Frontiers of Sustainability
Sustainability is a broad and popular topic. Renewable energy; energy transition; recycling and the circular economy; climate and environment; water and food – these topics are quickly maturing into fields of their own. But what is next for sustainability? What lies beyond what we now consider sustainable technologies and business practices, and how will they affect your industry? What does emerging government policy suggest will be the hot sustainability topics of the future? Join MIT faculty, researchers, and startups as we review core topics like energy and climate, but also explore new ones, like digital sustainability, sustainability for the built environment, and how we teach sustainability – both to the workforce of the present and the workforce of the future.
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John Roberts has been Executive Director of MIT Corporate Relations (Interim) since February 2022. He obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at MIT and returned to the university after a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, joining the MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) in 2013. Prior to his return, John worked at small, medium, and large companies, holding positions that allowed him to exploit his passions in synthetic chemistry, project leadership, and alliance management while growing his responsibilities for managing others, ultimately as a department head. As a program director at MIT, John built a portfolio of ILP member companies, mostly in the pharmaceutical industry and headquartered in Japan, connecting them to engagement opportunities in the MIT community. Soon after returning to MIT, John began to lead a group of program directors with a combined portfolio of 60-80 global companies. In his current role, John oversees MIT Corporate Relations which houses ILP and MIT Startup Exchange.
Mr. Glickman joined the Industrial Liaison Program in January 2000, serving as the MIT liaison for companies worldwide, and joined the senior management of the office in 2005.
Prior to joining ILP, Todd was Assistant Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the professional society for meteorologists, which is based in Boston. At AMS, Todd's responsibilities included strategic planning for conferences, headquarters' liaison with AMS member boards and committees, support to the AMS Council, and public relations. In addition, Todd was Managing Editor for the AMS Glossary of Meteorology (2nd edition).
From 1979 to 1994, Todd held a variety of positions with WSI Corporation of Billerica, MA, including Manager, New Product Development, Media Marketing Manager, and Manager of the Government Program Office. WSI was a pioneer in the development of real-time weather information, providing value-added information and workstations for clients in media, aviation, industry, academia, and government. Some of Todd's projects included development of the weather data/information infrastructure for The Weather Channel; the introduction of digital satellite and radar imagery for television; planning and implementation of a network of weather briefing systems for the Federal Aviation Administration; and serving as liaison with the National Weather Service and professional organizations. In addition, Todd was instrumental in helping to develop the public-private partnership between the weather information industry and the Federal government.
Concurrently, Todd has a more than 30-year career as a radio meteorologist, and has been heard on dozens of stations nationwide. Today, he can be heard occasionally on all-news WCBS Newsradio-88 in New York City. He has chaired numerous meteorological conferences and symposia, and served on a number of boards and committees for the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He was awarded the AMS Seal of Approval for Radio Weathercasting in 1979, and was elected a Fellow of the AMS in 1997.
Todd's interests include transportation systems of all types, and he is an officer and past-trustee of the Seashore Trolley Museum of Kennebunkport, Maine. At MIT, Todd an officer and trustee of the Technology Broadcasting Corporation, which oversees the campus radio station WMBR-FM. He also volunteers as the academic advisor to a group of MIT freshman.
Dr. Corey Cheng joined the Office of Corporate Relations (OCR) as an Senior Industrial Liaison Officer in December 2011. He has broad interests in science and technology, and uses his technical research experience to better serve ILP members in Asia and the United States.
Cheng spent six years in industrial research at Dolby Laboratories, San Francisco, where he contributed to sound compression (Dolby Digital, AAC, MP3), wireless networking, fingerprinting, and spatial/“3-D audio” technologies. Later, he was Associate Professor and Director of the undergraduate and graduate programs in music engineering technology at the University of Miami, Florida, where he also held a dual appointment in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Cheng holds various U.S. and international patents, has published technical papers, and has presented at various conferences. His technical work includes collaborations and consulting work with the U.S. Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, Fujitsu-Ten USA, Starkey Laboratories, America Online, and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Cheng was an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for the Circuits and Systems Society from 2009-2010, and was a Westinghouse (Intel) Science Talent Search national finalist many years ago.
Cheng holds degrees in Electrical Engineering (Ph.D., M.S.E. University of Michigan), Electro-Acoustic Music (M.A. Dartmouth College), and physics (B.A. Harvard University).
Personally, Dr. Cheng is an American Born Chinese (ABC), serves as his family’s genealogist, and traces his roots back to Toi San, Guang Dong Province and Xing Hua, Jiang Su Province, China. He also has a background in music, and his electro-acoustic compositions have been presented at various U.S. and international venues.
Peter Bouchard joined Corporate Relations in May 2022 as Program Director.
