Theodore P. Zoli, P.E., vice president of HNTB Corporation

Bridge Protection, Elderly Falls Experts Win 'Genius' Grants

Theodore P. Zoli and Yale Program on Aging Director Mary Tinetti are among 24 researchers given $500,000 grants by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

A leading expert on protecting bridges from collapse and the professor who directs the Yale Program on Aging, who has shown how falls can be reduced among older adults, are among 24 researchers to win $500,000 "genius" grants today from Chicago's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The foundation's coveted awards are five-year grants with no strings attached, given to honor exceptional creativity.

The bridge protection engineer is Theodore P. Zoli, P.E., vice president of HNTB Corporation and technical director of its bridge practice nationwide. According to HNTB, Zoli, 43, headed preliminary and final design work on bridge projects including the Bandra Worli Sea Link Bridge in Mumbai, India, and the Blennerhassett Island bridge in West Virginia. He has been an instructor at the FHWA-sponsored Bridge and Tunnel Terrorist Vulnerability Workshop in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, serves on the oversight panel for NCHRP 12-72 Blast/Impact Resistant Highway Bridges, and is researching the effects of fire on bridges and how long-span bridges can be designed to resist progressive collapse while serving as an adjunct professor of graduate studies in civil engineering at Columbia University, according to the firm.

Mary Tinetti, 58, Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine, also has won one of the grants. "Mary's work on fall prevention not only improves the health of the elderly, but has led to millions of dollars in reduced health care costs," Yale President Richard C. Levin said in the school's news release. Tinetti was the first investigator to demonstrate older adults at risk for falling and injury could be identified and cost-effective strategies could be designed to reduce those risks, according to the school, where Tinetti has been a faculty member since 1984. "Falling doesn't have to be an inevitable part of aging because it is preventable," said Tinetti.

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