Class Notes, Winter '22-'23


When we last connected with Eric David Peterson (MD ’88) in 2017, he was overseeing the Duke Clinical Research Institute—one of this country’s largest—as its executive director. Five years later, Peterson and his vast clinical research knowledge have headed west. He’s currently serving as the inaugural vice provost and senior associate dean for clinical research for UT Southwestern; he also holds UTSW’s Adelyn and Edmund M. Hoffman Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. He ranks among the top 1% of published researchers in clinical medicine.


Among his honors, Francis J. Hornicek Jr. (MD ’91) became in 2007 the first orthopaedic surgeon to win Massachusetts General Hospital’s Brian McGovern Award for Clinical Excellence—an award he especially treasured because winners are chosen by their faculty colleagues at Harvard. More recently, in March 2022, Hornicek—now the orthopaedics chair at the University of Miami and director of orthopaedic oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center—was named an Orthopaedic Research Society fellow. “I look forward to continuing to advance national and international sarcoma research as an ORS fellow,” says Hornicek.


Ronald Bernardi (PhD ’02, MD ’04) happily reports that he joined Genentech in February 2019. (The San Francisco biotechnology company was cofounded by Herbert Boyer, also a Pitt alum.) Bernardi has been lead medical director for Innovative Pediatric Oncology Drug Development (iPODD) since September 2021. He’s also a member of the Product Development Oncology and Hematology team at Genentech, which is a subsidiary of Roche. The iPODD team is responsible for the global clinical development of the Genentech/Roche oncology pipeline in pediatrics. The best part of his days, he says, is “the possibility to improve the standard of care for children with cancer.”

Elad Levy (Res ’04), chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Buffalo, has just been named president-elect of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS). Levy—whose research focuses on carotid artery revascularization and stents as well as stroke causes and prevention—will oversee CNS’s mission to advance neurosurgical research and support trainees, researchers and clinicians in the field. Levy is also the founder of the Program for Understanding Childhood Concussion and Stroke, a nonprofit organization which helps to support concussion research and outreach in Western New York.

As the mom of three daughters, Angela Sanfilippo Casey (Res ’07) is conscientious about teaching them a routine for healthy skin; but she says that dermatologists have never developed a skin care line just for young girls. So she created Bright Girl: the first dermatologist-developed line created specifically for girls as young as 8. “Helping others to develop smart skin care habits is my passion,” she says. Casey serves on the faculty with the OhioHealth Dermatology Department and practices at the Center for Surgical Dermatology and Dermatology Associates in Westerville, Ohio, where she regularly works with skin cancer patients—another motivation for the founding of Bright Girl.


During Kelly Quesnelle’s (PhD ’12) training in molecular pharmacology at Pitt Med, she was chosen to be a Lindau scholar, a coveted opportunity where young scientists rub shoulders with dozens of Nobel laureates. She is now chair of biomedical sciences at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. She says she’s been working with the department’s educators to “refresh our preclerkship curriculum to keep it vibrant and engaging for our learners in Greenville for many years to come.” This summer, Quesnelle revisited her scientific roots: She met virtually with Pitt Med Biomedical Graduate Student Association members as part of their How to Get Your First Job panel; she’ll also be speaking with students in March 2023 as part of Pitt’s PhD Pathways programming.

“I was fortunate,” Deborah DiNardo (MS ’15, Res ’11, ’13) says, to rotate at the Pittsburgh VA during her internal medicine residency. From this first assignment, her commitment to women veterans has only grown: Today, she serves as women’s health medical director for the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Pitt’s School of Medicine. For her outstanding service and care, DiNardo in 2020 received the Rising Star–David M. Worthen Award for Excellence in Health Professions Education, the most prestigious education award presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.   

Read more from the Winter 2022/23 issue.