Faculty N-Z


Elena Naumova Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr. Naumova is a statistician working at the interface of environmental epidemiology, water quality and sanitation. Her area of expertise is in modeling of transient processes applied to infections sensitive to climate variations and extreme weather events. She facilitates the use of novel data sources, including remote sensing and satellite imagery to better understand the nature, ecology, and etiology of water-related diseases. She collaborates with scientists and public health professionals in India, Kenya, Ecuador, Japan, Canada, UK, and Russia. She is a Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering. Dr. Naumova holds secondary appointment at Tufts School of Medicine, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. She is a faculty advisor for WSSS.
Colin Orians Professor, Environmental Studies Program
Professor Orians’ research focuses on the dynamic responses of plants to environmental heterogeneity. Through the use of a combination of physiological, chemical and isotope (stable and radio) techniques, he hopes to understand plant response to spatial and temporal variation in environmental factors. Additionally, Professor Orians is a faculty advisor for the WSSS program.
Barbara Parmenter Lecturer, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Barbara Parmenter teaches GIS courses in the Fletcher School and in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, as well as a course on the history of US urban policy. As a member of Tufts’ Geospatial Technology Services group, she also provides guidance in spatial analysis for researchers across the Tufts system, and develops university-wide GIS. Her interests focus on the evolution of cities and metropolitan regions. Recent research collaborations include a National Institute of Health grant to study the influence of neighborhood factors on the maintenance of physical activity in minority women in Texas, and two EPA grants examining the impacts of urbanization on regional climate change. She is also a WSSS faculty advisor.
Jan Pechenik Professor of Invertebrate Zoology and Marine Biology, Department of Biology
ProfessorPechenik works with a wide variety of marine invertebrates, studying the ways in which stresses experienced by embryos and larvae can affect various aspects of fitness after the animals metamorphose.
Kurt Pennell Professor and Chair,Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Pennell is interested in the fate and transport of engineered nanomaterials and non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in the subsurface, the development and testing of in situ remediation technologies including thermal treatment, surfactant flushing and bioremediation, and the relationship between chronic exposure to persistent organic pollutants and human health. He is also is a member of the environmental health (EH) and Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) research groups in CEE and is an investigator in the Integrated Multiphase Environmental Systems Laboratory (IMPES) at Tufts University. Additionally, Professor Pennell is a faculty advisor for the WSSS program.
Mark Pokras Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Population Health, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Mark Pokras is an Associate Professor of Wildlife Medicine, former Director of the Tufts Wildlife Clinic and one of the founders of Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine (TCCM). Dr. Pokras’ current areas of interest are medicine and surgery of native wildlife (especially birds and reptiles), wildlife (especially aquatic birds) as indicators of environmental health, conservation biology, and allometric scaling. His work with the Center for Conservation Medicine includes research on the effects of lead poisoning and the bioaccumulation of mercury and synthetic chemicals in loons and other aquatic animals. Mark works closely with many of the private, state and federal conservation organizations in the region to foster multidisciplinary collaborative educational and research efforts. Professor Pokras is a faculty advisor for TIE’s WSSS program.
Kent Portney Professor, Department of Political Science
Professor Portney teaches courses in environmental politics and policy, sustainable cities, political behavior, judicial politics, and survey research. He has published many books, including: Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities, second edition (MIT Press, forthcoming 2013), Approaching Public Policy Analysis (Prentice-Hall, 1986), and Controversial Issues in Environmental Policy (Sage Publications, 1992). He is also a WSSS faculty advisor, and co-principal investigator and core advisor in the Water Diplomacy doctoral program.
Ann Rappaport Lecturer, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Ann Rappaport is interested in the relationship between environmental laws and regulations and innovations in environmental technology and corporate management of environmental issues. Currently, her research focuses on enterprise-level decision making with respect to the environment, institutional responses to climate change, voluntary initiatives related to companies and the environment, and contemporary issues in corporate social responsibility. She also co-directs the Tufts Climate Initiative, the university commitment to meet or beat the emission reductions associated with the Kyoto Protocol.
Michael Reed Professor, Avian ecology and conservation biology, Department of Biology
Most of Professor Reed’s research focuses on identifying characteristics of species that put them at risk to human-caused threats, understanding why (or how) these characteristics put a species at risk, and on determining how best to reduce the risk. He is also a faculty advisor for TIE’s WSSS program.To read more about Professor Reed’s work, see here.
Jack Ridge Professor, Department of Geology
Professor Ridge’s research interests lie in the reconstruction of the receding ice sheet and climate change events during the last deglaciation (20,000-12,000 yr before present) in the northeastern U.S. primarily as indicated by glacial deposits, especially the annual layers (varves) of sediments from glacial lakes. This work involves not only the characterization of the sediment for its climate record but also the development of a calibrated chronology of deglaciation using radiocarbon ages and paleomagnetic records. He and his undergraduate students in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department have also studied environmental changes, both natural and anthropogenic, in Boston Harbor for the last 2000 yr recorded in peat cores from salt marshes.
Albert Robbat Professor, Department of Chemistry
Professor Robbat’s research interests include the development of innovative analytical instruments, methods, and data analysis software used to solve a wide range of environmental problems, including: a subsurface sampling and analysis probe that detects pollutants without bringing soil or groundwater to the surface for analysis. This technology is used to rapidly characterize hazardous waste sites and to provide monitoring data during cleanup. 2-dimensional gas and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-GC/MS and LC-LC/MS) to produce libraries of compounds in complex environmental samples. Professor Robbat is also working on a novel plant-based material that efficiently extracts crude oil and coal tar from contaminated soils, sands, and water as well as oil from tar sands used to make energy.
Beatrice Rogers Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Program Director of Food Policy & Applied Nutrition Program
Professor Rogers studies economic determinants of household food consumption, consumption effects of economic and pricing policies, design and impacts of food assistance, and determinants of program effectiveness. Her current research topics include: the effectiness of exit strategies for US food assistance programs; the assessment of vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition in Latin America; and reviewing the quality, micronutrient content, and systems of procurement and delivery of fortified, enriched, and blended foods provided through under US food assistances Title II. Furthermore, Professor Rogers is a faculty advisor for TIE’s WSSS program.
Michael Romero Professor, Department of Biology
Research in Dr. Romero’s laboratory aims to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying stress in wild animals. Combining laboratory and field studies in the areas of physiology, ecology, and neuroscience, Professor Romero works to increase our comprehension of the causes and effects of stress. For more information on Professor Romero’s work, see here.
Beth Rosenberg Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, School of Medicine
Professor Rosenberg is interested in occupational and environmental health, creating systems of production that do not harm workers or the environment and in public health improvements as social change. Her current research projects include an investigation into the health and safety systems and safety culture in former nuclear weapons production sites and analyzing green innovation programs in companies. She has recently explored the effect of corporate social responsibility programs in Asian garment and footwear factories on a project lead by Dr. Drusilla Brown (Economics) with Dr. Ann Rappaport (UEP) and Dr. Francine Jacobs (UEP).


