JANUARY 20, 2009 — PARTNER lead investigators Dr. Sarav Arunachalam and Dr. Jonathan Levy have been named recipients of the 2008 FAA Centers of Excellence Faculty of the Year Award.
Arunachalam is a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development. He is principal investigator for PARTNER Project 16, Investigation of Aviation Emissions Air Quality Impacts.
Levy is a professor in the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and principal investigator for PARTNER Project 11, Health Impacts of Aviation Related Air Pollutants.
COE Faculty of the Year Jonathan Levy (left) and Sarav Arunachalam.
A reason for the joint award is that Levy and Arunachalam’s PARTNER research work is closely related. Arunachalam ‘s comprehensive multiscale air quality analyses provided some of the basic input for Levy’s health impact analyses.
One of the most important contributions Levy and Arunachalam made is quantifying the incremental contributions from aircraft emissions to ambient air quality and associated health impacts. They also helped prioritize aircraft related pollutants based on respective health risks. Prior to research results provided by Arunachalam and Levy, views on the extent of air transportation’s impact on air quality and human health were often arbitrary and non-scientific. Their work provides a scientifically sound research-derived foundation for furthering studies of aviation’s environmental impact.
PARTNER director Dr. Ian Waitz of MIT said that Harvard and UNC were added as PARTNER University members to a large extent because of Levy and Arunachalam's strengths. “We had only limited expertise in these areas, so we identified two of the most talented individuals and asked them to help. In retrospect, it is very good they were interested. Their contributions have been exceptional.”
The FAA’s Chief Scientist for the Environment, Dr. Lourdes Maurice, said, “PARTNER’s faculty are the glue that holds the COE together. I am very happy that we are recognizing Jon and Sarav. Their efforts investigating aviation air quality impacts are ground breaking and the students they have advised will make tremendous contributions to our industry.”
Arunachalam and Levy will receive their award in a ceremony at the February 2009 PARTNER Advisory Board meeting in Palm Springs.