NSF grants $1 million

Toasters, cellular phones, and mammography machines are not as unrelated as they may first seem. These electronic devices, among many others, contain embedded computers which help them run. To promote the reliability of embedded computers, the National Science Foundation has awarded $1 million to a team of Penn researchers.

Currently, embedded computers are tested after a product has already been designed, a procedure which decreases the dependability of embedded computers while driving up the cost of electronic devices.

Rajeev S. Alur, professor of computer and information science, is leading the team working to develop software that will allow designers to predict how embedded processors might respond under various circumstances.

Gardner named chief

Timothy Gardner, M.D., is now head of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Since joining Penn’s School of Medicine, Gardner has helped expand cardiac surgical activities throughout the Penn Health System. With his assistance, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has improved in areas such as thoracic aortic surgery, the surgical treatment of heart failure, and heart transplant. The AATS, which is the senior professional association for cardiothoracic surgeons, recognizes Gardner as its 82nd president.

Brain researcher recognized

David F. Meaney has received top honor in bioengineering as the 2001 recipient of the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award. The award, which recognizes bioengineering researchers younger than 36, is sponsored by the Bioengineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Meaney’s research fills a gap by focusing on how brain cells, specifically the long arms of the nerve cell, distort under force. Little is now known about how much force is needed to injure the brain and how the brain repairs itself.

Arboretum chief honored

Paul W. Meyer, F. Otto Haas Director of the Morris Arboretum, was recognized for his work in revitalizing Penn’s Victorian landscape garden. The American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, an international organization of public garden professionals, bestowed Meyer with the 2001 AABGA Professional Citation Award. The organization also noted his leadership in eight plant-collecting trips to Asia and two international plant consortiums.

Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks. During her one-year term, Kumanyika will direct the research on why ethnic populations are disproportionately affected by high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Kumanyika has worked extensively to discover why health disparities affect ethnic populations, authoring numerous articles which focus on obesity in minority populations.

Two leadership awards

Virginia Greene has had a long history of mentoring conservation students, from interns to post-graduates. Her contributions were recognized by the American Institute for Conservation in June 2001. The organization honored Greene, who is senior conservator of Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, with the Sheldon & Caroline Keck Award, noting that she has guided and advised students since 1972.

Michael Palladino has earned the first leadership award from the Association for Telecommunications Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA). As the associate vice president of Networking and Telecommunications at Penn, Palladino heads a staff of more than 100 information technology professionals. ACUTA noted that Palladino has actively embraced new technologies in his role as leader.

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Originally published on September 13, 2001