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Agriculture Drone

CORE Fellows 2024

The theme for the 2024 Institute is “Leveraging Data and Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Regional Food Systems”. See below to learn more about the 2024 CORE Fellows. 

Beatriz Guerrero Auna

City of Richmond, CA

Beatriz Guerrero Auna is the Transformative Climate Communities Coordinator for the City of Richmond, CA, where she manages a $35 million Transformative Climate Communities state grant. The community-driven projects funded by this grant include constructing new bike lanes, installing residential solar power systems for low income homes, planting trees, furthering workforce development and training, and providing access to healthy food. among others. Formerly, Beatriz was an Equity and Public Health Senior Planner for the City of Santa Rosa, CA, focusing on inclusive and equitable community outreach and integrating health & equity into long range planning. She has a master’s in city Planning with a concentration on Environmental Planning and Healthy Cities from UC Berkeley. She has worked for more than 15 years in planning, health, and public policy implementation for federal government and local jurisdictions in Mexico and the US. She loves good food, dancing, time with friends and her cat, Nash. Beatriz is Mexican, born and raised in Mexico City.

Bianca Carducci

Columbia Climate School, Columbia University

Dr. Carducci is a nutrition scientist at Columbia Climate School, Columbia University, specializing in the linkage between food systems, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. Bianca received her PhD from University of Toronto in Nutritional Sciences with a Collaborative Specialization in Global Health where her dissertation aimed to improve the understanding of the food environment and its relationship with diet-related health outcomes in school-aged children and adolescents in low- and middle- income countries, using Pakistan as a case study. In addition, she holds a Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences from University of Guelph. Most recently, she was a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Berman Institute of Bioethics and Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. At the Climate School, she is working to expand the Food for Humanity Initiative. This includes implementation research on using climate services to adapt nutrition interventions in Ethiopia and Cambodia; developing targets for food system indicators to measure and monitor progress, particularly as it relates to sustainable and healthy diets and nutrition (Food Systems Countdown Initiative); just transformations for healthy food systems, including economic and policy incentives (EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission); as well as modelling the effect of climate variability on crops (Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils) and dietary diversity. Personal website:

Charlotte E. Gonzalez Abraham


I’m an independent scientist working in land and food systems. Over the past five years I have been part of the FABLE consortium, specifically as the Coordinator for FABLE-Mexico. My responsibilities primarily focused on leading a team of scientists dedicated to exploring, developing, and assessing sustainable pathways for food and land use systems in Mexico. My work emphasized strategic collaboration among interdisciplinary experts and stakeholders within various Mexican institutions. In this capacity, I functioned as a facilitator, bridging the gap between scientific insights and the needs of national stakeholders to ensure an integration of those need into our models and initiatives. One of my central duties involved the adaptation and refinement of the FABLE-Calculator, a modeling tool used to forecast the potential impact of national public policies on the evolution of Mexico's food and land use systems. FABLE Mexico Team 

Emily Steliotes

International Center for Food Ontology Operability Data and Semantics (IC-FOODS)

Etienne Doidic

Hyphi Farms LLC

I am a professional Machine Learning Engineer currently working in the industry but my passion has long been with agriculture and food systems. My business partner and I have recently formed a non-profit named Hyphi Farms with the mission of converting underutilized land in urban and suburban areas into highly productive agricultural land. We are partnering with UC San Diego to develop technologies to maximize production. The produce will then be sold and donated to institutions in underserved communities.

Eunkyoung Choi

Colorado State University

Eunkyoung (Kyoung) Choi is a PhD candidate in the Ecosystem Sustainability program at Colorado State University, working with Dr. Nathan Mueller. Her research interests include climate risk assessment for agricultural production. She received her masters in Atmospheric Sciences in 2020 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied environmental effects on net land carbon flux in the present and future. Prior to her graduate studies, she was an environmental consultant working in South Korea and Japan. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, and dancing. My personal website is

Felicia Chiang


I am a climate scientist by training, currently working at EPRI, which is a non-profit focused on electric utility sector research. At EPRI, I support climate risk and resilience work in an interdisciplinary team to support the electric utility sector's climate change adaptation efforts. Prior, I received my PhD from UC Irvine and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA GISS, researching the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and human activities on individual and compound extremes. I am interested in building my understanding of convergence research approaches and methodologies relevant to the food-energy-water nexus, producing actionable science and improving resilience across human systems.

François Scharffe

The Data Chefs

François Scharffe is a hands-on technology executive with a track record of improving data management in organizations using metadata and knowledge engineering. Over the past several years, he has led projects focused on improving data management in several large companies. His career as a technical leader has led him to perform engineering, product management and team leadership roles. François has also worked as a lecturer and researcher, most recently at Columbia University (New York) and at the University of Montpellier (France). François is the founder and chief executive of The Data Chefs, a data management consulting firm, and a founder and program chair of the Knowledge Graph Conference, the leading event on graph and knowledge technologies.

