University of Pittsburgh
January 22, 2013

News of Note From Pitt

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  • Nathan Davis’ Matryoshka Blues to Premiere in NYC’s Carnegie Hall
  • Bioengineering Professor Honored for Research on Preventing Blindness
  • History Graduate Receives Award for Dissertation on Haitians in Cuba

PITTSBURGH—Behind the larger stories about the University of Pittsburgh are other stories of faculty, staff, and student achievement as well as information on Pitt programs reaching new levels of success. The following is a compilation of some of those stories.

Nathan Davis’ Matryoshka Blues to Premiere in NYC’s Carnegie Hall

A new musical work for cello and piano by Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director and Professor of Music Nathan Davis will be performed as a highlight of the InterHarmony International Music Festival’s Jan. 25 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Russian émigré cellist Misha Quint, founder and director of the InterHarmony Festival, will perform the world premiere of Davis’ Matryoshka Blues—a work whose title salutes both the Russian-born Quint and Davis’ jazz roots. Similar to matryoshkas, the colorful Russian dolls nested inside one another, Davis’ new work comprises different sound layers, which showcase the full range of musical possibilities for the cello within the jazz form. Pianist Svetlana Gorokhovich will join Quint in the world-premiere performance. Visit for more information.

Bioengineering Professor Honored for Research on Preventing Blindness

George Stetten, a professor of bioengineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, has been awarded a Research to Prevent Blindness Innovative Ophthalmic Research Award. This award, established in 2011, provides flexible funding to basic scientists actively engaged in “innovative, out-of-the-box” research in collaboration with the researcher institution’s department of ophthalmology—in Stetten’s case, the Pitt School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology. Stetten is one of six researchers at six institutions who have received the award since 2011. He also serves as a research professor at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute and is director of Pitt and CMU’s Visualization and Image Analysis Laboratory and the Music Engineering Laboratory.

History Graduate Receives Award for Dissertation on Haitians in Cuba

Recent graduate Matthew CaseyMatthew Casey (A&S ’06G, ’12G) has received the 2011–12 Eduardo Lozano Memorial Dissertation Award from Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies and Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures for his dissertation, “From Haiti to Cuba and Back: Haitians' Experiences of Migration, Labor, and Return, 1900–1940.” The selection committee wrote that Casey’s dissertation, written for his PhD in history, “challenges the traditional perception of Haitian workers in Cuba” and praised his use of Cuban nationalization records. Casey is now an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The award—presented annually for the best doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh on a topic related to Latin America,the Caribbean, or Latin American communities—is named after Pitt librarian Eduardo Lozano, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and directed the Latin American collection at Hillman Library from 1967 until his death in 2006, developing it into one of the most outstanding collections of its kind.

Laura Macia-Vergara


An honorable mention was given to Laura Macia-Vergara (A&S ’12G) for her dissertation, “Dealing with Grievances: The Latino Experience in Pittsburgh,” which she wrote while earning a PhD in anthropology. She is a project coordinator with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health.  



George Stetten

Nathan Davis