We engage UConn faculty who have in-depth knowledge of human factors intrinsic to engineering projects together in collaborative research and teaching with faculty in other disciplines such as sociology, political science, and geography. Together, we create projects and products to improve livelihoods and reduce environmental impact globally. We engage companies conducting engineering operations and work with impacted communities, supporting business development and innovation around the world. Key faculty include:
Engineering and Affiliated Faculty
Emmanouil Anagnostou (Environmental Engineering) – Water and food security in climate-change insecure settings, climate resiliency.
Amvrossios C. Bagtzoglou (Environmental Engineering) – Studies groundwater resources in lower income regions and works to find solutions for arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and schistosomiasis and childhood diarrhea in Ethiopia.
Dan Burkey (Chemical Engineering) - Studies the ethical development of engineering students, specifically how they integrate their engineering education with larger social and moral questions to make engineering decisions that consider not only the technical, but also the social and ethical ramifications of their work as well.
Maria Chrysochoou (Environmental Engineering) – Brownfields are abandoned, industrial properties often with past industrial history and resulting environmental contamination. Brownfields are often concentrated in inner cities and poor neighborhoods, disproportionately affecting minorities and sensitive populations. The Connecticut Brownfields Initiative has a mission to promote brownfields redevelopment, revitalize urban centers and promote environmental justice in the region. CBI also seeks to create the next generation of environmental professionals to promote brownfield redevelopment and work with local communities to improve quality of life in impoverished neighborhoods.
Zoi Dokou (Environmental Engineering) – is currently engaged in the NSF PIRE: Taming in Water in Ethiopia project which develops seasonal forecasting information and studies its adoption by local communities in the Blue Nile region. Her work focuses on the role of groundwater, a relatively untapped resource in Ethiopia, which can provide not only potable water to households but also be used as supplemental water source for irrigation, acting as a buffer against climate stress and improving food security in the region. She is also involved in a Citizen Science Initiative in four local communities near Lake Tana, Ethiopia which trains local high school students in the collection of river stage, groundwater level and soil moisture measurements to be used for the improvement of the modeling efforts as part of the PIRE project.
Norman Garrick (Civil Engineering) –
Krystyna Gielo-Perczak (Biomedical Engineering) – Promoting multidisciplinary foundation of the Human Factors and Ergonomics to interpret methodologies and experiments pertaining to human strength, movement and cognitive interaction in small- and large-scale device/tool environment systems.
John Ivan (Civil Engineering) – Interested in understanding how transportation projects have the potential for impacting urban and rural communities both positively and negatively. In many cases, negative impacts – including disruption of community cohesion and increased road fatalities – have been disproportionately borne by communities of color and low income residents - a situation he is working to address.
Kazem Kazerounian (Mechanical Engineering) – Dean of the School of Engineering
Christine Kirchoff (Environmental Engineering) – Applies social science research methods to investigate the complex human factors related to engineering challenges including understanding the human dimensions of hazard resilient infrastructure, water governance, policy, and management, the social studies of science and science policy, and adaptation to climate change.
Nicholas Lownes (Civil Engineering) – The Public Transportation Systems group investigates the connections between people and mobility options, focusing on public transportation services. They are currently working on identifying the degree to which public transportation provides connectivity between affordable housing and basic needs: jobs, food, education and healthcare. They are also working with geographers and computer scientists to better integrate the increasing amount of data on our systems with the models that use this data to support transportation planning decisions.
Jonathan Mellor (Environmental Engineering) – Founded the International Water Resources Laboratory that focuses on using systems approaches to improve water security and health in low income regions under climate change. He currently has active projects in Ethiopia, Peru and Botswana and is the faculty advisor for UConn’s Engineers Without Borders.
Jeffrey McCutcheon (Chemical Engineering) – Develops membrane technologies that can be properly chosen to treat water that is fit-for-purpose. This could include basic filtration technologies (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis) to more novel or emergent processes (forward osmosis, membrane distillation) using both polymeric and ceramic materials.
Laurent Michel (Computer Science and Engineering) – Cybersecurity.
Richard Parnas (Chemical Engineering) – sustainable energy
Malaquias Peña (Environmental Engineering) – Provides online and face-to-face lectures on topics of seasonal prediction and numerical modeling and products to support decisions in hydro-meteorological hazard prevention and hydrologic and agricultural risks and opportunities. The primary targets are decision makers, weather service personnel and universities in Latin American countries. He also supports the NSF PIRE project by supplying climate analysis and prediction data for streamflow, crop yield and groundwater modeling.
