Featured Speakers

Opening Ceremonies Keynote Speaker

Richard L. Gelfond

Richard L. Gelfond is Chief Executive Officer of IMAX Corporation. Previously, he held positions as Co-Chief Executive Officer, Co-Chairman and Vice Chairman of IMAX.

The theme of 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Air, Land, Sea and Me, provides a framework for scientists from many disciplines to communicate their current understanding of the effects of mercury on human and environmental health. As keynote speaker, Richard Gelfond, CEO of IMAX Corporation and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Stony Brook Foundation, will provide his account of what the “me” in the theme represents. An avid fish consumer for many years, his story will provide context about health effects from a diet rich in seafood and will tell how he became interested in improving awareness about methylmercury in seafood.

The media reinforces daily the message that eating fish is an important part of a healthy diet. But what do we tell those who eat fish as a primary protein source? Can you eat too much? The current focus for advice about mercury exposure is targeted to pregnant women with respects to four very high mercury content fish and there is typically no warning for others. Meanwhile there are people throughout the world like Mr. Gelfond who choose a diet rich in fish either for health reasons or for cultural reasons. Mr. Gelfond will share his personal story of methylmercury poisoning from his perspective as a Manhattanite who was an avid fish consumer.

As part of a goal to increase awareness and understanding about methylmercury in the environment, Mr. Gelfond funded a program to focus on the issue at Stony Brook University’s Consortium for Interdisciplinary Environmental Research.

Policy Plenary Speaker

Nicola Pirrone

Nicola Pirrone is Director of the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research of the National Research Council of Italy (www.iia.cnr.it) and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences of the University of Michigan. The goal of his research is to understand the dynamic processes of mercury and other atmospheric pollutants by combining filed measurements and atmospheric modeling on different spatial scales. He has coordinated a number of international research projects and policy working groups. He is currently Chair of the UNEP Global Partnership for Mercury Air Transport and Fate Research, Chair of the WG on Global Atmospheric Mercury Models Intercomparison within the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollutants (TF HTAP) of the UN-ECE-LRTAP convention and Chair of the GEO Task HE-09-02d “Global Monitoring network for Mercury” within the GEOSS program. He has been Chair of the European WGs that prepared the "Air Quality Position Paper on Mercury" that is one of the scientific background documents of the Forth Air Quality Daughter Directive of the European Union and Chair of the WG TC264 of the European Standardization Body (CEN) that was in charge to prepare the standard methods for measuring mercury concentrations in ambient air and precipitation samples as part of the European Air Quality Directives. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles on different topics associated to atmospheric transport and chemistry and policy relevant issues related to mercury and other major atmospheric pollutants.

Health Plenary Speaker

Laurie Chan

Professor Laurie Chan is the holder of Dr. Donald Rix B.C. Leadership Chair in Aboriginal Environmental Health and Professor at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia. He obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Hong Kong and Ph.D. from the University of London in Toxicology. Prof. Chan’s research in environmental and nutritional toxicology spans from the lab developing new techniques for contaminant analysis to participatory research in the community on the risk and benefits of traditional foods. Prof. Chan was selected as a Fellow by the Leopold Leadership Program of Stanford University in 2008 and awarded a Visiting Fellowship by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 2009. He also served on an expert panel on benefits and risks of fish consumption by the World Health Organization in 2010.

Air Plenary Speaker

Daniel Jacob

Daniel Jacob is the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering at Harvard University. The goal of his research is to understand the chemical composition of the atmosphere, its perturbation by human activity, and the implications for climate change and life on Earth. His approaches include global modeling of atmospheric chemistry and climate, aircraft measurement campaigns, satellite data retrievals, and analyses of atmospheric observations. He recently received the 2010 Hagen-Smit Prize from Atmospheric Environment and was ranked the ISI most highly cited researcher in Geosciences. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from Caltech.

Land Plenary Speaker

Charles T. Driscoll, Jr.

Charles T. Driscoll, Jr. is the University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering at Syracuse University. His teaching and research interests are in the area of environmental chemistry, biogeochemistry and water quality modeling. He has initiated a number of research projects and used a variety of approaches to study the biogeochemistry of forest, wetland, freshwater and coastal ecosystems, including field investigations, laboratory studies, long-term field measurements, whole-ecosystem manipulation studies, and the development and application of models. He has authored or co-authored more than 350 peer-reviewed articles. He is currently the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research project at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Dr. Driscoll has received numerous awards and honors. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has provided expert testimony on ecological effects of air pollution to the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Science Committee. He has been acknowledged by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) as one of the top 250 most highly cited researchers in two areas: environmental science and engineering.

Sea Plenary Speaker

Robert Mason

Robert Mason has been a professor in the departments of Marine Science and Chemistry at the University of Connecticut since 2005. He was a professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, part of the University of Maryland prior to this move (1994-2005) and also completed a post-doc at MIT (1992-94). He received his PhD in 1991 from the University of Connecticut and his MS from the University of Cape Town in South Africa (1983). His current research interests are directed at the fate, transport, and transformation of trace metals and metalloids, especially mercury, in aquatic systems and the atmosphere. The research includes studies of the open ocean, the coastal zone and estuaries, as well as freshwater systems with a focus on the important transformation processes, in the sediment, water and air, and at the interfaces (sediment/water and air/sea exchange), and how these impact bioavailability and bioaccumulation into aquatic organisms. Mason has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including a number of highly cited papers (10 with >100 citations; one with 475 citations). He currently has 6 graduate students, and has graduated 6 PhD and 7 MS students. Current and prior funding has come from NSF, EPA, NIEHS, Sea Grant, State institutions, and non-profit organizations, as well as from industry.