In honor of Earth day, we would like to highlight important trailblazers within the USC community who have created, researched, and led innovative ideas that contribute significantly to our planet. Amongst this progressive group of USC researchers are the following individuals and their contributions: 

William Berelson, USC Dornsife (Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences) – Installation of a network of Air Quality Sensors to serve L.A. communities. This network of devices is designed to create a detailed map of greenhouse gasses and other toxic emissions in L.A. neighborhoods. 

Matthew Kahn, USC Dornsife (Economics) – Research on the Economics of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

Vaia Lida Chatzi, Keck School of Medicine – PFAS ACT: Addressing the PFAS Drinking Water Crisis in Southern California. Dr. Chatzi leads an interdisciplinary program of research focused on advancing our understanding of how exposure to environmental chemicals affect metabolic health. 

Patrick Lynett, USC Viterbi School of Engineering – Researches ecosystem services of kelp in a changing climate. 

Randolph Hall, Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering – Founder/principal for two national research centers, the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies (CREATE) and the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research (METRANS). 

Clay Wang, USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy – Developed a two-stage method to convert plastics into pharmaceuticals. This method would transform post-consumer mixed plastics into a variety of diverse and valuable secondary products with unprecedented efficiency. 

Shohreh Farzan, Keck School of Medicine – Research on how air pollutants affect respiratory health in children. 

Sri Narayan, USC Dornsife (Chemistry) – Developed a zero-carbon electrolytic process for decarbonizing iron and steel manufacturing.

Cheng Ji, Keck School of Medicine – Hepatotoxic mechanisms of anti-HIV/COVID drugs and substance use disorders. 

Roman Barco, USC Dornsife (Earth Sciences) – Ecosystem recovery following an oil spill, the SoCal Wetland serves as a fortuitous model system.

Burcin Becerik-Gerber, USC Viterbi School of Engineering – Contributed to engineering office workspaces for healthier workers and sustainable environments.

Joon-Ho Choi, USC School of Architecture – Leads the Human-Building Integration Research lab, which focuses on Human-Building integration for human wellness and environmental sustainability.

Doris Sung, USC Architecture – Developed Novel Filtration Methods for Smog-Eating Architectural Panels.

Laura Melissa Guzman, USC Dornsife – Focuses on integrating threat distributions with susceptibility distributions to improve conservation outcomes.

Krishna Nayak, USC Viterbi School of Engineering – Focuses on engineering carbon footprint of healthcare.

Megan Fieser, USC Dornsife (Chemistry) – Focuses on catalytic upcycling of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) to electroactive polymers.

Elias Picazo, USC Dornsife (Chemistry) – Research focus is on a new reactivity platform through iron catalysis. 

Santina Contreras, USC Price (Policy) – Contributes to building resilience to multi-hazard risks through a community-based approach.

Robin Craig, USC Gould School of Law – Demystifying marine aquaculture permitting in California for sustainability.

Andrew Gracey, USC Dornsife (Biological Sciences) – Establishes healthy coastal ecosystems via captive breeding of sunflower sea stars.

John Tower, USC Dornsife (Biological Sciences) – Engineers metazoan metabolism for the green economy. John’s research focuses on the molecular genetics of aging in Drosophila melanogaster. 

To learn more about USC’s sustainability efforts, click here