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Connecting the Dots 2012 Speaker Bios

Stacey Bent
TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Chemical Engineering

Stacey F. Bent is the Department Chair of Chemical Engineering and the Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, where she is appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Electrical Engineering. Professor Bent serves as the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and a senior fellow in the Precourt Institute of Energy. Professor Bent obtained her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Stanford. After carrying out postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at New York University. She moved to Stanford University in 1998. Professor Bent’s research is focused on understanding surface and interfacial chemistry and materials synthesis, and applying this knowledge to a range of problems in sustainable energy, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology. Her group currently studies new materials and processes for electronics, solar cells and solar fuels, and catalysts.

As the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Professor Bent oversees the center’s mission to make human electricity and transportation systems more sustainable for the long term. The center also aims to educate tomorrow’s energy leaders, through outreach events, course grants, and summer internship programs.


David Lobell
Center on Food Security and the Environment, Earth System Science

David Lobell is an Associate Professor in Environmental Earth System Science and Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University. His research focuses on identifying opportunities to raise crop yields in major agricultural regions, with a particular emphasis on adaptation to climate change. His current projects span Africa, South Asia, Mexico, and the United States, and involve a range of tools including remote sensing, GIS, and crop and climate models.

Lobell's work is motivated by questions such as: What investments are most effective at raising global crop yields, in order to increase food production without expansion of agricultural lands? Will yield gains keep pace with global demand for crop products, given current levels of investment? And, what direct or indirect effects will efforts to raise crop productivity have on other components of the Earth System, such as climate? Answering these questions requires an understanding of the complex factors that limit crop yields throughout the world, and the links between agriculture and the broader Earth System.

Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Lobell was a Senior Research Scholar at FSE from 2008-2009, and a Lawrence Post-doctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 2005-2007. He received a PhD in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2005, and a Sc.B. in Applied Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude from Brown University in 2000.


Noah Diffenbaugh
Noah Diffenbaugh
Environmental Earth System Science, Woods Institute for the Environment

Noah Diffenbaugh is an associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. His research interests are centered on the dynamics and impacts of climate variability and change, including the role of humans as a coupled component of the climate system. Much of his work has focused on the role of fine-scale processes in shaping climate change impacts, including studies of extreme weather, water resources, agriculture, human health, and poverty vulnerability.

Diffenbaugh is a lead author for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Ad Hoc Committee on Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. He also serves on the executive committee of the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), as an editor of Geophysical Research Letters and as a member representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Diffenbaugh is a recipient of the James R. Holton Award from AGU, a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Terman Fellowship from Stanford. He has also been recognized a Kavli Fellow by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and as a Google Science Communication Fellow.


Richard Luthy
Richard Luthy
Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of ReNUWit

Dick's area of teaching and research is environmental engineering and water quality with application to water reuse and management of contaminated sediments. His work addresses the fate of hydrophobic organic compounds, interdisciplinary approaches to understand the behavior and bioavailability of organic contaminants, and the application of these approaches to environmental quality criteria and new cleanup practices.


Jeff Koseff
Jeff Koseff
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director, Woods Institute for the Environment

Jeff studies the interaction between physical and biological systems in natural aquatic environments. In particular, he researches turbulence and internal wave dynamics in stratified flows, transport and mixing in estuarine systems, phytoplankton dynamics in estuarine systems, coral reef and kelp-forest hydrodynamics, chemical sensing in the marine environment, and coastal upwelling processes.


Buzz Thompson
Buzz Thompson
Natural Resources Law, Director, Woods Institute for the Environment

Buzz Thompson, Natural Resources Law; Director, Woods Institute for the Environment Buzz focuses on the sustainable use of natural resources and the effective reform of regulatory institutions. He has published articles on such diverse topics as water markets, fisheries management, biodiversity protection, land conservation, the use of economics and market tools in environmental regulation, and cognitive barriers to resource management.