Rusty Russell Lecturer, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Professor Russell focuses on the intersections of environmental law, policy and communications. Since 2004, he’s been a core faculty member of the Tufts graduate Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP), teaching environmental law (he holds a J.D.); and seminars on air and water policy, as well as nuclear energy. In addition, Professor Russell is on the Steering Committee of the interdisciplinary Water: Systems, Science and Society program, and directs (and teaches) its Practicum component. He also coordinates and co-instructs the UEP Field Projects curriculum, in which teams of first-year planning students take on projects sponsored by local community groups and agencies. In the past, he has taught environmental economics, property law and energy law at Brown and Northeastern Universities, and Boston College Law School. His publications include law review articles on the environmental impacts of affordable housing and on the development of offshore wind energy.
George Saperstein Professor and Department Chair, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Professor Saperstein studies sustainable agriculture, and environmental and population health. Research interests include studies into the preservation of germplasm from endangered livestock breeds, congenital and hereditary diseases of large animals, and international veterinary medicine.
Amy Schlegel Director, Galleries and Collections
Amy Schlegel, Ph.D. is the Director of Galleries and Collections at Tufts, and specializes in contemporary art. Her current research interests include contemporary art and globalization; visual literacy; museum studies; and the women’s movement in the arts in the U.S. since the 1960s. At Tufts, she has curated and project directed many exhibitions, such as Cross-currents in Recent Video Installation: Water as a Metaphor for Identity (2006), Empire and Its Discontents (2009), and Mildred’s Lane: Renovating Walden (2011).
David Small Research Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The primary focus of Professor Small’s research and teaching interests is on the climatology, dynamics (physics) and predictability of extreme weather and climate events. Examples of current and recent research topics include extreme floods, damaging winds in the Arctic, droughts and pluvials over the central United States and blocking across the north Pacific. The overarching goal of Professor Small’s research is to improve our ability to predict those rare events that continue to cause a disproportionate amount of human suffering, economic losses and environmental degradation.
Christopher Swan Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Swan’s current research interests lie in the areas of engineering education, waste reuse, and unique soil behaviors.  Specific research projects include: the impacts of community engagement on the education of engineering students (current areas of research focus on the differences, if any, in development of technical skills and knowledge, changes in self-efficacy, attitudes, identity, and well-being between engineering students engaged in service-based efforts and those that are not); research on the plausibility of using service-based pedagogies to teach sustainable engineering concepts; research on the reuse of fly ash from coal burning facilities with waste plastics, which has led to the development of synthetic lightweight aggregate (SLA) a new, innovative construction material that can be used in place of traditional sand and gravel (Patent Number 6,669,773); the potential of porous concrete as a method for CO2 sequestration.

