The Center for Sustainability Solutions leadership team consists of prominent scholars in their fields of study. Individually, each represent important disciplinary pillars for sustainability solutions. Collectively, they reflect the interdisciplinary collaboration needed to solve intractable and complex sustainability challenges.
Expertise: Environmental and Energy Economics; Urban Economics; Public Economics; Transportation Policy; Climate Policy; Environmental Regulation
Antonio M. Bento is a Professor at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics of the University of Southern California. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a research fellow of the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.
Professor Bento received a BA in Economics from the Nova School of Business and Economics (Portugal) in 1996, and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics (jointly with Economics) from the University of Maryland in 2000. He previously taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2000-2004), the University of Maryland (2004-2007), Cornell University (2007-2015), and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, and a regular consultant to the World Bank.
Professor Bento is an applied microeconomist with a research program in the areas of environmental, energy, urban, and public economics. Most of his work consists of theoretical and empirical assessments of major public policy issues, and his scholarly interests range widely both in topics and methods. For the past few years, Professor Bento has written on topics related to the design of climate change mitigation policies and the interactions of (new) environmental policies with the broader tax system; the effectiveness of policies that promote the expansion of biofuels, renewable energy, and the diffusion of cleaner technologies; causes and remedies of urban sprawl and urban environmental challenges in developed and developing countries; the benefits of major environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act and its Amendments; individual responses to real-time pricing; and the distributional impacts of various environmental policies, including federal gasoline taxes. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Journal of Urban Economics, the Energy Journal and other scholarly journals and books.
Professor Bento contributed to the New York State Climate Change Action Plan, the New York State Biofuels Roadmap, the U.N. Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Assessment Report on Biofuels, served as a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, and was recently appointed as a lead author to the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP).
Mahta Moghaddam received the B.S. degree (with highest distinction) from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, in 1986 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1989 and 1991, respectively, all in electrical and computer engineering. From 1991 to 2003, she was with the Radar Science and Engineering Section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, before joining the Radiation Laboratory in the EECS Department at Michigan. Dr. Moghaddam joined the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in January 2012.
Dr. Moghaddam has introduced innovative approaches and algorithms for quantitative interpretation of multichannel radar imagery based on analytical inverse scattering techniques applied to complex and random media. She has also developed quantitative approaches for multisensor data fusion by combining radar and optical remote sensing data for nonlinear estimation of vegetation and surface parameters. She has led the development of new radar instrument and measurement technologies for subsurface and subcanopy characterization. She has been a Systems Engineer for the Cassini Radar and the Science Chair of the JPL Team X (Advanced Mission Studies Team).
Paul AdlerAssociate Director
Expertise: Sustainability; Business; Capitalism; Organization; Strategy
Paul Adler is currently Harold Quinton Chair of Business Policy, and Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology, and Environmental Studies, at the University of Southern California. He began his education in Australia, and then moved to France. While working towards his PhD there, he worked as a research economist for the French government. He came to the USA in 1981, and before arriving at USC in 1991, he was a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, a visiting Assistant Professor at Barnard College, a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Business School, and an Assistant Professor at Stanford’s School of Engineering. He has published widely in academic journals, edited several books, most recently The Firm as a Collaborative Community: Reconstructing Trust in the Knowledge Economy (2006), The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies: Classical Foundations (2009), The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents (2014), and co- authored Healing Together: The Labor-Management Partnership at Kaiser Permanente (2009). His book An Economy of the 99 Percent: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism will appear in October 2019.
Julien Emile-GeayAssociate Director
Expertise: Climate Dynamics; Geostatistics; Data Analysis; Data Semantics; Politics of Climate Change
Julien Emile-Geay is a climate scientist, working as an associate professor in the Earth Science department of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. His main scholarship is in mathematical paleoclimatology, leveraging records of past climates to shed light on climate system behavior on human-relevant timescales (years to centuries).