James Leckie
James Leckie
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Moderator: James Leckie, Civil and Environmental Engineering James investigates chemical pollutant behavior in natural aquatic systems and engineered processes, specifically the environmental aspects of surface and colloid chemistry and the geochemistry of trace elements. Current efforts focus on the development of techniques and models for assessment of exposure of humans to toxic chemicals.


Jie Wang
Jie Wang
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jie researches management and engineering informatics; decision making and knowledge management for enterprise sustainable development and global competitiveness; e-commerce and e-government; and information technology as a modern tool for business strategy.


Craig Criddle
Craig Criddle
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Craig is interested in the environmental engineering, science, and science literacy needed for clean water, clean energy, and healthy ecosystems. His research focus is environmental biotechnology.


Andrew Fahlund
Andrew Fahlund
Executive Director, Program on Water in the West

Having joined Water in the West in January 2012, Andrew fosters interdisciplinary research and convenes leaders from a broad spectrum of interests to address one of the American West's greatest challenges. Previously, he worked for the advocacy group American Rivers for the past 15 years.


David Freyberg
David Freyberg
Civil and Environmental Engineerin

David’s diverse research includes understanding surface-subsurface interactions in coupled reservoir/sediment/wetland/stream systems, quantifying and valuing hydrologic ecosystem services, modeling sediment deposition and mobilization in sediment-impacted reservoirs, sediment management in small reservoirs, the hydrology of riparian wetlands and vadose zone dynamics in tropical coastal zones.


Stephen Camello
Stephen Camello
Graduate Student, CEE, MS&E

Stephen is pursuing a PhD in civil and environmental engineering and a PhD minor in management science and engineering at Stanford. His work has developed a framework for which firm-owned ecosystem services can be valuated using market prices in order to be represented within corporate financial statements as assets. This research is motivated by the need to create rational environmental management decision support tools, which can be readily incorporated into firm-level strategies. Stephen has held positions in information technology project management, construction project management and construction strategic development. He is actively involved in a number of service initiatives, including the Stanford Board of Trustees Committee on Land and Buildings, the Society of Decision Professionals and the Stanford Decision Clinic.


Sara Marks
Sara Marks
Graduate Student, CEE

Sara is a PhD candidate in Stanford’s Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research focuses on the social and technical factors that lead to sustainable outcomes for piped water systems in rural sub-Saharan Africa. She has completed field work in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Senegal. Before coming to Stanford, Sara worked as a consultant on environmental remediation projects and as a quality control technician in a municipal wastewater treatment plant. This summer she will begin a postdoctoral position with the Global Water Program in Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Melissa Rhodes
Melissa Rhodes
Graduate Student, CEE

Melissa is a first year graduate student studying in the Environmental Engineering and Science program at Stanford. She is focused on developing holistic water management tools and strategies to aid rural communities in securing sufficient water resources. In rural India, she is currently working on developing decision-based water management tools that provide local community members with ways to quantify groundwater availability and enable users to optimize planning for water-related income generating enterprises. In addition, she is also investigating the links between water and energy consumption behavior related to irrigation in India, and working towards developing a low-cost solar irrigation system for smallholder farmers.


Nicola Ulibarri
Nicola Ulibarri
Graduate Student, E-IPER

Nícola is a second-year PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, and a National Science Foundation – David and Lucille Packard Foundation Stanford Graduate Fellow. She is interested in how humans interact with and manage water resources, with the aim of finding practices and institutions that allow us to relate to the natural world in a sustainable way. Her dissertation research explores collaborative, multiparty decision-making processes around hydropower licensing and dam removal in the western United States.


Heather West
Heather West
Program Associate, Bill Lane Center for the American West

Heather joined the Bill Lane Center for the American West as a program and research associate in September 2010. Her research focuses on water stewardship in the private sector. Prior to joining the center, Heather worked at Suntech America Inc., a solar module manufacturing company in San Francisco. In the fall, Heather will be pursuing graduate studies in business and environmental management, where she will continue to pursue her interest in natural resource use in the private sector.