November 19, 2008

November People Notes

2009 Tufts Distinction Awards

Nominations open January 20

Help honor the achievements of Tufts staff and faculty. Everyone in the Tufts community is welcome to make a nomination at


Benjamin Allen joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer in the philosophy department. He recently received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Rutgers University; his dissertation was Zeno, Aristotle, the Racetrack and Achilles: A Historical and Philosophical Investigation. His area of specialty is ancient Greek philosophy, with additional interest in metaphysics and the philosophy of the mind.

Clay Bennett joined the chemistry department this fall as an assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, and then was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute. His research interests include carbohydrate chemistry, carbohydrate chemical biology and synthetic methodology development. Bennett is a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.

Danielle Christie is the new staff assistant in the School of Dental Medicine’s admissions office. Christie recently completed her bachelor’s degree in English at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. A native of New Jersey, she recently relocated to the Boston area. While at Gettysburg, Danielle worked in the off-campus study office. In her new role at Tufts, she oversees the processing of all applications to the D.M.D. program, as well as provides administrative oversight for the admissions office.

Mary Davis joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida, and comes to Tufts from the University of Maine, where she was an assistant professor in the department of economics. She completed postdoctoral work at the Harvard School of Public Health, with a focus on environmental health and biostatistics, and continues to hold a visiting scientist appointment there. Her interests span a number of environmental health issues, including the use of statistics and economics to improve understanding of the causal effects of human exposure to pollutants and disease outcomes. Her primary interest is in air pollution, and she is currently working on a project studying the link between lung cancer and exposure to diesel exhaust. She has published in many peer-reviewed journals and currently serves as principal investigator on a grant looking at occupational safety in the commercial fishing industry.

Ariel Goldberg is a new instructor in the psychology department. He received a master’s degree in cognitive science from Johns Hopkins University in 2005 and expects to complete his doctorate in the same subject there in December. While at Johns Hopkins, he was a National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship fellow from 2003 to 2008. His research interests include understanding the mental representations and processes involved in spoken and written production, as well as the relationship between linguistic competence and performance. He has taught classes on cognitive neuropsychology, written language and exploring the living brain.

Marc Hodes joined the mechanical engineering department as an associate professor this fall. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1998 and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1994. He comes to Tufts from Bell Labs Ireland, part of Alcatel-Lucent, where he was a co-manager and scientist in a 10-member research group. Prior to that, he was a member of the technical staff at Core Bell Laboratories, part of Lucent Technologies. His research interests include thermal management of electronics, thermoelectric effects and their application, transport in supercritical water, applied heat conduction, heat pipes and thermal design. Applications of this technology include thermal effects in fiber-optic switches and using supercritical water for remediation of hazardous wastes. He has published many articles and holds three patents, with 16 more pending.

Fadi Jajji joined the German, Russian, and Asian languages and literature department as a lecturer this fall. Jajji has spent several years teaching, translating and interpreting Arabic in a variety of academic and private settings, including as a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant at the Fletcher School. He received his B.A. and higher diploma in English from the College of Languages at the University of Baghdad.

Michael Levin, A92, joins Tufts in November as a professor of biology. He comes from the Forsythe Institute, where he was department head of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. He received a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard Medical School and a B.S. in computer science and biology from Tufts. His research focuses on the biophysics of morphogenesis, and his work is expected to produce new modalities for manipulating tissue growth for biomedical applications. Earlier he was an adjunct in Tufts’ department of biomedical engineering. He has served as a principal investigator on a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Levin serves on several editorial boards and recently received the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

Ning Ma is a new assistant professor in the department of German, Russian and Asian languages and literature. She received a B.A. in English language and literature from Beijing University and an M.A. in comparative literature from Rutgers University. She recently received a Ph.D. from the department of comparative literature at Princeton University, with a concentration in the cultural history of late Imperial China. Her dissertation, From Material to Romantic Egoism: A Comparative History of Chinese and European Novels, 1550-1850, studies the parallel between the history of Chinese and Western narrative during that time period. In particular, she examines the shift of focus from heroic subjects to the personal life of non-heroic, everyday individuals in both cultures.

Natalie Masuoka joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor of political science. Masuoka received an M.A. in social sciences and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine. Her thesis was Rethinking Race and Politics: Mixed Race and the Trajectory of Minority Politics in the United States. She was a visiting research fellow at the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences at Duke University, where she taught quantitative political analysis, the politics of immigration and introduction to minority politics. She has published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, with several more articles forthcoming.

Stelios Michalopoulos joined Tufts this fall as an assistant professor of economics. Michalopoulos received a Ph.D. in economics from Brown University in May 2008, with a thesis on the historical determinants of comparative economic development. He also holds an M.A. in economics from Brown and an M.A. in economic theory from Athens University of Economics and Business. His areas of research include macroeconomics, economic growth and development. In particular, he has been working on the origins and implications of ethnic diversity, the relationship between development and climate-induced technological progress, the evolution of entrepreneurial spirit and the process of development, and the implications of financial innovation for economic growth.

