Lecture Series

If you are interested in presenting a lecture, please contact Dr. Carsten Haber, CSCR founding Board Member.

Most Recent Lectures:

Blurred Lines between “The Environment” and “Me”

Held April 15th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm ET

The saying “you are what you eat” conveys that your health is determined by the quality—healthy or unhealthy—of your eating habits. Let’s extend that concept to our neighborhoods and the environment. We can try out ideas like “you are where you live,” or “the health of your environment depends on how it is treated.” Many people are fortunate to live in clean, green, healthy neighborhoods, but how do we keep them healthy? How can we improve polluted areas? How do we keep our planet livable? To begin addressing these questions, we will discuss nutrients and micronutrients found in our food, our bodies, and all living things. We will also think about environmental toxins and greenhouse gases. As we begin to imagine sustainable solutions to environmental issues, we can learn from biological mechanisms found in nature—they can teach us and help us.

I will also share the story of my small business. My current endeavor is focused on recycling grain from beer breweries, and it implements the MIT motto of “Mind and Hand” to address climate change. This prevents the grain from ending up in landfills where it would generate harmful CO2 and methane gases. With an infusion of natural, helpful microbes, the grain is given new life and purpose, transforming into a “Miracle Grain” which preserves the carbon in our kitchen scraps and supports composting in tightly-knit neighborhoods without attracting pests. This locally sourced and produced creation offers the opportunity to close the loop in our local food system, and revitalize and capture more carbon in our soils. The Miracle Grain also offers an alternative to chemical fertilizers for public landscapes, school playing fields, and private or community gardens. My vision for Miracle Grain is to create green jobs, support farms and regenerative agriculture, and lay a foundation for green technology development.

Maria is an entrepreneur, scientist, and mother (with a son, daughter, and dog) who resides in Cambridge, MA. She received her PhD in Biological Engineering for her work using video-microscopy to observe and analyze protective human anti-HIV immune responses. Maria also helped develop two FDA-approved cancer therapies and one patented mRNA platform for gene delivery and vaccination. Since 2019, Maria has employed a hands-on, experimental approach to the pressing, everyday problems we all face: global warming and climate change, environmental health, public health, and food waste. She aspires to develop real-world solutions to these fundamental issues by working with small businesses, regular people, nonprofits, and city government.

Biometrics for Covid-19 – Vaccine Delivery in the Developing World – 

Held February 25th (2021), 5:00pm ET

Getting the Covid-19 vaccine equitably to the right patients in low-income countries is a major tracking & delivery challenge. With over 1 Billion people worldwide lacking any formal form of identification, and instances of some vaccination drives having over 50% of their vaccines go unaccounted for, getting the COVID-19 vaccine to the people who need it the most is going to test the resolve of the international development community more than ever before. In 2016 Toby and Tristram Norman, former CSCR students, start Simprints a not for profit company that designs, builds and deploys modern biometric solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. Simprints has reached over 1 million people in developing countries in projects from education to agriculture, to healthcare and medicine. In this talk Toby and Tristram are going to tell us how they have been tasked by GAVI, the Global vaccine alliance, to find a way to accurately and accountably deliver vaccinations to some of the people who need it the most.

Toby holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Scholarship and BA from Harvard and Tristram holds an MSc from the University of London in computer science and a BA from Eckerd College in environmental science. They have worked together for over the last six with doctors and health workers across Africa, Asia, and Central America on initiatives to improve healthcare delivery through technology. Toby and Tristram are both Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs and in 2015 started Simprints, a non-profit company aimed at bringing modern biometrics to provide identification to the 1 billion people who lack formal ID. Simprints employs 50 people from all over the world and has 3 offices in England, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Simprints has won Start-up of the Year from Business Weekly, Best Tech for changing Lives for Good from Tech crunch, 1 of the 15 Most Promising Innovations to Save Lives from USAID, just to name a few. You can find out more about Simprints and their journey at their website here: https://www.simprints.com/


Held June 25th (2020), 5:30pm ET

Emerging contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) can demonstrate remarkable environmental persistence, are associated with harmful biological impacts, and have been found globally in water, flora, and fauna. Join University of Rhode Island environmental chemist Anna Robuck to learn more about using seabirds and other wildlife as tools to understand emerging contaminants like PFAS and plastics in our environment and in our own bodies. 

