• Associate Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning
  • Curator of Urban Ecology, Natural History Museum of Utah

Research Summary

My research investigates how global change drivers, including land transformation and atmospheric pollution, affect biogeochemical cycles and water resources.I combine quantitative and qualitative approaches, field, lab, and modeling tools to better understand spatial variability in atmosphere-biosphere interactions. My work spans urban, dryland, and forest ecosystems and is advancing knowledge in the fields of urban science and forest hydrology and biogeochemistry.


  • B.A., Psychology, United States International University, Mexico City
  • M.A., Geography, University of Texas at Austin. Project: Living on the Margin: An Economic Analysis of Traditional Shade Coffee Cultivation by the Huastec Maya of Northeastern Mexico
  • Ph.D., Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale School of Forestry and the Environment. Project: Land Cover Effects on Water Fluxes and Atmospheric Deposition across a Mexican Tropical Montane Landscape
  • National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship, Geography, University of Texas at Austin


I am an Associate Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning and Curator of Urban Ecology at the Natural History Museum of Utah. I received my Ph.D. from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (2009), a M.A. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin (2002), and B.A. in Psychology from United States International University in Mexico City. My research investigates how changes in our atmosphere caused by urban pollution, fire, and dust affect ecosystems on land, from tropical forest to urban. A major thrust of my research program focuses on interactions between air quality and trees and forests. With support from a National Science Foundation CAREER award, my colleagues and I investigated the magnitude and drivers of elemental carbon deposition to urban trees and soils. Current projects examine how digital technologies influence environmental justice in urban forest planning and the role of particulates, including soot and microplastics, in the biogeochemistry of U.S. forests. In the future, I plan to utilize museum-based collections to study historical air pollution in the Salt Lake region, and the implications for air quality planning. In 2021, I was appointed to the 7-member US EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), where I work at the policy-science interface.