Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates

Postdoctoral Fellows

I am currently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. My current work focuses on management and governance of marine protected areas, adaptation of communities to climate change within the context of multiple stressors, and the use of participatory methodologies to facilitate adaptation.

Previously, I have worked as a researcher, university instructor, teacher, guide, international development worker, and sustainability-conservation educator. An environmental and social ethic shaped by lifelong explorations of wilderness areas and experiences working in diverse communities guides my work and research. My master’s research focused on the role of a Canadian national park in the social, cultural, political, and economic development of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation of Lutsel K’e, Northwest Territories, Canada. My doctoral studies were supported by a Trudeau Scholarship and a SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholar.

For more information and publications:


Robin is an environmental systems scientist with a background in urban water management and a keen interest in farming and soil regeneration. He earned his BSc from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Civil Engineering), MSc from Delft University of Technology (Sanitary Engineering), and PhD from Chalmers University of Technology (Chemical Environmental Science). He currently aims to apply and extend his knowledge to design nutrient recycling from human excreta to food production for long-term soil health.

Robin is employed as international postdoctoral researcher at Chalmers University of Technology through a mobility starting grant for young researchers from the Swedish Research Council Formas. At UBC, he is appointed as honorary postdoctoral fellow at IRES (Egesta Laboratory) and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Laboratory).



I am a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in IRES. I am currently working on a project entitled ‘Science, Values and Wastewater Controversies’ examining the science and policy debates surrounding Victoria’s wastewater treatment with Dr. Gunilla Oberg. My main research interests fall at the intersection of environmental science and perceptions examining uncertainty, conflict and community impacts associated with technological hazards, risk and sustainable innovation, most recently focusing on wastewater treatment and biosolid land application.

Previously, I was a SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar and Lecturer at Western University. My doctoral research examined residents’ experiences with and perceptions of a regional biosolid to agricultural fertilizer processing facility in rural Ontario.  I completed my collaborative Ph.D. in Geography (Environment and Sustainability) in 2017, after being accelerated directly from my M.Sc. in 2013, and completed my B.Sc. (Hons) in Cellular Biology in 2012 at Western University. Further, I have collaborated with interdisciplinary teams at both Thompson Rivers University and Health Canada examining perceptions of biosolid resource recovery and evaluating the effectiveness of the Air Quality Health Index respectively.






Zia Mehrabi is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at IRES, with adjunct positions in The Liu institute for Global Studies & The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford in 2011, and a DPhil in Food Security, also from Oxford, in 2016. He has worked in industry on large scale farmland expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, in a non-profit setting on developing environmentally conscious decision support tools for land managers, and with small scale farmers on the interactive effects of agricultural intensification and climate change on crop yields.

His work at UBC is focused on 3 core research areas:

(1) Technological tools for farmer evidence based decision making
(2) The impact of climate disasters on global agricultural productivity
(3) Novel solutions for monitoring the environmental and social impacts of farming activities

Contact Information:


Offices: Liu Room 201A and AERL Room 445

Phone: 604-401-8101

I am a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at IRES with an adjunct position at the Liu Institute for Global Studies. I am also an Honourary Fellow in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland, where I held a two-year postdoctoral position prior to coming to UBC. I completed my Ph.D. at McGill University in 2014, my M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2006, and my B.Sc. (Hons.) at the University of Victoria in 2002. I’ve also worked in a variety of resource management positions in western Canada, including forestry research in British Columbia and environmental impact assessment in Alberta.

My current research focuses on how the arrangement of different land uses and habitats across landscapes affect biodiversity and ecosystem services, mainly in human-dominated agricultural and urban landscapes. My work aims to improve our knowledge about how human activities influence landscape and ecosystem dynamics. My ultimate goal is to provide information that can be used to predict how future landscape changes will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services and thereby inform land management decisions and improve human wellbeing.

Contact Information
Twitter: @MGEMitchell

My main scientific interest is to study water resources in water-limited ecosystems and how climate change can affect water dynamics and water availability in those areas. Because evapotranspiration is the main component of the water balance under water limited conditions, during my PhD my main research objective was to develop regional evapotranspiration models specifically designed for semiarid conditions to achieve an accurate methodology to quantify evapotranspiration at regional scale. Working with physical models forced me to understand those factors controlling the evapotranspiration, and how those factors will be be affected by climate change. To validate evapotranspiration models I learnt and used the Eddy Covariance technique, the most extended methodology to measure CO2, evapotranspiration and energy fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere. After my PhD I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico (US) where I studied the consequences regarding to water resources of widespread piñon mortality events affecting large areas of piñon-juniper woodlands in the Southwestern US. Our results showed that those regional scale tree mortality events can increase the temperature and aridity of those already water stressed areas, with large potential impacts for water dynamics and availability. At UBC I have joined an international project called FuturAgua, focused on the characterization of water resources in a drought-affected area of Costa Rica, Nicoya peninsula, and the development of resilience strategies to drought in a dynamic social-ecological system. Particularly my participation in the project will be focused in improving our understanding of water dynamics in the area and developing a hydrological model to predict the response of local water resources to predicted climatic scenarios. I am very interested in the practical and social aspects of this project, in which research will be applied from the characterization of current water resources to the development of management strategies to improve resilience of this agricultural-based social-ecological system in order to  respond in a time matter to predicted future water scarcity.

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at IRES and currently a visiting scholar at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. I completed my PhD at UBC in 2017, prior to which I had research positions at the United Nations Environment Program and the Earth Institute at Columbia University where I also completed a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy. My broad interest in the intersection of conservation and sustainable development has led to collaborations with NGOs and multilateral organizations, and field work from tropical to polar settings.

My current research examines the role of incentives and values in facilitating norm change toward conservation action. I am particularly interested in promoting investment in conservation and the opportunities presented by social finance and innovative partnerships. To that end, at UBC we are creating a new platform to support local conservation initiatives called CoSphere, and at CBS we are developing an Impact for Innovation lab to support public and private sector partners in acheiving their environmental goals.

Lisa J. Powell is a postdoctoral researcher jointly appointed in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and the Department of Geography at the University of the Fraser Valley.  She works with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm and the Agriburban Research Centre.  She completed a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Studies and Sustainability from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University.  Her work focuses on conflicts and negotiations over agricultural land use; agriburbia; food systems and policy; natural resource extraction and transport (coal, oil); and cultural meanings and interpretations of foods, including pumpkins.




Research Associates

We currently do not have any Research Associates.