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Chancellor names three engineering professors among 2016 Distinguished Teaching and Research Awardees

Professors from Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering recognized for excellence

PITTSBURGH (February 15, 2016) ... University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced the winners of the 2016 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching, Research, and Public Service Awards. Each awardee received a $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant for support of their teaching, research, or service activities. Honorees will be recognized during Pitt’s annual Honors Convocation to be held on Feb. 26. Among the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award recipients is Zhi-Hong Mao, Associate Professor and William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow, Departments of Electrical and Computing Engineering and Department of Bioengineering. Recipients of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award include Xu Liang, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Piervincenzo Rizzo, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Zi Hong MaoDr. Mao’s research interests include human-in-the-loop control systems, which are systems that require interaction with a human being, such as driver assistance features in a car. He also studies networked control systems and neural control and learning. Dr. Mao has served on at least 50 PhD dissertation committees and 48 master’s thesis panels during his time at Pitt. He has advised 14 visiting students from other universities both within and outside the U.S. Among his many awards are the 2010 Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation and the 2009 Outstanding Educator Award from the Swanson School.

Xu LiangDr. Liang is a world-renowned scholar in macroscale hydrological modeling where she has made influential contributions to the study of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and has translated her modeling analyses into important insights concerning Earth’s climate system. She is the recipient of the 2014 Carnegie Science Environmental Award and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Her research interests include discovering fundamental laws that govern water and energy cycles, and investigating how these cycles affect the health of our environment and ecological systems. She has been a leader in the growth of the Swanson School’s hydrology and water resources PhD program.

Piervincenzo RizzoDr. Rizzo’s research focuses on nondestructive evaluation and structural health monitoring. He has authored eight book chapters, 82 refereed papers, more than 150 conference papers and technical reports, and two patents. He is the only individual who has received both the Achenbach Medal (2012) and the Structural Health Monitoring Person of the Year award (2015). Both honors are selected by the editors of SHM: An International Journal, the top journal in the field. Dr. Rizzo holds a Laurea (5-year degree) in aeronautical engineering from the University of Palermo, Italy, and a PhD in structural engineering from the University of California San Diego.

This article was adapted from The Pitt Chronicle, Vol. XVII, Number 3, February 15, 2016

Contact: Paul Kovach