Kathleen J. Davis

General Assignment & Technology Reporter

Credit Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.

Emails about robots and dinosaurs are welcome at kdavis@wesa.fm.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Black women in Pittsburgh are more likely to die during pregnancy than their peers in 97 percent of U.S. cities, according to a sweeping new report from the city's Gender Equity Commission. There's also significant inequity when it comes to employment, poverty and college readiness for black women when compared to white women and men.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

A collaborative art project in front of the Tree of Life synagogue site in Squirrel Hill has been installed. #HeartsTogether: The Art of Rebuilding, includes 101 images printed on a windscreen that stretches in front of the building along Wilkins Avenue. 

Google Maps

The developers proposing a Giant Eagle revamp on Shady Avenue in the East End presented their plans to the Pittsburgh Planning Commission Tuesday. The Shakespeare Street development has received some pushback.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Local financial technology company Honeycomb Credit is encouraging people to invest in Pittsburgh businesses through crowdfunding, a departure from donation-based sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

Jake Savitz / 90.5 WESA

Beginning next year, the Port Authority of Allegheny County plans to extend bus service in some areas to 24 hours a day. According to the agency's CEO Katharine Kelleman, the change is meant to help night shift workers get to and from their jobs. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and for those who need a transplant, the wait list is long. A Carnegie Mellon University bioengineering lab is on its way to achieveing a lofty goal: 3-D printing the human heart.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A new report from policy experts has a warning for states like Pennsylvania that may consider legalizing marijuana: don't rely on estimated tax revenue, because it's tricky to guess.

Alexandria Zhang, a research officer with Pew Charitable Trusts and one of authors of the report, said it's really hard to make estimates on how much money could be made through legalized marijuana in part because it's such a new thing in the United States.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's medical community creates a lot of data, and embedded within that data are potential answers to important questions. The Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance -- a collaboration of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University -- sifts through that data. This month, they announced a new sponsor in that effort: Amazon's computing subsidiary. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Despite high employment and wage increases for Pennsylvanians last year, black residents aren't seeing the same amount of growth. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

It's a truth we can't escape: human beings have biases, and those biases can seep into computer programs and algorithms based on who is creating them.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

On a hot, sunny day in South Park Township, a team of roboticists from Philadelphia anxiously wait outside of the Safety Research Coal Mine at the Bruceton Research Center. Team Pluto has a four-legged robot inside, and it's looking for objects in the simulated mine disaster scenario. No team members are allowed inside, so it's counting on the robot to deliver the news. 

Thrival Festival

Technology, education and music will come together next month for the seventh annual Thrival Festival,  Sept. 18-20 in Oakland. This year's event has a local theme: "By Pittsburgh, For Pittsburgh, For the World."

UPMC

Scientists have bioengineered miniature human livers – possibly for the first time. The livers were created by University of Pittsburgh researchers in an effort to move away from less reliable experiments on mouse livers. 

The livers will be used to study non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition connected to obesity that can lead to liver failure.

"We can use these systems to capture the progression of the disease to evaluate new drugs before we move into actual patients," said the study's lead author Dr. Alejandro Soto.

NASA

The University of Pittsburgh is becoming a hub for biomedical research projects being sent to space. Pitt's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine will partner with the International Space Station's national laboratory on a first-of-its-kind alliance. 

Reid R. Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Environmental activists are asking the Allegheny County Health Department to step up air quality monitoring and enforcement. Advocacy group PennEnvironment released a sweeping report Thursday looking at several decades of enforcement actions. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

On a warm, sunny day, Humane Animal Rescue's director of volunteer and foster services, Monica Garcia, takes a beagle named Shadow out for a walk. In especially hot weater, the rescue requires dog walkers to test the temperature of the pavement with their fingers or bare foot. Like human feet, dog paws are sensitive to heat.

Jens Meyer / AP

Barriers continue to exist for transgender people seeking medical treatment, according to experts who spoke at a conference Monday called, "Becoming a Trans Knowledgeable Provider."

Purple Air

Graduate students in Santa Monica, Calif. are collecting hyperlocal air quality data -- in Pittsburgh. The hope for the project, run out of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, is that the data collected from at-home sensors will inform public policy. Pardee RAND is an extension of the RAND Corporation, which has an office in Pittsburgh.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials announced Tuesday the annual EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta has been cancelled due to an events management company's "failure to deliver on promises." 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Chatham University researchers have compiled a detailed map of farms and food processors in Pennsylvania, as part of a larger project to educate people about the region's food network.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

  Travelers with autism and other special needs now have a space where they can decompress from the stress of flying at Pittsburgh International Airport. 

The "sensory space" features soft furniture, whimsical lighting features and a realistic airplane cabin, complete with airplane seat replicas, trays, windows and overhead compartments.

 

Keith Srakocic / AP

A drop-off site for hard-to-recycle electronics and hazardous waste opens Wednesday in the Strip District. The city of Pittsburgh initiative will be located at 3001 Railroad Street near the 31st Street Bridge.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The field of cyber security needs people.

Across the country, there are more than 300,000 unfilled jobs in the sector. A five-day summer camp at the University of Pittsburgh aims to teach high school students the ropes and get them interested in a cyber security career.

Google Maps

LifeCare is closing one of its Wilkinsburg hospitals in September, two months after parent company Hospital Acquisitions LLC filed for bankruptcy. The hospital system operates two other Pittsburgh-area locations — a behavioral health facility in Wilkinsburg and a hospital in Natrona Heights — which will remain open.

Janice Carr / CDC via AP

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, killing about a quarter of a million Americans each year. New research from the University of Pittsburgh shows statewide protocols to fight the infection appear to reduce the number of deaths it causes.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy released a multi-year plan Monday to spend more than $50 million on maintaining, rehabilitating and operating Pittsburgh's 165 parks. However, the plan is contingent on the November passage of a ballot initiative to create a Parks Trust Fund.

Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP

A significant algal bloom is expected to develop in western Lake Erie later this month, though it's unlikely to impact the eastern part of the lake, which borders Pennsylvania.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

An educational event aimed at helping people of color, women and those in the LGBTQ community break into the craft beer industry, takes place Saturday. 

Teresa Crawford / AP

Children born to obese mothers are significantly more likely to develop cancer while they're young, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

The study found that cancer was more prevalent in the kids of mothers with a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher -- defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the highest level of obesity. These children have a 57 percent higher risk of developing leukemia before the age of five compared to other kids.

Google Maps

Nine months after a bar fight involving undercover Pittsburgh police officers, the city has announced changes within the Bureau of Police's Narcotics and Vice Division.

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