Babak Moaveni is a new assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Moaveni received a Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of California, San Diego; his thesis topic was system and damage identification of civil structures. He received an M.S. in earthquake engineering in 2001 from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. His research interests include structural health monitoring, experimental modal analysis, signal processing, finite element analysis and finite element model updating, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, structural reliability and risk analysis and uncertainty quantification. Moaveni comes to Tufts from MaXentric Technologies LLC, where he was a research engineer.

Doris Pfaffinger joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer in the German, Russian and Asian languages and literature department. She comes to Tufts after completing an M.A. and a Ph.D. in the department of German and Scandinavian studies at the University of Oregon. Her dissertation, Pop, Konsum und Identität in der neuen deutschen Pop-Literatur, examines the emergence of pop literature as a new genre in German cultural studies. She has extensive teaching experience in elementary and intermediate German.

Silas Pinto arrived this fall as a lecturer in education. He received a B.A. and an M.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Rhode Island (URI). A licensed school psychologist in Rhode Island, Pinto has taught courses on abnormal psychology and introduction to psychology at URI, and provides counseling services at the Center of Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University for teens who have been experimenting with alcohol and other substances. He serves the Cape Verdean-American community through advising, lecturing, participating in research opportunities and grant writing.

Cynthia Robinson joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer in education. She received an M.S. in museum education from Bank Street College of Education; she has been director of education and public programs at the National Heritage Museum; vice president for programs and collections at the Bay State Historical League and executive director of the Bostonian Society. For the past three years, she was director and internship supervisor for the Tufts Museum Studies Program, where she has taught courses on museum education. Robinson wrote Going Public: Community Program and Project Ideas for Historical Organizations (1999, co-authored with Gretchen Sorin), has created many exhibitions and curricula, and served as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Laura Rogers joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer in education. She has an Ed.D. in human development and psychology from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Rogers is a licensed psychologist and school psychologist who was school psychologist and special education administrator in the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, Mass., which she helped found. She also helped develop the Theodore R. Sizer Teachers Center. She has worked as a clinician in a variety of settings in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Kathmandu, Nepal, including in private practice, prisons, a health clinic and a child guidance clinic. She teaches courses in adolescent development, serving children with special needs, cognitive assessment, social and emotional assessment and learning disabilities. She is the author, with K. Cushman, of Fires in the Middle School Bathroom, published last spring by New Press.

Adam Stahl, E04, joined Tufts this fall as a lecturer and interim technical director in the department of drama and dance. He comes to Tufts from the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, where he was technical director and site superintendent and oversaw construction for seven main stage productions and one outdoor production per year. He received a B.S. from the School of Engineering at Tufts.


Ann Alartosky has been promoted to senior veterinary technician in the anesthesia section at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She began her career at Cummings in 2000 as a radiology technician. In 2002 she became senior veterinary technician of radiology.

Robyn Alders, associate professor in the international veterinary medicine section of the department of environmental and population health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, attended the meeting “Linking Climate and Health Research to Reduce Africa’s Infectious Disease Burden: An Exploratory Dialogue,” held at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, in early September. Alders represented the Cummings School and the International Rural Poultry Centre of the KYEEMA Foundation.

Bruce Boghosian, professor of mathematics, and Gianluca Caterina, G07, have had their paper “A ‘No-Go’ Theorem for the Existence of a Discrete Action Principle” accepted for publication in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications. Boghosian also served on the program committee, attended and chaired a session at the “UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2008” in Edinburgh, Scotland, in early September. The theme of the meeting, which was attended by both computer scientists and natural scientists, was crossing boundaries to facilitate new ways of doing research in e-science and computational science.

Johanna Dwyer, a professor of medicine and community health at the School of Medicine, a professor at the Friedman School and a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA), was named a lifetime national associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences in September.

Alexander Hawley, an anesthesiology resident at the Cummings School, received the first-place Resident Abstract Award from the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists on September 18. His abstract was titled “Identification of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPS) within Exon 1 of the Canine mu Opioid Receptor Gene.”

Susan Holman, N83, has written a new book, God Knows There’s Need: Christian Responses to Poverty (Oxford University Press, in press). In the book, Holman, who won the Tufts Distinguished Alumni Award at the Friedman School several years ago, combines her early training as a dietitian with later insights gained from her work as a historian and graduate of Harvard Divinity School.

Gretchen Kaufman, J76, V86, received the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine’s Outstanding Alumni Award on September 6 at the new Agnes Varis Campus Center. Kaufman is an assistant professor of wildlife medicine in the department of environmental and population health and director of the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine.

Alice Lichtenstein, the Stanley N. Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy and director of the cardiovascular nutrition laboratory at the HNRCA at Tufts, has been selected to serve on three expert panels on cardiovascular disease at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. She will serve as co-chair of the panel on detection, evaluation and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults.

