TEDxBoston

Jemila MacEwan

Artist

Desirée Plata’s research seeks to maximize technology’s benefit to society while minimizing environmental impacts in industrially important practices through the use of geochemical tools and chemical mechanistic insights. Plata earned her doctoral degree in Chemical Oceanography and Environmental Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Joint Program in Oceanography (2009) and her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, NY (2003). Plata is an NSF CAREER Awardee (2016), an Odebrecht-Braskem Sustainable Innovation Awardee (2015), a two-time National Academy of Engineers Frontiers of Engineering Fellow (2012, 2020), a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2011, 2013), a Caltech Resnick Sustainability Fellow (2017), and winner of MIT’s Junior Bose Teaching Award (2019), Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award (2021), and Perkins Graduate Mentor Award (2022). Having previously served as John J. Lee Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University and Associate Director for Research at the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale, Plata is now Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. Plata is co-founder of Nth Cycle, a sustainable metal processing and recycling firm.