Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry

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Arani Chanda Named Science Communication Fellow

photo of Arani ChandaCarnegie Mellon University doctoral candidate Arani Chanda will be among ten scientists helping to increase public awareness of environmental health science as part of a new program that aims to promote research findings.

Sponsored by the non-profit organization Environmental Health Sciences (EHS), the first Science Communication Fellows program will assist in identifying important new research regarding health and the environment. The fellows will help translate the findings so they are more accessible to working reporters and a broader public audience.

As a Science Communication Fellow, Chanda will be trained to act as an interface between scientists, EHS writers and other journalists. He will not only work to put new research into context and identify its significance, but will also need to translate scientific language and ideas into accessible articles.

“We help present scientific results in a way that almost anyone can understand,” said Chanda, who has been involved with Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry. “We try to be neutral. We give people both sides of an argument and allow them to choose for themselves.”

EHS releases daily environmental news on its site It also releases in-depth scientific articles and discussions on

As part of their duties, the fellows review research publications along with the editors at EHS. This dialogue allows the scientists to advocate defend what they see as important new information. As the only chemist in the group, Chanda has a unique experience. “We come from different fields and our interests are different. They question things I could never have thought to question. This is all part of the learning experience for me.”

The fellows were chosen by a selection committee of seven prominent scientists from an array of disciplines and universities. This committee based their decisions on candidates’ involvement with both science and language.

While at Carnegie Mellon, Chanda has worked on novel oxidation catalysts using innovative green chemistry principles. These catalysts, called iron tetra-amido macrocyclic ligands -- Fe-TAMLs for short -- serve as models to study how oxidative enzymes behave chemically. He successfully used the catalysts to remove the smell, color and organic pollutants from wastewater.

Earlier this year, Chanda received the Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award from the American Chemical Society, Division of Environmental Chemistry, for his work with Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry.

Maria Zayas
April 3, 2007