Linda Abriola, Civil and Environmental Engineering
University Professor Linda Abriola was named one of five Science Envoys by the U.S. Department of State.
As a Science Envoy, Abriola will engage internationally at the citizen and government levels to develop partnerships, improve collaboration, and forge mutually beneficial relationships between other nations and the United States to stimulate increased scientific cooperation and foster economic prosperity. Science Envoys travel as private citizens and help inform the White House, the Department of State, and the scientific community about potential opportunities for cooperation.
Abriola will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and engineering in the Middle East and North Africa and South and Central Asia.
Professor Steven Chapra, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Steven Chapra received the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute’s 2016 Wesley W. Horner Award for his paper “Sed2K: Modeling Lake Sediment Diagenesis in a Management Context.” Chapra also received this award in 2015, making him only one of two first-author recipients who has received the award in consecutive years. The paper, co-authored with Rasika K. Gawde, Martin T. Auer, Rakesh K. Gelda, and Noel R. Urban, was considered to have “the most valuable contribution to the environmental engineering profession” in the past year.
Computer Science Professor Rob Jacob and doctoral student Beste Filiz Yuksel’s BACh System — Brain Automated Chorales – helps beginners learn to play Bach chorales on piano by measuring how hard their brains are working. It only offers a new line of music to learn when the brain isn’t working too hard, avoiding information overload. BACh estimates the brain’s workload using functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), a technique that measures oxygen levels in the brain. Read more of the story in New Scientist magazine.
Their paper “Learn Piano with BACh“, including co-authors Remco Chang, Kurt Oleson, Lane Harrison, Evan Peck, and Dan Afergan, won the CHI2016 Best Paper Award.
Assistant Professor Kristen Wendell, Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor Kristen Wendell was named a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. She will receive her award at a Washington, D.C. ceremony in the spring.
The 105 awardees were selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.
Howard Saltsburg, research professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, passed away on February 11, 2016.
Howard was a long-time member of the ChBE Department, working as a Research Professor since 1998, and serving as Acting Chair from 2001-2002.
Howard received his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Boston University in 1955. After working as a scientist in both private industry and national laboratories, he served as a professor of chemical engineering at University of Rochester for more than 20 years.
While at Tufts, he collaborated with Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos and helped advise more than 10 doctoral students.
He is survived by his wife Iris, and his children Debbie and Daniel.
Daniele Lantagne, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Assistant Professor Daniele Lantagne comments on a new PLoS study by Yale researchers that suggests if United Nations peacekeeping troops had taken a $1 antibiotic pill before they were deployed to Haiti, it may well have prevented the 2010 cholera outbreak. “Based on DNA evidence, this outbreak was probably started by one or very few infected, asymptomatic individuals,” says Lantagne.
Dean emerita, Linda Abriola, named new director of Tufts Institute for the Environment
Linda Abriola, a nationally recognized authority on groundwater contamination and remediation, has been appointed director of the Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE), with the goal of raising the institute’s profile both within and outside the university.
Abriola, the former dean of Tufts School of Engineering and one of five University Professors at Tufts, will focus on generating new connections that bolster interdisciplinary environmental research and education for faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.
“I view TIE as an entity that is rooted in Tufts’ longstanding culture of education and research for societal impact,” says Abriola. “This appointment offers me a wonderful opportunity to work across the campus to engage diverse groups of faculty and students to create new synergies. Our primary goal will be to leverage Tufts’ intellectual capital to make a difference in the world.”
Read more at TuftsNow.
Ayse Asatekin, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Assistant Professor Ayse Asatekin received an NSF CAREER Award for her proposal to engineer novel membranes with new capabilities by designing polymers that self-assemble to form nanostructures. Membrane filtration is energy efficient, simple, scalable, and a key technology for generating clean, safe water and for preventing water pollution. Asatekin’s research focuses on controlling the pore size of a novel family of membranes with high flux, exceptional fouling resistance, and sharp size-based selectivity, prepared by coating zwitterion-containing amphiphilic copolymers on porous supports.
Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths
Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths, a professor Tufts University School of Medicine, adjunct professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and former chair of the EPA’s Drinking Water Committee, Science Advisory Board, says we don’t have a strong understanding of the health impacts of low-level exposure to chemicals in water.
“The truth is there is no such thing as a safe amount of lead in water; there’s no such thing as a safe amount of arsenic in water, but the removal of those is costly, so therefore we have standards which allow trace amounts of those,” Griffiths says.
Listen to NPR’s interview with Dr. Griffiths.
Kurt Pennell, Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor and Chair Kurt Pennell and collaborators received an NIH/NIMH grant for an environment-wide association study in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using novel bioinformatics methods and metabolomics via mass spectrometry. ASD is influenced by both genetic and environmental risk factors. The research team, including Dr. Sek Won Kong at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor Dean Jones at Emory University, includes experts in pediatrics, environmental epidemiology/chemistry, toxicology, metabolomics and bioinformatics to address environmental contributions to ASD.