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Women in Science at Duquesne University

Women in Science at Duquesne University (WIS@DU) promotes and supports women in basic and applied sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics career paths at Duquesne University. The goals of WIS@DU are as follows:

  • Recognize Duquesne women in science for their scientific, teaching and community achievements.
  • Advocate for women's issues in STEM fields at Duquesne and in the broader community.
  • Identify positive strategies for women at all professional stages to navigate successful STEM and health sciences careers.
  • Provide a strong network of women in science who are willing to support and serve as role models for both graduate students and their peers.

WIS@DU meets twice per semester to discuss professional and personal development, as well as provide opportunities for women in the Duquesne University science community.  

Check out Pittsbugh's Action News 4 coverage of our spring seminar 'The Gender Leadership Gap' by Dr. Kevin Miller, senior researcher at AAUW.   

Buy an official WIS@DU T-shirt

News

Recent achievements by women in science at Duquesne 

Dr. Jelena Janjic, associate professor of pharmacy, was recently interviewed by Joe Palca from NPR News on her work on pain nanomedicine.  Read the NPR article.  

Jamie Munoz and Anne Marie Hansen, Department of Occupational Therapy, Rangos School of Health Sciences, $20,000, from the Frederic W. Sammons Donor Fund of the Renaissance Charitable Foundation, to support Hansen's work with occupational therapists in East Africa.

Jamie McConaha, associate professor of pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, $2,000, from Pfizer Incorporated, for a smoking cessation program.

Dr. Benedict Kolber, associate professor of biological sciences, BSNES, and Dr. Rachael Neilan, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, $307,080, from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, for research.

Dr. Stacey Levine, professor of mathematics, McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, $100,003, from the National Science Foundation, for Learning Geometry for Inverse Problems in Imaging.

Drs. Allyson O'Donnell and Sarah Woodley, Department of Biological Sciences, BSNES, $294,387, from the National Science Foundation, for REU Site: Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Research and Community Engaged Learning Experiences for Undergraduates.

Dr. Fatiha Benmokhtar, assistant professor of physics, BSNES, $61,000, from the National Science Foundation, for RUI: Studies of Parton Distributions Using Kaons at Jefferson Lab.

Drs. Jeffrey Evanseck and Mihaela Rita Mihailescu, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, BSNES, $177,552, from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, for Using PNAs to Elucidate the Role of G-Quadruplex and Hairpin Structures in ALS/FTD Through a Combined Biophysical and Computational Approach.

Charlotte Hacker, a doctoral student in biological sciences studying under Dr. Jan Janecka, BSNES, $5,500, from the Panthera, for Snow Leopard (Panthera Unica) Prey Use and Dependence on Livestock in Quinhai, China and Its Implications for Conservation.

Dr. Rehana Leak, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, School of Pharmacy, $233,752, from the National Institutes of Health, for The Impact of Heat Shock Protein 70 on Lewy Body Disorders.

Dr. Rehana Leak, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, School of Pharmacy, a $12,135 National Institutes of Health subaward from the University of Pittsburgh, for Dopamine System Focused Neurorehabilitation Model for Improving Neurorecovery Among Cardiac Arrest Survivors.

Dr. Regina Harbourne, assistant professor of physical therapy, Rangos School of Health Sciences, $861,903, from the Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences, for Efficacy of the START-Play Program for Infants with Neuromotor Disorders.

Dr. Mihaela-Rita Mihailescu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received $414,000 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health for Investigation of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein Interactions with the miRNA Pathway.

Dr. Sarah Woodley, an associate professor of biological sciences received $10,300 from the Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation for Antimicrobial Properties of Skin Secretions from Lungless Salamanders.

Dr. Regina Harbourne, an assistant professor of physical therapy received $854,980 from the Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences for Efficacy of the START-Play Program for Infants with Neuromotor Disorders.

Dr. Fatiha Benmokhtar, an assistant professor of physics received $61,000 from the National Science Foundation for RUI: Studies of Parton Distributions Using Kaons at Jefferson Lab.

Dr. Sarah Wallace, an associate professor of speech-language pathology received $112,542 from a National Institutes of Health sub-award from Miami University of Ohio, for Strategies to Accommodate Reading in Aphasia: Using Assistive Technology to Support Reading by People with Aphasia.

Drs. John Pollock, Wook Kim, Rehana Leak, John Stolz and Allyson O'Donnell received $333,191 from the National Science Foundation for MRI: Acquisition of a Confocal Microscope for Research and Teaching.

Congratulations to doctoral students Renee Gilhousen (Nursing), Katelyn Sadler (Biology), and Sara Tavela (English) for receiving 2017 Distinguished Dissertation Awards!  

