Faculty

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Virginia Chomitz

My work is centered on solutions-oriented research that leverages community goals and assets to respond to priority public health issues .I have 20-plus years of experience in community-engaged and school-based research in obesity prevention, healthy eating and physical activity promotion in the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and other cities and neighborhoods in Massachusetts. Examples of my active living research include assessing the impact of school physical education and physical activity programming on PA and obesity. Examples of healthy eating research include assessing the impact of school-based food service, gardening, farm-to-school, and curricular interventions on healthy eating and obesity. My dissemination activities have focused on bringing study results to the community through reports and presentations for use in rapid quality improvement cycles. My peer-reviewed publications reflect the pragmatic research and evaluation approach I have taken to contributing to community health improvement. My current research focuses on incorporating social determinants into promoting healthy eating and phys activity and ensuring the equitable reach and relevance of interventions for vulnerable populations. I am an active member of the Addressing Disparities in Asian Populations through Translational Research (ADAPT), a coalition of researchers and community agency leads dedicated to health equity and community health improvement in Boston Chinatown. Through this community-engagement, I am conducting research on Chinese children's healthy eating and physical activity in child-care and dental-clinic settings, as well as a study assessing relationships of health and housing conditions with residents who have recently moved to affordable housing units in Boston Chinatown. I am currently engaged with Shape Up Somerville to conduct a food system assessment designed to inform policies and programs to support healthy eating in that city. These studies set the stage for externally funded longitudinal research trials and for informing local programming and policies to address health disparities.
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Tatiana Chudakova

Medical anthropology, science and technology, environment, ethnicity and indigeneity, nationalism, post-socialism. Geographic focus: Russia; North Asia My first book, Mixing Medicines: the Politics of Health in Postsocialist Siberia (Fordham 2021), follows Russia's official medical sector's attempts to reinvent itself through state-led initiatives of "medical integration" that aim to recuperate indigenous therapeutic traditions associated with the state's ethnic and religious minorities. Based in Buryatia, a traditionally Buddhist region on the border of Russia and Mongolia known for its post-Soviet revival of "Tibetan medicine" and shamanism, the book traces the uneven terrains of encounter between indigenous healing, the state, and transnational medical flows. My current research project explores how the use of "smart drugs" reconfigures discourses and experiences of clinical, social, and work-related efficacy, as they circulate across borders and enter divergent pharmaceutical, medical, and ethical regimes between Russia and the United States. Focused on a contentious category of pharmaceuticals labeled "nootropics" – a chemically fluid taxonomic classification that encompasses a variety of synthetic and naturally-derived substances designed to enhance cognitive functions – the project interrogates what types of selves, regimes of labor, therapeutic ideologies, and temporalities of embodiment these substances help mediate and enact.
Academic Leave
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Craig Cipolla

North American archaeology; historical archaeology; collaborative Indigenous archaeology; Indigenous-colonial history; archaeological method & theory; colonialism; museums; material culture; archaeological theory; the history of archaeology; New England; Great Lakes My research focuses on the archaeology of Indigenous-colonial interactions in North America, particularly in New England and the Great Lakes. I combine archaeological patterns with written and oral records to learn about colonial-indigenous histories, placing them into critical dialogue with the long term Indigenous and European histories that shaped them. My research on colonialism addresses issues of ecology, identity, resistance, cultural continuity and change, and more. Much of my research is designed and carried out in collaboration with Indigenous nations. My current collaboration is with the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut; we design and run an archaeological field school each summer on the Mohegan Reservation. There, we identify and study archaeological sites from a range of time periods, with special emphasis on Mohegan-colonial interactions in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and we train the next generations of archaeology students in collaborative archaeological method and theory.
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Kevin Clark

