People Notes

People Notes August 2015

Lauren Black, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, received the 2015 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society-Americas Chapter (TERMIS-AM) Young Investigator Award for outstanding achievement in the field. The award will be presented at the 2015 TERMIS World Congress in Boston in early September.

Elizabeth Byrnes has been appointed associate chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cummings School. In her new role, she assists with departmental and school strategic planning and operations; she also was named section head for neuroscience and reproductive biology. Byrnes, who was promoted to associate professor in 2013, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1995 from Ohio State University, and first came to Tufts for a postdoctoral fellowship in 1996.

Peggy Cebe, a professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences, has been selected as a member of the 2015 class of American Chemical Society Fellows. ACS Fellows are nominated by their peers and selected for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to science and the profession and for their volunteer service to the ACS community. The 2015 ACS Fellows will be honored during the ACS national meeting in Boston on Aug. 17.

Peggy Connolly will join the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) on August 10 as a special projects administrator. She most recently was vice president of client services for Virtual Inc., where she oversaw 10 client teams that managed professional associations and trade groups and directed marketing services and event management. In addition to working in the private sector, Connolly is an adjunct professor at the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College, where she teaches a course on globalization, with a focus on changing social and economic dynamics. She has more than 25 years of experience in management, policy and communications related to corporate social responsibility, nongovernmental organization communications, national politics and professional societies. She was also director of communications and education at Oxfam America in Boston from 1999 to 2002. She received a B.A. in journalism from Northeastern University and a master’s in administrative studies from Boston College.

Amadou Crookes, Mario Gomez-Hall and Gabe Jacobs, all A15, were among the Boston Globe’s BetaBoston 25 Most Innovative People Under 25. They founded Cymbal, an iOS app that lets you choose a song that captures your current mood and listen to the tunes your friends have picked. The three have completed a round of seed funding that includes Vaizra Investments, General Catalyst Partners, Driftt co-founder Elias Torres and TJ Mahoney, founder of FlipKey and general manager of the Boston Syndicates angel investing group. “A standout group among the startup community in Boston, Gomez-Hall, Crookes and Jacobs plan to move to New York in the fall to continue developing Cymbal,” according to the citation.

Eleanor Davison is the new executive assistant to Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the HNRCA, and Mark Wesley, the center’s senior director of administration and finance. Davison had been serving in the role on an interim basis since early June. Before coming to the HNRCA, Davison was the executive assistant and office manager for 20 years for a CPA/law firm in Boston. She has been a volunteer at the New England Aquarium since 1991. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, where she earned a B.A. in political science.

Leila Fawaz, the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies, had her book A Land of Aching Hearts (Harvard University Press, 2014) listed as a “key read” recently in the Washington Post. (Read the Tufts Now story “A Barefoot War” about her book.)

John Fisher has been promoted to procurement manager for Tufts Dining and Business Services. He has more than 30 years of experience with Tufts Dining in sourcing, ordering and receiving, including production and distribution. He has served as unit manager of central culinary since its inception in 1995. As procurement manager, Fisher administers the purchase of approximately $7 million worth of food, supplies and equipment, negotiating cost reductions, streamlining processes and championing sustainable initiatives for Tufts Dining.

Stephen Fuchs, an assistant professor of biology and expert on biochemical regulation of protein function, has been selected by members of the National Academy of Sciences as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow and been invited to participate in the Kavli Foundation’s Frontiers of Science symposium, taking place in Irvine, California, from August 10 to 12. Since its inception in 1989, more than 175 of its “alumni” have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and 10 have received Nobel Prizes.

Jonathan Harris, director of the Theory and Education Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), will have his article “New Macroeconomics Teaching for a New Era: Instability, Inequality and Environment,” published in the European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies in September. The article is based on his presentation at the Research Network on Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies conference on “Inequality and the Future of Capitalism” in Berlin in November 2014. The conference presentation can be viewed here.

Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Kearney joined University Advancement in early July as the senior director of development and alumni relations for the School of Dental Medicine. Kearney has more than 20 years of professional development experience, most recently as director of development for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, where she has been responsible for leading a team that raises nearly 50 percent of the organization’s operating budget each year. Previously she was at Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital and the United Way of Rhode Island. She earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Providence College.