He is particularly interested in the role of the tropics in climate, and in constraining how much of climate variations arise from within, or are being triggered by external factors, natural or human. This has led him to develop various mathematical models (both stochastic and deterministic) of the climate system and its various components.
On the teaching front, Professor Emile-Geay is passionate about educating people of all levels of scientific literacy to the reality of man-made global warming, using knowledge to empower individuals to generate positive change. Recently, he has started to design curricula to inoculate students against scientific denial and misinformation.
On the outreach front, Professor Emile-Geay explores the role of free-market capitalism (as an economic paradigm and cultural force) in the current climate crisis, as well as cognitive underpinnings of the current political deadlock on climate action.
Jeremy KaganAssociate Director
Jeremy Kagan is an internationally recognized director/writer/producer with eleven feature film credits including the box-office hit Heroes, the political thriller The Big Fix, The Chosen (two time Grand Prize winner), and The Journey of Natty Gann (first U.S. film to win a Gold Prize at the Moscow Film Festival). His most recent dramatic feature SHOT is about gun violence in America (www.shotmovie.org). Among his fifteen television movies are Katherine: the Making of an American Revolutionary, HBO’s Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 ( ACE Award for Best Dramatic Special), Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up (a Golden Globe nominee), Color of Justice about racism, Bobbie’s Girl about a lesbian couple and Crown Heights which won the Humanitas Award for “affirming the dignity of every person.” He also won an Emmy for Dramatic Series Directing and has directed over thirty various dramatic episodes including West Wing. Professor Kagan produced and directed the 10 part series Freedom Files and directed the pilot for the hit series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Via his Change Making Media Lab, www.cmml-usc.org, he has made dramatic, documentary and animated films for The Doe Fund which works with the homeless. CMML has won awards for videos on women’s health, ADHD and sustainability. Professor Kagan served as the Artistic Director of Robert Redford’s Sundance Lab and has been on the National Board of the Directors Guild where he is Chairperson of its Special Projects which serves the 17,000 members with educational, cultural and technological information. His books Directors Close Up, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are published by Scarecrow Press and he has written an interactive eTextbook called Keys to Directing – www.kesytodirecting.com. He is a Graduate Fellow of the American Film Institute, and has an MFA from NYU and a BA from Harvard University. He has taught master seminars on filmmaking across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Television Academy, The Writers Guild, and The Directors Guild.
Esther MarguliesAssociate Director
Expertise: Landscape architecture; Open space and recreation equity; Landscape sustainability – water quality, water resources, habitat planning; Open space and land use; Design of parks and open spaces; School campus design
Esther Margulies, ASLA is a licensed Landscape Architect and founder of The Office of the Designed Landscape (OotDL). As a practice leader at nationally recognized firms she has led multi-disciplinary integrated teams on public realm and private sector projects including urban transit, park and mixed use projects. Her work has included award winning cultural preservation, urban storm water, K-12, planning, higher education and park projects. She is a long time advocate of a revitalized Los Angeles River serving as the co-chair of one of the first professional design charretes to re-imagine the river in the Studio City area in 1997, and the co-founder of The Los Angeles River Public Art Project.
Esther is a part time lecturer in the University of Southern California Master of Landscape Architecture program where she teaches graduate level studio, theory, and construction courses. Ms. Margulies received her undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from The Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetii as a commissioner on the West Los Angeles Planning Commission. She is a former board member of the USC Architecture Guild.
Ms. Margulies is licensed to practice landscape architecture in California and Massachusetts.
Robert McConnellAssociate Director
Expertise: Epidemiology; Environmental Health; Air Pollution
Dr. Rob McConnell is a physician and environmental epidemiologist, and Professor of Preventive Medicine. He directs the NIH/Environmental Protection Agency-supported Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center. He has studied the effects of air pollution on children’s health, including the development of asthma and lung function deficits, and early markers for cardiovascular disease. Dr. McConnell has investigated susceptibility to the effects of environmental exposures conferred by psychosocial stress and social factors, exercise, genetics and co-exposures associated with housing conditions. He has interest, in addition, in the development of methods for estimating the burden of disease associated with near-roadway air pollution and for assessing exposure in environmental epidemiology.
