March 4, 2009

March People Notes

Frank Ackerman, a senior research fellow with the Global Development and Environment Institute and a senior scientist with the Stockholm Environment Institute, has just published a new book on the economics of climate change, explaining how the arbitrary assumptions of conventional theories get in the way of understanding this urgent problem. In Can We Afford the Future?, Ackerman makes an impassioned plea to construct a better economics, arguing that the solutions are affordable, and the alternative is unthinkable. Ackerman gave a talk based on the book on February 17 at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Astier Almedom, professor of the practice at the Fletcher School and director of the International Resilience Program at the Institute of Global Leadership, was guest editor of a special issue of the journal African Health Sciences (AHS) about resilience, published in December. The AHS is accessible free of charge via African Journals Online and Bioline. Almedom received a grant from the Christensen Fund to facilitate the publication of the special issue, in collaboration with Makerere University in Uganda. She also gave a public lecture on “Resilience: A Basis for Sustainability of Health and Social Systems” in Asmara, Eritrea, on January 9. The event was organized and hosted by the national youth organization of the People’s Front on Democracy and Justice. Also in January, Almedom gave an invited talk at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University during a workshop on “Measuring Resilience and Adaptive Capacity for Local Populations.”

David M. Barrett, president and CEO at Lahey Clinic in Burlington and professor of urology at the School of Medicine, was inducted as honorary commander of the 66th Air Base Wing at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., on February 6.

Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, will deliver the Denham Harman Distinguished Lecture in Biomedical Gerontology at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine (UNCM) on April 10 in Omaha. This event honors the contributions of Harman for his seminal research on the role of free radicals in the aging process. Harman established the first academic division of geriatrics/gerontology in the United States and, at age 93, continues to serve on the UNCM faculty.

Robert Bridges, professor of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, has been named to the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology.

Julia Browne, A11, and Meghan McCooey, A10, made history last fall. As a doubles tennis team, they won the ITA national championships—the first national championship in the history of Tufts tennis. See the full story on the Athletics Department website:

Richard Eichenberg, associate professor of political science, delivered a paper on “The Dynamics of Gender Difference on Defense Budget Issues in the United States” to the International Studies Association in New York on February 15. The paper reports results that suggest that men and women have different orientations toward defense spending, with men more attuned to the defense budget itself and women more attuned to the relative growth of defense and social spending.

Heiko Enderling, a research associate at the School of Medicine, was awarded an American Associate for Cancer Research Centennial Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Research for the project “Paradoxical Proliferation-apoptosis-migration Dynamics in Tumor Progression.” The grant runs through 2011.

Donna Esposito, senior associate director of Career Services, and Moira Todd, administrator for the Tufts international relations program, have been recognized by the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers for their innovative Virtual Networking Forum in International Affairs, an online event for students and alumni interested in international careers that was launched last fall.

Michael Forgac, professor of physiology, has been invited to speak at the Gordon Conference on Molecular and Cellular Bioenergetics, to be held at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., in June. The title of his talk will be “Regulation and Isoform Function of the Vacuolar ATPases.”

Ralph Fowler has been promoted to clinical professor of prosthodontics and operative dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine.

Lisa Freeman, professor of nutrition in the department of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, lectured on nutrition at the North American Veterinary Conference in January in Orlando, Fla. She also lectured on raw meat diets at the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association’s communicable diseases committee meeting on January 14 in Marlboro, Mass.

Sarah Freeman, E05, was named one of the New Faces of Engineering for 2009 by the National Engineers Week Foundation. In addition, she received the Young Professional of the Year Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies. While a student at Tufts, Freeman founded the university’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which works on sustainable engineering projects in developing countries. She participated in developing water-related projects in Ecuador and rural China. Freeman is now a water resources engineer at the Louis Berger Group in Washington, D.C., where she is part of a team that is working with the Iraqi government to develop the country’s agriculture industry.

Kevin Gallagher, a senior researcher at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), edited a book that was just released by Edward Elgar Publishing. Handbook on Trade and Environment features, among many other authors, GDAE researchers and affiliates Timothy A. Wise, Frank Ackerman and Lyuba Zarsky, a senior research fellow. Information on the publication can be found at

Jeffrey S. Geller, M96, assistant clinical professor and director of integrative medicine and group programs at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, received the Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion Award last summer from the U.S. Surgeon General for developing a successful empowerment group program for the treatment of pediatric obesity. He also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his work, which was presented by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center now has the largest medical group visit program in the country, and the largest integrative medicine fellowship, which trains family physicians in integrative skills such as acupuncture, hypnosis, osteopathic manipulation, meditation, reiki, guided imagery, functional medicine and energy healing.

Audrey Hartman, an assistant professor at Tufts Medical School and senior staff radiologist and physician informatics chief at the Lahey Clinic, was the lead author on the paper “Improving Radiologist Productivity,” which was published in SIIM News.

