Leadership Stories

Nov 11, 2021
Globally, we generate $120 billion of agricultural waste every year. What farmers cannot sell, they often burn, with catastrophic consequences for human health and the environment. Takachar has developed a cheap, small-scale, portable technology that attaches to tractors in remote farms. The award-winning machine converts crop residues into sellable bio-products like fuel and fertilizer, and reduces smoke emissions by up to 98%.Read more >
Jan 12, 2021
Cell Mentor's Community of Scholars is a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) composed of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants with a common passion to advance scientific discovery while innovating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. They recently released a list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America on which two Switzer Fellows appear: Ayana Johnson and Regan Patterson.Read more >
Aug 3, 2020
Nigel Golden presented the 2020 Ambrose Jearld Jr. Lecture on Diversity and Inclusion in July. His remarks focused on the importance of addressing the cultural and structural barriers to full participation by marginalized communities in STEM. Golden provided a framework for addressing the systemic issues that may explain and/or address those barriers.Read more >
Jun 9, 2020
Juan Reynoso is only the second person to have completed a new joint Master in Public Health (M.P.H.)/Master in Urban Planning (M.U.P.) degree program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The program allows students to pursue a transdisciplinary education in urban planning and public health and sharpen their understanding of key areas including policy, sustainability, and social determinants of health.Read more >
May 27, 2020
Like time and money, water in the West is often characterized by too much demand chasing too little supply. In response to such scarcity, water conservation seems the obvious, environmentally-friendly strategy to achieve the same outcome-a green lawn, food and fiber, or a hot shower-while using less water. Give water users the means to use less, and with any luck, they actually will. But such freedom can also inadvertently lead to more water use, whether that's via lush landscaping, more crops on marginal lands, or longer showers. How do we balance supply with demand to solve this problem?Read more >
May 27, 2020
Much of the opposition to genetically engineered organisms has emerged from within the environmental movement, but what happens when a new biotechnology has an explicit goal of environmental conservation? An international consortium is investigating the potential deployment of an engineered mouse on islands where invasive mice threaten biodiversity. Theoretically, the mouse would "drive" the population to be all male, crashing the mouse population and leading to eradication without the use of environmentally-risky toxicants. But even testing such a technology, known as a "gene drive," has ecological risks. How do we decide how to proceed in a way that minimizes risk?Read more >
May 27, 2020
Universities, cities, and now even some countries are starting to phase out single-use plastics, but what will they switch to? Tons of disposable foodware, including products made from agricultural waste and labeled compostable, are used and discarded every day. Some of the products contain chemicals that are associated with adverse health effects such as hormone disruption, increased cholesterol levels, and increased risk of cancer. Ideally, we should phase out single-use plastics and encourage the development of alternatives that are manufactured with and contain inherently safer chemicals. How do we incentivize a transition to the best reusable products?Read more >
May 27, 2020
A century ago, we tried desperately to wipe out mountain lions in North America, and failed. Then American culture changed. In the mid-20th century, we offered mountain lions limited protection in the form of managed hunting. As a consequence, mountain lion populations rebounded far more successfully than anyone would have predicted, and probably more than many would have liked. Today, mountain lions are as abundant as they ever were in the West, and people are faced with a new reality. Can we peacefully coexist with such a successful predator? Mark Elbroch's new book, The Cougar Conundrum, is being published by Island Press on August 13th.Read more >
Apr 21, 2020
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) won a prestigious national award March 5 for its influential role in the nation’s fight against climate change, receiving recognition for the Department’s outreach on climate resilience and for taking a comprehensive approach that aligns state and local water...Read more >
Jan 15, 2020
Fellow Cassandra Brooks returned in December 2019 from a three-week Antarctic expedition organized by Homeward Bound Project, a worldwide initiative that began in 2016 to “heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet,” according to the organization.Read more >

Spotlight on Leadership

Sumit Kadakia: New Haven start-up turns waste into food
Fellow Sumit Kadakia and his wife have launched a New Haven-based start-up that is turning food production refuse into nutritious, tasty, and environmentally sustainable food.Read more >

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