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The Products of Pittsburgh podcast is about the people in Pittsburgh – innovators, scientists, community leaders – and the remarkable stories behind how they came to be and the work they have produced.

Have ideas about who you would like to learn more about? Know someone having a positive impact on the Pittsburgh community? Let us know by emailing us at ctsipodcast@pitt.edu.

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Fostering Innovation: Nehal Bhojak

April 15, 2020

In 2001, Nehal moved to Pittsburgh and had been working as a consultant when she decided to go back to school for a second master’s degree.   A decision that set her on a trajectory to becoming a prolific figure in the Pittsburgh innovation ecosystem.  Today, she is at the interaction of academia and industry – fostering relationships and coordinating the development of innovative medical technologies.     

About Bhojak

Nehal Bhojak is the Director of Strategic Business Initiatives at Pittsburgh CREATES, a University of Pittsburgh initiative that supports collaborative surgical and medical innovation, research, and training.  Prior to joining Pittsburgh CREATES, Bhojak was the Director of Innovation at Idea Foundry, a local business and technology accelerator.

From Surviving to Thriving: Carla Chugani

March 18, 2020

In 2016, Carla arrived at the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral scholar.  As the daughter of academic parents, it’s no surprise that Carla decided to pursue a similar path.   Today, as an assistant professor, Carla is conducting research, teaching, and developing programs focused on mental health and suicide prevention.  She wasn’t initially interested in science or mental health though Carla first wanted to pursue a career in music.  And not just any music, opera. 

About Chugani

Carla Chugani, PhD, LPC is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health. Chugani completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh. She is both a Pain Research Challenge and a WORDOUT Community Research Dissemination Challenge awardee.

Regenerative Medicine: Bryan Brown

February 18, 2020

In 2001, Bryan Brown came to Pittsburgh to study mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh where he would go on to obtain his PhD in bioengineering and become a faculty member at the university.    From winning multiple awards to co-founding a company, Bryan is well on his way to making an impact on health care innovation. 

About Brown

Bryan Brown, PhD is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences as well as Clinical and Translational Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  He’s a core faculty member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine where he serves as Director of Educational Outreach.   He is a two time Pitt Innovation Challenge awardee and serves as Chief Technology Officer of Renerva, LLC, a Pitt start-up company that he co-founded.  Brown received both his B.S. and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.  

Leading with Love: Ellen Beckjord

January 21, 2020

Ellen Beckjord returned to Pittsburgh in 2007 after years of training as a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist.  It didn’t take long before Beckjord established herself as an innovator at the intersection of digital and population health.  From mobile applications to #pinksocks, Beckjord is using her expertise and compassion to support the health of millions of people.

About Beckjord

Ellen Beckjord, PhD, MPH is the Associate Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Affairs at the UPMC Health Plan.  Prior to joining the UPMC Health Plan, Beckjord was an Assistant Professor and Clinical and Translational Science Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh.  She’s also a Pitt Innovation Challenge awardee. 

Emergency in Mind: Clifton Callaway

December 3, 2019

Clifton Callaway came to Pittsburgh in 1993 to begin his medical residency and would go on to become a prominent researcher, physician, and leader in emergency care.  However, before becoming a doctor, Callaway was a student majoring in psychology and working on an ambulance, an experience that led him to neuroscience and becoming an expert in brain injury.   

About Callaway

Clifton Callaway, MD, PhD is Professor and Executive Vice-Chair of Emergency Medicine and the Ronald D. Stewart Endowed Chair of Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Pittsburgh.  Callaway is also the Director of CTSI’s Pilot Funding Core.      

Future Law: Michael Madison

November 5, 2019

Michael Madison is training lawyers to succeed in the 21st century as leaders and collaborators in the legal profession, in their communities, and in the innovation economy.  He’s always been on the cutting edge, whether it be the internet in the 1990s or artificial intelligence of today.  His upbringing in the Silicon Valley may have something to do with it.  However, in the 1960s and 70s when people were jumping into advancing computer and tech industry, Madison decided on a different trajectory.     

About Madison

Michael Madison, JD is Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Innovation Practice Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. Madison is also a Senior Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security.

Tenacious Inventor: Rory Cooper

October 8, 2019

Rory Cooper and his team at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories have developed over 100 inventions related to wheelchairs, robotics, and wearable instruments designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities and military veterans.  Cooper grew up being around mechanics and machines; however, before becoming an engineer and prolific innovator, Rory became an Eagle Scout and at age 17 decided to serve his country by joining the Army.  

About Cooper

Rory Cooper, PhD is the Founding Director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Associate Dean for Inclusion, FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America Professor, and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Community Connector: Lina Dostilio

September 10, 2019

Moving around a bit in their early life has connected Lina Dostilio to the concept of space and place, particularly as it relates to community engagement and Dostilio’s work within that framework. A self-described hard worker, Dostilio thinks deeply about how to build relationships between and among folks in the community and those engaged in an academic university. A lover of “bizarre British television,” cooking, and her family, Lina balances long workdays with finding joy off the clock.

About Dostilio

Lina Dostilio, EdD is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations at the University of Pittsburgh. She is responsible for supporting community-facing work at Pitt that includes community relations, cultivating strategic opportunities to advance Pitt’s community engagement agenda, and implementing the University’s place-based community engagement initiative through the development of neighborhood-based community engagement centers.

Blazing a Trail: Erricka Hager

August 20, 2019

A lifelong love of books about science and history, coupled with a family of generations of strong black women, has led Erricka Hager to a space of community and health advocacy. Hager’s goal of representation in the field of science will not only blaze a trail for others, but could also land Hager in a dream spot of having a building dedicated in their name.

About Hager

Erricka Hager is bio-cultural broker who serves as both the integrated special populations’ liaison at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), and one of the community engagement coordinators

Critical Care: Cameron Dezfulian

July 30, 2019

Being a doctor isn’t easy.  Sure there are the long hours, but there can also be difficult situations as well as tough conversations with patients and their families.  As a critical care medicine doctor, Cameron Dezfulian has had his fair share of challenges, but getting to help people every day?  That’s why he does it.   

About Dezfulian

Cameron Dezfulian, MD is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  

About the Hosts

Mike Flock, PhD, is the Innovation Core Manager for the CTSI. He coordinates novel funding and translational research programs, such as the Pitt Innovation Challenge. Before joining CTSI, Flock worked in R&D at large food and supplement companies. It was his interest in health science communications, cross-disciplinary research, and a sense of curiosity that led him to the Products of Pittsburgh. 

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Mike Flock, PhD
Innovation Core Manager
Phone: 412-864-3490
E-mail: mif55@pitt.edu
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Bee Schindler, LMSW
Community Engagement Coordinator
Phone: 412-864-6092
E-mail: bee.schindler@pitt.edu

Bee Schindler, LMSW, is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the CTSI. Bee works with researchers to facilitate best practices for working in and with the communities for which their research aligns. Bee also works with community organizations to advocate for research dissemination, identifying how the latest research and best practices affect the health and wellness of the people the organization serves. Bee is an advocate whose educational background is in journalism and social work, a foundation that encourages the belief that everyone has a story to tell.

About the Producer

Zach Ferguson is the CTSI Media Specialist. Ferguson produces media content for all of CTSI’s cores ranging from videos to photos to podcasts. He is the editor, producer, and logo designer for the educational Podcast, “Products of Pittsburgh.” If there’s a CTSI story to be told, Zachary Ferguson will tell it. Whether it’s in a lab, on the street, or in the classroom – he’s there to capture it all.

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Zachary Ferguson
Media Specialist
Phone: 412-648-4213
E-mail: zsf3@pitt.edu