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IUPUI Environmental Researcher to Serve as Senior Scientist for the US Department of State

Release Date: 
May 2 2013

Gabe FilippelliGabe Filippelli, Ph.D., has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow with the U.S. Department of State.

Gabriel Filippelli, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow, a prominent advisory position with the U.S. Department of State in which he will serve as a senior scientist on international matters related to the climate and the environment.

Filippelli, director of the Center for Urban Health at IUPUI, is one of only 13 scientists and engineers from across the country to be named a fellow for 2013. He is the first faculty from an Indiana University campus to be appointed to the post.

“This is a really important service, and I’m very honored to do it,” he said. “I see this as a great statement about the School of Science at IUPUI, which is being recognized as an institution with wonderful intellectual assets.”

Filippelli has traveled the world researching climate change and a host of environmental issues. For the past decade, he has served as a science advisor to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, a longstanding research effort that studies the history of the Earth recorded in sediments and rocks beneath the sea floor.

He also is an expert on the relationship between contaminated soil and children’s blood lead levels. His future interests include international health issues in major cities and the impacts of climate change on human health.

For the next year, Filippelli will be on leave from IUPUI as he works fulltime in Washington D.C. in this advisory role. He expects to receive his specific assignments sometime this summer.

“Fellows are expected to have a nuanced understanding of U.S. interests and how the scientific policies of other countries can impact international health and environmental issues,” Filippelli said, adding that he looks forward to working with current administration on climate control issues.

The Jefferson Science Fellows program began in 2003 and is administered by the National Academies of Science. It functions as a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and universities across the country, and its purpose is to enhance expertise in science, technology and engineering with the government and to create significant opportunities for tenured scientists and engineers to contribute to international policy and issues.

Scientists are assigned based on their expertise and interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to travel to U.S. embassies and missions overseas. After their one-year service, they return to their universities and continue to serve as a resource to the Department of State for the next five years.

Simon Rhodes, dean of the School of Science said, “We are very proud that Dr. Filippelli has been nominated to this position. It reflects his remarkable international research reputation and his academic productivity.,”

“Dr. Filippelli is a highly talented researcher at IUPUI, whose service through this new position will not only bring distinction to him and his institution, but above all will have a very positive impact on the advancement of environmental issues confronting the nation and the world,” said Kody Varahramyan, Ph.D., IUPUI vice chancellor for research.

Filippelli added: “I’ve always been passionate about the use of science to inform decisions and policies. I hope to bring back some useful knowledge to the classroom and more of an international focus to the work we do at the Center for Urban Health.”