Ann Helwege, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute, participated in a panel at the Pardee Center at Boston University titled “Microfinance for Food and Development” on January 21. The panel also included Pablo Sarez of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Center and Marjorie Victor of Oxfam America. The discussion explored how current trends in microcredit, insurance and savings may transform the future of food insecurity for poor people.

Justin Hollander, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, was a featured speaker at the Northeast Regional Computing Program Second Life Users Group (SLUG) Fest on January 23. Hollander addressed the group of higher education academic technologists about his pioneering use of the web-based 3D environment Second Life in his teaching and research. David Grogan, manager of curricular technology at Tufts, and University Information Technology have been supporting Hollander’s use of Second Life for more than two years. For more information, check out

Rachel Jurd, a research associate in the laboratory of Stephen Moss, professor of neuroscience, received a Young Investigator Award from NARSAD, a charity dedicated to mental health research. It is the first time that such an award has been made to Tufts, and it provides support for up to two years for research on psychiatric disorders. Jurd’s work is aimed at elucidating how dysfunction in GABAergic signaling contributes to schizophrenia.

Bernadette Kelley-Leccese, coordinator for the Fletcher School’s Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization Program, has been reappointed a notary public by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her commission runs until 2015.

Gustave A. Laurenzi, a clinical professor of medicine, was honored with the establishment of the Gustave A. Laurenzi, M.D., Visiting Professorship as part of the Melita S. Howland Master Clinician Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The professorship was made possible with a $150,000 grant from the Jack and Sally Forté Family Foundation, and recognizes Laurenzi for his distinguished career as a physician and teacher. A pulmonologist, Laurenzi was also chief of pulmonology medicine and president of the medical staff at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

George LeMaitre, M59, clinical instructor in surgery, is the author of several books, the latest being a novel about Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia, Crucified Under Pontius Pilate, and a nonfiction book called Choosing Your Doctor (see Several years ago he also founded a vascular device company, LaMaitre Vascular, which now has offices in most European countries, as well as in Japan and Russia. The firm recently went public.

Laura Liscum and Eric Frank, both professors of physiology, received a Russo Grant for their research project, “Reversing Neurodegeneration in Neimann Pick Type C Disease.” The Russo Family Charitable Foundation Trust funds the grant, which supports interdisciplinary collaborative research at Tufts School of Medicine and its affiliated hospitals.

Rachel Massey, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute, completed a report for the Swedish Chemicals Agency, Toxic Substances in Articles: The Need for Information. The report explores policy options for increasing the availability of information about toxic chemicals in consumer products. Massey was in Geneva in February, presenting the report at a United Nations Environment Programme-sponsored conference on this issue.

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

Lawrence Milner, professor of pediatric nephrology, received the 2009 Gift of Life Award from the National Kidney Foundation on January 22. He was named the Outstanding Physician in Nephrology by the organization.

Frank Odlum has been promoted to associate professor of general dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine.

Rory O’Neill, associate clinical professor of periodontology at the School of Dental Medicine, attended the second congress of the International Academy for Advancement of Interdisciplinary Dentistry, held at Danube University in Krems, Austria. O’Neill, who gave a lecture on “Pre- and Post-orthodontic Periodontal Surgery,” was one of the founding members and first president of this growing professional organization.

Maria Papageorge, D82, DG86, DG89, professor and chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the School of Dental Medicine, has been accepted as a fellow of the 2009–10 American Dental Education Association’s Leadership Institute. She will join 21 of the nation’s most promising dental educators as a part of the institute’s tenth class. The four-phase program covers self-assessment, peer assessment, leadership and management theory, team building, analysis of issues critical to the dental health profession and higher education and administrative competency development.

Mary Rose Paradis, associate professor of large animal medicine at the Cummings School, organized and gave a neonatal volunteer training session on January 26. More than 100 volunteers attended, including students from Cummings School and Becker College, as well as students from the Mount Ida veterinary technician program and community members.

Joel Pearlman, clinical assistant professor of public health and community service at the dental school, received a Community Hero Award on February 2 at the Oral Health Heroes ceremony at the Massachusetts State House. The event was sponsored by the Legislative Oral Health Caucus and the Oral Health Foundation.

Katherine Pelullo, a dental hygienist at Tufts Dental Facilities for Persons with Special Needs at the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass., received the Hygienist of the Year Award at the Yankee Dental Congress. The award was presented at the Massachusetts Dental Society president’s reception on January 26 in Boston.

Mark Pokras, associate professor of environmental and population health at the Cummings School, co-authored a paper titled “The Syrinx of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus): What Are Those Lumps?” and presented it at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology on January 4 in Boston. He also gave a talk on “World of a Wildlife Vet: What Helping Animals Can Teach Us about Environmental Threats” at the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wachusett Mountain Sanctuary on January 16. Pokras’ studies on common loons are featured in Gail Osherenko’s short film, Dark Side of the Loon, which was previewed at the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival in January.

