Modeling Team

Brett Sanders Principal Investigator
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Professor Sanders earned a B.S. Degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D degrees at the University of Michigan, all in Civil Engineering. His work in the area of river and coastal engineering has included studies of flood dynamics, coastal water quality, and extensive work on numerical methods for shallow-water flow and transport. Recently his research has focused on advancing accurate, stable and computationally efficient models for urban flooding, including urban coastal flooding.

Professor Sanders is a National Science Foundation CAREER Award winner, he serves on the Science Definition Team for the NASA Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) Mission, and is a scientific advisor to the California Coastal Commission.

At UC Irvine, Professor Sanders is Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where over 700 students are working towards B.S., M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering, and over twenty faculty and their research teams are advancing the science and technology of civil structures, transportation, water, energy and the environment.

Amir AghaKouchak Co-Principal Investigator
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Amir AghaKouchak is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. His research group aims to bridge between the disciplines of hydrology, climatology and remote sensing to address critical global water resource issues. He is particularly interested in the effects of climate change and variability on the terrestrial water cycle and hydroclimate extremes including droughts and floods. Amir’s long-term research objective is to utilize continuously growing satellite and climate data sets along with ground-based observations to develop/improve integrated water resources modeling, prediction and decision support systems.

Ed Balsdon Faculty Associate
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Ed Balsdon is an Associate Professor of Economics at San Diego State University specializing in natural resource economics, public finance, and behavioral responses to risk. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Holy Cross in 1993, followed by an M.A. (1996) and PhD (2000) in Economics from UC Santa Barbara. He joined the faculty at SDSU in 2000, and currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Affairs for that campus. His research is focused on the valuation of public goods, natural amenities, and risks from observed behavior in markets, field experiments, and the ballot box. His work has appeared in the Journal of Urban Economics, the National Tax Journal, and Land Economics, among others publications. Balsdon served for three years as faculty in the American Economic Association (AEA) Summer Training Program, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. He is a member of the AEA.

Jay Famiglietti Advisor
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James S. (Jay) Famiglietti is a professor of Earth System Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He received a B.S. in Geology from Tufts University in 1982 and his M.S. in Hydrology from the University of Arizona in 1986. Famiglietti studied at Princeton University, where he earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. Formerly an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Science at the University of Texas at Austin, and the founding Associate Director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Environmental Science Institute, Famiglietti founded the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM), of which he is director. Recently, Famiglietti was featured in the film, Last Call at the Oasis, a 2012 documentary about the depletion of water resources due to overuse, global climate change, and unchecked development. Famiglietti was named the Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer by the Geological Society of America for 2012, and will give international lectures on the subjects of global water cycle change and freshwater availability.

Jochen Schubert Research Associate
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Jochen (Jo) is a GIS and hydraulic modeling Research Specialist at UC Irvine and Data Manager for the FloodRISE project. He joined the Sanders Lab in 2009 with the objective of studying the effects of fine- resolution geospatial data on predictive skill and computational efficiency of hydraulic models. His aim is to gain a better understanding of the data needs to characterize the complex hydrology of build and natural environments, allowing for advances in flood prediction, flood risk management and watershed sustainability.

Jo has been relying on Newport Beach, CA as a test site for a number of flood modeling studies, developing over time an extremely detailed hydraulic model from a great variety of geospatial data sources. Results from the studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Advances in Water Resources and Costal Research.

Jochen holds a BSc in Remote Sensing and GIS from the University of Bath Spa, UK (2003), and a MSc (2004) and PhD (2009) in Engineering, Surveying and Geodesy from the University of Nottingham, UK.

Timu Gallien Research Associate
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Dr. Timu Gallien is a UCSD Chancellor’s Fellow and postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from University of California, Irvine and MS and BS degrees in Engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Gallien’s research focuses on quantifying evolving coastal flood risk from sea level rise, storm events, and urbanization. She uses a combination of high resolution fluid-mechanics based models to comprehensively resolve both key flooding processes (e.g., tide, waves, embayment amplification, drainage) and urban infrastructure (e.g., sea walls, anthropogenic berming). Critically, Dr. Gallien conducts extensive flooding and beach processes field observations to quantitatively evaluate model performance. The objective of her research is to accurately predict flooding from future climatological conditions to inform municipalities, policymakers and individuals of the possible effects of climate change, and to investigate the efficacy of proposed adaptation measures.

