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Juliette Rooney-Varga

Juliette Rooney-Varga, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Director


Climate Change and Sustainability, Microbial Ecology, Biogeochemistry

Research Interest

Juliette Rooney-Varga is Director of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative (CCI) and Associate Professor of Environmental Biology. Her microbial ecology research has spanned diverse topics related to carbon cycling, climate change, and energy; from feedback loops in microbial production of methane in the Arctic and the climate system, to harnessing electricity produced by anaerobic microorganisms in soil. 

She is currently leading the NASA-funded CAM (Climate Education in an Age of Media) Project that puts the tools of media-making into the hands of students, in order to engage them with climate change science and empower them to add their own voices to the societal discourse about an issue that will impact younger generations significantly.  She is also working closely with Climate Interactive, an organization that is at the forefront of creating decision-support simulations around climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.  With support from the National Science Foundation, Rooney-Varga’s group and Climate Interactive are bringing decision-support simulations into immersive role-playing exercises that enable students, citizens, and decision-makers to come to their own insights, grounded in current scientific understanding, about the impacts of national and regional climate and energy choices and policies.

Educational Background

Ph.D., University of New Hampshire (Microbiology); M.S., Cornell University (Natural Resources); B.A., Colby College (Environmental Biology).


Professor Rooney-Varga currently teaches Principles of Ecology, Principles of Ecology Laboratory, and Climate Change: Science, Solutions, and Communication. In all of these courses, students research the current scientific literature in a relevant topic of their interest and communicate their research through written and video presentations. The Climate Change course is part of a NASA-funded CAM (Climate Education in an Age of Media) Project that integrates student climate change science and policy with video production by students to engage and inspire students and the broader community.

UMass Lowell Academic Catalog