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture or the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Read the obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.