In recognition of his “service and commitment to the field of chemistry over the years, with particular emphasis on efforts to reinvent chemical engineering education in the Pittsburgh area,” the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has named University of Pittsburgh Professor and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Steven Little, PhD, as recipient of its 2018 Pittsburgh Award. Dr. Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.
Dr. Little focuses on novel drug delivery systems that mimic the body’s own mechanisms of healing and resolving inflammation. This allows for dosages that are millions of times smaller than current medicine, and his next-generation treatments have shown promise for addressing a number of conditions including glaucoma, periodontal disease, wound healing, cancer, skin allergic dermatitis, and even transplantation of tissues and limbs. New “controlled release” systems developed by Dr. Little are applied once and then released over a period of days or months, depending on the medication.
His controlled release discoveries resulted in the co-founding of Pittsburgh-based Qrono Inc., which provides custom designed controlled release formulations for academic laboratories and agricultural and pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Little is the William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Bioengineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Immunology, and Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, with his thesis winning the American Association for Advancement of Science’s Excellence in Research Award.
Researchers in Dr. Little’s Lab focus upon therapies that are biomimetic and replicate the biological function and interactions of living entities using synthetic systems. Areas of study include bioengineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, ophthalmology, and immunology, and the health issues addressed include autoimmune disease, battlefield wounds, cancer, HIV, ocular diseases, and transplantation. Dr. Little currently has 10 provisional, 2 pending, and 5 issued patents.
Dr. Little has been recognized by national and international awards including the 2018 Controlled Release Society Young Investigator Award; the 2015 ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Research Award; elected as fellow of BMES and AIMBE, the Carnegie Science Award for Advanced Materials (2015); the Society for Biomaterials’ Young Investigator Award (2012); the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award (2012); being named a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2012); being named an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator (2008); and being elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Biomaterials (2013-2015). In June 2018 the Controlled Release Society appointed Dr. Little to its Board as a Director-at-Large through 2021.
In addition, Dr. Little’s exceptional teaching and leadership in education have also been recognized by both the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2013) and a 2nd Carnegie Science Award for Post-Secondary Education (2013). Dr. Little was also named one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, a “Fast Tracker” by the Pittsburgh Business Times, and also one of only five individuals in Pittsburgh who are “reshaping our world” by Pop City Media.
The Pittsburgh Award was established in 1932 by the Pittsburgh Section of ACS to recognize outstanding leadership in chemical affairs in the local and larger professional community. This Award symbolizes the honor and appreciation accorded to those who have rendered distinguished service to the field of chemistry. Dr. Little will be presented with the Pittsburgh Award at the ACS annual banquet on December 6, 2018.
“The Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society is fortunate to be located in an area that has such a rich history in the chemical research and development fields,” noted Bradley Davis, PhD, Chair/Chair-Elect of ACS/Pittsburgh Section and assistant professor of chemistry at Waynesburg University. “It is an honor for us to be able to recognize the great work that Dr. Little has conducted in the Pittsburgh area and we hope for his continued success.”
Congratulations, Dr. Little!