March 11, 2019
Associate professors Alicia Timme-Laragy (Environmental Health Sciences) and Brian Whitcomb (Epidemiology) are among the eight UMass Amherst faculty members who have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). The fellows will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. They will also receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, and travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers.
Timme-Laragy is a developmental toxicologist with expertise in how early life exposures to pollutants affect health. She uses zebrafish to identify and understand the health risks of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in contaminated drinking water. During her Public Engagement fellowship, she will engage with community action groups and journalists about her research.
Whitcomb’s research focuses on how fertility and pregnancy are impacted by inflammation, as well as the behavioral and lifestyle factors that may trigger inflammatory responses. He is president-elect of the international Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER). As a Public Engagement fellow, Whitcomb will work to inform clinicians and the general public about the influences on reproductive health, and to help SPER grow its presence and level of engagement beyond the immediate scientific community.
“We are excited that PEP Fellows program has a critical role to play in developing an interdisciplinary network of publicly engaged faculty at UMass and building relationships to share the high quality research produced at UMass beyond the walls of academia so that journalists, policymakers, practitioners, and others can use it,” said Lisa Troy, assistant professor of nutrition and co-director of the Public Engagement Project.
The Public Engagement Project is a faculty-driven initiative building on a collaboration of the Institute for Social Science Research and the Center for Research on Families. This is the fifth cohort of Public Engagement Faculty Fellows.