People Notes April 2021


Milo Koretsky has been appointed the inaugural McDonnell Family Bridge Professor in the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences. He will hold appointments in both the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Department of Education and work with the Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction across departments to further the fundamental study of education. He joins Tufts from the Department of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University, where he conducted research on innovative curricular design. He is a fellow of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU and a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. He received a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego, all in chemical engineering.


Jennifer Allen, professor in the Department of Community Health, has published two new papers. “Factors associated with the intention to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine among a racially/ethnically diverse sample of women in the USA” was published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine. Rebecca Rose, A23, is a co-author. “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Brazilian Immigrant Community in the U.S: Results from a Qualitative Study” was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Leticia Priebe Rocha, A20, Rebecca Rose, A23, Annmarie Hoch, A21, and Christiane Soares, a senior lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies, are co-authors.  

Justin Hollander, A96, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, has authored the first urban planning book to be published as a non-fungible token (NFT): Essays on City Planning: Volume I. The innovative publishing method “has swept the creative arts and investment world and is on the verge of disrupting scholarly publishing,” notes Hollander, whose  mix of essays explore a range of topics in urban planning, including economic development, brownfields reuse, public space, planned communities, and smart cities. 

Paul F. Jacques, lead scientist and senior scientist on the nutritional epidemiology team at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts, presented the third session of a virtual speaker series highlighting HNRCA research. The March 11 installment focused on nutrition and risk of Alzheimer’s as part of the focus on findings that promote healthy aging. 

Susan Landau, Bridge Professor in Cyber Security and Policy at The Fletcher School and the Tufts School of Engineering, is author of a new book People Count: Contact-Tracing Apps and Public Health (MIT Press). A cybersecurity expert, Landau looks at some of the apps developed for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intersection of effectiveness and equity.

Natasha Warikoo, professor in the Department of Sociology, has published an article in the American Journal of Sociology. “Addressing Emotional Health While Protecting Status: Asian American and White Parents in Suburban America” examines parents’ pursuit of their children’s emotional well-being. 


Kaila Caffey, A23, has been named a 2021 Newman Civic Fellow. As a Tisch Scholar she is working closely with MassVOTE, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that builds civic coalitions to advocate for democratic reforms that make the electoral process more equitable. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. 

Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics, has been named deputy director of the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM), effective July 1. An expert in numerical linear and multilinear algebra, she specializes in the development of fast algorithms for solving large-scale, forward, and inverse problems, as well as on theoretical and computational aspects of tensor decomposition. She is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) as well as section editor for research spotlights of SIAM’s flagship journal SIAM Review. She has served on the editorial boards of three other SIAM journals and will soon begin a term as an editor for La Matematica, the flagship journal of the Association for Women in Mathematics. She is a current member of ICERM’s Scientific Advisory Board. Kilmer brings significant leadership experience to ICERM. She served six years as chair of the Department of Mathematics and is co-chairing both the SIAM Conference on Applied Linear Algebra 2021 and the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering 2021. At Tufts she was recently named a Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC) Faculty Fellow.

Ari Lerner, A21, has won the 20th annual Maxine N. Gordon, J70, Book Prize; he was nominated by James Murphy, associate professor of mathematics. At the Tisch Library online presentation on March 24, Murphy shared how conversations with Lerner deepened his appreciation for Russian literature. The prize is awarded annually to a mathematics major who has demonstrated a love of reading, literature, and poetry.

Michael Levin, A92, Vannevar Bush Professor in the Department of Biology, graduate student Doug Blackiston, and the Levin Lab team have had their 2020 paper “A scalable pipeline for designing reconfigurable organisms,” which was published in the journal PNAS, recognized by the PNAS Editorial Board. The paper on biological robots, a collaboration with the University of Vermont, won the prestigious Cozzarelli Prize for “outstanding contributions to science. “Just six papers are selected from among the more than 3,600 studies,” the board noted.

Keith Maddox, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has been named a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science for his outstanding contributions to the field of psychology.  

 Jasmine Mote, assistant professor of occupational therapy, has been awarded a Visionary Grant from the American Psychological Foundation, along with Boston University assistant professor Daniel Fulford, for their research on how loneliness affects cardiovascular health in people with severe mental illness.


Jim Campbell, A77, will have first book, Madoff Talks: Uncovering the Untold Story behind the Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme in History, published on April 27. The book draws on exclusive interviews with the Madoff family and their associates to present an account of the Madoff scandal. Campbell, who has a nationally syndicated radio show (Business Talk with Jim Campbell), is known for his interviews with leading figures from the worlds of business, politics, and sports.

Meron Langsner, AG11, had her play Bystander 9/11: A Theatre Piece Concerning the Events of September 11, 2001 published in an acting edition by YouthPLAYS, one of the top publishers and licensors of educational theater in the country. The play, which has been anthologized by Bloomsbury, was performed at Tufts twice, in 2004 and 2007 on the anniversaries of the events portrayed. The second performance featured Katia Porzecanski, A09, who is now an on-air reporter for Bloomberg. 

Alex Rappaport, E17, MSIM18, is CEO at ZwitterCo, and reports new funding for the company, a leader in innovative industrial filtration, which is “now poised to target applications in bioprocessing, agricultural waste treatment, food and beverage, and other industries,” according to Businesswire. ZwitterCo’s membrane technology was developed at the School of Engineering and the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center. Read more about Rappaport’s efforts in the Tufts Now article “Clean Water Ahead.”

Aaron Tartakovsky, A12, CEO of Epic CleanTec, is featured in a Fast Company article, “This tech recycles toilet water in Silicon Valley high-rises.” Says Tartakovksy: “We’re showing people that wastewater really just consists of water, it consists of energy, it consists of nutrients, and it consists of organic matter.” The company’s technology was created as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, which asked engineers to create a safe, cheap toilet that could be used by the billions of people around the world who don’t have access to plumbing.  Tartakovsky joined other sustainability pioneers on the GreenBiz “30 under 30” list in 2017.

Boston’s Boch Center celebrated Women’s History Month with an exhibit of photographs by Susan Relyea Wilson, J69, M75. “Women Who Rock” features women musicians photographed by Wilson from the late 1970s into the 1990s, including Tracy Chapman, A87, H04, Patty Griffin, and Tina Turner. The exhibit is on display through April 14 on the Wang Theatre digital marquee and online. Wilson, the owner of Susan Wilson Photo in Cambridge, steadily also pursues her love of history by writing and photographing books on Boston history and, most recently, as resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center.