News Story

June 17, 2013

Introducing the 2013-15 Environmental Fellows

HUCE extends a warm welcome to its newest cohort of postdoctoral researchers, a diverse group of scholars who work with Harvard faculty to tackle complex energy and environmental challenges. They also bid a fond farewell to the outgoing cohort of Environmental Fellows, including: Emily Fischer, Christopher Golden, Francis Ludlow, Fabien Paulot, Eduardo Souza Rodrigues, Jenny Suckale, Jin Suntivich, and Hillary Young. Incoming Fellows include:
Pedram Hassanzadeh, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley
Pedram is a fluid dynamicist interested in climate dynamics, particularly the effect of climate change on extreme weather events.
  Pedram’s Ph.D. research used numerical simulations and mathematical models to explore geophysical and astrophysical vortices to improve our understanding of their dynamics and their roles in oceans and atmospheres.      
   Pedram will work with Brian Farrell (Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences) to study jet streams and atmospheric blocking events in a warming climate. Improved understanding of the blocks will then be used to investigate changes in some types of weather extremes in a warming climate, such as heat waves, cold spells, and heavy precipitation events.

Nathaniel Mueller, Ph.D. Natural Resource Science & Management, University of Minnesota
Nathan is an applied ecologist who studies how agricultural systems influence—and are influenced by—environmental change.
   Nathan’s dissertation research analyzed environmental tradeoffs to intensifying crop production at the global scale and how climate change may influence capacity for agricultural intensification.     
   Nathan will work with Peter Huybers (Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences) and Noel Michele Holbrook (Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) to improve statistical models relating climate to crop yields. His work will also investigate the interaction between changing agricultural management practices and climate using recently compiled time-series data.

Charles Willis, Ph.D. Biology, Duke University
Charlie is an evolutionary ecologist interested in the impacts of climate change on plant biodiversity in North America.
   Charlie’s dissertation research focused on understanding how dispersal and adaptive divergence to climate influenced the diversification and speciation of Brassicaceae cakile (sea-rocket).
   Charlie will work with Charles Davis (Dept. of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology) to explore how climate change will affect continental-scale patterns of biodiversity and phylogenetic diversity in North America. His work will incorporate a large-scale climatic niche modeling effort to assess which plant species will be winners and losers under future climate change scenarios, and whether these species are concentrated in specific branches of the tree of life.

Danielle Medek, Ph.D. Plant Physiology, Australian National University
Danielle Medek is an ecophysiologist, with interests in medicine, plant ecophysiology, and global change.
   Danielle’s Ph.D. research explored cold tolerance in subantarctic grasses, and suggested trade-offs between nitrogen use efficiency and hydraulic safety in cold environments. Danielle is also finishing a medical degree (MBBS) at the Australian National University.   
   Danielle will work with Samuel Myers (Harvard School of Public Health) to investigate the effects of climate change on human nutrition. In particular, Danielle will focus on how rising CO2 levels may influence crop nutrient content and thereby the global burden of disease from nutrient deficiency.

This article originally appeared in Environment@Harvard, the newsletter of the Center for the Environment, in Volume 5, Issue 1. Read the entire issue here.

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