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Faculty member named associate director of Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future

Alex TravisAlex Travis, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Edwin “Todd” Cowen, professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will join the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) as associate directors on July 1. Cowen will replace Jefferson Tester, Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems, as associate director of energy; Travis will succeed Drew Harvell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, as associate director of environment.

Travis’s research takes two approaches to wildlife conservation. His lab develops techniques of assisted reproduction that can help preserve the genetic diversity of endangered species in captive breeding programs. Recently, Travis made news as the first in the Western Hemisphere to successfully reproduce a dog from a frozen embryo. In work that earned him a Pioneer Award from the NIH, Travis extended his studies of sperm to nanobio-technology for producing biological energy and medical diagnostics. Travis also uses his training as a veterinarian to preserve wildlife in the field, working at the interface of biodiversity conservation and human poverty and hunger. Collaborating with faculty from all over campus inspired Travis to found the Cornell Center for Wildlife Conservation, launched in 2008 with the help of the Atkinson Center.

“Todd and Alex have been involved with ACSF from our early days, including leading our faculty advisory board,” ACSF director Frank DiSalvo remarked. “They bring a wealth of experience, enthusiasm, and ideas to the associate director positions. I am delighted that they will be part of our leadership team.”

The Atkinson Center’s three associate directors lead ACSF’s tightly linked programs in energy, environment, and economic development. Cowen and Travis will partner with Wendy Wolford, Polson Professor of Development Sociology, who joined the Atkinson Center last summer as the associate director for economic development, the third pillar of the “three Es.”

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