Photo credit: Temple University
Michel Boufadel, PhD, a notable voice in the investigation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and BP’s Deep Water Horizon (DWH) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, has been appointed to the faculty of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He will also direct the NJIT Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection. His talents will join those of more than 20 new faculty members and add momentum to NJIT’s strategic plan for making a major impact on the quality of life in the 21st century. This interdisciplinary initiative is focused on three vital areas: convergent life science and engineering, “digital everyware” — ubiquitous computing — and sustainable systems.
The women and men joining NJIT to serve a growing student body bring expertise that spans diverse supporting clusters. These include advanced manufacturing, architecture design and construction, big data, biochemistry, business systems, material science and engineering, and sensing and control.
“NJIT’s academic status and interdisciplinary strategy have attracted people at various stages of their careers, and who offer NJIT both distinctive abilities and new resources,” says Provost Ian Gatley. “Enthusiasm for NJIT’s interdisciplinary commitment was apparent during the search process. Everyone interviewed spoke about how the problems they work on are inherently interdisciplinary, how they like to work on teams, how they look forward to collaborating with colleagues across disciplines.”
Donald Sebastian, NJIT’s senior vice president for research and development, emphasizes that connecting with real-world issues is at the heart of expectations for a technological research university. “Academic disciplines are the core of the university and the framework for learning. However, their alignment with industries of the future is not as obvious as with those sectors that have prevailed over the last century. Our strategic research thrusts are designed to make those 21st-century connections explicit.” Convergent life science and engineering, digital everyware and sustainable systems — themes that transcend departments or colleges — shaped NJIT’s hiring plan, he adds.
Boufadel is an expert in the field of oil spill research and currently serves on the National Research Committee studying the DWH Blow-Out. He was formerly a professor at Temple University, chairing its department of civil and environmental engineering plus directing the Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection.
A Professional Engineer and Professional Hydrologist (accredited by the American Institute of Hydrology), Boufadel is a familiar face at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where he currently serves on the EPA Science Advisory Board for natural gas extraction from shale formations.
Boufadel’s projects include floodplain delineation for FEMA and checking contamination in urban streams. He was involved in the response to the DWH blowout and has received funding from the Unified Command to evaluate oil biodegradation in the Gulf of Mexico beaches following the blowout. The findings of that project can be found in the Report of the Operation Science Advisory Team, which he co-authored. He was the report’s only academic.
Boufadel has more than 80 refereed articles in publications such as Nature, Geosciences, Environmental Science and Technology, and the Marine Pollution Bulletin. He also has more than 30 publications in oil spill conference proceedings including the International Oil Spill Conference and the Arctic and Marine Oil Spill Conference.