Katherine Alfredo received her Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Texas - Austin focusing chemical interactions between fluoride, aluminum, and natural organic matter during drinking water treatment. Katherine's interest in drinking water issues in rural, developing areas of the world led her to Ghana on a 2008-2009 U.S. Fulbright Fellowship. After completing her Ph.D., Katherine worked at the American Water Works Association policy division in Washington D.C. focusing on water quality compliance and policy. While at the Earth Institute, she will be working with Upmanu Lall, director, Columbia Water Center, on fluoride and arsenic drinking water issues in India. Katherine also holds a Master of Science in Engineering in environmental engineering from the University of Texas - Austin and a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science.
Elliot Cohen received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Colorado – Denver funded by the NSF-IGERT program on sustainable urban infrastructure. His dissertation research combined theory and practice from urban metabolism, life-cycle assessment and energy, systems modeling to explore the dynamic relationship between water and energy, and its implications for future energy development. In 2012 Elliot received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct related field research in India. At the Earth Institute Elliot will work with Vijay Modi, director, Modi Group, using his expertise on the Indian power sector and global water-energy conflicts to tackle grid-scale renewable energy integration and improve environmental performance of other large-scale engineered infrastructures.
Astrid received her Ph.D. from Magdeburg University in Germany. During her fellowship at the Earth Institute, she will be working with Scott Barrett, Lenfest-Earth Institute professor of natural resource economics. Astrid will be using game theory and economic experiments to understand human decision making and how institutions can be designed to identify barriers and promote cooperation. Prior to her position at Columbia, Astrid was a research fellow at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim, Germany, where she received her M.A. She has also worked for the German Federal Environmental Agency.
Josh Fisher received his Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University, where he studied the ecological drivers of armed conflict. His dissertation coupled geospatial statistics, remote sensing, and econometric modeling to develop spatially explicit forecast models of the likelihood of armed conflict. At the Earth Institute, he will be working with Peter Coleman at the Advanced Consortium for Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity to understand the intersection of conflict, environment, and development. His current work focuses on natural resource management and governance as tools for conflict prevention. In addition to his academic work, Josh has worked in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America on environmental management and poverty reduction. He has also worked with conservation organizations, private sector firms, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on natural resource governance and biodiversity conservation issues. Josh received an M.S. from Utah State University in political science, as well as a B.S. in international law and environmental policy.
Aurélie Harou holds a Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. Her research focuses on understanding the decisions and impacts of smallholders' participation in food value chains and smallholder technology adoption and disadoption patterns. Aurélie will be working at the Agriculture and Food Security Center where she will examine the effects of Malawi's Fertilizer Input Subsidy Program on both poverty alleviation and food security. Additionally, she will conduct an impact evaluation of SoilDoc, a new tool developed by the Center that provides measurements of essential soil parameters and uses information communications technology to provide farm-specific management recommendations. Aurélie holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Geography from the University of Sussex, Brighton, and an M.S. from the University of California at Davis in Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Jesse received his Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from the University of Texas, Austin. His dissertation focused on understanding the processes controlling biodiversity and ecosystem services of forests as they relate to spatial issues and habitat fragmentation in tropical landscapes. Jesse will be working with Maria Uriarte, associate professor of ecology, evolution and environmental biology, to study how climatic variation affects forest dynamics in Puerto Rico, and to establish risk assessments and improved mitigation for tree biodiversity and carbon storage. Jesse is broadly interested in the drivers of spatial variation in biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as genomic applications for natural resources conservation in the face of climate change.
Tien Ming obtained his Ph.D. in biology from University of California in San Diego. He also holds an M.S. and a B.S. in biology from the National University of Singapore. Ming was visiting assistant in research at Yale University and he is interested in the impacts of past and future global environmental change (including climate and land-use changes) on biodiversity, protected areas, conservation prioritization across multiple scales, the structure and implications of local, national, and global attitudes and behaviors on biodiversity conservation and environment, the implications of emerging Asian economies on regional and global biodiversity and environment, and the anthropogenic drivers and correlates of local and global extinction risks in animals and plants. Ming works with the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Professor Ruth DeFries, and with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication under the direction of Anthony Leiserowitz, concentrating on the human dimensions of global biodiversity conservation and implications from the emerging Asian economies.
