Environmental Informatics Faculty
Aniket Aga, PhD, is three-year tenure with the Michigan Society of Fellows began in September 2016. He recently completed his PhD work in Sociocultural Anthropology at Yale University. His interests lie at the intersection of Science & Technology Studies (STS) and the Anthropology of Democracy. Aga's dissertation research focuses on the ongoing debate over Genetically Modified (GM) crops, in particular food crops, in India in order to analyze the relationship between science and politics in the world’s largest democracy.
Associate Research Scientist
Associate Research Scientist Kathy Bergen, PhD, works in the areas of human dimensions of environmental change; remote sensing, GIS and biodiversity Informatics; and environmental health and informatics. Her focus is on combining field and geospatial data and methods to study the pattern and process of ecological systems, biodiversity and health. She also strives to build bridges between science and social science to understand the implications of human actions on the social and natural systems of which we are a part.
Bilal Butt, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability and a faculty affiliate of the African Studies Center and the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program. Dr. Butt is a people-environment geographer with regional specialization in sub-Saharan Africa and technical expertise in geospatial technologies (GPS, GIS & Remote Sensing), ecological monitoring and social-scientific appraisals. His general research interests lie at the intersection of the natural and social sciences to answer questions of how people and wildlife are coping with, and adapting to changing climates, politics, livelihoods and ecologies in arid and semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa. His current projects investigate: (1) the spatiality of livelihood strategies (resource access and utilization) among pastoral peoples under regimes of increasing climatic variability and uncertainty; (2) the nature of the relationships between wildlife and livestock in dry land pastoral ecosystems of East Africa - examining questions of wildlife-livestock competition; (3) violent and non-violent conflicts over natural resources, and; (4) how mobile technologies influence resource access, use and control.
Bill Currie, PhD, is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the environment and the development of sustainability science. His research and scholarly interests include ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry including carbon and nutrient cycling, physics and energetics, landscapes and coupled human-natural systems, land conservation and management, biofuels and food security, computational modeling and simulation, synthesis using models, and philosophical foundations of modeling.
Currie has a background in ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry (nutrient and carbon cycling), energetics, systems dynamics modeling and individual-based / agent-based modeling. He is interested in using our current understanding in these fields to investigate ecosystem change and dynamics in coupled human-environment systems.
Currie studies the linkages among carbon, nutrient, and water cycling and energy flows and transformations in terrestrial ecosystems and human-environment systems. He is interested in using our current understanding of ecosystems to explore creative, new understanding of the two-way interactions in human-environment systems. He works at scales from field plots to landscapes, collaborating with other researchers and students to integrate understanding and build models for synthesis. The goal of this research is to contribute to the developing field of sustainability science using an approach that grows out of ecosystem science.
Assistant Professor Jain's research examines the impacts of environmental change on agricultural production, and strategies that farmers may adopt to reduce negative impacts. She does this by combining remote sensing and geospatial analyses with household-level and census datasets to examine farmer decision-making and behavior across large spatial and temporal scales. To date her work has focused on the impacts of weather variability and groundwater depletion on agricultural production in India, and whether farmers are able to adapt their cropping practices to mitigate these impacts.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Dr. Narayanaraj has a wide range of research and teaching interests and experience in geospatial science, field biology, animal behavior and wildland fire ecology. His experiences have taken him to institutions and organizations in both tropical and temperate countries. His research interests currently focus on using geospatial techniques to map and model the spatial and temporal patterns of devil's gardens in the Amazon, created by ant plants inhabited by Myrmelachistaschumanni. He is also continuing his research on the lightning- and human-caused wildfire regimes at multiple scales using satellite remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems. He was raised in India's Western Ghats, a tropical mountainous region in Southwest India. Like his grandfather before him, his father was a forester at the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Wildlife Reserve. Their family has thus been involved in forest management and conservation of the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Wildlife Reserve for more than five decades.
Joshua Newell is an assistant professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. He is a broadly trained human-environment geographer, whose research focuses on questions related to urban sustainability, resource consumption, and environmental and social justice. Newell’s current research can be divided into two primary areas of interest. The first, Urban Infrastructure and Form, focuses on structural features of the urban form (e.g. built environment, transport, energy, and water infrastructure). The second research area, Urban Consumption and Commodities, focuses on the interrelationships between the consumption of consumer products, our responsibilities as global 'green' urban citizens, and the role of governance mechanisms and frameworks (including local institutions) in regulating product consumption. His research approach is often multi-scalar and integrative and, in addition to theory and method found in geography and urban planning, he draws upon principles and tools of industrial ecology, and spatial analysis. Joshua teachesSustainability and Society, a large undergraduate course, and Urban Sustainability, which is designed for MS and PhD students. He also leads a year-long interdisciplinary PhD student workshop that grapples with theories and concepts of urbanism, sustainability, and resilience.