Dan Margalit, assistant professor of mathematics, gave two talks in Tokyo in August at the “Topology and Computer” conference. In October, he gave a colloquium at Boston College on “Dimensions of Mapping Class Groups,” and two talks at Brown, one called “Juggling Numbers.” Most recently, he spoke at an American Math Society meeting in October called “Computer Experiments on the Torelli Group.”

Joerg Mayer was promoted to clinical associate professor in the department of clinical science at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in exotic species medicine.

Nicola McKeown, assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a scientist in the nutritional epidemiology program at the HNRCA, published “Dietary Magnesium Intake Is Related to Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly Americans” in the European Journal of Nutrition. McKeown was asked to serve as a member of the editorial board for the British Journal of Nutrition, starting in January 2009. She also presented “Whole Grains, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes Risk” at a conference on “Whole Grains and Beyond: An Opportunity to Discuss Emerging Trends in Nutrition” in Toronto, Canada.

Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics, had his research on energy taxes recently cited in the New York Times.

Simin Meydani, professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and associate director of the HNRCA, was invited to present “Immune Function as a Biological Marker to Assess Micronutrient Status” at the Gates Foundation Micronutrients Assessment Meeting in August. She will also present “Antioxidants and Nutritional Intervention in Aging and Age-associated Disease” at the seventh annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference in November.

Paul Milbury, assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a scientist at the HNRCA, was invited to present “Berry Anthocynanins and Structurally Diverse Phytonutrients in Chronic Disease Prevention” at the 49th annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition in October.

Monica White Ndounou, assistant professor of drama, presented her research, “Old Tropes/New Tricks: Staging Magic and Spirituality in Lydia R. Diamond’s Adaptation of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye,” at the Black Theatre Network Conference held at Walt Disney World in early August. The presentation examined the cultural politics of storytelling in the process of adaptation and performance.

Mark Pokras, V84, associate professor of wildlife medicine at the Cummings School, presented the invited keynote address and several talks on clinical and research topics at the Florida Wildlife Rehabilitator’s 20th annual meeting in Haines City in late September. Pokras also presented “Wildlife and Development Colliding?” on September 17 at the first lecture in the Roger Hohman Memorial Lecture Series for the Grafton Land Trust.

Todd Quinto, the Robinson Professor of Mathematics, reports that he and Sidec, a Stockholm-based company, have submitted a patent application, including algorithm, for imaging individual molecules using electron microscopy, and that the patent office reported that the application was “novel and useful.” Quinto served on the advisory board of the conference “Integral Geometry and Tomography: An International Conference Dedicated to Jan Boman’s 75th Birthday” at the University of Stockholm, and he gave a retrospective talk on Boman’s research. He also gave a research talk at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm on his work on emission tomography with former senior honors thesis students Sohhyun Chung, A06, and Tania Bakhos, A08.

Amit Sachdeo, assistant professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry, was a guest speaker at an international dental meeting in Florence, Italy, in May. His presentation was “Biofilm Formation in the Edentulous Oral Cavity.” His article “Biofilms in the Edentulous Oral Cavity” was published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Prosthodontics, and his paper “An Introduction to Oral Biofilms” was published in the August 2008 issue of the international Dental Tribune. He has also been selected to be a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Dental Research, the official journal of the International and American Associations for Dental Research.

George Saperstein, professor and chair of the department of environmental and population health at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, was inducted into the Cummings School Faculty Hall of Fame, along with the late Howard Levine, former director of the Tufts Ambulatory Service and associate chair and professor of environmental and population health.

Patrick Skelly has been promoted to associate professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He received a M.S. degree from University College Dublin and a Ph.D. from the Australian National University. His research has focused on the study of helminths and in particular their interaction with the mammalian host. Skelly is associate chair of the department, and serves on a number of school committees.

Flo Tseng, director of the Wildlife Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, attended the advisory board meetings for the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN), held at University of California–Davis in September. The OWCN works closely with the California Department of Fish and Game.

Paul Waldau, director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Cummings School, gave a lecture on October 18 titled “World Religions and Animal Law” at Northwestern Law School at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. It can be heard at Waldau also was scheduled to respond to four scholarly papers on religion and animals on November 1 in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Giovanni Widmer, a professor in the biomedical sciences department at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, was awarded a two-year grant for his project on “Infectivity Assay for Giardia lamblia Cysts” by the WateReuse Foundation.

Jun Xu, assistant professor in the reproductive biology and neuroscience division, and Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior program, both at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, were awarded a seed grant for a project titled “Genetic Variation Associated with OCD Susceptibility in Animal Models.” With the grant support, they are testing DNA sequence polymorphisms in dog serotonin receptor genes among bull terriers who are suffering from tail-chasing condition.

Amy Yee, professor of biochemistry, has been awarded a training grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The grant is for her project on “Regulation of Breast Cancer Progression through the Transcriptional Repressor Hbp1.” Yee is a member of the biochemistry and genetics program faculty of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.

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