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Meet new faculty member and alumnus Michael Puglisi

Michael Puglisi

Michael Puglisi

Michael Puglisi has come full circle. Having received his PhD in nutritional sciences from UConn in 2008, he worked in research labs in Nashville, Tennessee, and on public health initiatives in Brooklyn, New York, and North Carolina. Now he is returning to UConn as an assistant extension professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and coordinating the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) for the state of Connecticut.

Where did you get your degrees?

I received my BS degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware, my MS in nutrition in sports and chronic disease from Virginia Tech and my PhD at UConn in nutritional sciences. It’s good to be back at UConn!

What did you do before you came to UConn?

I went through the whole spectrum of the field of nutrition. After graduating from UConn, I went to Vanderbilt University and completed a post-doc in inflammation and the effects on insulin sensitivity and how different dietary fatty acids affect that. So, I went from human research to animal and cell research.

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Researchers examine road salt contamination in groundwater and wells

Road Salt Contamination

Deicing salt on the permeable pavement in front of Augustus Storrs Hall, a potential source of groundwater contamination causing mobilization of radium and radon.

Road salt is inescapable during a Northeast winter. Applied as a deicer, it helps prevent accidents, slips and falls. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, accelerating melting and keeping ice from forming when temperatures drop. Despite the benefits to transportation and safety, road salt has serious environmental impacts and presents hazards to human health. Researchers at UConn have recently completed two studies on the Storrs campus, examining how deicers interact with areas surrounding permeable surfaces and discovering a potential radioactive danger.

Mostly a combination of sodium and chloride, road salt chemicals can flow into surface and ground water impacting aquifers, wells, wildlife, flora and drinking water. While these effects have long been publicized, road salt continues to be heavily used due to its low cost and a lack of viable alternatives. The increased use of storm water management systems, particularly in urban settings, has renewed questions about how these contaminants travel and affect the neighboring environment.

A team of UConn researchers, including Professor Gary Robbins of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE), Assistant Extension Educator Dr. Mike Dietz of the Department of Extension and Connecticut Sea Grant and NRE graduate students Derek Angel and Lukas McNaboe, investigated how the installation of one popular storm water management system, permeable asphalt, affects road salt contamination of groundwater. Connecticut Sea Grant funded the initial phase of the research. (more…)

Image of the week

Since 1980, the DEEP Wildlife Division’s “Connecticut Bluebird Project” has been distributing rough-cut lumber to organized groups to construct, install, and maintain bluebird nest boxes. This annual program has been highly successful in generating tens of thousands of bluebird boxes and helping restore bluebird populations statewide. Photo: Paul J. Fusco /DEEP Wildlife Division

CAHNR in the news

newspaper readersSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

USA Today. 2-23-17. Published an article about research that indicated public secondary schools have more athletic trainer services than private schools. Alicia Pike, the associate director of research in the Korey Stringer Institute and the main author of the research paper, performed and published the research with other KSI staff.

UConn Today. 3-6-17. Referred to a recently published study about  a community campaign for better beverage choices. Co-authors of the study include Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Professor Jennifer Harris and Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics Associate Professor Tatiana Andreyeva, who are also part of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Related articles: CNN. 3-6-17. Gave details of how Howard County, Maryland  reduced sugary drink consumption after reaching out to the Rudd Center for help with their campaign. Medical Research. 3-8-17. Interviewed the director of the Rudd Center, Marlene Schwartz. (more…)

Historical image of the week

Class of 1897