Bouchard comes to Corporate Relations with extensive experience building and managing highly productive relationships in high-growth environments driving sustainable sales, distribution, business development, and strategic alliance revenues and profit. He has been with Eastman Kodak Company since 2009, and in his most recent position there, Bouchard develops strategic partnerships through strong relationships with C-level customers, transforms customers to cloud-based software solutions, and negotiates & manages multi-million-dollar agreements. Before that, he was Business Director-VP of Sales where he led and managed top strategic accounts, leveraging them to grow Eastman Kodak’s share of digital equipment, software, consumables, and service revenue. He also held positions as Strategic Account Manager and Director of Marketing during his long career there. Before Eastman Kodak, Bouchard had a long tenure with increasing responsibilities at Presstek Inc. in Hudson NH. He started there as Distribution Manager (one year), then became Director of Worldwide Sales (two years), then General Manager, Digital Printing Business (two years), and finally VP, Marketing & International Business Development (three years).
Bouchard earned his B.S., Chemical Engineering at the University of Maine, Orono, and his M.B.A. at Babson College.
Tina Bahadori is executive director for the National Academies’ Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences. Bahadori came to the Academies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development, where for eight years she designed and led several transdisciplinary research and risk assessment programs. Her positions at EPA included serving as national program director for human health risk assessment, as center director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment, and as national program director for chemical safety for sustainability. During her time at EPA, Bahadori built extensive collaborations across the landscape of community, national, and international partners from multiple sectors, and was committed to developing innovative approaches that weave together systems-based research and policy solutions. Before joining EPA, her career was founded on nearly two decades of research and science enterprises in the private sector, where she worked on converging and diverging issues related to energy, environment, technology, and chemical management.
Bahadori holds a doctorate in environmental science and engineering from the Harvard School of Public Health. From MIT, she holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and Technology and Policy, as well as Bachelor of Science degrees in chemical engineering and in humanities. She served as the president of the International Society of Exposure Science and is an associate editor of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
A key pillar of sustainability is to optimize solutions while managing and minimizing unintended consequences. This requires that the impact of decisions and choices are considered throughout their lifecycle from design to implementation and across a cascade of adjacent decisions. Bound by mission and authority, national scale policies and regulatory frameworks are rarely holistic and tend to focus on compartmentalized aspects of sustainability. This presentation will discuss how industry is best positioned to transcend this patchwork of policies and lead the development of sustainability approaches that address society’s greatest challenges, inspire the economy, create a resilient workforce pipeline, continuously charge a science, research, and development ecosystem, while protecting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of the environment and public health.
Jeffrey C. Grossman is the Department Head of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Illinois and performed postdoctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2009 he joined MIT, where he has developed a research program known for its contributions to energy conversion, energy storage, membranes, and clean-water technologies. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, holds 17 current or pending U.S. patents, and co-founded two companies to commercialize novel membranes materials for efficient industrial separations.
The MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium (MCSC) fosters deep collaboration with companies across the global economy alongside leading experts at MIT as we all work towards necessary and aggressive climate and sustainability goals. This presentation will provide the latest cross-institute, cross-sector efforts of the MCSC to decarbonize tough transportation sectors, carbon removals, material and product circularity as well as value chain resilience.
Dava Newman is the director of the MIT Media Lab. She holds the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics chair at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow (a chair for making significant contributions to undergraduate education); and was the former Director of the Technology and Policy Program at MIT (2003–2015); and Director of the MIT–Portugal Program (2011–2015, 2017-2021). As the Director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP), she led this unique multidisciplinary graduate program with over 1,300 alums and faculty advisors from all 5 Schools across the Institute. She has been a faculty leader in Aeronautics and Astronautics and MIT’s School of Engineering for 29 years. She holds a top-secret clearance.
How can we reduce harm to our planet and the future prospects of life on Earth? How can we turn the tide to regenerate Earth’s systems while enabling societies to flourish? The urgent challenge is to supply affordable energy, food, and security for sustained life on Earth—for all living beings—by inventing transformative technologies and adapting human behavior at an unprecedented scale at this critical time in history. We uniquely combine interdisciplinary expertise—from oceans to space, genetics to cities—and develop artificial intelligence, machine learning, supercomputer visualizations, and powerful experiences to change human behavior. We create transformative technologies, experiences, and systems that address the dual challenge of climate change and energy. The goal is for society to work for 100% of humanity and for all living beings, so they can thrive—here on Earth and in worlds beyond.
