People

Professor, IRES
Professor, Institute for Oceans and Fisheries

Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton University and Stanford University. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab (www.chanslab.ires.ubc.ca), Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a director on the board of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Website: http://chanslab.ires.ubc.ca/people/chan/
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=OByl3J0AAAAJ
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kai_Chan3

Director, IRES
Professor, IRES
Professor, Liu Institute for Global Issues

Milind Kandlikar (PhD Carnegie Mellon) is a Professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. His work focuses on the intersection of technology innovation, human development and the global environment. Dr. Kandlikar’s current projects include the regulation of agricultural biotechnology including implications for food security; air quality in Indian cities; risks and benefits of nanotechnology; solar lighting systems in the developing world; and development and climate change. He has also published extensively on the science and policy of climate change.

Website: http://ires2015.sites.olt.ubc.ca/person/milind-kandlikar/
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=aL55yHEAAAAJ&hl=en

Associate Professor, IRES
Associate Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Canada Research Chair (t2, Ecohydrology)

Dr. Mark Johnson is working to understand how land use practices influence interactions between hydrological and ecological processes, and how these ecohydrological processes further affect ecosystem services including carbon sequestration. Unraveling interactions between the water cycle and the carbon cycle is essential for improving the sustainability of land and water management, especially under changing climatic conditions. Dr. Johnson’s research in ecohydrology demonstrates that soil carbon processes are also integrally important to the health of freshwater ecosystems and drinking water supplies. Dr. Johnson and his team are testing carbon and water cycle interactions to address questions such as: How much carbon does water transport from the land into freshwater systems? His research can also help to answer very applied questions related to soil fertility and water use such as: How much food can be produced in urban environments, and how much water would that require? To address these and other related questions, Johnson is developing innovative approaches to ecohydrological research in partnership with communities, natural resource management agencies and organizations, and industry.

Website: http://ecohydro.ires.ubc.ca/
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=KfQwll4AAAAJ&hl=en

Professor, IRES

Dr. Gunilla Öberg is inspired by her deep knowledge in chlorine biogeochemistry, environment and sustainability, and her experience as a leader of complex interdisciplinary research and education. Her recent projects address sustainable sanitation planning, particularly in growing urban areas. Questions that drive her work include: What kind of knowledge is needed, used and trusted? How does the knowledge used impact perceived solutions and how are risks and benefits distributed? Research of late involves land-application of biosolids/sewage sludge, contaminants of emerging concern and sustainable sanitation solutions for informal urban settlements. Dr. Öberg also pursues innovations in science education including how to: learn/teach science while recognizing its limits; internalize ideas about bias, uncertainty and ignorance; and distinguish between absence of proof versus proof of absence. Her new pedagogy initiatives include directing UBC’s “First Year Seminar in Science” and developing “Sustainability for the Community and the World”, a 4th year capstone course in UBC’s emerging sustainability concentrations.

Websites: http://ires2015.sites.olt.ubc.ca/gunilla_oberg/
and http://ires2015.sites.olt.ubc.ca/person/gunilla-oberg/
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=SKvNP9cAAAAJ&hl=en

 

Professor, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
PhD Candidate

I am a PhD Candidate in the RMES program, working with Prof. Stephanie Chang. I finished my undergraduate studies in Urban and Regional Planning in Turkey. I did my masters at the University of Colorado Denver with concentration of Urban Place Making. Before starting my PhD at UBC, I worked as an Associate Planner, where I mainly focused on zoning, urban design, land development and land permitting projects.

My PhD research focuses on green infrastructure practices and climate change induced coastal disasters particularly in Canadian coasts. I am interested in how green infrastructure (G.I) effects adaption and resilience to potential coastal disasters and G.I’s applicability to communities along the Canadian coasts.

Assistant Professor, IRES
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Canada Research Chair (t2, Behavioral Sustainability)

What is psychology good for? How can psychology contribute to sustainability? To answer these questions, Dr. Zhao aims to use psychological principles to design behavioral solutions to address sustainability challenges. This approach offers insights on how cognitive mechanisms govern human behavior, and how behavioral interventions can inform the design and the implementation of public policy. Dr. Zhao is currently examining the cognitive causes and consequences of scarcity, what behavioral interventions improve the performance in low-income individuals, how to promote recycling and composting behavior, water and energy conservation, what cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural factors shape the perception of climate change, and how to engage the public on biodiversity conservation.

Website: http://zhaolab.psych.ubc.ca
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=w6d1YTgAAAAJ&hl=en

PhD Student

Sameer Shah is a PhD student in Resource Management & Environmental Studies under the supervision of Professor Leila Harris. He examines the social, political, and natural dimensions of water governance and its impacts on marginalized agricultural communities in India. He is deeply interested in promoting efforts designed to strengthen community adaptation and rural livelihoods in response to shifts in water access. Through his work, he is involved with the Program on Water Governance and with the EDGES Research Group. In 2012, he graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours Co-operative) from the University of Waterloo and earlier this year he completed his Master of Science degree at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability.

Sameer is also actively involved in water policy planning at UBC, in British Columbia, and across Canada. At UBC, he is currently a lead organizer of Water Ways: Understanding the Past, Navigating the Future, a major interdisciplinary workshop celebrating UBC’s 100th anniversary and bringing together leading water experts to advance a global water research agenda for the coming century. He also holds an 18-month appointment as the Pacific Regional Representative for the Canadian Water Network’s Student and Young Professional Committee of emerging water leaders. In 2014, he was selected as one of about 50 applicants from across Canada to participate in the Waterlution Transformative Leaders of the Future Program. As part of this program, he co-facilitated the first Canada-wide exercise in participatory water policy planning with the aim to inject the public’s creative visions into future water policy. Having travelled to over 20 countries and lived in multiple, Sameer is passionate about nature, cooking, photography, and hiking.

PhD Student

Vikas is a PhD student at IRES, working with Dr. Hisham Zerriffi since Fall 2014. He completed his Mechanical Engineering (with a Masters  degree in Energy Technology) education in 2009 from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He worked in the area of climate change consulting for 3 years, covering renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across India and South East Asia, followed by 2 years in the area of business research.

His research interests lie at the convergence of sustainability, technology and development. He is interested in the interaction between climate change ideas and society at large.

PhD Candidate

Jackie is working under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Chang at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Her current research focuses on developing a novel machine-learning based approach to generate sea-level rise impact scenarios that are spatially explicit and robust across large number of flood and land-use conditions. As a fellow of the MEOPAR and the UBC Bridge Program, her overarching goal in research is to use interdisciplinary research approaches to address environmental and public health issues. She holds an MSc in Meteorology from McGill University and BSc in Environmental and Biological Sciences from University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research interest lies in the intersection of climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and decision-making. Besides her dissertation research on sea-level rise impact modeling, she is also involved in the development of new online tools and methods that aim to support communities in their vulnerability and hazard risk reduction efforts. In 2013, she worked with the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment, and Health where she was involved in a knowledge mobilization initiative and the development of a climate change literacy online course designed for practitioners in developing nations. Outside work, Jackie enjoys cooking, traveling, throwing clay, and playing with her dog Bean.