Ying Li received her Ph.D. in public policy from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She also holds an M.S. and a B.S. both in environmental science from Beijing University in China. Ying Li is interested in interdisciplinary research on the health benefits of air pollution control and climate change mitigation. Her dissertation, entitled “Health Benefits of Traffic-Related Particulate Matter Control Policies: The Case of Bangkok, Thailand” was honored in 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and one section of the dissertation won the 2007 Society for Risk Analysis Student Merit Award in Dose Response Assessment. Ying Li published papers on co-benefits of greenhouse gas reduction, burden of disease attributed anthropogenic air pollution, and air quality improvement valuation, mainly in less developed regions. At the Earth Institute, Ying evaluates the health benefits and co-benefits of air pollution control and climate change mitigation strategies in the transportation sector, under the direction of Pat Kinney from the Mailman School of Public Health.
Jaime received a Sc.D. in epidemiology and environmental health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also holds an MPH from the School of Public Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and a B.E. in environmental engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology also in New Jersey. Jaime is interested in the health impacts of poor air quality and a changing climate, and works to understand how local factors contribute to vulnerability to these hazards under the direction of Pat Kinney, professor of environmental health science at Columbia University.
Ezra received his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies and Policy from the University of Oregon. His research examines a wide range of psychological and other mechanisms that influence how individuals make environmentally relevant decisions, from reducing energy and resource consumption to making charitable donations for species and habitat protection. He is particularly interested in identifying the ways in which individual- and contextual-level forces interact to either motivate or inhibit individuals' engagement with climate change and other large-scale societal challenges. Ezra works with the Earth Institute's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions and he is also a visiting postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. Ezra also holds a Master of Science from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in psychology.
Tanya O'Garra received her Ph.D. from Imperial College London in Environmental Economics. She has carried out economic valuation studies of hydrogen transport technologies in the UK, traditional fishing grounds in Fiji and worldwide climate change adaptation projects. Tanya will be working with Professor Dave Krantz, at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Most present-day, environmental problems result from many individual actions. Though these may not be harmful by themselves, together they can combine to produce major environmental impacts. She will be using experimental, economic approaches to identify factors that might best enhance cooperation and other-regarding behavior among large numbers of anonymous agents. She will explore whether moral and personal norms might effectively stimulate cooperation in these large-scale social dilemmas, particularly in conjunction with other stimuli such as subsidies and leadership. Tanya will also be working on the Columbia University-led Polar Learning and Responding project (PoLAR) researching the impact of novel educational approaches on adult learning about climate change and the poles.
Emilie received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Previously, she studied at the University Paris-X-Nanterre and at the University Paris-Dauphine, both in Paris, France where she received her M.A. Emilie has extensive experience in collecting quantitative and qualitative data in remote rural areas, and analyzing national survey data. She will be working with Cheryl Palm, senior research scientist at the Tropical Agriculture Program, to understand the importance of natural, resource based activities for poor households' livelihoods. She will be focusing on designing payments and incentives to encourage poor households to conserve these resources.
Nada holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a B.A. from Columbia University with a dual major in physics and mathematics. Her thesis work developed optimal suppression strategies for California wildfires by coupling physical models and economic damage estimates. She also participated in an interdisciplinary project on coral reefs through the Luce Environmental Science to Solutions Fellowship and was a member of Engineers Without Borders. Nada’s current research focuses on the interpretation and use of scientific information in the context of severe weather events under the direction of Ben Orlove and Kenneth Broad at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.
Tess received her Ph.D. in earth science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University. Her Ph.D. dissertation examined hydrologic systems response to environmental change using numerical models and algorithms to improve the development of restoration and management strategies. At the Earth Institute, Tess will work with Upmanu Lall and the Columbia Water Center on quantifying current hydrogeologic conditions, and developing instruments that will reduce irrigation and fertilizer applications and that will improve restoration and management strategies.
