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  • Michael Greenstone
    Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics; Director, EPIC

    Michael Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School, as well as the Director of the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He was formerly the Director of the Becker Friedman Institute. He previously served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he co-led the development of the United States Government’s social cost of carbon. Greenstone also directed The Hamilton Project, which studies policies to promote economic growth, and has since joined its Advisory Council. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a former editor of the Journal of Political Economy. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Greenstone was the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT.

    Greenstone’s research, which has influenced policy globally, is largely focused on uncovering the benefits and costs of environmental quality and society’s energy choices. His current work is particularly focused on testing innovative ways to increase energy access and improve the efficiency of environmental regulations around the world. Additionally, he is producing empirically grounded estimates of the local and global impacts of climate change as a co-director of the Climate Impact Lab. He also created the Air Quality Life Index that provides a measure of the gain in life expectancy communities would experience if their particulates air pollution concentrations are brought into compliance with global or national standards.

    Greenstone received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and a BA in economics with High Honors from Swarthmore College.


    PODCAST: Michael Greenstone On Environmental Economics … And Basketball

    Robert Rosner
    William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in the departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics; Founding Co-Director, EPIC

    Robert Rosner is a theoretical physicist, on the faculty of the University of Chicago since 1987, where he is the William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in the departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, as well as in the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. He served as Argonne National Laboratory’s Chief Scientist and Associate Laboratory Director for Physical, Biological and Computational Sciences (2002-05), and was Argonne’s Laboratory Director from 2005-09; he was the founding chair of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratory Directors’ Council (2007-09). His degrees are all in physics (BA, Brandeis University; PhD, Harvard University). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, and to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (as a Foreign Member) in 2004; he is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

    Most of his scientific work has been related to fluid dynamics and plasma physics problems, as well as in applied mathematics and computational physics, especially in the development of modern high-performance computer simulation tools, with a particular interest in complex systems (ranging from astrophysical systems to nuclear fission reactors). Within the past few years, he has been increasingly involved in energy technologies, and in the public policy issues that relate to the development and deployment of various energy production and consumption technologies, including especially nuclear energy, the electrification of transport, and energy use in urban environments. He is the founding director of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC), located at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, Booth School of Business and Social Sciences Division of the University of Chicago.

    Robert H. Topel
    Founding Co-Director, EPIC; Isadore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Distinguished Service Professor, Booth School of Business

    Robert H. Topel conducts research on many areas of economics including labor economics, industrial organization and antitrust, business strategy, health economics, energy economics, national security economics, economic growth, and public policy. He is the Director of the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State and Co-Director of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago.

    Topel is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, an elected member of the Conference for Research on Income and Wealth, an elected founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and a member of the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity. He has held visiting and research positions at a number of institutions, including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the World Bank, the Economics Research Center of the National Opinion Research Center, and the Rand Corporation.

    Topel and fellow Chicago Booth faculty member Kevin Murphy won the 2007 Kenneth J. Arrow Award for the best research paper in health economics. The award is given annually by the International Health Economics Association. They were cited for their paper “The Value of Health and Longevity,” published in the Journal of Political Economy. In their paper, Murphy and Topel found that cumulative gains in life expectancy after 1900 were worth more than $1.2 million to the average American in 2000, whereas post-1970 gains added about $3.2 trillion per year to national wealth, equal to about half of gross domestic product (GDP). Potential gains from future health improvements are also large, they found. For example, a one percent reduction in cancer mortality would be worth $500 billion.

    Topel is the author of several books. These include The Welfare State in Transition with Richard Freeman and Birgitta Swedenborg, Labor Market Data and Measurement with John Haltiwanger and Marilyn Manser, and Measuring the Gains from Medical Research: An Economic Approach with Kevin M. Murphy. Topel has written more than 60 articles and monographs in professional journals.

    From 1993 to 2003 he served as editor of the Journal of Political Economy, and from 1991 to 1993 he was a member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review, the two leading professional journals in economics. Topel was also a founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics. In 2004, he was elected an inaugural Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists, and the following year he received the Research America Eugene Garfield Prize for Medical and Health Research.

    Topel has been at the University of Chicago since 1979, with the exception of an appointment as a professor of economics at UCLA in 1986. In 2006, he was the Kirby Distinguished Visiting Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University. He is also a founding partner of Chicago Partners, LLC.

    He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1974 and a PhD in economics from UCLA in 1980.