Analytical Chemistry, Separations, Mass Spectrometry, RNA Modifications, Neuro-analytical Chemistry. Our group is interested in the characterization of RNA modifications in the central nervous system and single cells. These naturally occurring modifications to RNA biopolymers play important roles in regulating protein translation, but little is known about their functions in the brain. We are focused on developing new approaches for chromatographic separations and mass spectrometry measurements of in small-volume samples such that they can be applied for the simultaneous profiling of multiple RNA modifications in single neurons. The Clark Lab is particularly interested in ionic liquid solvents and ion-tagged oligonucleotides as customizable materials for nucleic acid sample preparation that can be leveraged to improve the performance of downstream analysis methods. We combine our analytical methodologies with a powerful neurobiological model, the marine mollusk Aplysia californica, to investigate relationships between the dynamic landscape of RNA modifications and animal behavior, learning and memory, and function of the central nervous system in health and disease.
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Laura Corlin

Dr. Corlin is an environmental epidemiologist who develops and applies cutting-edge epidemiological and exposure assessment methods to characterize and mitigate the health effects of exposure to environmental toxicants among vulnerable populations.
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Lenore Cowen

data science, graph algorithms, distributed algorithms, approximate routing, classification and clustering for high-dimensional data, coloring and its generalizations, computational molecular biology
Academic Leave
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Charles Creagh

Sustainability, conservation, urban ecological systems, commute mode shift, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure planning and design
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Eileen Crehan

Neurodevelopmental disorders; autism spectrum disorder; sexuality education; social perception; eye tracking; dimensional measurement of psychological symptoms
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Megan Crotty

Irish and Commonwealth literature, Postcolonial literature and theory, trauma theory, intersectional feminist theory, and representations of trauma in contemporary novels by Irish women writers.
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Heather Curtis

Global Christianity American Religious History Religion, Humanitarianism and Philanthropy Religion, Health and Healing Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity Religion and Reform Movements Gender and Women's Studies in Religion
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Olaf Dammann

My research interest in epidemiology is the etiology of perinatal retina and brain disease. I am particularly interested in a scenario that postulates a major role for intrauterine infection as an initiator of maternal and fetal inflammatory responses that, in turn, contribute to the development of brain white matter damage and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) among preterm newborns. I have been R21 and R01-funded by the National Eye Institute to study inflammatory biomarkers and ROP. In philosophy, my area of interest is causal inference and etiological explanation. My two books in this field are "Causation in Population Health Informatics and Data Science" (Springer, 2019), co-authored with philosopher Ben Smart, and "Etiological Explanations" (CRC Press, 2020).
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Benjamin Davies

Coupled Human-Natural Systems, Computational Social Science, Human Mobility and Interaction, Climate Change Adaptation, Fire Ecology, Technological Organization, Serious Games
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Kathryn Davies

Human dimensions of environmental change; socio-ecological system governance; equitable sustainability transformations; community resilience; coastal and marine systems
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Luke Davis

I am interested in synthesis and characterization in inorganic and materials chemistry. I am especially interested in fundamental chemistry that has important societal implications. My research laboratory currently works in several areas: Earth-abundant molecular light absorbers and emitters. Molecular light absorbers and emitters are used in photoredox catalysis, dye-sensitized solar cells, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). We are exploring high-spin complexes of iron and manganese to prepare new molecules that absorb and emit light. Volatile molecules carrying metal-atom equivalents for superconducting wires. Cryogenic superconducting wires enable quantum bits based on Josephson junctions. We are developing new molecules and methods to deposit the electropositive metals that make up these wires from chemical vapors. Thin-film photovoltaics with earth-abundant, sulfide-based absorber layers. Thin-film photovoltaics (solar cells) provide electricity from sunlight with just a few hundred nm of light-absorbing material. We are exploring binary and ternary sulfides as new sources of earth-abundant photovoltaics. I am developing new research programs in several areas: Zero-emissions ironmaking. The synthesis of iron metal from iron ore contributes ca. 4% of global carbon dioxide emissions. I am interested in alternative thermochemical methods of making iron from iron oxides. New superconducting materials. Near-room-temperature superconductors have recently been realized in compressed hydrides. I am interested in new hydride compounds that are stable at ambient pressure and might serve as ambient-pressure, ambient-temperature superconductors.