Jilian A. Sacks received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Washington, where she also completed a Graduate Certificate in Global Health. She holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College. Most recently, Jilian was based at the Public Health Research Institute (Newark, NJ) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (Durban, South Africa), where she conducted research aimed at finding novel biomarkers of and therapeutics for spinal tuberculosis. While at the Earth Institute, Jilian will apply her lab-based, scientific background towards questions relevant to global health, working Yanis Ben Amor, director of the Tropical Laboratory Initiative. She will be looking at building laboratory capacity to combat infectious diseases in the Millennium Villages through the identification, development and implementation of novel, diagnostic technologies. Such tools, specifically focused on strengthening the management of persons living with HIV/AIDS, would help remove barriers and increase access to healthcare in these resource-limited regions.
James obtained a Ph.D. and an M.A. in geography from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in earth sciences from the University of California in Santa Cruz. During the early stages of his graduate studies, James collaborated with the Arizona State Epidemiologist on a project to identify associations between precipitation and incidence of human hantavirus infections. He realized the need to identify the roles of climate in disease systems and the demand for this information from public health officials. His work at the Earth Institute, under the direction of Jeffrey Shaman, focuses on the viral response to climate change and in the development of predictive models. Read more about James on his Homepage.
Kate received a Ph.D. and an M.S. from the University of Virginia, Department of Environmental Sciences, and a B.S. from Kenyon College with a major in English and Spanish and minors in biology and environmental science. During her master's program, Kate examined the effects of climate change on leaf chemistry in tropical forests generating from deforestation and agricultural overuse in the lowlands of Costa Rica, and for her Ph.D., she studied the effects of farm management and structure on nutrient dynamics in coffee agro-forests. Her work at the Earth Institute, under the direction of Pedro Sanchez and Cheryl Palm at the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program, focuses on measuring and scaling indicators of sustainable agriculture and food security in the sub-Saharan Millennium Villages.
Katya received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in agricultural and resource economics with a focus in development economics. Her dissertation focused on social networks, information dissemination and technology adoption working closely with female farmers in northern and eastern Uganda. Katya's research extends into issues of malaria in Uganda and competition and gender in Malawi. She is also currently working on information dissemination around climate risk in India. During her fellowship at the Earth Institute, Katya will be working with Dan Osgood, at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. She will be applying her experience with social networks and technology adoption to understand and facilitate the take-up of index insurance in developing countries. Prior to her position at Columbia, Katya worked at US Naval Academy, the World Bank in several divisions of Development Economics (DEC). Katya is a NYC native, and completed her undergraduate degree at Columbia University in mathematics and economics.
Shelley received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2009 and an MPA in environmental science and policy from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs in 2006. At Columbia, Shelley works as deputy director and Earth Institute Climate Law Fellow at the Center for Climate Change Law, under the direction of Michael Gerrard. Her research focuses on the intersections of climate and energy law, including regulatory strategies for promoting energy efficiency, ways to enhance federal and state transmission policy, and legal issues related to state and regional efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.
Gary received his Ph.D. in earth observation and spatial analysis from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, where also received his M.Sc. in remote sensing and spatial analysis. He received his B.Sc. in geography from Lancaster University also in the United Kingdom. Gary is interested in the links between the environment and social and economic development from a remote sensing perspective. During his fellowship at the Earth Institute, Gary will work with Cheryl Palm and the Tropical Agriculture Program on land cover and land use change, as well as on soil mapping in Africa. His research will focus on the use of remotely sensed satellite imagery of land cover and land usage to estimate natural, physical and human capital assets. Prior to his position at Columbia, Gary was a research assistant at the University of Southampton on a European Space Agency funded project to explore the best ways to collect leaf chlorophyll information from a new generation of satellites which will be launched in the near future.
Leigh received her Ph.D. in horticulture from Michigan State University. Her dissertation focused on the use of green roof technology in vegetable production. Leigh will continue her work on these technologies and modes of carbon sequestration with Richard Plunz and Trish Culligan at the Urban Design Lab. Leigh received her B.A. in biology from Middlebury College with a minor in anthropology, after which she interned with the Student Conservation Association, Desert Restoration Corps in southern California.
Derek received his Ph.D. in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an MPA/International Development degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School. His doctoral work developed a systems thinking framework for enabling policymakers to identify the most appropriate anti-malaria programs to implement in their communities.
Meng Xu holds a postdoctoral associate position at the Laboratory of Population of the Rockefeller University and works with Joel Cohen at the same institution. His area of research covers stochastic processes and mathematical biology. Meng graduated with a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wyoming and a B.S. in mathematics science from Shandong Normal University.