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Jillian Goldfarb, assistant professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering

Academic focus: Sustainable conversion of biomass to biofuels and materials for environmental remediation

Previous positions: assistant professor of energy engineering at Penn State University, 2018; assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, Boston University, 2013-17

Academic background: B.S., chemical engineering, Northeastern University, 2004; M.S., engineering, Brown University, 2005; Ph.D., chemical engineering, Brown University, 2008

Last book read: Rick Steve’s Italy

What do you do when not working? Hop on an airplane, create new recipes, thread my quilting needle.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? While the world faces many seemingly insurmountable challenges, insuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy for all its citizens is not only achievable, but of paramount importance to lifting the marginalized out of poverty and reversing climatic damage. By understanding how pollutants from energy generation impact the environment, and designing new processes to convert renewable sources to energy and materials that remove such pollutants, we can mitigate energy’s impact on the environment while enabling widespread access to modern energy for all.

Current research projects? Research in the Goldfarb Lab sits at the nexus of energy and the environment. We have two overarching goals: (1) identify both short and long-term solutions to the world’s energy needs, and (2) understand and mitigate the impact of energy generation processes on the environment. We have a variety of on-going projects in the lab, incorporating undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers that look at many facets of energy and its impact on the environment. We are currently working on an NSF-funded project to design a new framework for the development of catalyst materials for biofuel upgrading, and a project funded by the Eppley Foundation on a new concept for the integrated biorefinery that simultaneously produces biofuels and water treatment materials.

Current outreach/extension projects? As the Fall National Meeting Program Chair for the American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry, I am responsible for over 30 symposia and 700 papers per meeting, insuring a diverse representation of viewpoints from scholars around the country and world. By giving back to my professional organization, I get to insure that the next generation sees the important work our colleagues are doing today, and to meet some amazing scientists.

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you? Creative, engaging, persistent

Course you’re most looking forward to teaching? Developing a new course in sustainable engineering design

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve? We could mitigate climate change by designing new ways to supply clean water and renewable energy that protect land to grow food to populations around the world.

What most excites you about Cornell CALS? The transdisciplinary nature of CALS that will enable me to identify and solve new challenges.

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