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, 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.
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.
Professor Sergio Fantini (BME) was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows for “outstanding contributions to the development of quantitative techniques for diffuse optical spectroscopy and imaging of biological tissue.” He is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the Optical Society of America, and SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering. Fantini has recently developed a new optical diagnostic technology, Coherent Hemodynamics Spectroscopy (CHS), for non-invasive assessment of brain perfusion. In January 2016, Cambridge University Press published “Quantitative Biomedical Optics”, a textbook Fantini co-authored with Professor Irving Bigio of Boston University. Fantini joins Professors David Kaplan, BME department chair and Stern Family Professor, Irene Georgakoudi, and Kyongbum Lee, as the most recent Tufts School of Engineering faculty member to be elected AIMBE Fellow.
In January, selected doctoral students participated in the Future Leaders of Engineering Teaching Fellows Boot Camp. The weeklong boot camp is part of a broader Tufts program supported by the National Science Foundation. These Engineering Teaching Fellows will become future leaders in our academic communities, promoting use of appropriate teaching pedagogies that create an inclusive classroom environment. Not only will they be excellent researchers in their chosen discipline area, they will also be excellent teachers that utilize learner-centered techniques to convey the excitement and potential of engineering to students.
Professor and Chair Soha Hassoun was one of three recipients of an 2015 Ideas Competition award. The Ideas Competition, hosted by Tufts Gordon Institute, is designed for early-stage business ideas. Hassoun’s project “TRAG: At-Home Diagnostics System and App for Tracking the Gut Microbiota” seeks to allow individuals to easily and frequently track and assess the impact of diet, including prebiotics and probiotics, on the gut microbiota. “The global market for prebiotics and probiotics is expected to grow steadily in the next 5 years,” says Hassoun. “There is currently no sure way of predicting and tracking the benefits of these products.”
Learn more about the Ideas Competition and enter the Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition.
In January 2016, Cambridge University Press published Quantitative Biomedical Optics, a textbook Professor Sergio Fantini (BME) co-authored with Professor Irving Bigio of Boston University.
The text covers a broad range of areas in biomedical optics, from light interactions at the single-photon and single-biomolecule levels, to the diffusion regime of light propagation in tissue.
“Bigio and Fantini’s comprehensive text on biomedical optics provides a wonderful blend of accessible theory and practical guidance relevant to the design and application of biomedical optical systems. It should be required reading for all graduate students working in this area.” – Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice University, Houston
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.
Professor and Chair Eric Miller has been named chair of the Imaging Science Special Interest Group (SIAG/IS) for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The chairship of the group, which looks at the sophisticated mathematical, statistical, and computational methods used in the reconstruction, enhancement, segmentation, analysis, registration, compression, representation, and tracking of two and three dimensional images, begins January 2016 for a two-year term.