NatureNet Science Fellows

2017 Partners and Mentors

Applicants are required to identify a university mentor at a partner institution and a Nature Conservancy mentor. The following are directions for each partner institution.

University Partners and Mentors

Columbia University: 

The Earth Institute, including 29 Centers and Institutes

For support in identifying mentors within these departments/centers, please contact one of the following: 

Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (

John Mutter, Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Department of International and Public Affairs (

Natalie Unwin-Kuruneri, Associate Director of Education, The Earth Institute (

Cornell University:

Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future has nearly 500 faculty fellows who are committed to applying their research expertise and knowledge to solving the challenges of a sustainable future. Connect with a faculty fellow by browsing the Fellows database.

Stanford University:

A NatureNet Fellow at Stanford University will emphasize soil biogeochemistry, nutrient cycling, ecosystem services, and/or the management of agricultural ecosystems with one of the following:

Scott Fendorf, Huffington Family Professor in Earth Sciences and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Pamela Matson, Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Environmental Studies and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute

Kabir Paey, Assistant Professor of Biology

Peter Vitousek, Clifford G. Morrison Professor in Population and Resource Studies, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Earth System Science

University of California-Los Angeles:  

Institute of Environment and Sustainability 

Postdoctoral fellows are expected to have two UCLA advisors, each representing a different field. A small sample of faculty indicating the breadth of IoES research is below, but potential fellows should be sure to view the entire list of potential faculty mentors

Ann Carlson is a Professor of environmental law who specializes on climate change law and policy, as well as the future of America’s energy systems. 

Magali Delmas examines the effectiveness of voluntary emissions reductions on the part of corporations as well as eco-labelling and sustainability certification. Most recently she has been experimentally asking which messages and information are most likely to alter individual energy consumption habits (see 

Hilary Godwin’s research focuses on elucidating the molecular toxicology of engineered nanomaterials and development of assays for detection and analysis of infectious diseases. She also collaborates with Professors Tom Smith on assessing the impacts of deforestation and conservation on indigenous populations in Cameroon.  She also works actively with organizations and community to prepare for and diminish the impact of climate change on public health.

Alex Hall uses dynamically downscaled climate models to produce high resolution assessments of temperature, wind, fire, snowfall and snowpack and surface water runoff (see He is especially interested in climate feedbacks and impacts on people, using the Los Angeles Basin and southern California as his focal study area.

Ursula Heise is a Professor of English who focuses on contemporary environmental culture, literature and art. Her latest book (to appear in 2016) examines our narratives about biodiversity, recognizing that there is a rich variety of types and levels of biodiversity on which humans place value and to which we assign fundamental rights (from individual animals, to species, to ecological communities). 

Matt Kahn is a University of Chicago school economist with a wide range of interests that span topics such as building energy efficiency, low emissions vehicles, urbanization, pollution caused by economic growth, energy demand, social networks, air pollution, regulation, climate change mitigation and adaptation. He is particularly interested in China studies on these topics and is the author of several prominent books on the environment (see 

Glen MacDonald’s research focuses on climatic and environmental change and the impact of such change on ecosystems and humans. He is particularly interested in water resource issues in western North America and Arctic climate change. 

Stephanie Pincetl does research on cities, how they impact resources far and near such as water sources and ecosystems, and how those resources are used in cities (where, by whom, and to do what?). Her current research maps electricity and natural gas use across Los Angeles County by census tract, building type and building age, and income and has generated an unprecedented map of energy use that will enable the testing of a rich variety of hypotheses about incentives, regulations and drivers of urban energy demands She is the director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA. 

Brad Shaffer applies landscape genetics and evolutionary biology to conservation. This allows him to make recommendations for landscape scale management that will sustain biodiversity, as well as establish priorities for which species and populations warrant conservation interventions.

University of Minnesota:

A NatureNet Fellow at Institute on Environment will address the ecological economics or the management of agricultural ecosystems to maximize carbon storage and/or clean water.

Candidates can select relevant faculty mentors who are current institute Fellows or any UMN faculty who is interested to become engaged with the institute.

University of Pennsylvania:

Department of Biology

Department of Chemistry 

Department of Material Sciences and Engineering 

Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) 

Wharton School of Business 

University of Queensland – Brisbane:

Senior Researchers in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science

University of Virginia – Charlottesville:

Department of Biology: Faculty in the Evolutionary and Ecology group are all potential mentors.

Department of Chemistry:

Professor T. Brent Gunnoe: Organometallic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis; Small molecule activation for energy applications
Professor Lin Pu: Organic, Polymer and Organometallic Chemistry; Asymmetric Catalysis; Chiral Sensors; Optically Active materials
Assistant Professor Sen Zhang: Nanomaterials synthesis and assembly; Nanomaterials for renewable energy and environmental applications
Assistant Professor Charles Machan: Energy-relevant catalysis, particularly at the interface of molecular electrochemistry and materials
Assistant Professor Andreas Gahlmann: Biophysical Chemistry; Development of nanoscale imaging technologies; Bacterial cell biology

Department of Environmental Sciences: All faculty in the various components of this department are potential hosts and mentors to prospective postdoctoral fellows. For more details please refer to:

Department of Physics:
Professor Seunghun Lee, Commonwealth Professor of Physics, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

Associate Professor Xiaochao Zheng, Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics

Professor Joe Poon, William Barton Rogers Professor of Physics, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

The Nature Conservancy Mentors

To identify potential TNC Mentors, consider the following options:


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