Dr. Jennifer Aitken, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received $5,250 from the American Chemical Society for the Project SEED Program, which provides chemistry lab experience to economically disadvantaged high school students.

Dr. Jelena Janjic, associate professor of pharmaceutics, received $72,600 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imagining and Bioengineering for Multimodal (PET/MR/NIR) Imaging Supported by Drug Delivery in Inflammatory Diseases.

Drs. Allyson O'Donnell and Sarah Woodley in biological sciences received $23,010 for the CIRCLE program to support research experiences to underserved middle and high school students.

Dr. Anne Burrows, professor of physical therapy, received a $24,284 National Science Foundation subaward for her proposal titled 'Collaborative Research: Skeletal Muscle Constraint on Relative Brain Size.'

Dr. Rachael Miller Neilan, assistant professor of mathematics, received the 2017 McAnulty College Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.  

Tiffany Sizemore-Thompson, assistant clinical professor of law, and Dr. Tammy Hughes, professor of counseling, psychology and special education, received $25,000 from the Nimick Forbesway Foundation to enable the Education Law Clinic to expand community outreach and provide expert advice for clinical clients.

Dr. Pamela Spigelmyer, assistant professor of nursing, received a $8,719 Faculty Development Fund Award for 'Improving Family Caregivers' Self-Management and Coping with Memory-Related Behaviors of People with Dementia'.

Dr. Mishook Heo, professor of instructional technology, received a $6,802 Faculty Development Grant for 'Visuals, Multimedia and Learner Characteristics in Online Learning: Systematic Design to Enhance Learner Motivation.'

The American Physical Therapy Association has presented its highest honor upon Dr. Regina Harbourne, naming her a Catherine Worthingham Fellow and making her the first faculty member at the University to receive the prestigious recognition. Read more here.  

Autumn Chilcote, a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology, just published her first book, co-authored with colleague Freeman Woolnough from Queens University, entitled 'Adaptable Interventions for Counseling Concerns'.  Read more about the book.  

Dr. Devika Manickam, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics, was recently awarded $5,000 from the Hunkele Dreaded Disease Review Committee at Duquesne. Her project, 'Gene Delivery to the Blood-Brain Barrier for Stroke Therapy', will focus on protecting the brain from suffering damage during a stroke. Read more here.

Dr. Jelena Janjic, Associated Professor of Pharmaceutics, was recently interviewed by The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine regarding the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne and her research in chronic pain and inflammation. Listen to the podcast here.   

Dr. Jennifer Padden Elliot, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy, received a $100,000 grant from the Heinz Endowments for her research exploring asthma prevention in school children. Read more here.

Dr. Kathleen Sekula, Professor of Nursing, has been awarded two prestigious American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards. Read more here

Dr. Devika Manickam, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy, received a 2017 New Investigator Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Her research project is titled 'DNA Nanoparticles for Ischemic Stroke Therapy.'  Read more here

Leadership

Faculty

  • Rachael Miller Neilan, Mathematics and Computer Science, McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
  • Regina Harbourne, Department of Physical Therapy, Rangos School of Health Sciences 
  • Jennifer Aitken, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Fatiha Benmokhtar, Department of Physics, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Jelena Janjic, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mylan School of Pharmacy
  • Linda Garand, School of Nursing
  • Misook Heo, School of Education
  • Lisa Ludvico, Department of Biological Sciences, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences 
  • Pinar Ozturk, Palumbo Donahue School of Business
  • Pamela Marshall, Forensic Science, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Graduate Students

  • Michelle Valkanas, Department of Biological Sciences, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences 
  • Michele Herneisey, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mylan School of Pharmacy
Support

WIS@DU is thankful for generous support from the following programs and individuals.

EQT Corporation 

Charles Henry Leach II Fund

Provost Timothy Austin, Academic Affairs

Dean Philip Reeder, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Dean Cindy Walker, School of Education

Dean James Swindal, McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Dean Mary Ellen Glasgow, School of Nursing

Dean Fevzi Akinci, John G. Rangos School of Health Sciences

Dr. Simonetta Frittelli, Department of Physics

Dr. Ellen Gewalt, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Joseph McCormick, Department of Biological Sciences

Duquesne University Chronic Pain Research Consortium

Past Events

The 2016-2017 WIS@DU program included the following:

Dollars & Sense:  Workshop on negotiating with Ayana Ledford (Carnegie Mellon University)

Mentors Matter: Seminar by Dr. Linda Garand (DU Nursing)

Creating Change in Scientific Institutions: Seminar by Dr. Debra Rolison (US Naval Research Lab)

Speak Up!: Workshop for middle school schools 

Grad Gab: A panel discussion about graduate school