Grace Talusan Professor, Department of English
Professor Talusan writes fiction and narrative nonfiction. She teaches expository writing, fiction, and Asian American Literature. She has published prose in Boston Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, Colorlines, Tufts Magazine, and The Boston Globe.A recent article includes a piece in the Boston Magazine on the MIT nuclear reactor, which you can read here
Shinsuke Tanaka Assistant Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Professor Tanaka studies development economics with a focus on environment and public health. Broadly, he is interested in the interactions between environment and human and economic activities, and how it affects economic development in low income countries. Currently, he is investigating how environmental regulations in China have impacted air pollution and infant mortality. Professor Shinsuke also advises students as a faculty advisor for WSSS.


Arthur Utz Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry
Professor Utz studies the reaction of molecules at the gas-surface interface. His current research focuses on how nickel catalyzes the reaction of methane with steam to produce hydrogen gas. He is also a member of the Tisch College faculty, and was the 2010-2011 Tisch College Faculty Fellow.


Richard Vogel Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Vogel’s current research program highlights the areas of watershed modeling and management, water quality, regional hydrology, environmental statistics and the new field of hydromorphology. Hydromorphology deals with improving our understanding of how hydrologic systems have evolved due to anthropogenic influences including climate change, water infrastructure and urbanization. Professor Vogel is Director of the Steering Committee of the Water: Systems Science and Society Program at Tufts.


Peter Walker Irwin H. Rosenberg Professor of Nutrition and Human Security, The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Director of the Feinstein International Center
ProfessorWalker has recently focused his research on climate change and globalization as it effects crisis occurrence, the evolution of the international humanitarian system, and the management of trans-national NGOs. Additionally, Professor Walker is a Senior Research Fellow with the British government’s Overseas Aid Ministry, DFID.
Giovanni Widmer Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Professor Widmer’s current research interests include the molecular biology of protozoan parasites, waterborne pathogens, the genetics of Cryptosporidium parvum, and the analysis of complex microbial populations using high-throughput sequencing. He has published extensively in journals such as Parasite Immunology, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and the Journal of Water Health. He is a faculty advisor for the Water: Systems Science and Society program.
Jeffrey Zabel Professor, Department of Economics and Director of the Graduate Program in Economics
Professor Zabel’s areas of research include environmental economics as well as housing and urban economics and the economics of education. Professor Zabel recently received a grant from the EPA entitled “Estimating the Social Benefits of Cleanup Activities by EPA’s Underground Storage Tank Program: Two Approaches”. This research resulted in a paper that is published in Resource and Energy Economics. Professor Zabel has also published research on the benefits of cleaning up the Superfund sites in Woburn MA, the economics of brownfields, the economics of endangered species, and the demand for air quality. Professor Zabel participates in the Water: Systems Science and Society program as a faculty advisor.