People Notes

People Notes August 2016

Welcome / On the Move / Ideas and Travel / Kudos / Alumni

Allyson Dacey has joined the School of Dental Medicine as administrator for the Department of Diagnostic Sciences. She has been a member of the dental school community for 13 years, rising from dispensary assistant to dental practice administrator in 2011.

Claire Fellman has joined the Department of Clinical Sciences and Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine as an assistant professor in small animal internal medicine. She comes to Tufts from Mississippi State University, where she completed dual residency programs in small animal internal medicine and clinical pharmacology. 

Erin King is a new clinician at the Tufts Ambulatory Service at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She earned a D.V.M. at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Lisa LaPoint is the new assistant director of public relations on the health sciences campus in Boston. LaPoint was previously a publicist at Harvard University Press, MIT Press and Cambridge University Press. She is a graduate of Barnard. 


Jennifer Coates, J94, N00, N06, has been promoted to associate professor of food policy and applied nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her research focuses on the development of methods for improving the design, implementation and evaluation of International Nutrition and Food Security programs. She is also a senior researcher at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts.

Christina Economos, N96, co-founder and director of ChildObesity180 and the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition at the Friedman School, has been promoted to full professor.

Sara Folta, N05, has been promoted to associate professor at the Friedman School; she also holds appointments as an associate professor at the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Life and the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Ronald Perry, DG99, clinical professor and director of the Gavel Center for Restorative Dental Research at the School of Dental Medicine, has been named director of the school’s International Student Program. Perry has worked at Tufts for more than 25 years, mentoring dozens of predoctoral, postdoctoral and international students.

Christian Peters, a faculty member in the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. His research focuses on the modeling of food systems to explore such issues as the land requirements of the human diet and the potential of local and regional production systems to supply food needs.


Researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts garnered several awards at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego this spring. Jeff Blumberg, a professor and senior scientist in the Antioxidants Research Lab, won the 2016 Mary Swartz Rose Senior Award. Sarah Booth, a professor, associate director of the HNRCA and senior scientist and director of the HNRCA Vitamin K Lab, received the ASN Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2016 Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Nutritional Sciences Award. Alice H. Lichtenstein, the Stanley N. Gershoff Professor and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab, was recognized with the 2016 David Kritchevsky Career Achievement Award in Nutrition. Susan Roberts, a professor and director of the HNRCA Energy Metabolism Lab, received the Atwater Lectureship Award and presented a lecture.

Brian Epstein, an associate professor of philosophy, received the 2016 Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Philosophical Association for his book The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Science (Oxford). The annual Gittler Award, which includes a $4,000 monetary prize, is given for an outstanding scholarly contribution in the field of the philosophy of one or more of the social sciences. The APA selection committee wrote, “Brian Epstein’s book The Ant Trap is an exceptionally clear and well-crafted study of foundational issues in the social sciences. Epstein probes the deepest conceptual issues framing empirical work on social reality, drawing helpful distinctions between issues that can easily be run together, and offering creative alternatives to conventional assumptions about individuals and groups. A terrific contribution to contemporary scholarship on social theory.”

Congratulations to the faculty at the School of Medicine who were honored on June 13 at the annual faculty awards reception. The Distinguished Faculty Award recipients are Nicholas S. Hill, professor of medicine; Paul Summergrad, the Frances S. Arkin Professor and chair of psychiatry; and N.A. Mark Estes, professor of medicine. 

Sara Lewis, a professor of biology, has received a prestigious accolade: Nature considered her book Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies (Princeton) a “best-science pick” in June, calling it “an illuminating peek into a fascinating corner of field biology.” (Learn more: “Intrigue Among Fireflies.”)

Ethan Murrow, professor of the practice in painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, was invited by curators at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) to create a monumental, site-specific work at the museum’s entryway. Seastead, a 40-foot mural, references the ICA’s waterfront location and is created entirely in Sharpies. (See a Boston Globe article and faculty profile, including a video of him creating the mural.) In addition, a new book, Ethan Murrow (Hatje Cantz), gathers dozens of his works, presenting, for the first time in print, his large-scale wall drawings in ballpoint pen alongside those executed on paper.

