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Inaugural Science Gallery Atlanta research fellows named
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Rajee Suri
Madeleine Hackney and Eri Saikawa

Emory University faculty members Eri Saikawa (left) and Madeleine Hackney have been named the inaugural recipients of the Science Gallery Atlanta Faculty Research Fellowships.

Emory University faculty members Madeleine Hackney and Eri Saikawa have been named the inaugural recipients of the Science Gallery Atlanta Faculty Research Fellowships.

The fellowship is given to scientists who will further research in the Science Gallery network through scholarship that blends the arts and sciences. Fellows are selected to champion the Science Gallery Atlanta mission to strengthen public engagement in the science and the arts.

“Professors Hackney and Saikawa exemplify the spirit of Emory’s new research fellowship program,” says Deborah Bruner, Emory’s senior vice president for research. “Their demonstrated commitment to multidisciplinary research, combined with their longstanding participation in community-based scholarship, will advance the vision of Science Gallery Atlanta.”

Hackney is an associate professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory School of Medicine and a research health scientist with the Atlanta Veterans Administration’s (VA) Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation. Prior to earning her PhD in movement science, she was a professional contemporary and ballroom dancer with international performance credits. Her personal experience of overcoming injury using nontraditional methods inspired her to study neural motor control and sensorimotor rehabilitation.

Today, Hackney creates physical and educational interventions to address motor and cognitive impairments. She has developed an innovative program of adapted Argentine tango for people with Parkinson’s disease, a program that has since been tailored for other older adult populations. With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the VA, Hackney is author or coauthor of more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and is frequently cited in her field. Since 2014, she has also worked on the DREAM On program, which increases opportunities for seniors from diverse backgrounds to participate in and influence the research process.

A committed mentor, Hackney helps her students become problem solvers who work across science, art, technology and design. As a Science Gallery Atlanta fellow, she will put her outreach and scientific translation skills to work supporting exhibits and public programs that bridge the arts and sciences, and foster innovation.

Saikawa is an associate professor of environmental sciences in Emory College of Arts and Sciences with a joint appointment in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. She is also a director of science, policy and community-based research at the Resilience and Sustainability Collaboratory. After earning her PhD in science, technology and environmental policy, she held postdoctoral appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Emory faculty in 2013.

An interdisciplinary environmental researcher, Saikawa specializes in the source and magnitude of emissions linked to air pollution, ozone depletion and climate change, as well as the societal and policy-related implications of these emissions. Her research is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies.

Saikawa’s current research includes examining soil greenhouse gas emissions from different agricultural practices, testing low-cost air quality sensors for measuring air quality, and quantifying the impact of burning plastic on regional air quality and health in Guatemala. In metro Atlanta, her discovery of lead contamination in the soil of the Westside neighborhood gave rise to widespread community advocacy and political action on the dangers of lead exposure and the need to provide a safe environment for all children.

As a Science Gallery Atlanta fellow, Saikawa will invite students into participatory research that examines environmental justice in Atlanta’s neighborhoods, and she will collaborate with artists to increase public awareness of air pollution and other effects of climate change. She envisions Science Gallery Atlanta as a place where researchers, students and local community members can come together to develop solutions.

Read more about the research fellowship program.

In January 2020, Emory became the eighth member of the Science Gallery Network, a global coalition of leading research universities committed to public engagement at the intersection of science and art.

Emory’s first exhibition titled “Hooked” will launch at Atlanta’s historic Pullman Yards in spring 2022 and focus on addiction and recovery.

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