Bob Yee Scholars

The Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship

Bob Yee PlaqueEach year, the department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology makes two to three awards of $1,000 each in unrestricted funds to incoming masters degree students based on academic merit and promise. Suitable candidates are identified by a thorough review of their undergraduate grades, test scores, and letters of recommendation with the goal of enhancing student diversity in the department. The scholarships are made possible by the generous support of alumni and friends through the Bob Yee Fund, established in memory of the department, longest-serving faculty member, Robert B. Yee.

By supporting this fund, you will continue Yee's life-long commitment to developing the next generation of scientists and public health practitioners. Contributions support tuition, travel, or other educational expenses for master’s students in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology.

Support the Bob Yee Fund

To give online, click the button above and enter “Bob Yee Fund in IDM” in the “other” box when prompted on page 2.

Or, mail your gift to University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Attn: Sloane Astorino, director of development, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. Make checks payable to “University of Pittsburgh” and be sure to include a note that your gift is to be designated to the “Bob Yee Fund in IDM”.

Thanks to the alumni and others who have donated to the Bob Yee Scholarship Fund. The establishment of this fund is one of the greatest highlights of my career. As a result, we have been able to provide some financial support to a few of the master’s students, especially ones pursuing a career in public health. We may some day be able to support all of the master’s students. To reach this goal, I hope all of you will become sustaining donors by contributing $25 annually to the fund. Once again, thank you. I miss the good old days working with all of you. I remember each and every one of you.
—Bob Yee, from the IDM newsletter, Dec. 2013

About Bob Yee

A three-time graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (BS, MS, PhD), the late Robert B. Yee joined the Department of Epidemiology and Microbiology in 1952 (only four years after the founding of the school), marking the start of his distinguished 50-year career of teaching, mentoring, and important research on pathogenic bacteria. Over the next decades, under the mentorship of Monto Ho, Yee became the heart of what is now the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. Though he nominally retired in 1989, Yee continued to serve as an advisor and a “godfather” both to the department and to the school for nearly thirty additional years as professor emeritus.

“Bob was the consummate gentleman, the first to say hello both to faculty and especially to students. He made us all feel like family here in the department,” says current chair of the department, Charles Rinaldo. “He was totally dedicated to the graduate students in the school and tried to encourage them.”

Yee was the proud recipient of Pitt’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and of Pitt Public Health’s Gloninger Service Award (1997).


Research interests

  • As a research assistant from 1954–58 in Pitt’s Department of Epidemiology and Microbiology, under the direction of Horace M. Gezon, Yee studied the effect of aureomycin on the oxidative metabolism of shigellae and in the laboratory phase of epidemiological studies of streptococcal and salmonellae outbreaks.
  • As a research fellow and assistant research professor (1961), Yee studied the effect of chloramphenicol on shigellae and the nutrition of these organisms and aided in the laboratory phase of an epidemiological study on staphylococci in hospitals.
  • As co-investigator with H. M. Gezon, Yee studied the epidemiology of staphylococci in newborns, as well as the physiology and mechanisms of pathogenesis of shigellae using virulent parent strains, hybrid strains, and avirulent mutants.
  • Yee served as principal investigator on a project entitled “Laboratory Studies on Shigella Pathogenesis” from1967 to 1969 which used intestinal organ cultures and macrophage cultures to study characteristics of virulent, avirulent, and attenuated shigellae and the mechanisms of Shigella pathogenesis.
  • He also led studies on Shigella pathogenesis and Immunity beginning in 1969 to determine the mechanism by which virulent shigellae are able to kill macrophages and to identify the humoral and cellular factors involved in immunity to shigellosis.
  • During the 1970s and 1980s, research by Yee and his students greatly enhanced understanding of the ecology of Legionella pneumophilia and did significant work on the ecology of Shigella bacteria associated with diarrhea.

Bob Yee Public Health Scholars

Diana Bellino, Bob Yee Scholarship Awardee 

Samhita Ravi, Bob Yee Scholarship Awardee 

Rebecca Boan, Bob Yee Scholarship Awardee 

Claire McCreavy, Bob Yee Scholarship Awardee 

Kristen Eggles, Bob Yee Public Health Scholarship Awardee 

Rachel Poad, Bob Yee Scholarship Awardee

Cheyenne Annarumo awarded 2018-19 Bob Yee Scholarship 

Kelsey Simon awarded 2018-19 Bob Yee Scholarship 

Subramanian Thothathri awarded 2018-19 Bob Yee Scholarship 

Byron Chuan awarded 2017-18 Bob Yee Scholarship 

Saniya Sabnis awarded 2017-18 Bob Yee Scholarship  

Jessica Salerno awarded 2017-18 Bob Yee Scholarship  

Jennifer Burwinkel awarded 2016-17 Bob Yee Scholarship  

Scott Chadwell awarded 2016-17 Bob Yee Scholarship  

Jerone Stoner awarded 2016-17 Bob Yee Scholarship