Currently funded research is focused on environmental determinants of autism and of obesity and its metabolic consequences in children; on respiratory hazards of e-cigarette use; and on the determinants of tobacco product use as a project director in the USC Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science. He co-directs the NIEHS T32 training program in environmental genomics and the Career Development Program of the NIEHS-supported Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center. Prior to coming to USC, he directed a World Health Organization regional environmental health center for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. McConnell is a member of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) Particulate Matter Panel. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Lawrence PalinkasAssociate Director
Expertise: Living and working in extreme environments; Psychological effects of disasters; Astronauts in space; Mental health of immigrants and refugees; Use of health services by immigrants; Obesity as a global health problem; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Depression and diabetes; Polar expeditions; Winter blues; Hurricanes; Terrorism; Earthquakes; Oil spills; School shootings
Lawrence Palinkas is the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health and Chair of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. He also holds secondary appointments as Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Preventive Medicine at USC.
A medical anthropologist, his primary areas of expertise lie within health services research, preventive medicine, and cross-cultural medicine. Dr. Palinkas is particularly interested in behavioral health, global health and health disparities, implementation science, community-based participatory research, and the sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-related behavior with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion.
His research has included studies of psychosocial adaptation to extreme environments and manmade disasters; mental health needs of older adults; cultural explanatory models of mental illness and service utilization; HIV and substance abuse prevention in Mexico; evaluation of academic-community research practice partnerships; and the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for delivery of mental health services to children, adolescents and underserved populations. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, the MacArthur Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation. Current research encompasses implementation of child and adolescent mental health services, sustainment of prevention programs and initiatives and effects of climate change on vulnerable populations. He also provides expertise to students and colleagues in the use of qualitative and mixed research methods.
Among his scholarly achievements are the Antarctic Service Medal by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Navy in 1989; deputy chief officer of the Life Sciences Standing Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in 2002; chair of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s External Advisory Council in 2003; co-lead of the Social Work Grand Challenge on Strengthening Social Responses to Environmental Change; and membership on committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Palinkas is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Social Welfare and Social Work, a fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, American Anthropological Association and Society for Applied Anthropology, and the author of more than 380 publications.
Gale SinatraAssociate Director
Expertise: Climate science education; Evolution education; Public understanding of science; Literacy
Dr. Gale M. Sinatra is the Stephen H. Crocker Professor of Psychology and Education at Rossier. She is currently serving as the President of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 15 (Educational Psychology) (https://apadiv15.org/). She serves as Associate Editor of the APA journal, Psychological Bulletin. She is a Fellow of APA, American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Society for Text and Discourse. Her areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, STEM learning, conceptual change learning, and the public understanding of science.
Sinatra heads the Motivated Change Research Lab at USC (https://www.motivatedchangelab.com/), the mission of which is understanding the cognitive, motivational, and emotional processes that lead to attitude change, conceptual change, and successful STEM learning. Her areas of expertise include climate science education, evolution education, conceptual change learning, and the public understanding of science. Sinatra’s model of conceptual change learning describes how motivational factors contribute to the likelihood that individuals will change their thinking about a scientific topic.Sinatra currently serves as Co-PI on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Re-Living Paleontology: Studying How Augmented Reality Immersion and Interaction Impact Engagement and Communicating Science. In collaboration with her partners at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and the Natural History Museum, the project team is building an AR exhibit at La Brea Tar Pitts and Museum to support visitor’s engagement with science. She is also currently working on a co-authored volume on public understanding of science with her collaborator, Dr. Barbara Hofer of Middlebury College, VT to be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.