Helena Silva (Electrical Engineering/Materials Science) – Professor Silva was part of an NSF project “NUE ASCCEND: Addressing Social Challenges through Creativity, Engineering, Nanotechnology, and Diversity”. As part of this project the team developed several new courses including ‘Nanoscience and Society’, a course on creativity and an alternative Senior Design course.
Ranjan Srivastava (Chemical and Biomedical Engineering) – Professor Srivastava and his research team have been working on better and more effective methods of water treatment, with potential positive health impacts. More recently, they have been developing technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas release to increase climate resiliency.
Amy Thompson (UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering) – Designs cyber-physical systems for environmental and social impact, designing socio-technical systems.
Tim Vadas (Environmental Engineering) – Informs water quality regulations and engineering ecological water treatment systems.
Guiling Wang (Environmental Engineering) – Climate impacts on food and water systems.
Mei Wei (Institute of Materials Science) – Social implications of new technologies and broader issues of risk in engineering.
Arash Zaghi – (Civil Engineering) - Develops more inclusive engineering education programs by applying the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to make engineering education more accessible to all types of learners. He also works on the recruitment and retention of neurodiverse learners who may have a tremendous potential to reach innovative solutions to engineering problems. Link.
Jin Zhu – (Civil Engineering) - Studies resilience of interdependent social-technical systems and system-of-systems to disruptions using simulation techniques. The goal is to improve people’s quality of life through holistic solutions to infrastructure planning, construction and management challenges.
Social Science & Humanities Faculty
Carol Atkinson-Palombo (Department of Geography) - Professor Atkinson-Palombo's specialization is in collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to pursue use-inspired policy-relevant research. She jointly heads two research groups that focus on Sustainable Cities and Transportation Technology & Society and is particularly interested in transportation sustainability because of its connection to a wide array of societal concerns such as air pollution, land use, global climate change, and social and environmental equity.
Oksan Bayulgen (Political Science) - studies the politics of sustainable energy transitions and more specifically is interested in understanding the effects of energy production and consumption patterns on socioeconomic development, political conflicts, and human rights and security.
Mark Boyer (Geography) - In recent years, Boyer’s work has centered broadly on environmental policy and more narrowly on climate adaptation policy, especially in the context of how global phenomena impact regional and local decision-making. His book project Adapting to Climate Change is under contract with the University of Michigan Press.
Boris Bravo-Ureta - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Audrey Chapman (Department of Community Medicine and Health Care) - Dr. Chapman explores ethical and justice issues related to the translation of stem cells into therapies including how decisions by public interest funders on the type of patenting and pricing ceilings will affect access.
Mark Healey (History) - Water governance and citizenship in climate-change insecure settings; political and environmental history of infrastructure; historical experiences of engineering and social transformation; disaster resilience, relief, and reconstruction; urban planning, housing, and climate justice, especially in the Global South.
Shareen Hertel (Political Science and Human Rights) - Economic and labor rights, supply chain management and social mobilization.
Prakash Kashwan (Department of Political Science) - Global Governance of Climate Engineering; Climate Justice; Teaches a course on Climate Justice that is designed to serve simultaneously to POLS, Human Rights, and Environmental Studies majors. Co-coordinates the Climate Justice Network founded with support from the American Political Science Association (APSA). Senior research fellow, Earth Systems Governance Project.
Molly Land (Law & Human Rights) - Her work explores the intersection of human rights, science, technology, and innovation, with a special focus on human rights and the internet.
Cuihong Li (Business & Management and Engineering for Manufacturing Co-Director) - Prof. Li’s main research interest is in supply chain management, with a focus on the strategic interactions between firms in particular sourcing and supplier management.
Kathryn Libal (Social Work & Human Rights) - Director, Human Rights Institute
Laura Mauldin (Department of Human Development and Family Studies) - Dr. Mauldin's research concerns the tensions between the development of ever more sophisticated medical technologies and disability. One such example she focused on in her book Made to Hear: Cochlear Implants and Raising Deaf Children (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) was the use of cochlear implants in deaf children. The book reveals how some of the discourse during implantation that excludes sign language can deny deaf children the fundamental right to language and cause language deprivation.
Rupal Parekh (Social Work) - Rupal Parekh examines the role of transportation disadvantage and dependence on the physical and mental health of older immigrant populations. She seeks to better understand the intersection of social isolation, multiple health issues, and structural and social barriers among late-life immigrant populations and older adults aging alone. Her research aims to identify interventions that can decrease the negative effects of these complex vulnerabilities, and to focus on creating age-friendly communities for older immigrant populations.
Lyle Scruggs (Political Science) - Human dimensions of climate change and social responses to new technologies in biology and computer automation.
Sarah Willen (Anthropology) -