Andrew Lam, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine, recently won the Best Book Award for fiction from the Chinese American Librarians Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association, for his novel Two Sons of China (Bondfire Books, 2014). The Chinese American Librarians Association focuses on books that are related to China or written by Chinese and Chinese-American authors. Two Sons of China also won the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award for military fiction.

Edward P. McMorrow, A84, announced a pre-publication edition of a chapbook of poetry, Poetic Responses to the Effects of Epilepsy. He reports he is a lifetime epileptic, and the collection of 27 poems was written to alleviate the effects of the unpreventable seizures. Copies are available for $12.50 from Finishing Line Press, P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324; the website is

Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, attended the White House Conference on Aging on July 13. The White House has held a conference on aging each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life for older Americans.

Julie A. Nelson, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), has won the 2015 prize for economics awarded by the Independent Social Research Foundation for her essay on the place of care in the economy. Her essay, “Husbandry: A (Feminist) Reclamation of Masculine Responsibility for Care” (working paper version here), will as part of this award be published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics. Nelson also spoke at three European venues in early July. At the European Society for Ecological Economics 2015 conference in Leeds, England, she gave a plenary talk on “Husbandry: A (Feminist) Reclamation of Masculine Responsibility for Care.” In Berlin, Germany, she was the plenary speaker at the Symposium on Behavioral Economics with an Emphasis on Gender. In Rome, she taught a session of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy Summer School.

Betsy O’Neil is a new lecturer in clinical pathology at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She comes to Tufts from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, where she earned her veterinary degree and completed her residency training. She earned her board certification in 2013. After that, she worked at the University of Calgary’s Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Services. While there she was also responsible for giving the hematology lectures in the clinical pathology course and for sessions in the fourth-year clinical pathology rotation.

Aniruddh D. Patel, associate professor of psychology, created a video course, Music and the Brain, for The Great Courses. The interdisciplinary course for adult learners surveys the fundamental ideas of music theory. Eighteen half-hour lectures cover the latest research findings, from the origins of music’s emotional powers to the deficits involved in amusia, or the inability to hear music.

Anna Pfalzer, a doctoral student at the Friedman School working in the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, received the HNRCA’s inaugural Drs. Joan and Peter Cohn Research Award for her project titled “The Role of Salsalate and Curcumin Supplementation in Obesity-induced Colonic Inflammation and Tumorigenesis.” The $5,000 award, made possible through the generous donations of Joan and Peter Cohn, is meant to provide an opportunity to advance scientific discovery of and knowledge about the connections among nutrition, inflammation and chronic disease.

Lori Rassas, J94, recently published the book The Perpetual Paycheck: 5 Secrets to Getting a Job, Keeping a Job and Earning Income for Life in the Loyalty-Free Workplace, which is available in paperback and as a Kindle e-book on Amazon. She talked about the book recently on CNBC’s The Power Lunch show. Rassas is also the author of Employment Law: A Guide to Hiring, Managing and Firing for Employers and Employees (Wolters Kluwer, Law & Business, 2nd ed., 2014).

Nick Robinson began working as an associate professor in Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cummings School on July 13. Robinson received a bachelor’s of veterinary science degree from the University of Queensland in 2001 and a Ph.D. from Monash University in 2009. He completed a residency in veterinary anatomic pathology in 2010 and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Following his residency, he was a clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ruth Rootberg, J71, has published a new book, Living the Alexander Technique: Interviews with Nine Senior Teachers (Off the Commons Books). Rootberg received her first Alexander Technique lessons at Tufts in 1969 with Professor Frank Pierce Jones. Her book is a collection of oral histories from people with expertise in posture, poise and awareness about how to cope with the inevitable changes that come with aging.

Erin Scott has joined the Office of Student Affairs at Tufts School of Dental Medicine in the role of associate director of student affairs and career services. Prior to coming to Tufts, she was assistant director of pre-health advising at MIT in its Office of Global Education and Career Development. At Tufts she is developing a database of career opportunities for dental students. She will counsel students on licensure examinations and data outcomes, help to coordinate the international externship exchange programs, manage the approval process for students participating in postgraduate observation programs for risk management compliance and be the primary coordinator for commencement ceremonies.

Erin Stone, A14, received a National Geographic Young Explorer’s grant to tell personal stories about how high-speed rail might affect California communities, resulting in her long-form piece “The Coming of the Rail.”