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