Many graduate students at SFU are involved in research on climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation measures. Information about these students is provided below.  If your research is on this area please send an email to with a short description of your project and your photo to be included in the list.

Mahdi Aminipouri
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography 
Supervisor: Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld

Mahdi is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography and his research is entitled "Modifying the urban surface energy balance in British Columbia’s urban neighborhoods",  how effective is urban greening and reflective roofs in keeping neighborhoods cool and people safe during an extreme heat event?. Mahdi hols a bachelor of Statistics from the University of Tabriz, Iran, and a Master of Science in Environmental Modelins and Management.  He holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.



Evan Damkjar
MA Candidate, School of Public Policy
Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Olewiler

Hydro currently dominates BC’s renewable resource generation portfolio. There are many other forms of renewable energy resources that go unutilized or under-utilized. This project aims to assess the viability of these resources by looking at BC’s potential for development of the resource and feasibility analysis for large-scale energy projects. Feasible and high potential sites will have a social cost benefit analysis done to determine what should be done regarding the development of these renewable resources in BC.  Solar and wind will be the first renewables examined, with more renewables examined pending adequate time.

The final output of the project will be a comparative analysis of energy sources that includes the multiple attribute social benefit- cost analysis of the following: economic cost, economic benefit, health impacts, GHG impacts, climate barriers, estimated public favorability, technical feasibility and recent or near future developments that will increase technical feasibility or output. The best preforming technologies and energy sources will be incorporated into a potential resource development plan for BC as demand for electricity grows over time.

Evan Damkjar recently graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Currently he is pursing a Masters of Public Policy at SFU.


Khorshid Fayazmanesh
PhD Candidate, Department of Mechatronic Systems
Supervisor: Dr. Majid Bahrami

Khorshid is a PhD Candidate in Mechatronics System Engineering under supervision of Dr. Majid Bahrami. Her research is on material development and characterization for adsorption cooling systems. Heat-driven adsorption cooling systems are an emerging green technology in which an environmentally friendly refrigerant, such as water, is adsorbed by a porous adsorbent material.  Adsorption cooling systems can be designed to operate through utilization of waste heat generated by engines for automotive A/C purposes or solar thermal energy for residential A/C applications. The critical challenges in this field are developing new sorbent materials which can be regenerated in low temperature, have sufficient mass and thermal transport properties and high adsorption-desorption capacity and durability under operational cycle temperature and pressure conditions. This project focuses on the development and characterization of the composite adsorbent materials, including the testing of these materials in a lab-scale prototype adsorption cooling system.

To improve adsorption cooling system performance, porous material is mixed with hygroscopic salt while organic binder is used to coat adsorber bed. One of the major issues is heat transfer to the material which small portion of high thermal conductive additives is considered to be added to the mixture. Different material characterization are going to be studied for produced materials by means of thermogravimetric sorption analyzer, porosimeter and transient plane thermal conductivity test system.

Khorshid received her M.Eng in Chemical Engineering from a joint programme between Amir Kabir University of Technology and University of Birmingham in 2011, and M.Sc. in Advanced Chemical Engineering from University of Birmingham in 2012. She holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.


Mikela Hein
MRM Candidate, Resource and Environmental Management 
Supervisor: Dr. Mark Jaccard

Mikela comes to the REM program from Nanaimo BC. She graduated from Vancouver Island University where she focused her studies on Biology and Economics. She is excited to join REM and thinks it will be a great opportunity to integrate her knowledge about the environment with applied skills. Specifically, she joins the Energy and Materials Research Group where she is working on Harmonization strategies for British Columbia’s climate policies.  She holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. 


Derrick Ho (Hung Chak Ho)
PhD Candidate, Department of Geography
Supervisor: Dr. Anders Knudby

Derrick Ho is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. His main research focuses on studying relationships between the urban heat island effect and public health factors in temperate cities. Global climate change has increased intensities, frequencies and severities of heat waves in past decades. It created fatally heat waves in mid-latitude cities, such as 2003 heat waves in Paris and other European major cities, 2010 heat wave in Montreal, and 2009 heat wave in Vancouver. In order to reduce the fatal risks from heat waves and develop protocols for future health planning, Derrick will use Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) as a study site and will create a high resolution air temperature map for GVRD with remote sensing applications. This map will be used to study the correlations between temperature and heat-related mortality, as well as heat vulnerable population, social economic factors and building structures/types. The goal of Derrick’s research is to locate the potential hotspots in the city that may face high fatal risks during heat waves, and to apply the heat risk map for emergency use and health planning in the future. He holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.  Derrick obtained his BS in Geosciences from the Tennessee Technological University in 2009 and his MS in Geosciences from the Mississippi State University in 2012.


Alex Jiang Jun
PhD Candidate, Department of Mechatronic Systems
Supervisor: Dr. Mehrdad Moallem 

Alex Jiang Jun received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Automation from Wuhan University, China in 2011, and his MSc in Power Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2013. His primary interests are focused on the energy system and control, his research examines "Daylighting and Spectrum Control Strategies for Energy-efficient Lighting in Greenhouse Farming". He has worked as an electrical engineer for the power utility industry in China for one year, and as a researcher in Singapore Polytechnic for almost two years. He enjoys travelling and outdoor activities.  He holds a fellowship from the Pacific Insititute for Climate Solutions.


