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.
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.
Adjunct Professor Doug Brugge (CEE) is quoted in South Dakota’s Rapid City Journal about the dangers of water sources contaminated with uranium. Research teams at Tufts and the University of New Mexico are linking long-term exposure of drinking uranium-contaminated water to signs of reproductive and genetic damage, among other problems.
“We should not have any doubts as to whether drinking water with uranium in it is a problem or not. It is,” said Brugge, professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. “The larger the population that’s drinking this water, the more people that are going to be affected.
Robert C. Viesca
Assistant Professor Rob Viesca has a paper in the November issue of Nature Geoscience. Faults weaken during earthquakes. Analysis of the amount of energy released during earthquakes globally suggests that heat-induced pressurization of pore fluids can weaken faults during earthquakes of all sizes.
Kurt D. Pennell
In an article in Chemical and Engineering News, Professor and Chair Kurt Pennell commented on how research in metabolomics methods can help address the “exposome”: the sum of environmental exposures a person experiences from conception until death. “Pennell’s goal is to relate exposome information to genetic information. In one study, his group is collaborating with researchers at Children’s Hospital in Boston to relate chemical exposure and whole-genome sequencing of mothers and children with autism spectrum disorder.”
John (Jack) Germaine
Research Professor Jack Germaine was chosen as the inaugural speaker for the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section’s first Charles C. Ladd Memorial Lecture. His lecture covers trends in mechanically compressed sediment behavior with stress and plasticity.
Minnesota’s Duluth News Tribune reported on planned inspection of the state’s longest bridge with unmanned aerial vehicles. Associate Professor Babak Moaveni, chair of the ASCE SEI technical committee on Methods of Monitoring Structural Performance commented commented: “There is a huge need for better bridge-inspection techniques.”
Read about all our accomplishments from the past year in our CEE alumni newsletter.
Brian Brenner, P.E.
Professor of the Practice Brian Brenner published a new book through ASCE Press called “Too Much Information: Living the Civil Engineering Life.” He is the author of Don’t Throw This Away! The Civil Engineering Life and Bridginess: More of the Civil Engineering Life, also published by ASCE Press. Purchase your copy now!