Participating Faculty and Researchers

Planet Texas 2050 researchers come from 14 colleges, schools, and units across The University of Texas at Austin. More than 120 researchers have already signed on to be a part of UT’s first grand challenge.

 
Planet Texas 2050 Organizing Committee
01

Jay Banner, Ph.D.
Professor, Jackson School of Geosciences
Director, Environmental Science Institute

My research explores Earth surface processes, including climate and hydrologic processes, through field studies, petrography, isotope geochemistry, and modeling. Much of my work focuses on the study of cave deposits (speleothems) as records of the links between past climate change and hydrology; studies of carbonate rocks as records of the chemistry of ancient oceans; and studies of modern aquifers and watersheds in urbanizing environments. I enjoy teaching courses in sustainability, geosciences, environmental science, and science communication.

02

Richard Corsi, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Joe J. King Chair of Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering
Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Development

I study human exposure to air pollution, particularly indoor air quality because the average American lives to be 79 years old and spends 70 of those years inside buildings. As Texas’ population grows and urban areas densify, more Texans will live, study, work, and vacation in closer proximity to major roadways that produce harmful pollutants, which lead to adverse health outcomes. Retrofitting existing buildings and reimagining the nature of future construction and urban form can make our cities healthier.

03

Heather Houser, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English

My background is in English literary studies, and my research focuses on how contemporary literature and visual culture contribute to how we understand and respond to environmental crises. I also study how 21st-century fiction and visual and digital media formally experiment with scientific information in order to understand the variety of epistemologies that produce environmental knowledge. My belief that we can only address extreme weather events and other planetary threats through epistemological and disciplinary diversity is what motivates my involvement in Planet Texas 2050.

04

Katherine Lieberknecht, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture

I study how ecosystems support cities and the residents living within them. My work focuses on urban water planning, metropolitan-scaled green infrastructure planning, and metropolitan food systems. Most humans now live in metropolitan areas, where we depend in part on ecosystem flows and functions such as provision of high-quality water supply, protection from floods, and removal of waste. Communities need research focused on tools and policies that conserve, repair, and fairly allocate ecosystem services so that all residents, including the most vulnerable, can thrive.

05

Suzanne Pierce, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Assistant Professor of Research, Environmental Science Institute

I lead an NSF-funded effort to apply artificial intelligence and knowledge-centered computing to solve complex Earth resource problems. In the classroom, I teach students how to design cyber tools and use integrated approaches to data science to support decision-making for policy and management. I’m also a trained groundwater scientist and study energy-water interdependencies. I’ve worked with the US National Laboratory System and the international mining industry as the Environmental Manager for one of the world’s largest metals mines.

06

Adam Rabinowitz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Classics
Assistant Director, Institute of Classical Archaeology

The most exciting part of being an archeologist is the opportunity to capture lost time by reconstructing the stories of human beings and communities long forgotten. This has led me to focus on the interplay between the daily individuals’ dail lives and the unfolding of larger, historical processes — and on the interdisciplinary research methods necessary to connect the two. Planet Texas 2050 will give me the chance to explore all of this while seeking ways to apply lessons about human resilience to our own future.

07

Lourdes Rodríguez, DrPH
Associate Professor, Department of Population Health
Director of the Center for Place-Based Initiatives, Dell Medical School

I facilitate innovation by studying community health outside the traditional health system. My work focuses on solving local problems with local ideas and resources by inviting people from multiple sectors to contribute to activities and solutions; everyone’s voice and contribution is equally valued. Before coming to UT, I spent 13 years working in New York City to help reactivate public spaces that had been rendered unsafe during the height of violence and drug epidemics in the late ’80s and ’90s.

08

Michael Young, Ph.D.
Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology

My focus is on environmental geosciences, with an emphasis on soil, water, and ecosystem resources in arid and semi-arid regions of the U.S. The big question is: We know that populations will grow and extreme weather events will occur, so how can we manage our natural resources to avoid shortages or stresses? Texas is an excellent location to study these issues, and Planet Texas 2050 is an exciting project that links natural resources assessments to societal health and decisions.

