People Notes May 2019


Highlights of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session and Exhibition in March in Chicago included recognition for faculty at the School of Dental Medicine. Sercan Akyalcin, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Orthodontics, was named the ADEA/AADR/Colgate-Palmolive Co. Dr. Dominick P. DePaola Scholar in the ADEA Leadership Institute, which comes with a $15,000 prize.

Adolfo Cuevas, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health, has published an article titled “Placing prostate cancer disparities within a psychosocial context: challenges and opportunities for future research” in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. The paper examines why black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and highlights some of the ways in which psychological and social factors such as institutional and interpersonal discrimination may explain racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence.

Jack Derby, director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center and Cummings Family Professor of the Practice in Entrepreneurship, has received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boston Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

Andrew Greenberg, senior scientist and director of the Obesity and Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, has been selected by his fellow researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Hospitals, Boston University School of Medicine, and Tufts to become co-principal investigator and co-director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases-funded Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center. Greenberg is also the first recipient of the Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professorship at the School of Medicine.  

Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics, has been named as one of the 2019 Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The designation recognizes members for their excellence in research as well as their contributions to the community. Kilmer is being recognized for “her fundamental contributions to numerical linear algebra and scientific computing, including ill-posed problems, tensor decompositions, and iterative methods.”

Melinda Latour, Rumsey Family Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Arts in the Department of Music, has been awarded a 2019 American Council of Learned Societies fellowship. The award will support her project “The Voice of Virtue: Moral Song in Late Renaissance France, 1574-1652.” Latour was selected along with eighty-one other awardees from a pool of more than 1,100 applicants in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, has been named as the recipient of the 2020 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award, the highest honor conferred by the Association for Psychological Science. It honors distinguished members for a lifetime of significant intellectual achievements in applied psychological research and their impact on a critical problem in society at large.

Daniel McCusker, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, was chosen to participate along with a small group of performers from around the world in an international tribute to Merce Cunningham on what would have been his 100th birthday. Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event was held on April 17 in venues in London, New York City, and Los Angeles and featured 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham. McCusker, who is also an associate professor of dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, performed in the event held at UCLA.

Simin Meydani, vice provost for research and director of the Nutrition and Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, was selected as a member of the American Society for Nutrition Class of 2019 Fellows.

India Napier, V20, is the 2019 recipient of the Patricia M. Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship. The award recognizes vet students who demonstrate exemplary promise as future leaders. Napier was noted for being an influential leader in the Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity. She was instrumental in getting Tufts to apply for funding in Purdue University’s “This is How We ‘Role’” program. Upon hearing that Tufts did not have the elementary school contacts needed for this program, she cold-called elementary schools in Worcester and was able to secure a partner in just days. 

Heather Nathans, G99, Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor of Judaic Studies and chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been accepted into a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The program is called “Privilege and Prejudice: Jewish History in the American South.”

Alex Vilenkin, Leonard and Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor in Evolutionary Science in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is featured in a new film, Before the Big Bang 9: A Multiverse from ‘Nothing’, part of a series which has featured Stephen Hawking and other leading cosmologists. The film is an hour-long interview with Vilenkin about his research, in which he explores what happened before the big bang, why he thinks there is a multiverse, and how that idea might be tested.


Jeff Ashe, research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), co-led a panel discussion based on his co-authored report “Achieving the American Dream on an Immigrant’s Income” at Brandeis University on April 18. The research shows how immigrants are progressing through disciplined savings, mutual accountability, and support in small groups ranging from five to seventy members.

Jeronim Capaldo, a visiting scholar at GDAE, traveled to Washington, D.C. on April 15 to participate in the conference Rewriting The Rules For A More Progressive Model For Trade And Investment, with Columbia University’s Joseph Stiglitz, José Antonio Ocampo, and Stephany Griffith-Jones. The conference was organized by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue.

Ann-Marie Codur, a research fellow at GDAE, and Jonathan Harris, a senior research associate at GDAE, hosted a panel discussion in collaboration with the consulate general of France, Tufts Institute of the Environment, and the International 4 per 1000 Initiative on “Soil Health, Agriculture, and Climate in New England.” Presentations at the panel reflected the work of a team of food system advocates, including farmers, researchers, students, and policymakers aiming to launch a Soil Health Initiative that will enhance and expand the regional system of soil management in New England States.

