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  • Michael Greenstone
    Director, EPIC; Director, Becker Friedman Institute; Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School

    Michael Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School, as well as the Director of the Becker Friedman Institute and the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. 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

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

    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.

    Lindsay Iversen
    Deputy Director

    Lindsay Iversen is the Deputy Director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). Prior to joining EPIC, she was the Associate Director, Climate and Resources at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a leading foreign policy think tank, where she played a central role in CFR’s work on climate change, food security and water security. She previously served as Special Assistant to the President, Research for CFR’s president, Richard Haass. In that role, she was the lead researcher on Haass’s 2013 book, “Foreign Policy Begins at Home,” and a member of a small team leading peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. Iversen also has worked as a consultant to the agricultural development program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and conducted research for several UK-based organizations working on conflict and development issues. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

    Anant Sudarshan
    Executive Director, South Asia

    Anant Sudarshan is the Executive Director (South Asia) for EPIC. He is also a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Economics, University of Chicago. Prior to working at EPIC, Anant was the Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Fellow in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He received his PhD in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and he holds undergraduate and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) and Stanford University respectively.

    Anant works at the intersection of environmental economics and engineering, with on-going research on a variety of areas including environmental regulation, air-pollution, climate change, energy efficiency, electricity and renewable energy. His present work includes collaboration with India’s Ministry for Environment and Forests to design and evaluate a pilot emissions trading program to regulate industrial air pollution. He is also working with the Government of Bihar on electricity distribution reforms designed to reduce losses and enhance the supply of power.

    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.

    Media Inquires:

    Bethel Haile
    Program Director, Predoctoral Research Programs, EPIC; Program Director, Predoctoral Research Programs, Becker Friedman Institute
    Marguerite Huber
    Communications and Campus Engagement Manager

    Marguerite Huber is the Communications and Campus Engagement Manager at EPIC. Prior to joining EPIC, Marguerite worked at American Institutes for Research, where she relayed a variety of scientific information to targeted audiences. Previously, Marguerite performed communications and outreach for the non-profit Conserve Lake County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Management and a M.P.A. in Sustainable Development from Indiana 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.

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