CHAPEL HILL — Michael Piehler has been named director of the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment and will begin the directorship July 1.
Piehler is an expert on the ecology and biogeochemistry of land-water interfaces and the connection between human activity and the function of natural systems.
At the UNC Institute for the Environment, the focus is on multidisciplinary collaborations to understand major environmental issues and interface with many academic disciplines, public and private partners, and an informed and committed community.
His current position is interim executive director of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese and he serves as a professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, where he has been a faculty member since 1998. Piehler also holds joint appointments in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Marine Sciences and the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. He also serves as director of graduate studies and admissions for the UNC Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology.
“With Mike’s appointment, the Institute for the Environment is poised to play an enhanced role as UNC’s pan-campus institute for environmental research, outreach and impact, and it will serve as an active, engaged catalyst for environmental activities at Carolina,” Magnuson said in his official announcement. “His appointment represents a key step in the University’s campus-wide goal of enhancing and integrating environmental research and studies.”
His work is funded by a range of federal, state and regional sponsors, and he serves on a variety of scientific advisory panels for governments, private organizations and industry. Piehler received his doctorate in environmental science and engineering from UNC Chapel Hill.
David B. Peden, Andrews Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology will serve as interim director of the Institute of the Environment until Piehler begins the directorship.
Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson made the announcement in an official statement, according to a report by the UNC Institute for the Environment.