Two Pitt faculty members named to Institute of Medicine

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Two faculty members of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jennifer Grandis, who leads the head and neck cancer program at Pitt's Cancer Institute, was honored chiefly for her research into factors that contribute to the spread of squamous cell cancer of the head and neck and for developing therapies to treat the disease.

Michael Boninger, chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation and director of Pitt's Human Engineering Research Laboratories, was honored chiefly for developing new wheelchair technologies for people who have spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Grandis earned her medical degree at Pitt in 1987 and joined the faculty in 1993. She was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2002 and this year was appointed Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology, the branch of medicine dealing with the ear, nose and throat.

Dr. Boninger earned engineering and medical degrees at Ohio State University before joining the Pitt faculty in 1993. His research recently has focused on brain/computer interfaces -- ways to enable people with spinal cord injuries to control their wheelchairs and other devices through thought.

Drs. Grandis and Boninger were among 70 new members elected to the institute at its annual meeting Sunday and Monday in Washington, D.C.

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