The GCC welcomes seven new faculty affiliates

Meet our newest faculty affiliates:

 

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Dr. Cully Hession

Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering

Research focus: His lab focuses stream channel structure and sediment dynamics, influence of human activities on streams, techniques for measuring and improving in-stream habitat, and development of technologies and strategies for successful stream restoration.  Current research focuses on using drones and drone-based lidar to map riverscapes and tracer studies to better understand sediment transport and fate. Dr. Hession is also PI/co-Director of an interdisciplinary research and extension training program called “Training Future Leaders to Solve Resource Challenges at the Confluence of Water and Society.

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Dr. Florian Zach

Assistant Professor, Deparment of Hospitality & Tourism Management

Research interests:  Dr. Zach is interested in strategic issues that support the sustainable development of tourism destinations. He has investigated the inter-organizational collaboration and networks to understand how destination stakeholders collectively develop tourism innovations. Additionally, he works with colleagues to understand human-computer interaction issues stemming from the use of cutting-edge technologies in the context of tourism. Current projects include exploring the effects of summer adventure parks built by ski resorts in the Austrian Alps as a response to shorter winter and longer summer seasons and also the impacts of the 2018 Florida Red Tide on hotel & short-term rentals (Airbnb & similar).

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Dr. J. Leighton Reid

Assistant Professor, School of Plant & Environmental Sciences

Research interests: Dr. Reid’s research interests encompass tropical forest restoration in Latin America and Madagascar as well as temperate forest, woodland, and grassland restoration in the eastern United States. Specifically, he investigates how local restoration interventions interact with their surrounding landscape to affect biodiversity recovery, how keystone plant species can be used to catalyze ecological succession, why some restored ecosystems persist much longer than others, and what soil and environmental factors limit the recolonization of rare plants in regenerating ecosystems.

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Dr. Rachel Reid

Research Scientist, Department of Geosciences

Research interests: Dr. Reid is a paleoecologist interested in how disturbances, such as climate and environmental change, impact species, ecosystems, and their interactions over a range of timescales. As a Research Scientist at Virginia Tech, Dr. Reid runs the Stable Isotope Laboratory.

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Dr. Theo Lim

Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Affairs & Environmental Planning

Research interests: Dr. Lim’s research focuses on the environmental planning of linked land, water, infrastructure, and social systems. His interests include urban hydrology, distributed stormwater practices, community green infrastructure, energy planning in agricultural and rural settings, land development impacts on the hydrological cycle, and applications of data science in urban & environmental planning.

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Dr. Ben Gill

Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences

Research interests: Dr. Gill specializes in reconstructing the present and past chemical cycles on our planet. He leads the Biogeochemistry Laboratory Group at Virginia Tech. The main research focus of his group concerns understanding the connections between major changes in the environment (oxygenation/deoxygenation oceans, climatic warming and cooling, etc.) and major events in the history of life (originations, diversifications and mass extinctions).

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Dr. James Weger-Lucarelli

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathology

Research interests: Dr. Weger-Lucarelli’s research focuses on understanding viral and host determinants that mediate disease severity, transmission, evolution, and protection against mosquito-borne viruses. The Weger-Lucarelli lab uses molecular, virological, and computational methods to study these interactions, with the goal to recognize and study emerging viral threats before they product massive outbreaks.  He is also working to produce innovative vaccines to prevent mosquito-borne viral disease.

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