Sabine Jenssen
PHD Candidate, Department of Geography
Supervisor: Dr. Alison Gill

Federal and provincial marine conservation agencies in BC are currently developing a joint Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.  Her research entitled "Planning for marine ecosystem resilience under climate change in BC"  will examine governance options under an MPA network for maximizing marine ecosystems’ ability to adapt and be resilient to climate change. It is critical that these risks and uncertainties are incorporated into MPA design and management along with potential adaptation strategies. Sabine’s research will incorporate knowledge from a wide range of sources including First Nations, natural and social sciences, MPA network design theory and existing adaptive governance examples.  Sabine Jessen has worked in the conservation sector in BC and nationally for over 20 years with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, with a particular focus on advancing marine conservation. Sabine has extensive experience in the fields of resource, coastal zone and environmental management, and has served as an advisor to a variety of organizations including the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the Economic Council of Canada.  Sabine served on the Minister’s Advisory Council on Oceans from 2000 to 2005, advising the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on issues related to the management of Canada’s oceans. She currently serves on the boards of West Coast Aquatic, the Coastal Zone Canada Association, and the Ocean Management Research Network. Sabine has a masters and undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Waterloo, with a focus on coastal zone and resource management. Sabine was awarded a PICS fellowship on 2011.


Freya Kristensen
PHD Candidate, Department of Geography
Supervisors: Dr. Mark Roseland/ Dr. John Robinson, UBC

Freya’s research examines how international municipal sustainability networks influence sustainability policy in their member cities. Focusing particularly on the social dimension of sustainability, which tends to be less understood in both theory and practice than the economic and environmental dimensions, this research investigates if and how sustainability networks make a difference in the kinds of policies implemented by network members. This research is part of the PICS-funded Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) project, which is looking at best practices and innovations around climate change policy in eleven BC communities and how learnings from these communities can be transferred elsewhere. Freya Kristensen is a PhD candidate in the Department Geography and a researcher with the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development. Prior to joining the geography department, Freya spent almost two years with the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance, a non-profit organization that works to engage locally elected officials around social and environmental issues. Freya obtained her BA from the University of Western Ontario in international comparative studies and french in 2003 and a master’s degree from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2005 in international development studies. Freya holds a fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.


Xinru Li
MSc Candidate, Department of Geography
Supervisor: Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld

Xinru Li is a MSc. candidate in the Department of Geography. She currently works with Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld and Dr. Karen Kohfeld in the Climatology Research Lab. Her research is related to climate modeling and analysis. The current research entitled “Exploring the reversibility of changes in ocean conditions under net-negative CO2 emissions” aims to investigate the reversibility of changes in the marine environment after the implementation of artificial carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere (CDR) on centennial timescales with a special focus on ocean biogeochemical properties.


Cedar Morton
PhD Candidate, Resource and Environmental Management
Supervisor: Dr. Murray Rutherford

Cedar Morton is a PhD student in the School of Resource and Environmental Management and co-chair of the Water Research Group. His research aims to clarify the impact of predicted climate change scenarios on transboundary water cooperation between Canada and the USA. In particular, Cedar will examine the tension between salmon conservation and hydropower production in the Columbia River, and the resulting effect on Canada-US relations under the Columbia River Treaty. Cedar has been awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions as well as funding from Simon Fraser University. He also works with SFU's Adaptation to Climate Change Team on their Climate Change Adaptation and Water Security project. [full bio]


Subash Rajasekar
PhD Candidate, Department of Chemistry
Supervisor: Dr. Steven Holdcroft

Subash is a Phd student associated with both Chemistry department at Simon Fraser University and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). His work focuses on finding alternate clean energy sources particularly hydrogen generation via photoelectrochemical water splitting. To meet increasing global demand for energy, reduce global warming, and prepare for the possible depletion of fossil fuel supplies in the future it is necessary to develop alternative clean energy sources. One of the most prospective candidates for clean fuel source is hydrogen which produces only water during energy conversion. Hydrogen based energy conversion devices such as fuel cells have been developed to a level that commercial production is possible. However, fossil fuels are still used to produce hydrogen which makes it a non-renewable source. Developing hydrogen production technology from renewable sources is need of the hour. Photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen generation using semiconductors is an efficient and clean path to hydrogen generation. My research is focused on environmental friendly synthesis of semiconductor nanoparticles (both organic and inorganic) and characterizing their efficiency for photoelectrochemical H2 generation.


Thomas "Tommy" Rodengen
PhD Candidate, Resource and Environmental Management
Supervisor: Dr. Karen Kohfeld

Tommy Rodengen researches the development of climate change mitigation within Parks Canada, a Canadian federal government conservation agency. Using lake sediments he hopes to contribute a better understanding of the capacity of Parks Canada to implement a mitigation plan and to evaluate the potentially underrepresented contribution of lake systems to the overall carbon budget within national parks.

Tommy is working as manager of the Climate, Oceans, and Paleo-Environments (COPE) laboratory to process his lake sediments from all over Canada under the supervision of Dr. Karen Kohfeld. He also works with Dr. Wolfgang Haider and Dr. Marlow Pellatt of SFU and Parks Canada to ensure his results will be brought together with current national park management practices and policy as “usable science” to approach climate change mitigation.

Alongside research, Tommy is an instructor in Environmental Science. Tommy will teach Environmental Science 205: Methods in Environmental Science starting spring semester 2013. The course is focused on community-based learning around the Stoney Creek Watershed, which begins its course atop Burnaby Mountain at SFU.