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Sarav Arunachalam

Deputy Director, Institute for the Environment
Director, Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development




Sarav Arunachalam has over two decades of experience in emissions and air quality modeling at multiple scales. His research has been funded by several federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Academies Transportation Research Board, and several foundations including the Barr Foundation, Energy Foundation, High Tide Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, besides several other state and regional planning organizations.

His research during this period has focused on developing modeling techniques and analyses that support air quality management with a focus on improved understanding of atmospheric chemistry, source apportionment and connections to public health. Since 2006 he has served as director of the FAA-sponsored U.S. DOT‚PARTNER Center of Excellence at UNC to investigate incremental impacts of aviation emissions on ambient air quality from plume through global scales using an integrated measurement-and model-based approach, and since 2013 for the U.S. DOT Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment (ASCENT) at UNC. Arunachalam also serves as the director of the EPA-sponsored Community Modeling and Analysis System (CMAS) Center, operational at UNC since 2003 in support of a global community in the development, support and outreach for a suite of models including CMAQ. Under sponsorship from the National Academies Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP), he has developed guidance documents for using models in performing airport-related air quality assessments and looking at air quality benefits due to the transition to alternate jet fuels in the commercial aviation sector. His work has been recognized through multiple awards from both the U.S. EPA and FAA.

As deputy director of the Institute and as director of the Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development, Arunachalam enjoys leading transdisciplinary research teams across multiple institutions and units on campus to further the Institute’s mission with a focus on improving the environment while protecting the public health.

Arunachalam’s work has been covered by numerous national media outlets including the Washington Post and ABC, along with various local and online media outlets.


Ph.D., Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1998

M.S., Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1993

B.Tech., Chemical Engineering, Anna University, India, 1989