TCI Fellows are TCI funded researchers that can include Cornell faculty and staff, post-doctorates, or visiting researchers from other universities or institutions in India or worldwide, who are investigating research questions that align with TCI’s key research priorities.
TCI Post-Doctoral Fellows
Dr. Mathew Abraham (TCI Post-Doctoral Associate)
Mathew Abraham is a Post-Doctoral Associate with the TCI program. His research focuses on evaluating collective action initiatives by small and marginal agricultural producers and marginalized groups in India. It attempts to assess the potential and challenges of organizing production and marketing activities by small farms, develop metrics to evaluate the performance of such initiatives and evaluate how they can improve access to agricultural commodity and factor markets in India. Mathew received his PhD from the Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark in April 2015. Prior to that he worked at the Centre Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. He has a Master’s Degree from Lund University, Sweden and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Stephens College, Delhi. His other research interests are in rural development and citizenship, agricultural markets, food security in developing countries, institutional innovation in rural development and social entrepreneurship. Contact
Dr. Soumya Gupta (TCI Post-Doctoral Associate)
Soumya Gupta is a Post-Doctoral Associate with the TCI program. Her research interests lie at the intersections of food security, agriculture and maternal and child nutrition. She is currently associated with TCI's TARINA project and is working on activities centered on research design, project implementation and evaluation as well as empirical research. Soumya received her PhD from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. She was awarded the inaugural Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research by the International Council for Research on Women. Soumya has a Masters degree in Economics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and a Bachelors degree in Economics from Delhi University in India. She has extensive research and teaching experience in India prior to joining Cornell. Contact
Dr. Asha Sharma (TCI Post-Doctoral Associate)
Asha Sharma is a Post-Doctoral Associate with the TCI program, where she is working to quantify risks due to climate change on agriculture in India. She is building on the extensive current body of work in this area by doing the analysis at a higher spatial and temporal resolution than is typical in such studies as well as incorporating the influence of multiple crops, extreme events and water resources. This comprehensive approach should ultimately allow us to identify key risks to nutrition due to climate change and place them in the context of other long-term trends. Asha has earned Master’s and PhD degrees in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell, and a Bachelor of Technology in Industrial Biotechnology from Anna University, India. Her broader research interests include the intersection of water resources, climate change, and food systems, and the estimation of trends in water resources in data-scarce regions. Contact
TCI Visiting Fellows
Dr. Nagesh Gavirneni
Nagesh Gavirneni is a professor of operations management in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. His research interests are in the areas of supply chain management, inventory control, production scheduling, simulation and optimization. He is now using these models and methodologies to solve problems in healthcare, agriculture and humanitarian logistics in developing countries. Previously, he was an assistant professor in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, the chief algorithm design engineer of SmartOps, a Software Architect at Maxager Technology, Inc. and a research scientist with Schlumberger. He has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Madras, a Master’s degree from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. Contact
TCI Faculty Fellows
Dr. Debbie Cherney (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Debbie Cherney (B.S., animal science, 1980, University of Florida; M.S., agronomy, Louisiana State University; Ph.D., animal nutrition, 1989, University of Florida; M.A., bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin) is an Associate Professor of Animal Science at Cornell University. She teaches three undergraduate courses: Introduction to Animal Nutrition, Introduction to Animal Welfare, and Ethics in Animal Science. Her program aims to improve the profitability of forage/livestock operations, while at the same time minimizing any negative effects of forage crops on the environment. Many of her studies have involved evaluating or improving laboratory or in vitro techniques to assess forage quality, the goal of this effort being to improve and standardize routine laboratory methodology. She has published over 150 peer reviewed papers, chapters, and proceedings, and co-edited a popular book on forages (Grass for Dairy Cattle).
Dr. Mark A. Constas (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Mark Constas is an Associate Professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and an International Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is also a Fellow in the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Global Sustainable Enterprise in the Johnson School of Management. With a specialization in impact evaluation and measurement, his research seeks to develop and test assessment tools to measure the ways in which households and communities achieve and maintain well-being in shock-prone contexts. His research is presently focused in the sub-Saharan region of Africa where droughts, environmental stresses, and political conflict undermine the livelihoods and threaten the well-being of vulnerable populations. He has recently initiated a set of projects that are focused on resilience measurement in Somalia and Kenya, working in close coordination with regional organizations and governmental authorities. Professor Constas is currently serving as Chair of the Resilience Measurement Technical Working Group, an effort jointly coordinated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program, with support from the European Union and the United States Agency for International Development. Professor Constas’ work has been published in peer review journals and in other forms of publication. His most recent work has appeared in the journal of Food Security (with Tim Frankenberger), in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (with Chris Barrett), and in reports issued by the Food Security Information Network.
