Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding, envisioning, and planning of Complex Human-Environment Systems (CHES) to achieve improved sustainability. In exploring CHES complexity, my work features a digital, high performance (big data friendly, parallel/clouds computing enabled, web-based), and 4-D holographic methodology. Currently my projects revolve around the following threads:

  • Revealing dynamics and mechanisms of complex human-environment systems (CHES) through international, interdisciplinary, and inter-scale (local-global, short-long term, lower-upper level) research.
  • Developing a digital, computerized methodology for complex human-environment systems (CHES) to facilitate geo-representation/visualization, animation, space-time analysis and modeling, and 4-dimentional simulation of various human-landscape processes.
  • Performing hazard analysis for improved planning, management, and recovery.
  • Seeking pathways toward improved human health through better environment planning, management, and conservation.
  • Understanding the past, present, and future of cities and city dwellers in the context of emerging socio-political and environmental challenges.
  • Establishing and maintaining various CHES research, education, and outreach networks.

Complexity theory, landscape ecology, geographic information science, cyberinfrastructure theory and technology, (big) data science, and other relevant domain knowledge (e.g., sociology, demography) leverage theoretical and methodological support toward this goal. In particular, my research has been characterized by developing, testing, and applying spatially explicit agent-based models in various complex human-environment systems.


Research Group

Senior Scientists

  • Dr. Xuan Tian, visiting scholar (2016 ~ present)
  • Dr. Guangming He, senior software developer (2016 ~ present)
  • Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, postdoctoral fellow (2015 ~ present)
  • Dr. Yuejin Deng, visiting scholar (2014 ~ 2015)

Ph.D. Students

  • Alex Zvoleff (2008 ~ 2013)
  • Sarah Wandersee (2008 ~ 2013)
  • Ninghua Wang (2009 ~ 2013)
  • Shuang Yang (2011 ~ present)
  • Jie Dai (2013 ~ present)

M.S. Students

  • Susan Whitford (2006 ~ 2008)
  • Jennifer Vaughan (2008 ~ 2010)
  • Kristin Meseck (2011 ~ 2013)
  • Curtis Battle (2012 ~ 2016)
  • William Orihuela (2014 ~ present)
  • Jeanne Patton (2015 ~ present)
  • Judy Mak, M.S. Student (2016 ~ present)

Graduate Students (as thesis or dissertation committee member)

  • Doctoral students: Arika Ligmann-Zielinska (2008), Xinyue Ye (2009), Mary Freeman (2012), Justin Stoler (2012), Abigail Sullivan (Arizona State University; 2016), Yu-Hsin (Cindy) Tsai.

  • M.S./M.A. Students: Jing-Yi Chen (2006), Sarah Hinton (2007), Xuening Li (2007), Mersee J. Madison_Villar (Biology; 2007), Hua Liu (Civil and Environmental Engineering; 2007), Anna Mitelberg (Biology; 2008), Wyson Pang (2008), Adam Wagschal (2009), Kira Withy-Allen (Biology; 2009), Wei Chen (Statistics; 2009), Jeffrey LaMantia-Bishop (2010), Jeanie Gaudette (2010), Jeremy Hamm (2010), Kelly Tait (Biology; 2010), Alexander Gaos (Biology; 2011) , Heather D'Anna (Biology; 2011), Danna Hinderle (Biology; 2011), Bradley McDonald (Biology; 2011), Doug Wylie (2012), Daniel Lusher (2013), Joelle Andrews (Biology; 2013), Kalee Koeslag (Biology).

Undergraduate Assistants

  • Student Interns: Evan Casey (2012 ~ 2016), Chenghui Liu (2014), Mengen Lyu (2014 ~ 2016).

  • Summer/Spring Scholars: Justin McMillan (2014 Summer Scholar), Amber McKinney (2014 Summer Scholar), Michael Cassidy (2016 Spring Scholar), Inka Cresswell (2016 Spring Scholar)