Jason Surratt Wins Hettleman Prize

Dr. Jason Surratt

Dr. Jason Surratt

Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering faculty member Jason Surratt, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering, has been awarded the University of North Carolina’s Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.

Surratt is one of four UNC faculty members selected for the 2015 honor, and one of two at the Gillings School of Global Public Health (along with Dr. Wizdom Powell of Health Behavior).

The award, established in 1986 by Phillip Hettleman, a New York investment banker and 1921 UNC alumnus, recognizes the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty and includes a $5,000 stipend.

Surratt’s research in the field of atmospheric chemistry establishes a critical link between human health and the health of the planet. Within this broad area, he has helped advance the understanding of how fine particles (aerosols) are formed in the atmosphere by investigating how volatile organic compounds emitted by trees and other vegetation interact with man-made pollutants to form secondary organic aerosols.

More importantly, his work is identifying major components of those particles that have eluded other researchers for many years. Knowing the composition of aerosols will allow their health effects to be studied in finer detail, and knowing how their components are formed in the atmosphere can lead to interventions to minimize their formation.

“Jason has had an incredible start to his young academic career,” said Michael Aitken, PhD, professor and chair of the Gillings School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. “His research already has influenced the field of atmospheric chemistry, and even well-established, senior researchers are learning from his work. He has won other prestigious awards from professional organizations, and he has been invited to speak at top conferences on atmospheric science, including the 2015 Gordon Research Conference. Overall, Jason’s groundbreaking research has direct implications for both environmental policy and human health.”

Surratt earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from N.C. State University in 2003 and his doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

“We are so thrilled by and grateful for the selection of associate professors Powell and Surratt to receive prestigious Hettleman Awards,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School. “These two faculty members are conducting cutting-edge research that will benefit society. They are not only outstanding researchers and dedicated teachers but wonderful citizens of the University and their communities. I am very proud of Jason and Wizdom.”