Tessum wins NASA Early Career Faculty Award

6/3/2022 9:21:12 AM

Photo of Chris TessumCEE assistant professor Christopher Tessum has won a research grant from NASA’s Early Career Faculty component of its Space Technology Research Grants Program. The awards are designed to challenge “early career faculty to examine the theoretical feasibility of ideas and approaches that are critical to making science, space travel and exploration more effective, affordable and sustainable,” the agency wrote.

Tessum’s project will work to reduce the high computational cost of the GEOS-Chem model, a widely used global model of atmospheric composition. His research group will leverage advanced machine learning techniques to alleviate computational constraints in the GEOS-Chem model, with the goal of improving tradeoffs between accuracy and computational cost in geophysical modeling. The result will be more accurate “digital twins” of Earth, as well as in more computationally manageable simulations for decision-support analysis.

Tessum joined the CEE department as an assistant professor in January 2020. His research focuses on modeling air pollution and its health impacts, quantifying inequities in the distribution of those impacts, and proposing and testing solutions. He studies the relationships between emissions, the human activities that cause them, and the resulting health impacts, and he develops modeling capabilities to enable these types of analyses.

Before joining UIUC, Tessum was a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He received a Ph.D. (2014) in Civil, Environmental and Geo- Engineering, and a B.M.E. in Mechanical Engineering (2006), from the University of Minnesota.