Jinhua Zhao is the Edward and Joyce Linde Associate Professor of City and Transportation Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He integrates behavioral and computational thinking to decarbonize the global mobility system. Prof. Zhao founded and directs the MIT Mobility Initiative, coalescing the Institute’s efforts on transportation research, education, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. He hosts the MIT Mobility Forum, curating cutting-edge transportation research across the globe. Prof. Zhao directs the JTL Urban Mobility Lab and Transit Lab at MIT. He leads long-term collaborations with transportation authorities and operators worldwide, including London, Chicago, Washington DC, and Hong Kong and enables cross-culture learning between cities in North America, Asia and Europe. He develops methods to sense, predict, nudge, and regulate travel behavior, and designs multimodal mobility systems that integrate autonomous vehicles, shared mobility, and public transport. He is the co-founder and chief scientist for TRAM Global, a mobility decarbonization venture.
The MIT Mobility Initiative (MMI) is a global platform to accelerate a safe, clean and inclusive mobility system through research, education, entrepreneurship and engagement. The MMI is structured around 4 Pillars: Research, Education, Entrepreneurship, and Engagement. MIT Mobility Initiative faculty members hail from departments as diverse as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, the Sloan School of Business, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning, and more. The Mobility Initiative is a central node for exchange and access to MMI faculty members' research, as well as an independent hub for cross-disciplinary research through its research consortia.
Randall Field is executive director of the MIT Energy Initiative’s Future Energy Systems Center which examines the accelerating energy transition as emerging technologies, policies, demographics, and economics reshaping the landscape of energy supply and demand. He is also executive director of MIT’s Fusion Study examining the global multidecadal dynamics of the energy transition and how fusion energy can contribute to decarbonizing global energy systems. He was previously executive director for MITEI’s Mobility Systems Center, assessing the impact of transformations in vehicle and fuel technologies, service and business models, and consumer behavior in the movement of both passengers and goods. He was also executive director for MIT’s Mobility of the Future study which produced the Insights in the Future Mobility report covering global projections of alternative fuel vehicle fleets and energy consumption, deployment of charging and fueling infrastructure, attitudes towards mobility, and the impacts of innovative technologies and business models on urban mobility. As executive director for the Conversion Research Program at MIT for 10 years, Field worked with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to explore various conversion technologies for production of alternative fuels. Prior to MIT, Field worked for Aspen Technology for 23 years. Field received a SM in chemical engineering practice from MIT and a BS in chemical engineering from Caltech.
The Future Energy Systems Center examines the accelerating energy transition as emerging technology and policy, demographic trends, and economics reshape the landscape of energy supply and demand. The Center conducts integrated analysis of the energy system, providing insights into the complex multisectoral transformations that will alter the power and transportation systems, industry, and built environment. Our work draws upon MIT research in traditional energy-related disciplines, as well as from cross-disciplinary fields such as energy and environmental policy, climate science, carbon management, energy economics, behavioral science, cybersecurity, information technology, and artificial intelligence.
Katie leads Vontier’s Legal & Corporate Affairs function including sustainability, legal and compliance, communications, government relations, and public policy. She currently serves on the Industry Advisory Board for MIT’s Climate & Sustainability Consortium and on the board of NACD’s Center for Inclusive Governance. She is frequently asked to speak about a number of topics including corporate sustainability, board governance, the energy transition, and diversity and inclusion. Katie holds a JD from Vermont Law School and a BA from Colby College, where she majored in Environmental Policy.
Across the globe, there’s never been greater energy and investment to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation industry — and leading this charge is the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Vontier believes in the immense potential of electrification to transform the mobility sector and are proud to have over 40,000 plugs under management across the globe through our Driivz business. Electrification is not enough, however. Reaching both short and long-term decarbonization targets requires a more holistic and multi-energy approach. This is because electrification is only one piece of the larger puzzle, particularly when one looks across all modes of transportation and all geographies. A successful transition to zero-emissions will require multiple technologies and alternative fuels, like renewable natural gas and clean hydrogen. Katie will share Vontier’s unique point of view as a multi-energy solutions providers, including lessons learned and sustainability program implications.
Catarina Madeira joined the Office of Corporate Relations as Program Director of Startup Exchange, in May 2021. She was promoted to Director of Startup Exchange in December 2022.
Catarina has been working with the Cambridge/Boston startup ecosystem for over 10 years and joined Corporate Relations with a solid network in the innovation and entrepreneurial community. Prior to MIT, she was part of the team that designed and launched the startup accelerator IUL MIT Portugal later rebranded to Building Global Innovators. She was based in Lisbon and worked in direct relation with the Cambridge team. She held positions including Operations Coordinator, Program Manager, and Business Developer. The accelerator soon achieved steady growth in large part due to the partnerships that Catarina led with regional and global startup ecosystems. After that, she worked at NECEC, leading a program that connects cleantech startups and industry. In this role, she developed and built a pipeline of startups and forged strong relationships with both domestic and European companies. She has also held positions in Portugal and France including at Saboaria e Perfumaria Confiança and L’Oréal as Technical Director and Pharmacist.
Catarina earned her Bachelor in Chemistry at the University of Porto and her Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She went on to earn her Master of Engineering for Health and Medicines at University Lyon 1 and EM Lyon in France.