Hamed Moftakhari Rostamkhani Postdoctoral Scholar
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Hamed is a Postdoctoral Scholar at The Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing at University of California, Irvine. He holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Portland State University (2015), a MSc in Civil Engineering-Water Resources from Sharif University of Technology (2010), and a BSc in Civil Engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology (2007).

His experience includes numerical hydrodynamic modeling of riverine/estuarine systems, developing analytical solutions for extreme water level prediction in tidal rivers, and hydraulic design of river structures for flood risk mitigation purposes. He has joined the FloodRISE team to develop a general framework for assessing inland/coastal flood risk from different drivers (i.e. precipitation, river flow, and oceanic tides/waves), and predicting future flood risk under climate change and human activities.

Adam Luke Graduate Student Researcher
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Adam Luke is a graduate student researcher at UC Irvine and is creating the hydraulic model of the Tijuana River for the FloodRISE project. He joined UCI and Professor Sanders’ lab in September 2013 as a Masters Student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Adam’s research interests include the improvement of delineating 100 year floodplains through hydraulic modeling, the interaction of overland and coastal flooding mechanisms, and sustainable infrastructure development related to flood control. Adam holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2009) and is currently pursuing his MSc in Civil Engineering at UCI.

Social Ecology Team

Integration and Impact Team

Abigail Reyes Co-Principal Investigator
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Abby Reyes is the director of the Sustainability Initiative at the University of California, Irvine. Part of the Office of Academic Initiatives, the Sustainability Initiative is making engaged sustainability scholarship and practice integral to UC Irvine’s excellence as a research and teaching university. Prior to joining the Sustainability Initiative, Ms. Reyes was a sustainability researcher at the UC Irvine Environment Institute. She brings to UC Irvine experience convening interdisciplinary research teams of scientists, engineers, and lawyers to address community-identified sustainable development challenges. Her experience includes facilitating collaboration between academic and public sector researchers and indigenous communities in Colombia and the Philippines, and coordinating legal research in support of landmark international human rights and environmental cases in the domestic federal courts. She completed her bachelor’s degree in human biology at Stanford University in 1995 and her JD at UC Berkeley Law in 2004. After clerking for the Honorable Richard A. Paez on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Ms. Reyes served as a staff attorney at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. She serves on the board of directors of EarthRights International and is an ambassador for the Pollination Project.

Dani Boudreau Tijuana River Site Coordinator
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Danielle Boudreau works for the Coastal Training Program at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR), providing science-based training and technical assistance to binational coastal decision-makers.

Currently, she is managing the Reserve’s climate change efforts, also known as the Climate Understanding and Resilience in the River Valley (CURRV) project, through which TRNERR is collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders to conduct a vulnerability assessment that will inform the development of climate adaptation strategies for the Tijuana River Valley.

Previously, Dani researched natural coastal adaptation strategies with The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina, while pursuing her masters in Environmental Management and Geospatial Analysis at Duke University. Before attending graduate school, she worked at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) at the University of California, Berkeley with an interdisciplinary team of researchers to advance the understanding of how international climate policy, technology, and economic growth are interconnected. Danielle holds a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Coastal and Marine Policy, and Philosophy.

Ana Eguiarte Community Outreach Associate
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Ana Eguiarte, Community Outreach Associate, has been working at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve since 2008 and has been participating in the Coastal Training Program, Watershed Program, and Community Outreach Program. Ms. Eguiarte has been facilitating watershed improvement projects in Mexico that result in direct environmental benefits to the Reserve. These activities have been occurring in Los Laureles and Los Sauces Canyons. Moreover, Ms. Eguiarte has been coordinating the temporary employment program since 2011 overseeing 430 employees during the past three years. She co-coordinated all of TRNERR’s Tijuana River Action Month events in 2013. Her previous professional experience from 2001 to 2007 includes coordinator of the Environmental Analysis and Planning Department of the Environmental Protection Agency of Baja California State, Mx.

Ms. Eguiarte holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Guadalajara, Mx and a Master on Environmental Planning from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mx.