Barbara Shukitt-Haleb, a research psychologist in the Neuroscience and Aging Lab at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, has received the James Joseph Memorial Award from the American Aging Association. The award honors Joseph, a former chief of the HNRCA Neuroscience Lab and author of The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health.

A number of researchers received kudos at a recent HNRCA Awards Ceremony. The Jean Mayer 25-Year Scientific Leadership and Service Award went to Xiang-Dong Wang, N92, director of the Nutrition and Cancer Biology Lab and a professor at the Friedman School. The Robert M. Russell Scientific Achievement Award was given to Roger Fielding, director of the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Lab. The Hamish N. Munro Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research was presented to Huicui Meng, a postdoctoral associate in the Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab, and the Irwin H. Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Predoctoral Research went to Elizabeth Killion, N13, N16, a graduate research assistant in the Obesity and Metabolism Lab, and to Anna Pfalzer, N13, N16, a graduate research assistant in the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Lab. Meghan Faherty, N14, MPH14, a senior research administrator, and Kara Livingston Staffier, project data manager in the Nutritional Epidemiology Program, got the HNRCA Employee Recognition Award. The HNRCA Director's Gerald Cassidy Student Innovation Award went to Stephanie Harshman, a graduate research assistant in the Vitamin K Lab, and the Drs. Joan and Peter Cohn and Family Student Award was presented to Maura Walker, N15, a graduate research assistant in the Cardiovascular Nutrition Lab.  


Faculty and staff with the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine had a busy June. Hellen Amuguni, V11, assistant professor; Diafuka Saila-Ngita, research assistant professor; and Kristina Bradford, project manager, traveled to Kampala, Uganda, to work with the One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) Network on strategic planning. Amuguni and Stanley Fenwick, research professor, visited Vietnam to participate in One Health training at multiple partner universities. Amuguni was in Cameroon to lead training at the Université des Montagnes. Saila-Ngita focused on similar objectives at the University of Rwanda before traveling on to Dakar, Senegal. In Bangkok, Chris Whittier, V97, research assistant professor, facilitated a course at the Thailand Environmental Learning Institute. Jeffrey Mariner, V87, and Stanley Fenwick, both research professors, contributed to the event with presentations on participatory epidemiology and “One Health, Core Competencies and Systems Thinking.” Laura Sloan, V19, also participated. Mariner conducted training in Kampala as well.

Sawkat Anwer, A02P, E04P, V08P, professor and associate dean at Cummings School, presented a poster, “Problem-Based Learning to Enhance Day-1 Skills for Veterinary Students,” at the World Organization for Global Health/OIE global conference on veterinary education in Bangkok in June.  

Elizabeth Byrnes, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at Cummings School, and Fair Vassoler, a postdoctoral fellow, in June co-chaired a symposium at the annual meeting of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in Budapest that focused on drugs and stress in adolescents. Byrnes gave an overview, and Vassoler spoke about the transgenerational effects of adolescent morphine exposure. Learn more about Byrnes’ work.

Nicholas Frank, professor and chair of clinical sciences at Cummings School, and Virginia Rentko, medical director of the Foster Hospital for Small Animals and the Hospital for Large Animals, in June represented Cummings School at a working group meeting of the newly formed Consortium of Northeastern Veterinary Colleges in Airlie, Virginia. Frank then traveled to Calgary to attend the Veterinary Educator Collaborative.

Ken Getz, an associate professor at the School of Medicine, and his brother, Ron, have co-published a book about the variety of markets that have formed around the Beatles and their music. Equal to the Love You Make (Jerian Publishing) pulls together profiles of 15 market segments, including Beatles-themed restaurants, conventions and cruises; dedicated radio shows and newsletters; tribute bands; stage and digital shows; applications and software; university courses and speakers; art; film and television; and memorabilia. Taken together, the book paints a rich portrait of a highly passionate and loyal multigenerational fan base.   

