University of Iowa College of Engineering Associate Professor David Cwiertny is the new director of the UI Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC).
With his appointment, which took effect Oct. 15, Cwiertny succeeds CHEEC Associate Director Peter Weyer, who has served as interim director since July 2015.
CHEEC, part of the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), supports and conducts research to identify, measure and study adverse health outcomes related to exposure to environmental toxins. The center was established through the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act and has focused its efforts to date mainly on drinking water contaminants.
“We’re grateful for the years of wonderful stellar service Peter has provided CHEEC as its director, and equally pleased to see someone with David’s experience take the helm,” said John Keller, interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Dean of the UI Graduate College.
Cwiertny wears many hats at the UI. He is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering; an Associate Faculty Research Engineer with IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering; Director of the Environmental Policy Research Program in the UI Public Policy Center (also part of OVPR&ED); Director of the Sustainable Water Development Program; and a researcher in both the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute, established by OVPR&ED in 2006, and the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center in the College of Public Health.
As a Congressional Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) this past academic year, he served as minority staff for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In his research, Cwiertny explores the risks and impacts of unregulated pollutants in the environment and also develops new technologies to better protect precious water resources. Cwiertny and a team of UI researchers were recently awarded a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program at the UI, which launched this fall.
Cwiertny holds a doctorate in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor of science in environmental engineering science from the University of California, Berkeley.