Padmashree Gehl Sampath, a visiting scholar at GDAE, co-authored a new GDAE working paper, “Do Patents Lead to Market Concentration and Excess Profits?”, which provides a first empirical assessment on how the patenting system contributes to market concentration and the generation of economic rents in three key sectors—pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and information and control technology.

Jonathan Harris, a senior research associate at GDAE, authored a new GDAE working paper entitled “Responding to Economic and Ecological Deficits.” The paper addresses current issues with economic and ecological deficits.

Brian Hatcher, professor and Packard Chair of Theology, has received a 2019 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society for work on a project entitled “The Rise and Fall of a Hindu Monastic Network in Modern Bengal.”

William Moomaw, co-director of GDAE, was cited by Berkshire Eagle in “Groups ask Baker to back off wood-burning initiatives” about a letter to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker calling for an end to financial incentives to commercial projects that encourage wood-burning to produce heat or electricity. Moomaw’s research was also cited by National Geographic in “Trees release flammable methane—here's what that means for climate” about the growing awareness that many trees emit small amounts of methane.

Michael Stone, clinical associate professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, was interviewed by Boston 25, a Fox TV affiliate, about tick prevention and protection for pets. He was also interviewed by Worcester Channel 3 on the same topic.  

Timothy A. Wise, G05, a senior research fellow at GDAE, went on tour to promote his new book, Eating Tomorrow, making stops in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Iowa, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto. Wise was cited by 2007 Leontief Prize Winner Jomo Kwame Sundaram in his article, “Is Agribusiness the Problem or the Solution?” published by Wise was interviewed by Eric Muñoz of Oxfam America about his new book in a piece entitled, “The battle for the future of food: A Q&A with author Timothy Wise.”


Paul Arthur Berkman, director of the Science Diplomacy Center and Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy at The Fletcher School, has published The Baseline of Russian Arctic Laws (Springer), the first comprehensive and authoritative translation into English of Russian Arctic laws. Berkman, the only United States citizen to participate in five International Arctic Forums, draws on that experience, starting with the first formal dialogue between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russian Federation, which he co-directed and chaired in 2010 at the University of Cambridge, emerging into the book Environmental Security in the Arctic Ocean.   


Patrick Kabanda, F13, will give the keynote for the opening of the new Center for Cultural Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, titled “New Frontiers in Arts Research.” The symposium will mark the opening of the new School of Public and Environmental Affairs Center for Cultural Affairs. The entire event, which will take place on May 8-9, will bring together arts funders, scholars, and practitioners to discuss the need for high-quality, objective arts research.

Bindu Panikkar, AG02, EG02, EG11, will receive the Science for the Benefit of Environmental Health Award at the thirty-second annual conference of the Toxics Action Center. Panikkar has also been selected as a Science and Technology Fellow by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Shane Lavalette, SMFA/Tufts 2009, has been awarded a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He was recently commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to create a new series of photographs for their exhibition “Picturing the South.” Lavalette’s monograph, One Sun, One Shadow (2016) is an extension of this work. Another monograph, Still (Noon) (2018), was commissioned by Fotostiftung Schweiz and co-produced with the Musée de l’Elysée with the support of Switzerland Tourism. His photographs have been shown widely, in addition to being held in private and public collections.  

Lisa Kaczmarczyk, J83, was lead author on the research paper “Identifying student misconceptions of programming” that was named “Top Ranked Symposium Paper of All Time” by the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. The award recognizes outstanding research that has shaped the field of computer science education over the past forty-nine years.

Lisa Jean Moore, J89, professor of sociology and gender studies at SUNY-Purchase College, has been appointed distinguished professor by SUNY. Moore has authored seven scholarly books and forty-two articles or book chapters, edited four book or journal special issues, as well as other publications. Her book, Buzz: Urban Beekeeping and the Power of the Bee (NYU Press, 2013) won the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Scholarship Award. Her latest book, Catch and Release: The Enduring Yet Vulnerable Horseshoe Crab (NYU Press, 2018), challenges established norms within the fields of sociology, biology, anthropology, and gender studies. Her book series at NYU Press, Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the Twenty-First Century, with seventeen titles published, is regarded to be one of the best in medical sociology.