2019-06-05 15.58.53

Robuck is a 5th year PhD Candidate at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, where she specifically focuses on PFAS and other emerging contaminants in coastal food webs. Robuck is a NOAA Nancy Foster Scholar, a predoctoral ORISE Research Fellow placed within the US EPA, and a trainee in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program. Robuck has received recognition for her expansive thinking to marine pollution, including the NIEHS KC Donnelly Externship (2020), the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Leadership Fellowship (2019), and the American Chemical Society Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award (2020). 

Biometrics for Covid-19 – Vaccine Delivery in the Developing World Toby and Tristram Norman, Forbes “30 under 30” Social Entrepreneurs and founders of Simprints
Big data for Big Mammals: Genomic Study of Ecology & Evolution of WhalesMorgan McCarthy, PhD Candidate in the Marine Mammals Ecology Group at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark
Instability: Climate Change, Health, Loss of Wildlife, and what we can d about itDr. Alexander More, Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Long Island University, in NYC, Assistant Research Professor at the Climate Change Institute and group leader at Harvard University
Sinking OceanRob Moir, Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute
Building toward US federal climate action – a look at key strategies needed to win federal action to cut carbon emissionsMargie Alt, Environmental Campaigner and Strategist at Climate Action Campaign DC
Offshore Wind: Power, Policy, and PromiseJohn Rogers, Senior Energy Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists
The effects of ocean acidification on the shell mineralogy of Crassostrea virginica (Eastern Oyster)Isabel Gutowski, Research Assistant and Outreach Instructor at Northeastern University Marine Science Center in Nahant MA ( March 6, 2019)
Wildland Fire Ecology in Massachusetts and BeyondAlexander Etkind, Specialist at Northeast Forest and Fire Management, LLC in Sandwich MA (February 13, 2019)
A Volunteer’s Perspective on Youth, Gender, and the EnvironmentTorey Hart, Peace Corps, Malawi (January 24, 2019)
Optimizing Community & Business Resilience:
Preparing for Natural Disasters by Practicing Pollution Prevention
Mary Dever-Putnam, Chief of the Environmental and Compliance Assistance Unit of EPA Region 1
Nature and Maritime Archaeology: Can Massachusetts’ hidden history be used to better understandsea level rise and global warming?Victor T. Mastone, Director and Chief Archaeologist of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources.
Consumer product chemicals in the environment: How did they get there and what can we do?
Preventing Cancer at Home and About Town
Dr. Laurel Schaider of the Silent Spring Institute
We Need to Come Clean – the Fight Belongs to Everyone!Emily Norton, Massachusetts Chapter Director for the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental advocacy group in the country
Habitat Diversity- Can ecosystems thrive when species diversity is declining?Christian Alsterberg currently pursues
a postdoctoral degree at UMASS Boston.
He obtained a PhD in Marine Ecology and BS in Biology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ocean Acidification: Are coral reefs and clams fizzing away?George D. Buckley, Assistant Director of the Sustainability program at the Harvard University Extension School.
Plastic Pollution in the Ocean- And what you can do about it!Jessica Donohue, Research Assistant, Sea Education Association (SEA; Woods Hole, MA).
Flood Mitigation Lessons Learned from Hurricane SandySarah Hamm, M.S. Geology, Colorado School of Mines; Coastal Geologist, an expert in flood hazard analysis.
Legal From the Start: Partnering Legal and Policy Research with Current Science for Better Coastal ManagementJulia Wyman, J.D., Director of Marine Affairs Institute & Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program
From Antarctica to the Arctic: A Story of Snow, Sea Ice, and the Frigid ColdDr. Ross Lieb Lappen
Size matters: The fate of vernal pools and their inhabitantsSteven Schwartz
Developing 21st Century Green Students & SchoolsRobin Organ
What’s Behind the Revised FEMA Flood Maps and Understanding Storm Surge Impacts to the CoastlineIngeborg E. Hegemann & Matthew Creighton
Coastal Habitat ResiliencyMary B. Griffin
Restoration of Coastal Wetlands on the South ShoreJason D. Burtner
Learning from Coastal Systems how to adapt to Environmental ChangesDr. Anamarija Frankic
Diversity in the Spice of Life in Coastal EcosystemJarrett Byrnes
Exploring the Bowhead Whale Feeding Hotspot near Barrow, AKCarin Ashjian PhD
Beside Still Waters: Exploring Vernal PoolsJonathan Twining
From Headwaters to Harbor – A Look at Restoration and Research in the Gulf RiverDr. Sara Grady
Current Issues in Environmental Policy: Climate Change Adaptation, MA InitiativesJohn Clarkeson