Jennifer Graham, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at Cummings School, was the keynote speaker at the Oxbow Exotic Companion Mammal Symposium on Long Island in June.  

Alex Kaplan, A17, is a summer intern at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory, where he is working on a project about the interfacial chemistry of liquids with a goal of finding a correlation between the reactivity of an interface and the elemental and chemical composition in experiments.

Deborah Kochevar, dean of Cummings School, presented a keynote talk, “Veterinary Educator Communities as Catalysts for Global One Health Learning,” at the Veterinary Educator Collaborative meeting in Calgary in June.

Andrea Lam, a clinical assistant professor, and Lluis Ferrer, a clinical sciences professor, in June gave multiple presentations at the World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Bordeaux, France.

Megan McMillan, a professor of the practice in performance and 3D at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and her partner, Murray McMillan, have their work included in Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder at Mass MoCA through April 2017. The McMillans are known for interdisciplinary projects that incorporate video, installation, performance and photography.

Barbara Shukitt-Hale, a research psychologist at HNRCA’s Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, gave a talk, “Berry Fruit Can Improve Age-Associated Neuronal and Cognitive Deficits: From the Laboratory to the Clinic,” at the 45th annual meeting of the American Aging Association in Seattle.

Saul Tzipori, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Cummings School, and Dawn Terkla, associate provost for institutional research and evaluation, traveled to Kampala, Uganda, and Accra, Ghana, in June to participate in the USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Global Jam. Tzipori chairs the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health at Cummings School and holds the Agnes Varis University Chair in Science and Society.


Richard Babayan, A70, professor and chair of the Department of Urology at Boston University School of Medicine and chief of urology at Boston Medical Center, has been appointed president of the American Urological Association (AUA). Babayan received the AUA’s Distinguished Service Award, and in 2013, the New England section awarded him the Joseph B. Dowd Lifetime Achievement Award. He serves on the medical advisory board of the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition. He performed the first robot-assisted radical prostatectomy in Boston.

Meghan Bodo, A15, and Alex Dobyan, A15, are among 49 recent college graduates awarded a Princeton in Africa fellowship. Bodo will be working with village enterprise in Soroti, Uganda, and Dobyan at the African School of Economics in Abomey-Calavi, Benin. Princeton in Africa, affiliated with Princeton University, selected 2016-17 “PiAf” Fellows from 428 applications; each will tackle projects across Africa in sectors such as public health, education and humanitarian aid.  

Sean B. Carroll, a 1983 Sackler School graduate and the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been awarded Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science. An internationally recognized evolutionary biologist, he is the author of The Serengeti Rules (Princeton, 2016); Remarkable Creatures, which was a National Book Award finalist; The Making of the Fittest; and Endless Forms Most Beautiful. His 2013 book, Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, chronicles the epic lives and friendship of molecular biologist Jacques Monod and writer Albert Camus.

Harout DerSimonian has been appointed chief scientific officer of Biostage, where he oversees cell biology, materials science and other research related to organ implant development. DerSimonian was instrumental in directing the science that enabled the first FDA-approved clinical trial using autologous human stem cells for cardiac repair. A former assistant professor and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, he holds a Ph.D. in immunology from Tufts.

Tom Snarsky, A15, G16, has been awarded a teaching fellowship by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. He is one of 34 candidates selected from among early-career high school mathematics and science teachers who demonstrate exceptional knowledge, exemplary teaching practices and a high potential to be a “teacher leader.” Teaching fellows have access to comprehensive benefits for five years, including summer stipends, funds for professional development, and mentoring and support from experienced teachers.

Corey Ventetuolo, M03, an expert in pulmonary hypertension, has been named director of clinical research for the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Her research focuses on the role of gender and sex hormones and their influence on pulmonary vascular and right heart function.

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