Princeton Environmental Institute

Friday, Apr 15, 2011


Founded in 1994, the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) is the interdisciplinary center of environmental research, education and outreach at Princeton University.

PEI’s mission is to advance knowledge and to develop the next generation of leadership by providing outstanding academic programs and opportunities for advanced scholarship, research and civic engagement. The institute draws its strength from more than 60 members of the Princeton faculty, representing more than 18 academic disciplines, whose research and teaching focuses on the scientific, technical, policy and human dimensions of environmental issues.

PEI's principal research centers address complex issues surrounding global change; energy and climate; biogeochemical cycles; molecular geochemistry; biodiversity; conservation; environmental science and policy; infectious disease and global health; and sustainable development in impoverished and resource-challenged regions of the world.

In the field of energy and climate, the Carbon Mitigation InitiatResearchers in geoscientist Francois Morel’s group set up on-deck incubation tanks on a research vessel in the Gulf of Alaska to investigate the effect of ocean acidification on phytoplankton ecology. The project is part of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative’s effort to study the impacts of global change on the biosphere. (Photo by Dalin Shi)ive (CMI) -- a 15-yearlong partnership among Princeton University, BP and Ford Motor Company – aims to find solutions to the carbon and climate problem. The program involves over seventy faculty, research associates and graduate students from the sciences, engineering and policy fields. CMI’s research groups are aligned around projects in climate science, energy technology and carbon capture, carbon storage, and integration and policy.

Exploring biodiversity, the Center for BioComplexity is home to two complementary projects supported by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency -- "From microstates to macrodynamics: A new mathematics of biology" and "Predictive Biology: Adaptability, Robustness and the fundamental Laws of Biology." These multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary efforts involve researchers at a number of institutions in the United States and around the world, and disciplines from basic topology to dynamical systems, from cell biology to ecosystem science. Its focus is the development of new mathematical approaches to complexity in biology, looking for both unification and uniqueness across levels of organization.

Chemistry professors John Groves (left) and Josh Rabinowitz (right) are leading an effort that aims to discover and implement novel strategies for the detection and prevention of tuberculosis in humans. (Groves photo by Brian Wilson; Rabinowitz image courtesy of Josh Rabinowitz)Striving to improve human health and wellbeing around the globe, the Health Grand Challenge focuses on the complex and pressing problems of infectious disease around the world, and specifically its impact on developing countries. The cooperative -- part of the Grand Challenges Initiative of PEI, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs -- bridges the natural and social sciences by examining multiple dimensions of disease ecology, management, treatment, and prevention, and by seeking solutions through scientific, technical, and health policy investigations.

Additional information about these research efforts, other PEI interdisciplinary research centers and recent environmental research news is available on the PEI website.