Board provides scientific and technical expertise to EPA
Joseph Gardella Jr., SUNY Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, has been reappointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency science advisory board.
Gardella, Ph.D., was first named to the board in 2016 for a three-year term. In a letter inviting Gardella to join at that time, then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote, “Your expertise in environmental chemistry and work with underserved communities would be a great asset to the board.”
Gardella will now serve a second three-year term on the board, lasting from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2022.
The science advisory board is made up of outside experts who provide advice to the EPA on a range of scientific and technical matters. According to the board’s website, the body is authorized to review the quality and relevance of the scientific and technical information being used by the EPA or proposed as the basis for agency regulations; review EPA research programs and plans; provide science advice as requested by the EPA administrator; and advise the agency on broad scientific matters.
“My first three years on the science advisory board have been tremendously rewarding,” Gardella says. “The work gives me a chance to engage with leading national experts in the deep review of scientific information relevant to regulatory decisions. I am able to bring my expertise in analytical chemistry to understand environmental measurements that underlie the science of so many complex issues.”
Gardella has spent decades researching the environmental impact of industrial pollutants on local communities. He works at the intersection of analytical chemistry and geographic information analysis, and has devoted much of his career to public service.
Gardella’s experience includes numerous studies in Western New York, where he and his colleagues and students have partnered with residents to investigate environmental contamination in a number of communities.
His scientific work in this area includes projects such as mapping soil pollution in South Buffalo’s Hickory Woods subdivision and identifying hot spots of lead contamination near a Superfund site on Buffalo’s East Side. Gardella is also leading the Tonawanda Coke Soil Study, which investigates how pollution from the Tonawanda Coke Corp. plant has impacted soil in surrounding neighborhoods.
In 2012, Gardella co-authored a study that provided a comprehensive look at sources of environmental pollution in Western New York. The project – a partnership between the Urban Design Project in the UB School of Architecture and Planning, the WNY Environmental Alliance, and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo – identified known environmental hazards ranging from lead to farm waste to radioactive waste in Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus counties.
In addition to his scientific research, Gardella is director of the interdisciplinary science and engineering partnership (ISEP), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded science education initiative in a number of Buffalo Public Schools. ISEP engages middle and high school teachers in research-based professional development that encourages them to enliven their classrooms with experiments and other hands-on activities.
Gardella has been recognized regionally and nationally for his work. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006. In 2005, he was presented with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House and NSF.
In 2016, the EPA named Gardella as one of 28 recipients of the Environmental Champion Award in New York state. The award recognized Gardella’s years of effort in ensuring the local community’s voice was heard as the federal government decided what to do with nearly 200,000 cubic yards of radioactive waste stored in Lewiston.
He earned his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981 and has been a member of the UB faculty since 1982.