Meet our Faculty: Eleanor Feingold


Meet our Faculty: Eleanor Feingold, PhD

Chair of Human Genetics, Vice Dean (on leave for 2021-22)

Eleanor Feingold has been a faculty member holding various administrative roles at Pitt Public Health for over 20 years, currently serving as both the chair of the Department of Human Genetics and Vice Dean. She counts mentoring each of her students among the highlights of her career and she works tirelessly to ensure that Pitt Public Health is operating at it’s best. Spending the 2021-22 academic year as an American Council on Education Fellow, she looks forward to learning more about financial planning in higher education and undergraduate curriculum and retention. “I’ll be excited to come back to Pitt at the end and apply everything I learn to our new BSPH program.”

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I think my first interest was architecture or engineering; I spent a lot of time with Legos. Architecture was a very hostile field for women at that time, so I never really considered it, but did end up in engineering school (MIT). I ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Humanities (writing), then went on to statistics, then genetics, and most recently education. So I guess I’m still deciding what to be. 

Q: What's the most interesting place you've ever visited?
A: My last trip before COVID was one of my best ever. I went to Kolkata, India for a conference on Down Syndrome, and then I spent a few vacation days in the Sundarbans – the Ganges delta area. It’s a unique landscape and ecosystem (including human living arrangements), and I was humbly honored to have the chance to see a little of it.

Q: What was your “go to” recipe/meal over the last year?
A: Roasted vegetables (all kinds), sometimes with polenta or sausage thrown on the pan. Sheet pan dinners!

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read over the last two years?
A: During the pandemic I read a lot of trashy mysteries, but my favorite higher-brow reading was Fruit of the Drunken Tree, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Q: What excites you the most about the new academic year?
A: I'm spending the year away to learn more about University financial planning and undergraduate curriculum and retention. I'll be excited to come back to Pitt at the end and apply everything I learn to our new BSPH program.

Q: What are some career highlights you would want new students to know about?
A: On the research side I'm most excited about methods for making sense of genome-wide data of all kinds. Highlights are the work of every student I've mentored! In teaching, I love revising curriculum and developing new things; the highlight for me was developing and teaching the Public Health Communications course a few years ago. A big external service highlight was working with the academic affairs group in the Associate of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH), helping steer national conversations about public health curriculum.

Q: What school/department accomplishment or milestone are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud of everything the department and the school has accomplished over the past 20 years. A big highlight for me has been finding ways over the past two years to channel lots of new scholarship money to students.

Q: What's your favorite mantra/saying/motto/quote?
A: Any/all quotes about seeing things through other people's eyes. 

Eleanor Feingold
Interim Chair and Professor, Human Genetics
Professor, Biostatistics
Executive Associate Dean, Office of the Dean


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