I have a wide range of professional, scholarly and interconnected interests; they include, natural resources, climate change, human health, regional economic analysis and their integration using a coupled human and natural systems framework.

As a doctoral student, I focused on geospatial software development for disaster management responders. In my first position after graduation, I worked as a scientist and developed a cancer visualization tool that won the national award of The National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. As a postdoctoral research associate, I participated in an NSF sponsored coupled human and natural systems (CNH) project working on economic analyses that incorporated natural resources such as freshwater and biomass, carried out by a large team of scientists from several other institutions. I utilized macroeconomic analyses using a multi-regional economic input-output model to assess state-specific production patterns in the Northeast of the United States under various economic and resource scenarios with a team that included experts specializing in water, land, climate, and energy systems. My research and publications explored the economic costs associated with environmental protection (Clean Water Act) and energy independence mandates (Renewable Fuel Standards of EPA).

I am still collaborating with my economist colleagues on real-world applications (such as migration and wastewater treatment) and methodological innovations using the input-output modeling framework (such as integrating geographical topology into factors of production). My economics research resulted in two published papers, one in review and another one in preparation. Additionally, I was awarded a research grant (HR16-048 – Improving Geocoding of Cancer Registry and Development of a Spatiotemporal Database of Environmental Exposures) from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, to study the potential cancer outcomes of environmental exposures in the Cherokee Nation Tribal area in Oklahoma. I have also been working on geoimputation methods and applications with my health science colleagues to improve the spatial accuracy of health-related data within the same health grant. My health research resulted in one published paper, four publications in review, multiple poster presentations, several conference proceedings, and more planned for the two years of research. Furthermore, I have been leading a publication to investigate the spatially varying etiology of lung cancer based on smoking prevalence and atmospheric pollution on a national scale. Yet further, I have been leading an international group to publish my pattern recognition research to measure compactness of complex objects, results of which could be applicable in health, human sciences and physical geography. In an NSF (Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Award No. OIA-1301789) research project, I have been working on modeling the greenness of urban land and water consumption, as well as modeling the urban growth of Oklahoma City Metro Area under baseline, sprawl, and infill development scenarios using spatially explicit modeling software. I collected in my research exhibit dramatically distinct urban growth patterns with likely and radically divergent outcomes of human health, economic costs, and environmental impacts. So far, this EPSCoR research resulted in one poster, two conference proceedings and two papers in preparation.

I have an extensive set of experiences and interests due to my curious nature and propensity to engage a broad range of ideas. Broadly speaking, my ultimate goal is to bring big data into geospatial problem solving via custom software and integrated model development, particularly for the purposes of human wellbeing. In terms of modeling, I aim to accomplish a tighter coupling of physical and economic models to improve our understanding how human systems and natural systems interact, and to project these relationships into the future in order to identify critical thresholds, trade-offs and potential management strategies to provide insight on the regional, environmental and economic policymaking. I would like to work on building CNH tools that will allow me to conduct scenario analyses to test out potential policies and measures. These will include climate change scenarios, population scenarios, scenarios based on lifestyle choices which affect consumption per capita, and the utilization of technological alternatives for resource use and reuse across the sectors of the economy. For example, building on my urban modeling work, I would like to see the resource use and healthcare impacts associated with sprawl vs infill type of development, and calculate the health and economic burdens using input-output modeling in a fully coupled framework. I am particularly interested in the human health aspect as an ongoing public health concern since there is some evidence sprawl and automation might result in adverse effects. Another idea I would like to pursue is to study the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity and economics coupled with demographic shifts in society. As someone who personally witnessed the Syrian migration crisis, arguably intensified by extensive droughts in the regions, I believe changing climates will result in drastic consequences in the livelihoods and overall economy, bringing about more international migration and global conflicts. Therefore, I expect that the integrated research I envision will be more demanded and crucial in the future.

The research methods part of my role involves programming and automation, data analytics, and Web GIS, tasks and skills that have been foci of my professional life. Fortunately, these tasks have not been detrimental to my research goals. On the contrary, my research has been benefiting from these industry-demanded skills in terms of modularity, time savings, and repeatability factors. As a GIS developer, I have been developing Web GIS applications mainly using ArcGIS JavaScript API. Most of these applications are for asset management with multilevel user editing capabilities tailored to user needs. I have been integrating other solutions such as the Braintree API and MongoDB using Node.js for custom solutions as needed by my customers in the industry. I also do programming (such as Python and R) for processing and managing data in my professional work. In addition to being important transferable skills to my prospective students, they have been facilitating and improving my aforementioned research responsibilities by a great deal. Such development, software architecture and integration of software components are required to couple (loosely or tightly) disparate research frameworks (e.g. hydrological modeling and input-output modeling).

Furthermore, I have the intention of developing software tools that would extract useful information – automatically and periodically if necessary – from publicly available data through APIs, to be used in geospatial analyses. In addition to formal data from Census and NASA, I would like to make use of social media data to incorporate human movements and message contents (e.g. on pollution, economic hardship, and social conflicts) using advanced data mining via machine learning. I plan to use these data and methods for making inferences on issues where up to date or formal (such as the informal economy or untracked immigration) information is not available. These would involve a variety of applications such as to track immigration, human health, and economy with the ultimate purpose of human wellbeing and resource optimization. The spatial and big data gathered would constitute crucial inputs to standalone or coupled models to tackle complex In summary, I plan to take advantage of useful technologies and ways of thinking, work on interdisciplinary research and stay involved in research that challenges me, where I can make use of and strengthen my skillset.

For a complete list of my publications, please visit my ResearchGate profile, my Google Scholar profile or my most recent CV.