Researchers and Visitors

Visiting Scholars

Dan Feng
(Ph.D. 2011, Human Geography, Sun Yat-sen University; Associate Professor, South China Normal University)

My current research focuses on sense of home and identity of border crossers between Hong Kong, Macau and Mainland China, focusing on their individual border narratives and experiences; border narratives of gated communities in China, from sociocultural perspective. I also have interest on political ecology and forced migration.


Visiting Graduate Researchers

Hang Pan
(Ph.D. candidate, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Science, Nanjing University, China)
Field of study: Land use and mapping.

Jiping Quan
(Ph.D. candidate, global environmental change, Beijing Normal University)

Field of study: Quan's research emphasis will be placed on the optimization of the urban model parameters and scale expanding using the regional climate WRF/Urban model. The focus region will be the Great Beijing Area.

Fuxin Zhu


Postdoctoral Scholars and Researchers


Postdoctoral Scholars

Simona Avnaim-Katav
(Ph.D. 2011, Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel; Postdoc , 2012 Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Postdoc 2013 Aix-Marseille University, Department of Geography.)

At UCLA, in collaboration with Prof. Glen M. MacDonald, I am studying the distribution patterns of the recent dead and live micro-faunal assemblages in southern California coastal marshes in relation to environmental parameters via multivariate statistical analyses. This innovative ecological data will serve as a modern analogue for paleostudies to reconstruct past marsh variations in salinity and relative elevation over the last 2000 to 6000 years that will add to a comprehensive understanding of the wider climate changes and serve as a key for future modeling.
Field of study: micropaleontology and paleoecology (specializing mainly in benthic foraminifera and ostracods), sedimentology, and Quaternary and Holocene paleoenvironmental reconstruction.

Tom Bell

(Ph.D. 2016, Marine Science, UC Santa Barbara; M.Sc. 2011 San Diego State University; B.A 2006, Integrative Biology and Legal Studies, UC Berkeley)

At UCLA, I am studying coral reef ecology and reef fractional cover classification techniques funded by a NASA Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) Preparatory grant. I will be combining high-altitude hyperspectral imagery, field surveys, and simulation models to answer questions relating to environmental thresholds of coral bleaching and the effect of water column conditions on accurate benthic classifications.

Abinash Bhattachan

(Ph.D. 2013, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; M.S. 2008, Environmental Science, Indiana University – Bloomington; B.S. 2006, Watershed and Earth Science, Utah State University)

At UCLA, I will be working with professors Greg Okin and Dennis Lettenmaier on a multi-campus research project examining the links between drought and public health in California. My work will focus on studying the role of climate and soil exposure in Valley Fever incidence.

Nagaraju Chilukoti
E-mail:  &
(Ph.D. 2016, Indian institute of Tropical Meteorology & Savitribai Phule Pune university, India; M.Sc. Meteorology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India; B.Sc. Mathematics, Physics & Chemistry, Acharya Nagajuna University Guntur, India)

Field of Research: Monsoon, Regional and Global modeling, Land - Atmosphere interactions, Climate Change, Data assimilation Currently, I am part of NSF funded project entitled "Collaborative research: Surface-induced forcing and decadal variability and change of the the East Asian climate, Surface hydrology and Agriculture" which is under the supervision of Prof. Yongkang Xue. As part of this project, I am investigating the Land surface processes and their interaction with climate system.

Ismaila Diallo
(Ph.D. 2015, Atmospheric Sciences, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); M.Sc. 2009,  Meteorology, Oceanography and Management of Arid Area (MOGMA), Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); B.Sc. 2007, Physics and Chemistry, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD))

Field of research: Climate Dynamics/Climate modelling, hydroclimatology, land-atmosphere interactions, extreme weather events (floods, droughts, heat waves...) and atmospheric teleconnections. The dynamics and impacts of climate variability and change.

