Dara Méndez and Amy Hartman selected as Health Sciences Ascending Star Awardees

Congratulations to Dara Méndez, associate director of the Center for Health Equity and associate professor of epidemiology and Amy Hartman, associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology, on receiving 2024 Ascending Star Awards.

The Ascending Star Award recognizes highly productive, creative mid-career faculty members. As Ascending Stars, each awardee receives $25,000 in research support and will give a talk about their work.

Méndez has more than 20 years of experience in promoting racial and socioeconomic equity and justice in pregnancy, birth, and reproductive and women’s health. Méndez leads research, practice and policy focused on structural and social determinants of health, particularly for Black populations. She applies novel methods in understanding and measuring racism and oppression, integrating community-based praxis in applied research, and evaluating health equity practice and policy. Her talk will take place on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Hartman’s research goal is to understand how emerging mosquito-transmitted viruses, like the Rift Valley fever virus, cause disease. She and her team decipher the mechanisms of understudied disease outcomes, like encephalitis or fetal infection during pregnancy, to advance the development of vaccines and therapeutics. Her lecture will take place Friday, Nov. 1.

"I’m truly honored to be included in this year’s group of Pitt Health Science’s Ascending Stars," says Hartman. "I plan to use the award to support my existing trainees so that we can continue our ongoing research projects aimed at better understanding of emerging viruses. Biocontainment research is expensive, and this support arrives at a critical juncture to maintain our momentum."

Both talks will take place at 3:30 p.m. in Alan Magee Scaife Hall, room 3785.