Travis Churilla, MD, and Bethany Sederdahl, MD, are this year’s University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recipients of the Matthew Eric Piraino Award for Excellence in Infectious Diseases. This year’s awardees have received $5,000 each and award certificates. This award was established by Matthew Eric Piraino’s family and is given to deserving University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine seniors who have shown excellence in Infectious Diseases clinical service and/or research. The recipients of this award are selected by members of the Infectious Diseases Division, many of whom provided cared to Matthew during the last two years of his life.

Dr. Travis Churilla first worked with the ID Division as a research assistant for a project studying influenza vaccine effectiveness in hospitalized adults. Enrollment for this study is challenging, as patients need to be approached when they are ill and not feeling well. Travis connected with patients creating a friendly and open environment while obtaining study consent. As a medical student, Dr. Churilla worked on a longitudinal scholarly project with Dr. Fernanda Silveira on evaluating the risk factors for urinary tract infections due to extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the first year following kidney transplantation. He identified and collected data on all cases from our transplant database as well as on time-matched controls. Additionally, he authored a protocol requiring minimal editing. Dr. Churilla will join the Pediatrics Residency program at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago.

Dr. Bethany Sederdahl matriculated into the UPSOM in 2017 after earning her MPH degree from Emory University. She completea project with Dr. John Williams examining the burden and clinical features of influenza type C in children, since little is known about the molecular epidemiology of influenza C. She obtained a competitive Infectious Disease Society of America GERM award to support the project. She collected all the data and did bench work in the Williams lab, learning RT-PCR and analyzing sequences. Dr. Sederdahl’s work was presented as a virtual poster at last year’s IDWeek. During the project, she authored a review of influenza C. publishing her findings in Viruses. Dr. Sederdahl has a long-standing interest in the field of infectious diseases and a passion for women’s health. She will join the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Please join us in congratulating Travis and Bethany!