Cameron Halliday is co-founder and CEO of Mantel, a carbon capture start-up based in Boston. Mantel’s solution captures CO2 at the high temperatures found inside boilers, kilns, and furnaces, and by doing so, aims reduce the energy cost of carbon capture by more than 60%.
Originally from the UK, Cameron studied chemical engineering at Loughborough University before joining the PhDCEP program at MIT. As a PhD student in the Chemical Engineering department, Cameron developed the newly discovered carbon capture technology with Professor Alan Hatton and Takuya Harada. After demonstrating the technology at the bench-scale Cameron joined the MBA program at MIT Sloan, where he launched Mantel with co-founders Sean Robertson and Danielle Colson.
Dr. Paloma Gonzalez-Rojas, serving as the CEO of Atacama, holds an impressive record of academic and entrepreneurial accomplishments. With a Ph.D. from MIT in Applied Machine Learning and a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT Chemical Engineering sponsored by the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium, her work synthesizes the cutting-edge realms of AI and sustainable materials. Under her leadership, Atacama has achieved significant milestones, including winning the prestigious Nucleate Eco and MITdesignX awards in 2022. Her strategic vision and steadfast commitment to innovation have led to securing commercial pilots with global clients, marking an exciting era for Atacama.
Peter Godart, PhD is the co-founder and CEO of Found Energy, an MIT spinout commercializing breakthrough technology that turns aluminum into fuel for generating low-cost, clean hydrogen on demand. He holds BSc degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and an MSc and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. After earning his bachelor’s degrees in 2015, Dr. Godart spent two years as a research scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (347G), where he worked daily operations for the Mars Science Laboratory (“Curiosity”), qualified hardware for the Mars 2020 Rover (“Perseverance”), and led a research team in the exploring aluminum-based fuel for potential Europa lander applications. For his doctoral work, Dr. Godart developed new ways of extracting energy from aluminum waste to power electricity generation and seawater desalination in the aftermath of natural disasters, laying the groundwork for his company. Dr. Godart is also an avid educator and writer, and his first book Thermodynamics and Climate Change is available on MIT Opencourseware.
Mukesh Chatter is the President, CEO and co-founder of AlsymEnergy, a battery technology company developing high-performance, low-cost batteries to enable a zero-carbon electrified future for all. He is a successful serial entrepreneur with a track record of developing advanced technology products and leading startups from launch to success. Mukesh co-founded Nexabit Networks, a terabit switch/router company, and led the company as CEO until its acquisition by Lucent Technologies. After the acquisition, Mukesh served as the Vice President and General Manager of IP Products at Lucent. Mukesh also co-managed NeoNet Capital LLC, an investment firm focused on funding out-of-the-box, innovative ideas.
Mukesh was named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the Year by Red Herring Magazine in 1999, and was named Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001. He holds over 23 patents spanning a broad range of technical domains and has several more patent applications pending.
In addition to his role at Alsym Energy, Mukesh serves on the board of MarvelBiome, Inc., a developer of innovative therapeutics to address neuro diseases. He is also on the governing board of the Center of Indic Studies at the Universityof Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Mukesh has previously served on Georgetown University’s Parent Advisory Council and the Johns Hopkins University Parents Round Table. Mukesh and his wife are deeply passionate about developing affordable solutions to global problems and they have endowed two chaired professorships at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to support clean water and carbon capture technology.
Mukesh received his Master’s degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
Jake Guglin is CEO and founder of Foundation Alloy, where they take a materials-first approach to enabling modern engineering through faster production of better metal parts for a variety of applications. He is most excited about Foundation's broad potential to bring the best of what can be designed into reality, and make the world a safer, greener and more exciting place in the process. Jake has previous experience in business formation, supply chain, operations and strategy at companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX, and an MBA from MIT.
Matt Hudson is a Project Engineer at MAAT Energy, a renewable energy startup focused on converting methane and carbon dioxide into valuable molecules sustainably. His role within the company started with conducting plasma chemistry experiments and expanded to performing techno-economic and lifecycle analysis, project controls, and technical procurement. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s in Energy Systems Engineering from Northeastern University.
Virj Kan is an engineer, designer, and entrepreneur. Her work centers on building experiences that reshape human relationships with the environment and each other. She is the CEO of Primitives Biodesign, a biomaterials startup that produces functional, intelligent, and biodegradable materials to combat environmental issues in kelp conservation, plastics pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and food waste. As an avid scuba diver, Virj draws on her first-hand experiences with marine ecosystems, to develop market-based solutions to drive climate action. Virj Kan received her master of science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she utilized ocean-based materials to develop stimuli responsive biopolymers that changed color, released odor, and changed shape for industrial design applications. She has over seven years of hands-on materials engineering and formulation experience with a range of biological materials. Her body of work spans from engineering functional biomaterials, to building digital fabrication tools, designing 3D robotic manipulation, IoT and mobile computing interfaces at the Samsung Design Innovation Center & NASA Jet Propulsion Lab.
