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American Society for Engineering Education recognizes Pitt’s Dr. Steven Little with Curtis W. McGraw Research Award

PITTSBURGH (January 20, 2015) … Steven Little, PhD, associate professor, CNG Faculty Fellow and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, has been named the 2015 Curtis W. McGraw Research Award recipient by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Little will receive the award at the Engineering Research Council's (ERC) annual conference, March 9-11, 2015.

Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt, noted, "Steve's contributions as a young researcher and scholar at Pitt are exceptional, and his reputation as an educator is highly regarded by his engineering colleagues and students, as well as others across the university. He is most deserving of this very selective and competitive honor."

The McGraw Award was established in 1957 "to recognize outstanding early achievements by young engineering college researchers 40 years of age and younger, and to encourage the continuance of such productivity." The award is named after Curtis McGraw, who began his career with McGraw-Hill in 1920 in the company's shipping department, and worked his way to become company president in 1950.

Dr. Little's citation reads, "For exceptional contributions to fundamentals in the field of controlled release and contributions to the establishment of the nascent field of biomimetic delivery…Dr. Little has developed new approaches to program controlled release devices to behave in defined ways, leading to systems that mimic the way cells accomplish complex tasks. His work also led to the founding of the first custom controlled-release formulation startup company in Pittsburgh. Dr. Little's approach as an educator has led to numerous teaching awards and achievements that are unprecedented in history of his institution." 

Past recipients of the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award include:

1999     Constance J. Chang-Hasnain (Berkeley)
2000     Christopher Bowman (University of Colorado, Boulder)
2001     Jonathan A. Wickert (Iowa State)
2002     Kristi S. Anseth (University of Colorado, Boulder)
2003     Mark R. Prausnitz (Georgia Tech)
2004     Richard Braatz (MIT)
2011     Kenneth Gall (Georgia Tech)
2012     Ali Khademhosseini (Harvard)
2013     Christopher Jones (Georgia Tech)
2014     Ellis Meng (USC)

Dr. Little received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 2005 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he held three National Graduate Fellowships and received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Excellence in Research Award for his work on engineered therapies that interface with the human immune system. He received a bachelor of engineering in chemical engineering from Youngstown State University in 2000.

He joined the Swanson School of Engineering in 2006, where his research focuses on the controlled release of drugs. He holds the CNG Endowed Faculty Fellowship and also retains appointments in the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Immunology, and Department of Opthalmology in the School of Medicine and in the Swanson School's Department of Bioengineering.

Dr. Little holds eight US patents and provisional applications for patents including new methods to fabricate controlled release vehicles in a high throughput fashion; dissolvable synthetic-vasculature; novel complex delivery vehicles; and a description of the first degradable, artificial cell. Since joining Pitt, Dr. Little has received funding from the National Institutes for Health, the National Science Foundation, the US Army, the US Department of Defense, the American Heart Association, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, and several industrial sources that total over $5 million.

His research has been recognized with University and national awards including the Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, the Swanson School Board of Visitor's award, the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Award, an NIH K-Award, the American Heart Association's Career Development Award, and the University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award (2012) and the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (2013). In 2012 he received of the Young Investigator Award from the Society For Biomaterials, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field of biomaterials research within ten years following his terminal degree or formal training. In 2014 he was named among Pittsburgh magazine's "40 Under 40" honorees.

About the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
The Swanson School's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. The Department maintains a tradition of excellence in education and research, evidenced by recent national awards including numerous NSF CAREER Awards, a Beckman Young Investigator Award, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design.

The faculty holds a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. ChE departments for Federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. The vibrant research culture within the Department includes active collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Simulation and Modeling, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering and the U.S. DOE-affiliated Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions.


Contact: Paul Kovach