People Notes December 2017


Elliot Brandow has joined Tisch Library as team lead for social sciences in research and instruction. He comes to Tufts from Wellesley College, where he was assistant director for research services. Prior to that he was senior digital scholarship librarian, as well as bibliographer for history, at Boston College. A graduate of Haverford College, he earned his master’s in library science from Simmons College.

Allison Gofman has joined Tisch Library as social sciences data librarian. She comes from MIT, where her role included staffing front-line and virtual reference services. A Harvard graduate, she holds a master’s in library science from Simmons College.

Brett Hitchner, A06, has joined the corporate and foundation relations team in University Advancement as an assistant director, supporting the School of Arts and Sciences, the Fletcher School, and Tisch College of Civic Life. Previously he was a corporate attorney. 

Benny Kim, a 2017 graduate of the Gordon Institute, is the first TIE Fellow at the Tufts Institute for the Environment to serve as a bridge between Tufts faculty, students, and the Somerville-base Greentown Labs. In addition to creating alliances between Tufts and Greentown locally, Kim will grow Greentown’s and Tufts’ global outreach by identifying international opportunities. His fellowship is part of a new partnership between the university and the nation’s largest clean tech startup incubator.


Karen Culbert, formerly a university gift officer, has been promoted to director of development for the School of Dental Medicine. Prior to joining University Advancement in 2016, she worked in development and engagement at Concord Academy, the Fletcher School, and Beth Israel Deaconess. She graduated from Merrimack College, and earned a master’s in history from Boston University.


Paul Lehrman, G10, senior lecturer in music, Robert White, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Cody Chen, E15, Noel Hwang, EG18, and Christopher Penny, A18,  in September were awarded a U.S. patent for their invention “Synthesizer with Cymbal Actuator,” a system for determining through acoustic analysis where a cymbal is being struck. The research, funded by Avedis Zildjian, the oldest and largest cymbal manufacturer in the world, makes possible more responsive and expressive electronic drum sets.

Caleigh Sawicki, a trainee in the Nutritional Epidemiology Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts and a Ph.D. candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, received the Young Scientist Award at the 6th International Whole Grain Summit in Vienna, for excellence and innovation in whole grain research. Her award-winning poster was titled “Evidence Mapping of Whole Grain Intervention Studies, Health Outcomes, and Reporting Practices.”

Fiorenzo Omenetto, the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering and a professor of biomedical engineering, has been named one of four winners of the Tällberg Foundation’s Eliasson Global Leadership Prize. He joins a select group of leaders from around the world whose accomplishments and quests for innovation “are rising to the challenges of our time,” according to the Tällberg Foundation. Omenetto has pioneered the use of silk as a material platform in technology, with diverse applications in areas such as optoelectronics and nanotechnology.   

David Valdes-Greenwood, lecturer in English, will have his play The Mermaid Hour showcased across the country in a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere this spring. Through the traveling, multiple-production initiative, he will produce his play with multiple creative teams, with productions at Milagro (Portland, Oregon), Borderlands Theatre (Tucson), Mixed Blood (Minneapolis), and Actors Theatre of Charlotte. The Mixed Blood staging, a musical version, is a collaboration with composer Eric Mayson.

Mikenah Vega, D18, took STAT News inside the simulation clinic at the School of Dental Medicine in a 360 video, featured at Boston’s HUB Week. Watch it here.

Chris Whittier, V97, director of the master’s program in conservation medicine at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has been recognized for his photography. His hippo photo, “Gaping Maw,” was selected by the editors of National Geographic as one of their favorite entries to the magazine’s Nature Photographer of the Year Contest.


Frank Ackerman, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), published a new book Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance. The book explores the underlying causes and the remedies needed for the most serious climate and financial risks.

Anne-Marie Codur, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), and Jonathan Harris, director of the Theory and Education Program at GDAE, released Climate Policy Brief No.5, “Bonn Climate Conference Confronts New Urgency” [PDF], which discusses the challenges addressed at the Bonn climate conference (COP23). Harris was also quoted in a Swissquote Bank magazine article, “When rising sea levels shake up the economy,” about the economic impact of sea level rise.

Kelly Sims Gallagher, F03, director of the Fletcher School’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), and professor of energy and environmental policy at the Fletcher School; and Mieke van der Wansem, F90, associate director of educational programs at CIERP, were part of a Tufts delegation to attend to 23rd annual Conference of Parties (COP23), hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to 17. CIERP faculty, staff, and students attended meetings, presentations, roundtables, and negotiations with government, industry, NGOs, and other university leaders on climate change and carbon pricing. A highlight for CIERP was the release of a report on climate pricing in practice by the Climate Policy Lab (CPL), which is directed by Gallagher.

Gilbert E. Metcalf, a professor of economics, participated in an official side event at the international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, known as COP23. With colleagues from Harvard and MIT, he presented results from a new paper on how to implement rules under the Paris Agreement to strengthen global carbon markets. Metcalf also participated in two other events, including one on the theory and practice of carbon taxes, where he presented results from his forthcoming book on carbon taxation.

William Moomaw, co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), had his piece “Micro solutions for a macro problem: How marine algae could help feed the world” reprinted by the World Economic Forum. The article, which was originally published by The Conversation, was re-posted by other outlets including the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Mail, and EcoWatch.

Hugh Roberts, Edward Keller Professor of North African and Middle Eastern History, gave a paper at the International Symposium in the Memory of Professor Mohammed Brahim Salhi, “Knowledge and renewal of socio-anthropological and historical knowledge of the Maghreb,” at the Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, on November 12-13. He also gave a lecture: “Are Algeria’s Politics Exhausted?” to the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, on November 24.

June Sekera, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), released Public Goods Post Vol. 2, No. 11 on “The Quiet Revolution and a Submerged Para-state,” about the implications of public goods being delivered by a para-state, a privatized government virtually hidden from view. 

Liz Stanton, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), provided testimony to the Council of the City of New Orleans in Docket No. UD-16-02 [PDF], regarding the application of Entergy New Orleans for approval to construct the New Orleans Power Station and request for cost recovery.

Grace Talusan, J94, lecturer in the Department of English, made her live storytelling debut on November 20 on the World Channel. In “Stories from the Stage,” she shared how travels in a green station wagon (outfitted with a budget-friendly rice cooker) “helped her family become Americans.” Listen here.

Timothy A. Wise, G05, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), presented a lecture at Columbia University entitled “The Limits of Africa’s Green Revolution: Lessons from Malawi” as part of a lecture series on “Food as a Global Commodity.” The event was part of a weekly lecture series on the food justice movement hosted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Yifei Zhang, a visiting research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), traveled in November to Bonn, Germany, with Tufts delegates to attend the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23).  


Hilary Zelson, A16/SMFA 16, well known for her evocative public art, has creating glowing garlands of artificial rose-blossoms that illuminate Brookline’s Coolidge Corner this holiday season. “Winter Blooms” will be on view to the end of January. The 60-foot-long chains of silicone flowers are suspended from street lights and appear white during the daytime, then light up each evening with pink, orange, and yellow LEDs. Shorter garlands, including paper flowers made by community members during free workshops led by Zelson, will also be displayed in Brookline Bank’s storefront windows. View a slideshow here.