Paolo is the CEO of DMAT, a ground-breaking startup revolutionizing the concrete industry. Inspired by ancient Roman practices, DMAT has pioneered a novel concrete formulation with self-healing capabilities, extended longevity, reduced embodied and operational carbon footprint, and no retrofitting costs. As co-founder and CEO, Paolo is driving the company's growth to make this innovative concrete the global standard for durable and sustainable building and infrastructure. DMAT has successfully developed and tested its technology through partnerships with leading concrete laboratories and is now actively working on its first construction projects. The future of more resilient and sustainable structures begins with DMAT's visionary leadership and cutting-edge solutions.
Dr. Mark Poole has a Ph.D. in biological engineering and environmental engineering from North Carolina State University where he applied advanced synthetic biology techniques to engineer challenging non-model organisms. With an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering and previous experience building custom bioreactor systems, Dr. Poole is able to apply his multidisciplinary experience to lead Capra's bioreactor development and synthetic biology programs as Director of Research and Development. Mark also has unique entrepreneurial experience –as a graduate student, he and his mother founded a Kombucha business in Cary, NC called IngeuiTea Brews.
Leslie Norford is Professor of Building Technology in the Department of Architecture at MIT. His research focuses on reducing building energy use and associated resource consumption and carbon emissions and his teaching includes project-based efforts to improve schools in developing countries and promote the use of simulation-enhanced building design workflows. He has developed fault detection and optimal control strategies for HVAC equipment and explored design options for low-energy space-conditioning systems based on the use of desiccants and membranes for latent cooling. Working with mechanical and electrical engineering colleagues and students at MIT, he has studied how control of HVAC systems can help electric utilities mitigate the impact of power fluctuations associated with wind and PV systems through provision of such services as power reserves and frequency regulation. Active internationally, he has conducted measurement campaigns and numerical analyses of building energy consumption in Russia, China, Pakistan, the UK and Norway. Work in India focused on indoor and ambient air quality, with emphasis on mitigating the impact of cooking and land-clearing fires in agricultural areas that surround cities. Over a decade of leading a research group in Singapore, under the auspices of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and related work with colleagues in Abu Dhabi continues to yield measurements and models of urban microclimates, with a focus on identifying strategies to improve human thermal comfort in outdoor urban areas. With colleagues, current work focuses on computational design of building structures and energy systems to minimize life-cycle carbon emissions while ensuring heat resilience and indoor thermal comfort.
The environmental footprint of buildings includes energy use and carbon emissions associated with materials and construction as well as building operation. Design is most sustainable when it simultaneously accounts for structural and thermal performance of buildings and interactions of buildings with the urban environment. This presentation will share component and system designs produced by simulation workflows that capture these interactions: lightweight, thermally activated concrete floor systems that substantially reduce embodied carbon while achieving modest operational savings; rejection of heat by radiation to the night sky, night-flush ventilation or seasonal storage in the ground, in lieu of the use of conventional vapor-compression cooling systems; and 3D-printing of clay blocks that provide both thermal resistance and thermal storage.
Renee J. Robins is the Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab at MIT. Renee works closely with faculty director John Lienhard to develop and manage the lab’s activities, priorities, and strategy, including new funding opportunities and international collaborations.
Since 1998, Renee has worked on the conception, launch, and development of a number of large interdisciplinary, international, and partnership-based research and education collaborations at MIT and elsewhere. MIT programs she has worked on since she joined the staff in 1998 include the Cambridge MIT Institute (Associate Director for Graduate Programs), the MIT Portugal Program (Director for Program Integration), the Mexico City Program (Program Coordinator), and the Program on Emerging Technologies (Program Manager). From 2000-2011, she also served as Director of Special Projects for the Technology and Policy Program, where she was responsible for the development of a number of academic initiatives and major events. Before joining J-WAFS as executive director, she managed a $15M research program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as it scaled from implementation in one public school district to 59 schools in seven districts across North Carolina.
Outside of MIT, Renee’s experience includes serving on the Board of Trustees for the International Honors Program (IHP) – a comparative multi-site study abroad program – and independent consulting work for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and program design and strategy consulting for Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique (UM6P), a new university in Morocco. For IHP, she conceived, initiated, and developed the “Cities in the 21st Century” program, which began in 1998 and is one of IHP’s most popular offerings with over 1000 alumni. She is herself an alumna of IHP, having studied comparative culture and anthropology in seven countries around the world, and also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Renee’s holds two undergraduate degrees from MIT (biology and humanities/anthropology), and a masters degree in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.