    Bala Srinivasan
    Chair, EPIC Asia Advisory Group

    Balaji Srinivasan is chair of the EPIC Asia Advisory Group. He is also the President of Cumberland Labs, a blockchain incubator associated with DRW. Previously, he was the Deputy Provost; Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, and Strategy; and Chief International Officer at the University of Chicago. In that role, Dr. Srinivasan worked with University leadership and faculty in science, engineering, and technology to help coordinate and integrate the activities, external representation, and support at the University of those fields. In addition, he oversaw University efforts in growing programs and presence with non-traditional students, advanced leadership development programs across various levels of University administration, and worked with the Booth School of Business to provide oversight of entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the Polsky Center. Prior to his tenure at the University of Chicago, Dr. Srinivasan was a Managing Director at Och-Ziff Capital Management, based in India and Hong Kong. He served as Executive Director and Vice President, Goldman Sachs Hong Kong, and worked at Jardine Fleming in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago

    Sam Ori
    Executive Director, EPIC; Executive Director, Becker Friedman Institute

    Sam Ori is the Executive Director at EPIC and the Becker Friedman Institute. From 2013 to 2015, he served as Executive Vice President at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a Washington, DC-based organization dedicated to reducing American oil dependence in order to enhance economic and national security. From 2007 to 2013, Sam led SAFE’s policy…

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    Christa Hasenkopf
    Director, Clean Air Program, EPIC

    Christa Hasenkopf is the Director of the Clean Air Program at EPIC. Her career focuses on efforts that open up information, resources, and networks so that more people in more places can help make the air they breathe healthier. Previously, she co-founded and was the CEO of OpenAQ, an environmental tech non-profit, which fosters a global community around the world’s largest open database of air quality information. She has also served as the Chief Air Pollution Advisor to the Office of Medical Services at the US Department of State and in multiple positions at the US Agency for International Development. Hasenkopf received a PhD in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado and a BS in Astronomy & Astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University.

    Ashwin Rode
    Director, Scientific Research

    Ashwin Rode is director, scientific research in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. At EPIC, he is working on the Global Climate Prospectus, a multidisciplinary endeavor that will assess climate change impacts around the world. His other research areas include the political economy of environmental and climate policy and natural resource management. Ashwin received an A.B. in Economics from the University of Chicago, an M.S. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Vicki Ekstrom High
    Senior Director, Communications and External Engagement

    Vicki Ekstrom High is the Senior Director for Communications and External Engagement for EPIC. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Vicki created and led the media and public relations efforts for the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. She was also a speechwriter for the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, and a Press Secretary for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship under the chairmanships of Senators Mary Landrieu and John Kerry. Vicki started her career in Washington D.C. as the national beat reporter for the Bangor Daily News.

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    Erin Adcock
    Director of Development and Alumni Relations, EPIC; Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics
    Erin Adcock is Director of Development and Alumni Relations with the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics and EPIC. She previously served as the Director of Development at Rutgers Business School and Director of Foundation Relations at Rochester Institute of Technology. Adcock is passionate about promoting higher education and cutting-edge research through philanthropy. She holds an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Utah.
    Michelle Skinner
    Program Director, Pre-doctoral Research Programs

    Michelle Skinner is the Program Director for the Pre-doctoral Fellows Program for the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), responsible for the hiring and development of BFI’s and EPIC’s Research Professionals. Michelle has been at the University of Chicago since 2013 and worked in range of departments from the Humanities Division to College Housing. Before joining BFI, Michelle managed the Research Staff program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Michelle is also the co-director of Pathways to Research and Doctoral Careers (PREDOC), a consortium of universities and research institutions working to foster a talented, diverse, and inclusive population in the quantitative social sciences. She is an alumna of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago.

    Sativa Volbrecht
    Campus Engagement Manager

    Sativa is a Campus Engagement Manager, creating events and programming for students interested in climate, energy, and sustainability. Prior to EPIC, she worked to get youth invested in protecting Chicago’s ecosystems. As a student, her internships with NOAA, Shoal’s Marine Laboratory, and the Lincoln Park Zoo focused on getting her community involved with climate and the environment. In 2020, she was accepted into the Future Leaders Climate Summit held by the Aspen Institute. She earned both her B.A. and M.S. at the University of Chicago.

    Mollie Freeman
    Communications and Digital Marketing Manager

    Mollie is the Communications and Digital Marketing Manager for EPIC. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Mollie led digital marketing efforts at the World Resources Institute’s climate, forests, and food programs. As a student, Mollie supported several communications teams including the Robert R. McCormick Foundation at Cantigny Park, HAVI, and the University of Galway’s press office. She earned her B.A. in Journalism, Spanish, and Political Science & Sociology at the University of Galway. She also holds an M.S. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Julio Córdova
    Multimedia & Graphic Design Manager
  • Tanushree Ganguly
    Director, Air Quality Life Index (AQLI)

    Tanushree’s career efforts focus on strengthening data-driven air quality decision making, and unpacking challenges in implementing national-level policies at local levels. She started her career in technical consulting as a consultant with Illingworth and Rodkin Inc, an air quality and acoustic consulting firm. Following which, she worked as a researcher with New-Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment, exploring the foundations of India’s National Clean Air Programme and clean air planning in multiple Indian cities. Prior to joining AQLI, Tanushree led the Clean Air Programme at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and supported multiple states and municipalities in charting pathways towards meeting their clean air ambitions. Tanushree has a graduate degree in Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

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