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Alumni head “Back to the Future”

December 06, 2012

It was standing room only at the sold-out “Back to the Future” conference on November 27 at The Harmonie Club in New York City. The event attracted some 300 alumni, parents, and friends to hear about the achievements of faculty working to counter obesity, treat Alzheimer's disease, broaden perspectives about South Asia, and bioengineer silk-like thread.

The conference was spearheaded by host committee co-chairs and volunteers Arlene Maidman, A90, and Teri Volpert, J84, without whom the event would not have been such a success. Thanks also goes to the entire host committee. See the full list.



The faculty selected to speak exemplified the very best of Tufts, having been recognized by The New York Times, the MacArthur Foundation, First Lady Michelle Obama, and others. Topics featured:

Treating Alzheimer's Disease: A Pre-Clinical Perspective
Dr. Philip Haydon, the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and chair of neuroscience, has integrated state-of-the-art imaging technologies into his research, including the development of novel technologies that have resulted in the creation of spin-off companies.


Watch Miriam Nelson's full presentation


Philip Haydon, Ph.D., speaks at the conference


Fiorenzo Omenetto and David Kaplan talk about silk


Watch Ayesha Jalal's "Teaching South Asia at Tufts: Why It Matters"

Obesity in America: Turning it Around
Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., is a professor at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founder and director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention. She is also the co-director of ChildObesity180. She has published nine books, including Strong Women Stay Young, and her research was the foundation for the nationwide StrongWomen Program.

The New Silk: A Thread of Discovery
Dr. David Kaplan, the Stern Family Professor of Engineering, is a professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and holds faculty appointments in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department of Chemistry, the Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He has pioneered the study of silk-based biomaterials in regenerative medicine. Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., the Frank C. Doble Professor in Engineering, is a professor in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, and leads the laboratory for Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics. He has pioneered, with David Kaplan, the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics, and high-technology applications.

Teaching South Asia at Tufts: Why It Matters
Ayesha Jalal holds a joint appointment in the Department of History in the School of Arts and Sciences and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The winner of a prestigious MacArthur award, she is an expert in South Asian history, culture, and politics.