Carol Walczyk is a Vice President of Process Efficiency Analytics in Veolia's corporate Technical & Performance team. In this role, she provides technical support and optimization assistance for all of Veolia North America's businesses, particularly on the topics of water quality and contaminants of emerging concern, such as PFAS. She has 35 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering and is a member of the American Water Works Association Board of Directors.
Rohit Karnik is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he leads the Microfluidics and Nanofluidics Research Group. He obtained his B. Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay in 2002, and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006 under the guidance of Prof. Arun Majumdar. After postdoctoral work with Prof. Robert Langer at MIT, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2007. His research focuses on the physics of micro- and nanofluidic flows and design of micro- and nanofluidic devices for applications in healthcare, energy systems, and biochemical separation and analysis. Among other honors, he is a recipient of the Institute Silver Medal (IIT Bombay, 2002), NSF Career Award (2010), Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education (2011), DOE Early Career Award (2012), and IIT Bombay Young Alumni Achiever Award (2014).
Clean water, and access to it, are both becoming scarcer and more contentious. Concerns about micropollutants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and increasingly complex wastewater treatment requirements are forcing the industry to innovate in a variety of ways. Smart chemical sensors for impurity detection and quantification, advanced filtration and other separation technologies, and pollutant neutralization or destruction are active areas of research. What else is needed, and how can industry and academia work together to innovate, develop, and deploy these solutions together? Our discussion will explore technical trends and needs in the water sector, with a focus on how industry-academia collaborations can boost resources and creativity to address critical water challenges.
Dr. Liz Potter-Nelson (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) where she teaches courses on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. In addition to teaching, Potter-Nelson conducts research in sustainability education with a focus on how educators, at all levels, holistically incorporate sustainability and climate change into their courses through the content they teach, and the pedagogies they use. Prior to joining the faculty at UMF, Potter-Nelson was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Environmental Solutions Initiative at MIT. She also has over 15 years of experience in public schools as a high school science teacher and administrator. Potter-Nelson has degrees in Educational Sustainability (Ed.D. University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point), Science Education (M.A.T. Iowa State University) and Physics (B.S. Iowa State University).
Sarah Meyers leads interdisciplinary environment and sustainability education programs at MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI). Working with both faculty and students, she focuses on ideas that serve those most deeply engaged in global issues, as well as those embedding sustainability in their “mainstream” practice. Along with managing the Environment and Sustainability Minor, she has motivated the “infusion” of sustainability in MIT’s GIRs and introductory subjects, the development of First-Year Discovery and Experiential Learning subjects, and the creation of the MIT Fall Career Fair Sustainability Initiative with associated career development curricular materials. Sarah has over ten years of experience in public and private high schools as a math teacher, and has degrees in mathematics (BA, Barnard College) and business (MBA, MIT Sloan School of Business).
Education is a driver when we consider societal evolution and growth, and that is no different with topics of sustainability and climate change. As such, the intersection of sustainability with education is rich in growth, opportunity, and student engagement. This presentation will situate sustainability education and provide a brief overview of how students are currently educated on topics of climate change and sustainability, and what that means for you and your organization.
Chris Hill is a principal research engineer in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. Hill specializes in Earth and planetary computational science, with a focus on applying large-scale computation to oceanography and climate. His work has included multi-physics, multi-scale models of fluid problems that have relevance to improved modeling of flows in inhomogeneous porous media. Hill co-leads the research, education, and outreach committee of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC).
In this talk, I will describe the latest generation high-performance computing, storage, and networking facility that MIT operates in the town of Holyoke, MA. This facility is the latest in MIT’s 60+ year history of deploying data center facilities to support every growing computing and data needs to researchers across MIT. The Holyoke facility is designed to be energy efficient, using a variety of techniques to reduce its power consumption. The facility also has robust cooling systems to ensure that the computers are kept within environmental limits. I will talk about the design, energy landscape, and operations of the facility, and will give an in-depth example of how the facility is used to study the role of the ocean in climate research.
Franz-Josef Ulm is Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at MIT. A structural engineer by training he joined MIT in 1999, where he is responsible for Materials and Structures. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering, of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Admir Masic is Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Masic’s research focuses on the science-enabled engineering of sustainable construction materials for large-scale infrastructure innovation. A chemist by training, with expertise in biomineralization, he specializes in the development of multifunctional cement-based materials, ranging from self-healing concrete materials to carbon absorbing concretes and electron conducting cement-based materials. He is a principal investigator in the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT, a faculty fellow in Archaeological Materials at MIT’s Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE), and the faculty director of the Refugee ACTion Hub (ReACT) at MIT. MIT ReACT aims at providing new professional content development for displaced learners around the world.