Jake Rhodes

Brigham Young University

I finished my Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences with a Statistics specialization from Utah State University in August 2022. After graduation, I started working as an assistant professor at Idaho State University. I joined the Department of Statistic at BYU in June 2023 where I teach courses in data science. My research areas include random forests, manifold learning, manifold alignment, dimensionality reduction techniques, and the development of applications in machine and deep learning.

Jenny Lee

San Diego Supercomputer Center

Julia Raymond


Julia is an organizational leader with fifteen years of experience leading and growing mission-driven organizations at the intersection of food, community and innovation. Prior to joining Cureate, Julia has led programs and partnerships for Feastly, Amazon, WeWork, Growing Gardens, and Share Our Strength. Supporting and strengthening small businesses through technology, coaching, and partnerships has been at the core of Julia's career. She is passionate about developing and operationalizing initiatives that drive consumer awareness of the links between food, health, climate, and the economy.

Katherine Sierra

Auburn University

My name is Katherine Sofia Sierra, from Honduras. I am a master’s student in Food Science at Auburn University. I obtained a B.Sc. in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University, Honduras, where I developed an interest for all the areas of agriculture and specially food processing and food safety. Ever since my undergraduate years, I've been driven to conduct my research projects with a focus on sustainability, recognizing the significant global challenges we face. Beginning with the development of antimicrobial packaging using food waste, my commitment to sustainability has remained steadfast as I pursued my master’s degree in food science. Throughout my academic journey, I've consistently integrated sustainability principles into all my projects. Then I began creating antimicrobial and biodegradable packaging against Listeria monocytogenes on ready to eat meats, getting promising results aiming to reduce the plastic used and ensuring food safety. Another fascinating project that I have been working on under Dr. Morey as advisor, is using Room Temperature Plasma (RTP), novel technology to eliminate harmful bacteria in common poultry processing surfaces, and Salmonella on chicken skin. More recently, I've extended my focus on sustainability by applying the same technology to activate antimicrobials, including commonly used sanitizers in processing plants. This approach aims to minimize chemical usage, enhance sustainability, and facilitate the disinfection of eggshells and processing surfaces. Receiving CORE Fellow Academy are aligning perfectly with my personal and professional objectives. 

Katie O'Laughlin

San Diego Supercomputer Center

Kunwar K. Singh

The college of William and Mary

Dr. Kunwar Singh, a Senior Geospatial Scientist at AidData's Global Research Institute and Affiliate Faculty at William & Mary's Center for Geospatial Analysis, leads interdisciplinary research in land change and geospatial sciences. With a focus on sustainability, he highlights the critical need to balance land conversions and natural resource preservation amidst global climate change challenges. Dr. Singh's evaluations of restoration, conservation, and climate-smart agricultural practices provide invaluable insights into mitigating climate change's adverse impacts on natural resource sustainability. Through geospatial impact evaluation, he analyzes the effectiveness of interventions, particularly in regions like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, contributing to global efforts for a more sustainable future.

Lily McCann

The Global Arc

I am the Agriculture Specialist at Ocean View Growing Grounds, a community garden and environmental justice learning hub. With an interest in cooking and healthy eating and a passion for sustainable agriculture, I am incredibly excited to be involved in San Diego's food system, spanning from planting the seeds in the soil, to improving access to healthy, sustainably produced and culturally relevant foods. I see food sovereignty as a vital aspect of environmental justice, and as an integral part of strengthening the natural and built environments in which we live, work and play.

Marco Augusto Miranda Ackerman

Academy of Built Environment and Logisticas at Breda University of Applied Sciences

Marco Miranda Ackerman is currently Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain Strategy and Change & Innovation Management in the Supply Chain Management master’s program at Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUas) in the Netherlands. There he is researching last mile logistics, SC resilience and sustainable supply chain network design. Before joining BUas he was Professor at UABC in Tijuana where he focused his research on sustainable food supply chains, food loss and waste estimation and reduction through AI, and food shelf life extension. There he lectured and supervised theses in the Masters and Doctoral programs in Science and Engineering. He has been visiting or invited lecturer at UNAM, UMSNH, COLMICH, CSU Fresno and TecNM. Before that he held a CONACYT research chair at Colegio de Michoacan and was commissioned to CIDAM food innovation center. There he headed the Innovation Management unit and the Agro-TIC (now Agro-cybernetics) lab. Coordinating efforts from the research and service laboratories (e.g. Post-harvest, Phytopathology, Food Processing, Food Safety, etc.) at CIDAM; collaborating with small farm holders and cooperatives - leading projects on food ERP systems and decision support systems development for more equitable negotiations. He holds a PhD in Process and Environmental Engineering from INP Toulouse, France.