Dr. Bruce V. Lewenstein (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Bruce Lewenstein (A.B., general studies in the humanities, 1980, University of Chicago; Ph.D., history and sociology of science, 1987, University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Science Communication and chair of the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. He is also a full member of the Department of Communication. He works primarily on the history of public communication of science, with excursions into other areas of science communication (such as informal science education). He has been an active evaluator of informal science education projects, especially in areas of “citizen science.” Dr. Lewenstein also has been active in international activities that contribute to education and research on public communication of science and technology, especially in the developing world. In general, he tries to document the ways that public communication is fundamental to the process of producing reliable knowledge about the natural world.
Dr. Rebecca Nelson (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Rebecca Nelson is a Professor in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, and is a member of the fields of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe-Biology, Plant Breeding & Genetics and International Agriculture & Rural Development. She serves as Scientific Director for The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). Rebecca serves as co-chair of the Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. She also serves on the SDSN’s Executive Committee. Rebecca teaches an undergraduate course on “Perspectives in International Agriculture and Rural Development” and contributes to other courses in international agriculture and plant pathology. Her research laboratory, based at Cornell University, collaborates with maize geneticists and breeders at Cornell, in Kenya and elsewhere. Ongoing research includes analyzing the genetic architecture of quantitative disease resistance and dissecting quantitative trait loci to identify mechanisms and genes that impair pathogen development, with a particular interest in multiple disease resistance and mycotoxin resistance. Prior to moving to Cornell in 2001, Rebecca worked at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru (1996-2001), and at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines (1988-1996). Rebecca holds a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. A MacArthur Fellow from 1998 through 2003, she has served on the editorial boards of Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Phytopathology, and the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.
Dr. Harold van Es (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Harold van Es is a Professor of Soil and Water Management and former Chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Cornell University. He received degrees from the University of Amsterdam, Iowa State University and North Carolina State University. He works on approaches to precision soil management, with current emphases on soil health, a computational tool for precision nitrogen management (Adapt-N) that was recently commercialized, and space-time statistics. He has published over 110 peer reviewed papers and chapters, co-authored a widely-read book on sustainable soil management (Building Soils for Better Crops), developed numerous extension articles and videos, and advised 47 graduate students. He teaches an undergraduate course in Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability, and a graduate course in Space-Time Statistics. He is the President-Elect and a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, and also a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy.
Dr. Michael Walter (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Dr. Michael Walter is a Professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Science and the College of Engineering at Cornell University. His BS and MS degrees were received from the University of Illinois, and his PhD in Water Resource Engineering was earned from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to earning his doctorate degree, Mike worked as a water resource planner for the State of Illinois. During his time at Cornell, his primary research has focused on agricultural water development, particularly within developing countries. This research primarily addressed the question of “Why did the Green Revolution not succeed in some places?” He successfully directed field research studies with more than 40 graduate students assigned to regions in Latin America, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Near East. He was one the first participants in the USAID Joint Career Corps where his involvement included working, in conjunction with Cornell, for the USAID, which also included living in India for several years. He was Co-Director of research for the $35M USAID Irrigation Support Project for Asia and the Near East. From 1994 to 2008, he served as Chair of the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. During this period, his department refocused its research and teaching programs resulting on biotechnology and development of a new joint undergraduate major in Environmental Engineering with Civil Engineering. Mike and his wife have raised seven children, five of whom have B.S. degrees and two master degrees from Cornell University.
Dr. Monroe Weber-Shirk (TCI Faculty Fellow)
Dr. Weber-Shirk received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University in 1992. His experiences working in Salvadoran refugee camps in Honduras helped shape his interest in sustainable technologies for safe drinking water. In 2005, he founded the AguaClara program to address the need for sustainable municipal scale water treatment in resource poor communities. His investigations of the widespread failure of automated and mechanized water treatment plants have provided the impetus to develop a new approach to solve this global infrastructure problem. He has guided the AguaClara team to invent a series of technologies that together make it possible to produce safe drinking water without using any electricity. He organized the AguaClara program to engage students to conduct research and create a free online water treatment plant design tool. He works to empower partner organizations that in turn empower communities to build, operate, and sustain their AguaClara water treatment plants. His research team is investigating methods to improve performance and reduce the cost of drinking water treatment. He guides students using a combination of peer-based, project-based, and lecture formats.