Sustainability Solutions Hubs – Leadership Team
Frank ZerunyanLos Angeles
Expertise: Local governments; Public-private partnerships; Governance; Leadership; Executive education; Legal profession; Rule of law; California redevelopment; Negotiation; International public policy
Frank Vram Zerunyan, JD is a Professor of the Practice of Governance at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Director of Executive Education at USC Price Bedrosian Center on Governance and The Neely Center for Ethical Leadership and Decision Making, an Interdisciplinary Center of USC Marshall, USC Viterbi and USC Price (DECIDE). His key areas of expertise include Local Governments, Public Private Partnerships, Civic and Ethical Leadership, Land Use, Regulation, Negotiation and Executive Education. He teaches graduate courses on Collaborative Governance, Business and Public Policy, International Issues in Public Policy, Negotiation, Place Institutions and Governance as well as International Laboratory. Frank lectures locally and globally to build capacity and foster leadership among public executives worldwide. For his influential work over the past five years in Armenia, he was awarded LL.D. Doctor of Laws – Honoris Causa by the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia.
Frank is a three term Mayor and still serving Council member in the City of Rolling Hills Estates, California. In his role as a public official, after serving as Chair of the Planning Commission in Rolling Hills Estates, Frank was elected to the City Council in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015. He previously served and continues to serve on various regional public boards, including law enforcement, sanitation, technology and transit. He has chaired and continues to chair select city government committees in Rolling Hills Estates. Frank’s public service on various local government policy committees extends statewide with the California League of Cities, California Contract Cities Association and Southern California Association of Governments. In 2008, Frank was elected and assumed a leadership role as the 52nd President of California Contracts Cities Association, the second largest municipal organization in the state of California with approximately 70 member cities and 7 million residents.
As a gubernatorial appointee under Governor Schwarzenegger, Frank was a state regulator serving on the Medical Board of California in the Department of Consumer Affairs. He was elected by the Board to serve as its Vice President.
In January of 2013, Frank was appointed to an ad hoc experts committee on capacity building in public administration at the United Nations Division for Public Administration and Development Management in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In that capacity, he lectures and conducts capacity building seminars at UN headquarters in New York as well as at UN Forums around the world. Frank was recently appointed to the Editorial Council of the Public Administration Scientific Journal for the Republic Armenia.
Frank has more than 30 years of comprehensive and multi-sectorial experience as a lawyer, judge pro tem, author, consultant, director, board member, professor and public servant. Frank has been honored as one of Southern California Magazine’s Super Lawyers since 2004, The Legal Network’s Top Lawyers in California, Marquis’ Who’s Who in America and American Law and Government institutions like the California Assembly, the California Senate, the County of Los Angeles and various city governments for his leadership in the public sector. In the not-for-profit sector, Frank chaired the Daniel Freeman Hospitals Foundation in 2001-02 and oversaw the successful distribution of $8 million in gifts. He has acted as a policy advisor and counsel to the Armenian National Committee of America in Washington DC. Frank also served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the worldwide Armenian Bar Association. As a lawyer, he is licensed to practice law in California, District of Columbia (inactive), Courts of International Trade, Federal Courts in the 9th Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Frank earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence (Doctor of Laws) degree from Western State University College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Long Beach. He also completed his advanced legal studies in Corporate Taxation at the University of Southern California Law Center (USC Gould).
David HeresMexico City
David HeresMexico City
Claudio LucindaSao Paulo
Expertise: Empirical Industrial Organization; Applied Microeconomics; Energy Economics
Claudio Ribeiro de Lucinda is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accounting at the University of São Paulo. He holds an MSc and a PhD in Business Economics from Getulio Vargas Foundation, and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago and USC. He held teaching positions at Getulio Vargas Foundation and IBMEC, possessing wide academic experience, as well as having done consulting in his research interests and organization of specific industries. His research won the Haralambos Simeonidis Prize for the Best Published Paper in Brazil in 2013, about the “Green Car Rebate” in Sweden.