If you mix cement, carbon black with water, the magic of chemistry generates an electron conductive volumetric wire, which permeates a load-bearing cement-based matrix. Herein we show, how this magic of chemistry can be used to build a scalable supercapacitor technology for energy storage, which everyone can build into their homes and roads. Possible applications include the energy autarkic home, self-charging roads (by electromagnetic induction) and intermittent energy storage for wind energy and tidal waves. Availability of cement and carbon black makes this technology a good candidate the urgently needed energy transition from fossil fuel to renewable energies.
In 2015, Rebecca Tepper joined the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey, first serving as Deputy Chief of EEB and Chief of AG Healey’s Energy and Telecommunications Division before being appointed Chief of the Energy and Environment Bureau. During her time at the AG’s office, she advised on energy policy and served as the state’s ratepayer advocate before regulators and courts. Prior to joining the AG’s Office, Tepper was General Counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), serving as the chief legal advisor and overseeing all DPU adjudicatory and rulemaking proceedings. Tepper also served as Director of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board and represented the state on the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council. Before working for the Commonwealth, Tepper was a partner at Rubin and Rudman in Boston, representing developers throughout the Northeast in siting, permitting, financing and contracting of renewable, distributed generation and conventional energy facilities. A graduate of Boston University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin, Tepper resides in Lexington with her husband and twin sons.
With drastic changes happening to our climate, it is critical for Massachusetts to adapt and develop a resilient framework for addressing these challenges. From responses to extreme weather events, to preparing for coastal transformation, to bringing a new wave of clean, renewable energy online, and training a 21st-century workforce to operate and maintain it, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is ready to lead and partner with the private sector in tackling these opportunities head-on. This presentation will focus on ways in which the Commonwealth is building a roadmap for the future of clean energy, grid modernization, climate resilience, and workforce development.
Dr. Deborah Campbell co-leads MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Climate Change Initiative, which is growing the Laboratory’s investments in climate change R&D and increasing its collaborations within the U.S. and around the world to innovate new systems and solutions. This work brings together the Laboratory’s multidisciplinary expertise in areas including systems analysis, sensing and sensing architectures, artificial intelligence, and decision support to contribute to the global response to this challenge.
Campbell co-leads and serves as the executive director of the Climate Resilience Early Warning System Network, one of MIT’s five flagship Climate Grand Challenges projects. She served on MIT’s Climate Action Advisory Committee during the development of “Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade,” and was a member of the MIT campus–Lincoln Laboratory team that designed and built the MIT Covid-19 Response System. As a senior staff scientist in the Laboratory’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems (HADR) Group, Campbell works at the nexus of climate change, health, and environmental equity.
Prior to joining the HADR Group, Campbell served as an associate technology officer in the Laboratory's Director’s Office. In her earlier work at the Laboratory, she applied her analytical chemistry expertise to chemical and biological threat detection and to forensics and attribution, and led a significant portfolio of programs in these areas. Campbell earned a BS degree in chemistry from Bates College and a PhD degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. The effects of a warming planet are destroying ecosystems, threatening critical infrastructure, intensifying weather, and creating conditions incompatible with human life. This is coupled with continued population growth, a movement of people to cities, especially coastal cities, more pressure on the wildland-urban interface, and increasing competition for scarce critical resources. While such impacts are felt around the globe, communities most burdened by climate change are also those with the least resources to cope. These destabilizing forces and widening disparities are a significant risk to national and global security.
Lincoln Laboratory has established a major initiative to help address climate change and sustainability, with a focus on solving some of the most crucial and challenging technical problems consistent with our mission. Science and technology innovations can help address challenges associated with climate change and sustainability. We are bringing together multidisciplinary expertise — in areas such as systems analysis, sensing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and decision support — to help contribute to the global response to this threat.
Ariel L. Furst is the Paul M. Cook Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. Her work centers on inventing technologies to improve human and environmental health by making access to resources more equitable. Her lab develops transformative technologies to solve important problems related to healthcare and sustainability by harnessing the inherent capabilities of biological molecules and cells. She is also a co-founder of the regenerative agriculture company, Seia Bio. She completed her Ph.D. at Caltech developing non-invasive diagnostics for colorectal cancer and was then an A. O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, where she developed sensors to monitor environmental pollutants. She is a 2023 Marion Milligan Mason Awardee, a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar for Bio-Inspired Solar Energy, and an ARO Early Career Grantee. She was recently awarded the MIT UROP Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for her work with undergraduate researchers. She is passionate about STEM outreach and increasing participation of underrepresented groups in engineering.
