Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
President Charles M. Vest welcomed the first winners of the Wallenberg Foundation Fellowships in Environment and Sustainability to MIT at a luncheon on September 16, attended by Dr. Peter Wallenberg, chair of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which sponsors the program. Professor Jan Nilsson, executive member of the foundation board, also attended the luncheon.
The Wallenberg Fellowships support Swedish postgraduate and postdoctoral students for up to two years of research at MIT involving environmental science, technology policy or sustainability development. Professor Jeffrey Steinfeld of chemistry is director of the Wallenberg Foundation Fellowships.
The program is an important new component of MIT's growing portfolio of environmental studies, which is under the general oversight of Chancellor Lawrence Bacow, who hosted a welcome dinner for Dr. Wallenberg on September 15.
"The Wallenberg Fellowships Program is a significant third-party endorsement of how MIT has approached environmental education," President Vest said at the luncheon, attended by Fellows Nils Goran Brostrï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½m, Thomas Blomberg and Patrik Soderholm. The other Fellows are Drs. Erik Kjellstrom, Elisabeth Corell and Gunnar Granberg.
Dr. Wallenberg said that he hoped to create a long-term partnership with MIT through this program. President Vest noted that the MIT relationship with Swedish researchers has great promise given Sweden's long-term commitment to environmental issues. Professor Steinfeld reminded those present that this program addresses the challenge of unintended and unexpected consequences of human activities meant to benefit society, yet now perceived as putting undue stress on the natural environment.
"The Fellows will tackle these concerns in their discipline-specific research, while having numerous opportunities to view their research--and others'--in the broader context of environmental sustainability," he said.
The Fellowship competition will reopen in Sweden next year, when additional Fellows will be selected for the 1999-2000 academic year. Dr. Goran Ewald of Lund University, who deferred his fellowship to next year, will join them and work with Professor Philip Gschwend atthe Parsons Laboratory on chemical ecosystem tracers and ecotoxicology.
Dr. Brostrï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½m will study the relationship between climate and ecosystem while at MIT, where he will work with Professor John Marshall of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences. He received the PhD from Gothenburg University in 1997.
Dr. Blomberg has been researching heat, moisture and airflow processes in buildings and building components with the Lund Group for Computational Building Physics at Lund University, where he received the PhD in building physics in 1996. He will work with Professor Leon Glicksman of architecture.
Dr. Soderholm received the PhD in economics from the Luleï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ University of Technology earlier this year. At MIT, he plans to examine public policies encouraging recycling, and analyze the effect they have on paper and aluminum recycling. His advisors will be Dr. Denny Ellerman, senior lecturer at the Sloan School, and Professor Joel Clark of materials science and engineering.
Dr. Kjellstrï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½m, who is on a leave of absence from work as a meteorologist with the Swedish Air Force, recently completed the PhD in atmospheric chemistry at Stockholm University. His primary research interest is the connection between atmospheric chemistry and climate. He will work with Professor Ronald Prinn of the Center for Global Change Science.
Dr. Corell, a PhD candidate in political science/international relations at Linkï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ping University, will complete and defend her dissertation this semester. Her postdoctoral research at MIT beginning in January will focus on the role of experts and expertise in monitoring environmental treaties, and she hopes her work here will allow her to improve the teaching of environmental issues at Swedish universities. She will work with Professor Lawrence Susskind of urban studies and Professors Kenneth Oye and Nazli Choucri of political science.
Dr. Granberg, a PhD candidate in forest ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeï¿½ï¿½ï¿½, is researching the role of boreal wetlands as a source of methane released into the atmosphere. He will work with Professor Harry Hemond of civil and environmental engineering and the Parsons Laboratory, in association with Nigel Roulet of McGill University and Steven Frolking and Patrick Crill of the University of New Hampshire, on their work with a complete carbon model for peat land in Quï¿½ï¿½ï¿½bec.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 7, 1998.