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:

  • Developing a hybrid (statistical, geospatial, and simulation-based) methodology to facilitate representation/visualization, understanding, and envisioning of complex human-environment systems (CHES).
  • 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.
  • Performing space-time analysis and modeling for improved planning, management, and recovery of CHES.
  • Seeking pathways toward improved human health through better environment planning, management, and conservation.
  • Establishing and maintaining various CHES research, education, and outreach networks.

Data science, complexity theory, landscape ecology, geographic information science, cyberinfrastructure theory and technology, 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

  • Eve Bohnett, postdoctoral fellow (2020 ~ present)
  • Dr. Haiyan Wang, visiting scholar (2017 ~ 2018)
  • Dr. Xuan Tian, visiting scholar (2016 ~ 2017)
  • Dr. Guangming He, senior software developer (2016 ~ 2017)
  • Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, postdoctoral fellow (2015 ~ 2017)
  • Dr. Yuejin Deng, visiting scholar (2014 ~ 2015)

Ph.D. Students

  • Ren Cao (2020 ~ present)
  • Huijie Zhang (2018 ~ present)
  • Jie Dai (2013 ~ 2020)
  • Shuang Yang (2011 ~ 2018)
  • Ninghua Wang (2009 ~ 2013)
  • Alex Zvoleff (2008 ~ 2013)
  • Sarah Wandersee (2008 ~ 2013)

M.S. Students

  • Yanjing (Tracy) Liu (2020 ~ present)
  • Alexandra Yost (2017 ~ 2020)
  • Jeanne Patton (2015 ~ 2020); co-advised with John O'Leary
  • William Orihuela (2014 ~ present)
  • Judy Mak, M.S. Student (2016 ~ 2018)
  • Curtis Battle (2012 ~ 2016)
  • Kristin Meseck (2011 ~ 2013)
  • Jennifer Vaughan (2008 ~ 2010)
  • Susan Whitford (2006 ~ 2008)

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, Yihui Wang (Biology).

  • 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), Julia Smith (Biology), Kylie Curtis (Biology).

Undergraduate Assistants

  • Student Interns: Evan Casey (2012 ~ 2016; 2018 ~ present), 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)