Significant effort has been devoted to developing technologies that effectively mimic biological processes, but these methods often fail to replicate the efficiency and selectivity of native systems. We have found that, by combining chemistry with the inherent activity of biomolecules and microbes, we can improve upon conventional technologies for clean energy and sustainability. Specifically, by combining biomolecular assembly with conventional electrocatalysis, we have improved the specificity and efficiency of electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. Additionally, we have engineered bio-derived microbial coatings to enable their delivery to depleted soil. Finally, by combining electroactive microbes with engineered enzymes, we have developed a platform to degrade and electrochemically detect environmental contaminants. Through these technologies, we have consistently found that the combination of chemistry and biomolecular engineering affords advantages beyond the capabilities of either technology alone.
Partnering MIT students with real-world climate and energy problems in industry.
The MITEC Launchpad is an initiative within the MIT Energy and Climate Club to provide MIT students with the opportunity to solve real-world climate and energy problems with leading professionals in the industry. Partner companies work with MITEC Launchpad to scope out project milestones and deliverables, where each project consists of a graduate student team lead and three to five undergraduate students. Over the course of the 6-10 week project, company personnel have the opportunity to engage with MIT students and to benefit from their technical contributions. Each team meets with their partner company on a weekly basis and provides a final deliverable at the end of the semester. Example of past projects include 1) Developing machine learning models to augment renewables project development; and 2) Building a policy-informed tool to identify key entry markets for a new energy technology.
Dr. David Babson is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate Grand Challenges Initiative, which develops and manages focused challenges that seed research aimed at developing impactful solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Prior to leading MIT’s CGC, David served as a Program Director for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy where he focused on biotechnology, innovations for agriculture system carbon drawdown, and carbon removal and management. Before joining ARPA-E he was the Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment in the Office of the Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. David detailed in his USDA role from the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) where he was a Technology Manager. At USDA, David led R&D coordination efforts on carbon management, climate change mitigation, sustainability, and agricultural systems innovation. At BETO David oversaw projects for its Conversion Program and worked to understand how to leverage new technologies to advance the emerging bioeconomy and address global energy and climate challenges. Before joining DOE he worked as the Senior Fuels Engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists and as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. David completed post-docs at the University of Minnesota’s Biotechnology Institute and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. David has a PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Miho Mazereeuw is the Associate Head for Strategy and Equity and is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at MIT and is the director of the Urban Risk Lab. Working on a large, territorial scale with an interest in public spaces and the urban experience, Mazereeuw is known for her work in disaster resilience.
In the Urban Risk Lab multi-disciplinary groups of researchers work to innovate on technologies, materials, processes, and systems to reduce risk. Operating on several scales, the Lab develops methods to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of the regions, cities and urban spaces to increase the resilience of local communities.
Miho Mazereeuw taught at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the University of Toronto prior to joining the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As an Arthur W. Wheelwright Fellow, she is completing her forthcoming book entitled Preemptive Design: Disaster and Urban Development along the Pacific Ring of Fire featuring case studies on infrastructure design, multifunctional public space and innovative planning strategies in earthquake prone regions. Her design work on disaster prevention has been exhibited globally. As the director of the Urban Risk Lab at MIT, Mazereeuw is collaborating on a number of projects with institutions and organizations in the field of disaster reconstruction/prevention and is currently working in Haiti, India, Japan and Chile.
Mazereeuw was formerly an Associate at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and has also worked in the offices of Shigeru Ban and Dan Kiley. Mazereeuw completed a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Sculpture and Environmental Science at Wesleyan University and her Master in Architecture and in Landscape Architecture with Distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where she was awarded the Janet Darling Webel Prize and the Charles Eliot Traveling Fellowship.
Mary Gehring is a Professor and Graduate Officer at the MIT Department of Biology. She is also a Core Member at the Whitehead Institute. Gehring began her scientific career at Williams College where she earned her doctorate from University of California Berkeley in 2005, and continued her studies as a postdoctoral researcher with Steven Henikoff at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Gehring came to Whitehead Institute in 2010 and was named the Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Career Development Professor by MIT in 2011. In 2020 she was named the Landon T. Clay Career Development Chair at Whitehead Institute.
Climate Grand Challenges (CGC) seeks to establish a robust pipeline for rapidly developing forefront technologies and solutions for addressing the causes and negative impacts of climate change. CGC is mobilizing MIT’s research community as well as leveraging the Institute’s convening power and fundraising capacity to identify, launch, and finance innovation challenges focused on hard, unsolved climate-related problems. The CGC strategy is to efficiently direct research investments and development strategies towards transformative technologies, business models, financial structures, and policies that promote climate change mitigation and resiliency. Employing a moonshot model with a lean structure and unique innovation acceleration cycle, the CGC initiative will ensure that climate investments quickly and efficiently drive focused research for impactful outcomes by leveraging established capabilities, openly evaluating all solution concepts, and simultaneously developing strategies to catalyze technology deployment and solution adoption. This presentation will detail the evolving vision and ambition of CGC, outline ideas for potential grand challenges, and highlight opportunities to contribute to developing challenges and proposing solutions.