Renzo Negrini

University of Minnesota - Precision Agriculture Center

As a dedicated precision agriculture scientist at the University of Minnesota's Precision Agriculture Center, I specialize in developing and implementing advanced agricultural technologies to optimize nutrient management and sustainably and profitably enhance crop yields. My work focuses on the integration of precision nitrogen management, variable rate seeding, and precision sulfur management, employing cutting-edge tools such as machine learning models, remote and proximal sensing technologies, and data-driven decision-making processes. My experience consists in research projects, conducted directly on commercial farms, aim to provide practical, real-world solutions that improve food security, environmental sustainability, and farm profitability across diverse geographic regions including Brazil, Central Europe, and the United States. Driven by a personal mission to better the world through sustainable agriculture, I am deeply committed to advancing the field of precision agriculture. My work not only contributes to the academic community, and general society but also directly impacts farming practices globally, ensuring that farmers have the knowledge and technology to make informed decisions that benefit both their livelihoods and the environment. For more about my background, research and projects, visit my LinkedIn:

Reza Mortaheb


Reza Mortaheb is a multifaceted professional blending the worlds of architecture, city planning, and geospatial data science. Driven by a passion for leveraging geographic information systems (GIS) and GeoAI methods, he focuses on crafting innovative planning support tools tailored for smart cities to help foster the development of vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive urban environments that thrive in the face of challenges. His current research venture sees him at the intersection of GIS and optimization techniques, where he endeavors to enhance city planning systems, particularly in the realm of commuting patterns. Linkedin:

Salva Ruhling Cachay

UC San Diego

Tera Fazzino

University of Kansas

Dr. Tera Fazzino is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment at the University of Kansas. Her research interests are focused on reinforcement processes, risk behaviors (primarily alcohol use and binge eating), and related health outcomes. She developed a standardized definition of hyper-palatable foods and has examined ways in which they impact the food supply and population dietary habits and health. Link to lab website:

Thi Vo

The Global Arc

My name is Thi Vo, a UC Berkeley Alumna, and I am currently the Environmental Justice Learning Hub manager at Ocean View Growing Grounds, a project of The Global Action Research Center. Ocean View growing grounds serves as an urban garden and also a learning center for the southeast San Diego community members seeking guidance and resources to maintain or begin an urban Green Space or an urban garden. I was a fellow in the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture’s (MESA) Applied Agroecology Program and received my certificate in applied agroecology in 2022, and am currently in a training program to become a seed farmer to gain knowledge on growing location-resilient seeds for SE San Diego to respond to the community

Trey Malone

University of Arkansas

Trey Malone is an agri-food economist whose primary research interests are agribusiness entrepreneurship and public policy impacts on agri-food supply chains. He has published over 60 research articles in outlets including Food Policy, Journal of Business Venturing Insights, and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. He has received more than a dozen research awards and fellowships, including the Emerging Scholar Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Research and Communication from the Food Distribution Research Society. Dr. Malone’s research has been funded by high-profile agencies such as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Wildlife Fund. Before joining the University of Arkansas, he was an Assistant Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University and his bachelor's from Rockhurst University. Prior roles include Agricultural Economics Fellow for Sustainable Food Systems for the Farm Foundation and Managing Editor at Agricultural & Resource Economics Review. His insights have been featured in popular press outlets, including the New York Times, TIME Magazine, CNBC, USA Today, Fast Company, and Popular Science. He currently serves as North American Managing Editor at the International Food and Agribusiness Review and the Southern Fellow for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Xiao Shi


Yan Jiang

University of California, San Diego

Yan Jiang is a hydroclimate scientist specializing in atmospheric science, climate dynamics, hydrology, and remote sensing. She obtained her PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2022 and her BS in Atmospheric Science from Sun Yat-Sen University in China in 2016. Currently, she is a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Jennifer Burney in the Environment and Policy Group at the University of California, San Diego. Yan’s research centers on the global water cycle and land-human-climate interactions. Employing quantitative environmental analysis, Earth Observation data, climate modeling, and machine learning, she is dedicated to understanding hydroclimatic disturbances in critical ecosystems and empowering effective water-related hazard (e.g., drought, wildfires) mitigation strategies. She has led work published in top journals including Nature Climate Change, Environmental Research Letters. She has been awarded the 2023 MIT CEE Rising Stars. Yan’s current endeavor focuses on harnessing satellite-derived water isotopes and innovative crop mapping techniques to analyze water needs for food production, and further facilitate actionable and sustainable water management in the face of increasing dryness.

Yuzhou Chen

Temple University

Dr. Yuzhou Chen is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Temple University. He is also a Visiting Research Collaborator in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Princeton University.

Zhe Zhang

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Hello! My name is Zhe Zhang, I am an ASP postdoc fellow at NSF NCAR, my research focuses on the interactions between climate and food-water nexus, in particular how climate change would impacts on crop yields and irrigation water use, and how cropland expansion would modify regional climate. In my spare time, I like outdoor activities, such as running, hiking and skiing. It is my great pleasure to join this CORE institute event and hope we can connect and learn from each other!

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