Elizabeth A. Pomfret, an associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, has been appointed chair of the department of transplantation at Lahey Clinic, where she has oversight responsibilities for the liver and kidney transplantation program and the soon-to-be-developed pancreas transplantation program. Pomfret led the team that performed the region’s first adult live donor liver transplant 10 years ago, before joining Lahey in 1999, where she developed the program in adult live donor liver transplantation. The program has performed the most live donor transplants (nearly 200) of any center in the United States, and its survival outcomes are ranked as the gold standard for transplantation. “Liz is a world-recognized surgeon, educator and pioneer in the field of transplantation,” said David M. Barrett, president and CEO of Lahey, of her appointment as department chair. Since 2007, Pomfret has served as chair of the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing Liver and Intestinal Transplantation Committee, which develops and enforces policy for all U.S. transplant programs.

John Rush, professor of cardiology at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, gave three presentations at the North American Veterinary Medical Conference in January in Orlando, Fla.: “Avoiding Cardiology Catastrophe,” “Five Fabulous Feline Pharmaceuticals” and “Cardiac Collapse—Rate, Rhythm or Reflex?”

Fu Shang, a scientist in the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, has received a three-year grant from the USDA’s Cooperative Research, Education and Extension Service for a project titled “Zeaxanthin and Age-related Macular Degeneration.”

Renee Sorrentino, a lecturer in psychiatry at the School of Medicine, recently started a clinic, the Institute for Sexual Wellness, which is devoted to the evaluation and treatment of individuals with sexual disorders. The patient population includes sex offenders, “sex addicts” and individuals with Internet pornography addiction. The clinic, which began with the assistance of a nonprofit organization, offers comprehensive care to an underserved, often-stigmatized group. Sorrentino also was recently interviewed by the Patriot Ledger about her work.

Liz Stanton, a research fellow with the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) and a staff scientist with the Stockholm Environment Institute, was in Macedonia in February for the kickoff of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) study of the costs of climate change in Macedonia, and for meetings with the UNDP regional staff based in Bratislava.

Allen Taylor, director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts; Elizabeth Whitcomb, a scientist in the laboratory; and Edward Dudek, a research associate in the lab, published an article in the January issue of the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell titled “Novel Control of the S Phase of the Cell Cycle by Ubiquitin-conjugating Enzyme H7.”

Melanie Tong has been promoted to assistant coordinator in the anesthesia section at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating from Boston University in 2001 with a degree in biology/pre-vet, Tong joined Cummings as an anesthesia technician.

Peter Uvin, the Henry J. Leir Professor of International Humanitarian Studies and academic dean at the Fletcher School, published a new book,  Life After Violence: A People’s Story of Burundi (Zed Books).

María del Carmen Vera-Díaz has joined the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) as a senior research fellow in the Globalization and Sustainable Development Program. She will lead a new research project being launched at GDAE to assess the socioeconomic and environmental consequences of trade-led agricultural expansion—particularly soybean cultivation—in the Amazon. Vera-Díaz is an ecological economist who recently completed her Ph.D. in geography and environment at Boston University. From 1999 to 2003, she worked as a researcher at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in Belém, Brazil. For more on the Amazon project, see

Judith Wechsler, the National Endowment for the Humanities Professor in the department of art and art history, has been awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin for the spring 2010 semester.

Daniel Weiner, assistant professor of medicine and a member of the Molecular Oncology Research Institute, and Maria Nurminskaya, research assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology, received a Russo Grant for their project, “Novel Biomarkers of Vascular Calcification in Chronic Kidney Failure.” The Russo Family Charitable Foundation Trust funds the grants, which support interdisciplinary collaborative research at the School of Medicine and its affiliated hospitals.

Timothy A. Wise, director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), gave a presentation on “The Limited Promise of Agricultural Trade Liberalization” at a conference in New Delhi, India, in February on “Financial Crisis, Global Economic Governance and Development: Responses of Asia and the Global South.” Wise was part of a panel on “Financial Crisis and Trade, Industrial and IPR Policies for Development: Beyond the Washington Consensus,” with U.N. Conference on Trade and Development Secretary General Supachai Panitchpakdi, Robert Wade and Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, among others. The conference brought together economists, government officials and others from across the globe to address the challenges posed by the financial crisis and its development implications. GDAE was a co-sponsor of the conference, as part of a project funded by the Ford Foundation through its Indian partner, RIS. The goal is to lay the groundwork for a new framework for international trade and development that can replace the widely discredited “Washington Consensus.”

Cynthia Yered, D90, has been promoted to associate clinical professor of public health and community service at the School of Dental Medicine.

Wang Yi has joined the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) as a visiting scholar. Wang comes from the faculty of economics at the Guangdong University of Business Studies in Guangzhou, China. His background is in ecological economics and forestry, and his current research is on natural capital and ecological compensation between regions in China. While at GDAE, he will be pursuing this research and preparing an English-language summary version of the report he recently presented to the Chinese government on this topic. 

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