Campus News in Brief

Local mural explores Latino awareness in Pittsburgh

With support from the Carnegie Mellon Center for the Arts in Society, the youth group Jóvenes Sin Nombres, Youths Without Names, presented a mural on the walls of the Latino Family Center in Squirrel Hill.
The mural, named “Pintando Para un Sueño” (“Painting For a Dream”), was unveiled last Thursday. The group also had support from the Carnegie Museum of Art and Tavia La Follette, director of ArtUp.

The mural explores the themes of immigrants in Pittsburgh, issues of immigration, the U.S. border, and the “Dream Act,” which would provide citizenship to children of immigrants who graduate from U.S. high school or complete two years of military service.
The group hopes to bring attention to the Latino presence in Pittsburgh, as well as the fact that the city has a history of immigrants who originally came to work in the numerous steel mills.

Michael Friedman and Alfonso Barquera founded Jóvenes Sin Nombres in 2009 in Pittsburgh for Latino youths between the ages of 15 and 25.

For the current project, the group attended classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art and listened to presentations given by professors Paul Eiss and Therese Tardio of Carnegie Mellon’s history and modern languages departments, as well as professor Lara Putnam of Latin American history at the University of Pittsburgh.

Life-saving kidney research involved in pilot program

The national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network recently initiated a pilot program to better match kidneys for paired kidney transplants. Candidates in the pool include living donors who were not compatible with their intended recipients. When the computer runs a matching process, it attempts to match pairs in two- or even three-way exchanges.

Such a program is possible due to the research of Tuomas Sandholm, a professor in the computer science department. For six years, Sandholm and his colleagues have worked to develop computer algorithms with improved optimization of donor matches.
After years of work, the national pilot program is ready, and it had its first run on Oct. 27.

During this first run alone, the computer matched seven people with willing kidney donors who were compatible with the recipients. In separate programs within the past three years, two of which used Sandholm’s algorithms, 700 kidney transplant exchanges occurred. Sandholm is encouraged by this test, as a national matching program would provide better results than individual exchanges.
The country faces a compelling need for such a program, as evidenced by the 86,000 people on the kidney waiting list.