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ISSE develops policies, technologies, and educational programs that respond to pressing environmental and security issues. ISSE’s centers, programs, and initiatives cut across multiple disciplines, engage the university’s research faculty and staff, and address issues of environmental sustainability.

ISSE’s specialized centers, programs, and initiatives address the many issues that relate to sustainability. ISSE houses Tennessee Water Resource Research Center, East Tennessee Clean Fuels, Methane Center, International Research Coordination Network to Create Transdisciplinary Nodes of Food-Energy-Water to Support Sustainable Urban Systems (FEWSUS), and the Appalachian Leadership Institute. Sponsored by federal and state agencies as well as local organizations and companies, they conduct research and provide education and outreach for water, energy, and economic sustainability.

Khalid Alshibli Qiang He Scott Lenaghan

ISSE Selects 2021 Seed Grant Projects

ISSE has awarded three seed grants to research projects related to environmental sustainability that have potential for external funding. The aim of this seed grant is to support project teams as they develop the capability to secure external funding. ISSE expects the funded teams to submit at least one external grant proposal and one article to a peer-reviewed publication with necessary acknowledgement to ISSE. Funding began on January 1, 2021 and will terminate on December 30, 2021.

Project Title PI Co-PI Department
Geochemical Interaction between CO2 and Caprock for safe Carbon Sequestration Khalid Alshibli Nicholas Dygert Civil & Environmental Engineering, 
Earth & Planetary Science
Toward Precision Environmental Health Risk Management: Feasibility of Personalized Exposome Monitoring Qiang He Courtney Cronley, Shuai Li Civil & Environmental Engineering,
Social Work
Bioengineering of the Duckweed Plastid Genome: A Model Plant for Aquatic Bioremediation Scott Lenaghan Barry Bruce Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology,
Food Science


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UT Joins Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute CyManII

The desire of businesses, industry leaders, and even whole countries to gain advantages over their rivals by finding out secret information has not changed much in three centuries, even as those efforts have evolved from in-person spying, to intercepting communications, to cyber attacks.

Now, UT has joined a new institute aimed at stopping such disruptions: the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111-million, US Department of Energy (DOE)-backed, public-private partnership led by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

UT’s lead researcher with CyManII is ISE Professor Mingzhou Jin, Director of ISSE. Jin leads at a UT team of experts in cybersecurity, supply chain resiliency, automation, and energy efficiency to better secure vital US industries and initiatives.

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Joshua Fu selected as AAAS Fellow

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently selected Joshua Fu, the John D. Tickle Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, as an AAAS Fellow. In its announcement, the organization noted Fu’s “distinguished contributions to the field of air quality and climate modeling and informing national and international management and policies involving these issues.”

Early in his career, Dr. Fu decided to devote his career to protecting the environment. His current research focuses on climate-change impacts on energy infrastructure, air pollution, water availability, public health, and extreme events like heat waves, floods, and droughts, and has worked with NASA, the United Nations, and the Arctic Council.

“To have a faculty member chosen as an AAAS Fellow is a wonderful honor for Dr. Fu and a reflection of the high-quality, impactful work that he is doing,” said Janis Terpenny, Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair at the University of Tennessee.

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Teaching Project Serves Tennessee’s Appalachian Communities

For 20 years, students in UT Knoxville's sustainable communities course have served dozens of Tennessee's Appalachian communities.

For nearly his entire two-decade career at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tim Ezzell (’88, ’96, ’02) has taken students in his sustainable communities course into the heart of Tennessee’s Appalachian communities to serve.

“Tennessee is a land-grant institution,” says Ezzell, a research assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment. “We’re supported by every taxpayer in the state, and we believe we should be serving all of them.”

The sustainable communities course is the university’s contribution to the larger Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP), a federal applied research program for Appalachian college students. The project, which celebrates 20 years this fall, is a partnership between about a dozen universities across as many states. UT has been a partner since the ATP first launched in 2001.

ISSE Annual Report to
Tennessee Higher Education Commission online

report cover

2020 ISSE Annual Magazine is online