Lee Dietterich
(Ph.D. 2016, University of Pennsylvania, B.A. 2010, Harvard University)

Funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy to Prof. Daniela Cusack, I am studying how plant-soil interactions affect ecosystem-level cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in tropical forests.  I aim to improve our ability to predict and mitigate the effects of climate change on these valuable ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

Chunyu Dong
(Ph.D., Hydrology and Climatology, Heidelberg University; M.Sc., Earth System Science, Lanzhou University; B.Sc. Geographic Science, Lanzhou University)

As a team member of an interdisciplinary project, I currently work with Prof. Glen MacDonald, Prof. Gregory Okin and Prof. Thomas Gillespie. This project aims at investigating the impacts and implications of the recent drought for the habitats and energy infrastructure in southern California. My research focuses on capturing the dynamics of the natural vegetation during the drought events in the context of a changing climate. Remote sensing and GIS spatial analysis will be jointly applied to detect the ecosystem response to the disturbance by wildfire and hydrological extremes.

Name: Linghong Ke
(Ph.D., 2016, Land surveying and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

My current research in prof. Yongwei Sheng’s group focuses on layover simulation and error modelling of SWOT mission, funded by NASA’s SWOT Lake modeling project. I am also working on data quality assessment of the global lake-mapping project.

Dongyue Li
(Ph.D. 2016, M.Sc. 2011, Earth Sciences, Ohio State University; B.Sc. 2009, Civil Engineering, Information Engineering University, China)
I work with Prof. Dennis Lettenmaier and also closely work with Prof. Steven Margulis (CEE, UCLA) and Dr. Kostas Andreadis (JPL) on two hydrologic areas: (1) current space-borne hydrologic observations are discontinuous in both space and time due to satellite orbital characteristics. At UCLA, we seek to fill this spatiotemporal gap (specifically for the future SWOT satellite mission) with the combined application of hydrologic modeling and available satellite observations in data assimilation frameworks. (2) With the model and data assimilation systems developed from graduate research, I continue to work on quantifying snow as a water resource, and on characterizing the potential changes of the snow water resource availability over the western U.S. in the context of climate change. 

Ye Liu
(Ph.D. 2015, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University; B.Sc 2010, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University)

I am working on the interactions between vegetation and climate change funded by a NSF project, including the application of a global dynamic vegetation model and its coupling with a global climate model.

Ali Mehran
(Ph.D. 2015, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine; M.Sc. 2010, Civil & Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University; M.Sc. 2007, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology; B.Sc. 2004 Civil & Environmental Engineering, KNT University of Technology, Iran)

My research at UCLA focuses on two different projects. I am working on a NASA project on monitoring and assessing the impacts of atmospheric rivers (ARs) on extreme floods in Northwest United States.  I am also working on a  project on the spatial variability of Wet Tropospheric Delay over the inland water bodies, and estimating NASA’s SWOT (Surface Water Ocean Topography) mission’s error based on Wet Tropospheric Delay.

Sara Sadri
Website profile
(Postdoc, Princeton University, USA; Ph.D., Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada; Ms.c. Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba, Canada; B.Sc. Agricultural Irrigation & Water Resources Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran.)

I am part of two projects at the moment. One is NOAA's river hydrodynamics project which is under the supervision of Professor Dennis Lettenmaier. I am conducting research on the thermal impacts of reservoir operations on downstream stream temperatures. This is a project that includes developing a model for management of temperature releases from reservoirs in the Central Valley.
In my second project, I am working under the supervision of Professor Eric Wood from Princeton University in developing a global near real-time drought monitoring system based on observations from NASA's soil moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) satellite.

Chunqiao Song
(Ph.D., Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014) Field of study:  USGS/NASA Global Lake project

Ting Yuan
(Ph.D. 2017, Geosensing Systems Engineering and Sciences, University of Houston)

I work with Prof. Yongwei Sheng on NASA-funded SWOT Lake Mapping project. My research focuses on SWOT image simulation, model-based lake mapping method development, data processing and analysis, and lake product assessment.

Bo Zhou

(Ph.D. 2013, Forestry, University of Missouri Columbia; M.A. 2007, Geography, University of Missouri Columbia)

I am currently working on a NASA funded project that involves the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop a web-based tool that fuses existing Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) data with NASA Earth-observing satellite data to produce spatial and temporal extrapolations of AIM variables.