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2022 INSTITUTIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Research and innovation

Broadening expertise and impact

Our global system powers seamless research collaborations worldwide, maximizing the capacity of innovators everywhere to develop solutions to society’s urgent challenges.

$230.7M

in external research awards, a 374% increase since 2006

$176M

in research expenditures from external funding, an increase of 244% since 2006

Impact on health, security, and sustainability

Health

Seattle-Boston AI expertise to advance healthy aging

Seattle data scientist and computational biologist Ram Hariharan is partnering with Northeastern colleagues in Boston to build an “aging clock” to measure individuals’ biological aging rates. It’s powered by AI that learns from patient data, including changes from the molecular to the behavioral across the lifespan. The work is part of a larger quest to understand and prevent age-related diseases, such as cancer, by pinpointing when they start and delivering individually targeted cures.

Security

A $36M collaboration to safeguard ‘soft’ targets

Northeastern is leading a multidisciplinary consortium of universities in seven states plus Puerto Rico to build a surveillance system to protect so-called soft targets—such as schools and churches—from mass shootings and other threats. The system will provide decision-makers with the vital information they need to assess situations and coordinate responses. The Department of Homeland Security awarded Northeastern $36 million to lead the center and build the system.

Sustainability

Floating wetlands designed to protect coastal cities

Northeastern Assistant Professor Julia Hopkins is part of a startup that is developing interconnected rings of floating wetlands to stave off coastal city flooding. Aptly named “Emerald Tutus” consist of biodegradable, circular mats seven feet in diameter. By growing marsh grasses on top and seaweed below, the mats act like sponges to absorb wave energy. Emerald Tutus are already in the water near Salem, Massachusetts.

hEALTH

Multicampus study helping unlock COVID-19 mysteries

Northeastern researchers who devised the university’s protocol to test for and evaluate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are gaining insights into the virus’s evolution and the puzzling variabilities of COVID-19. Experts at the Life Sciences Testing Center and the Observational Health Data Science and Informatics Center are basing their study on anonymized data collected from mid-2020 to mid-2022 at Northeastern campuses in Boston and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Expanding our faculty expertise

867

tenured/tenure-track hires since 2006, including 65 in 2021–22

160

faculty with interdisciplinary appointments, up 281% since 2012

A few of our talented new faculty

Sofia Bosch Gomez

Assistant Professor of Art + Design

Joint appointment with Northeastern’s Burnes Center for Social Change

Mauricio Santanilla

Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering

Patrice Collins

Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies

Faculty awards, honors, and the call to serve

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Penny Beuning

Chair and Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Beuning was recognized for her key findings about how cells respond to DNA damage, and for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of chemical research in toxicology.

Abie Emerging Leader Award 

Kristen Dorsey

Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, joint appointment in Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dorsey was honored by AnitaB.org, a global organization promoting the success of women and nonbinary people in technology, for her early-career research achievements in soft sensors and significant impact in advancing diversity.

Member, National Academy of Engineering

Jerome F. Hajjar

Chair and CDM Smith Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Hajjar was elected for landmark research that, as cited by the NAE, has led to the development of “design criteria and models for stability and seismic design of innovative steel and composite structures.”

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Elizabeth Mynatt

Dean and Professor, Khoury College of Computer Sciences

Mynatt was selected for exceptional computing community leadership and her distinguished research contributions to human-centered computing, with a focus on assistive technologies, wellness, and health.

Attorney advisor to the chair, Federal Trade Commission

Rashida Richardson

Assistant Professor of Law and Political Science

Richardson, an expert in the social and civil rights implications of data-driven technologies, advises the chair on issues of data privacy and security. She previously served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Hazel Sive

Dean, College of Science; Professor of Biology

Sive was recognized for fundamental discoveries advancing our knowledge of early embryonic development, and for her leadership in teaching, mentoring, and promoting diversity in higher education.

Member, U.S. Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board

Margaret Burnham

University Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project  

Burnham was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on the strength of her expertise in civil rights law and leadership of the CRRJ, which shares the review board’s mission to investigate cases of racial violence during the Jim Crow era.

Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy

Alessandro Vespignani

Sternberg Family Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Computer Science, and Health Sciences

Vespignani was honored for his work tracking the spread of COVID-19 and other disease epidemics, and for helping to integrate Italy’s scientists, research centers, and public health officials into these global efforts.


28

faculty awards for early-career achievement, including 13 National Science Foundation CAREER awards

8

Fulbright faculty awards supporting global research and scholarship

Powering entrepreneurship

Network of support for DeafBlind accessibility venture

Samantha Johnson, E’21/MS’21, founded Tatum Robotics to develop empowering technology for the DeafBlind community. The startup is developing a low-cost robotic hand to fingerspell tactile sign language and a safe, compliant arm to sign more complex words and phrases. In addition to support from Northeastern’s student-run venture incubator, IDEA, Johnson earned first place in the Women Who Empower 2022 Innovator Awards.

Product design gets an AI makeover

New product development relies on some distinctly traditional techniques for market research, such as focus groups, customer interviews, and sales data. Ada Tech LLC is creating a platform to reinvent the innovation process: harnessing artificial intelligence to better understand customer needs and increase the diversity and market impact of new products. The startup’s co-founders—Northeastern professors Paolo Ciuccarelli, Tucker Marion, and Mohsen Moghaddam—received a National Science Foundation grant for their cross-disciplinary work.

Roux Institute attracts Chilean startup to Maine

In remote settings, field workers in forestry, shipping, and other industries must contend with poor communication networks. Chilean entrepreneur Max Echeverría founded Eskuad to develop a data management platform to solve that problem—then relocated his startup to Portland, Maine, and Northeastern’s Roux Institute. Eskuad was among 10 startups to receive funding and mentoring through the institute’s inaugural Techstars Accelerator. 

San Francisco residency sparks footwear startup

With a passion for fashion, Gabrielle Whittle has created a shoe that can be worn as high-heeled or flat, thanks to its adjustable sole and detachable heel. The College of Engineering alumna developed the idea during her Semester in San Francisco, Northeastern’s immersive entrepreneurship residency. Whittle used techniques from her prior product design work to bring her vision to life, aided by a $10,000 Innovator Award from Women Who Empower.

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