 
Office of the Vice President for Research Support Team
01

Daniel Jaffe, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
02

Jennifer Lyon Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Research
03

Tessa Green, MFA
Executive Director, Bridging Barriers Grand Challenges Initiative
04

Clint Leysath, Ph.D.
Program Director, Bridging Barriers Grand Challenges Initiative
05

Paula Thomas
Executive Assistant, Bridging Barriers Grand Challenges Initiative
 
Full Team
Paul Adams
Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment
Joni Adamson
Professor, English and Environmental Humanities, Arizona State University
C.J. Alvarez
Assistant Professor, Mexican American and Latina_o Studies
Joshua Apte
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Lucy Atkinson
Associate Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations
Germine Awad
Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology
Tim Beach
Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment
Amy Belaire
Landscape Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
Phil Berke
Professor, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Texas A&M University
R. Patrick Bixler
Research Fellow, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Bryan Black
Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science
Deborah Bolnick
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Steve Boyles
Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Joonyee Chuah
Senior Outreach Program Coordinator, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Tim Cockerill
Director of Center Programs, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Neil Crain
Research Scientist, Center for Energy and Environmental Resources
Charlie Dey
Portal and Gateway Developer, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Kristin Donaldson
Graduate Student, Community and Regional Planning
James Famiglietti
Hydrologist, NASA
Kasey Faust
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Juliana Felkner
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture
Margaret Fitzgerald
Graduate Student, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Elija Camille Fleming
Graduate Student, Department of Classics
Norma Fowler
Professor, Department of Integrative Biology
Natalie Freed
Consultant, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Benjamin Gregg
Associate Professor, Department of Government
Patrick Heimbach
Associate Professor, Department of Geological Sciences
Christopher Herrington
Environmental Engineer, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department
Lea Hildebrandt-Ruiz
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
Hans Hofmann
Professor, Center for Biomedical Research Support
Dawn Hunter
Senior Outreach Program Coordinator, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Craig Jansen
Graphical User Interface Developer, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Jonathan Jarvis
Associate Director, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory
Shalene Jha
Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology
Christopher Jordan
Research Engineering Scientist, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Tim Keitt
Professor, Department of Integrative Biology
Kerry Kinney
Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Mary Jo Kirisits
Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Siva Kulasekaran
Research Associate, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Fernanda Leite
Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Daniel Hardesty Lewis
Consultant, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Angelina Jean Locker
Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology
Marie Lorenz
Artist-in-Residence, Department of Art and Art History
Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach
Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment
Ashley Matheny
Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences
Elizabeth Matsui
Director of Clinical and Translational Research, Department of Population Health
Elena McDonald-Buller
Senior Research Engineer, Center for Energy and Environmental Resources
Natally Mendez
Outreach Program Coordinator, Envrionmental Science Institute
Jane Millar
Graduate Student, Department of Classics
Didey Montoya
Outreach Program Coordinator, Envrionmental Science Institute
Elizabeth Mueller
Associate Professor, School of Architecture
Atila Novoselac
Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Fikile Nxumalo
Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Michael Odon
Associate Professor, School of Architecture
Emily Pease
Hydrogeologist, USGS Texas Water Science Center
Deanna Penning
Associate Professor, Dept of Geological Sciences, University of Texas El Paso
Mary Poteet
Research Fellow, Department of Integrative Biology
Emmanuel Pozzer
Graduate Student, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Kelly Raley
Professor, Department of Sociology
Stuart Reichler
Senior Lecturer, College of Natural Sciences
Tim Riedel
Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Natural Sciences
Daniella Rempe
Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences
Steven Richter
Graduate Student, Community and Regional Planning
Astrid Runggaldier
Lecturer, Department of Art and Art History
Bridget Scanlon
Hydrogeologist, Bureau of Economic Geology
Christy Schirmer
Assistant Instructor, Department of Classics
Gian-Claudia Sciara
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture
Mateo Scoggins
Environmental Scientist, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department
Muhammad J. Shaikh
Research Engineering Scientist, Department of Geological Sciences
Allan Shearer
Associate Professor, School of Architecture
Pauline Strong
Professor, Department of Anthropology
David Stuart
Professor, Department of Art and Art History
Rabun Taylor
Professor, Department of Classics
Rachel Thomas
Graduate Student, Community and Regional Planning
Justin C. Thompson
Graduate Student, Global Policy/Energy and Earth Resources
Fred Valdez
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Jim Walker
Director, UT Office of Sustainability
Corinne Wong
Research Scientist, Envrionmental Science Institute
Sarah Wu
Program Coordinator, Center for Sustainable Development
Dennis Wylie
Research Scientist, Center for Biomedical Research Support
Ming Zhang
Professor, School of Architecture
Alvaro Zilveti
Graduate Student, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Clare Zutz
Graduate Student, Community and Regional Planning