DANTE Project Staff

The DANTE project staff brings together the combined geospatial, technological, and analytical expertise of its partner organizations: ISciences LLC, CIESIN, and CASE Consultants International.


Thomas M. Parris (PI)


Tom is President of ISciences LLC and has over 25 years of experience in the analysis of water, climate, sustainability, conflict, and fragility using his skills in policy analysis, quantitative natural and social science, management information science, and geospatial analysis. His work focuses on issues related to resilience, vulnerability, sustainable development, and the role of information systems in supporting integrated science and public policy enterprises. He works with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, global corporations, and the socially responsible investment community to define measures of sustainability and integrate them into decision making processes. Recent projects include global assessments of chronic, episodic, and long-term changes in water stress; the relationship between economic shocks and subsequent political instability; vulnerability to flooding in the Mekong River basin; and forecasting food crises in Africa.


Robert S. Chen (Co-PI)


Bob is director of CIESIN, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, a unit of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He manages the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), part of NASA’s network of Earth science data centers, and co-manages the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Data Distribution Center. He serves on the Council of the American Geographical Society and co-chairs the Data Sharing Working Group of the Group on Earth Observations and the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Dr. Chen has successfully managed more than 30 sponsored projects with over $78 million in external funding at Columbia University since 1998. His professional interests focus on the human dimensions of global environmental change, disaster management, climate change vulnerability, sustainable development, and scientific and geospatial data management, stewardship, and policy.


Eileen Lavonne Shea (consultant)


Eileen, as Senior Climate Policy Advisor, brings nearly thirty-five years of combined government and private-sector experience to CASE Consultants International. Her expertise extends from local, national and international climate information services, to weather and climate risk management, sustainability, as well as environmental science and public policy. Formerly, as Deputy Director of the NOAA Climate and Global Change Program, Eileen managed a $70 million program with universities and laboratories working in meteorology, climatology, oceanography, marine biology, ocean chemistry and social sciences. She played a central role in the development of the thirteen Federal-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program, which began as a Presidential initiative in 1990 and continues today to inform national and international public policy on climate and environmental changes. Eileen was core to the NOAA Climate Service plans, focusing on service development, delivery, and the emergence of an effective regional climate products and services. More recently, she was Chief of the Climate Services and Monitoring Division of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, NC (now NCEI). In that capacity, Eileen was responsible for data access, integration and visualization, customer engagement, education and outreach; and international, national and regional climate services partnerships. Eileen specializes in understanding the vulnerability of businesses, communities and natural resources to changing climate conditions and providing climate information to address those issues.


Susana Adamo


Susana is a Research Scientist in CIESIN’s Science Applications Division and a project scientist for SEDAC. A demographer, she brings to bear more than 15 years of experience in studies of population-environment interactions with a particular focus on migration and population mobility in relationship to environmental processes and sustainable development. She recently contributed to the World Bank report, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, and was part of an interdisciplinary NASA-supported project on the vulnerability of the U.S. Atlantic Coast to extreme winter storms. She also has extensive experience in working with household microdata and was part of CIESIN’s team that contributed to the Terra Populus project led by the University of Minnesota aimed at improving spatial analysis of microdata. Dr. Adamo received her PhD in Sociology/Demography from the University of Texas at Austin, a MS in Population Studies from the Facultad Latinomericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico, and a BS in Geography from the University of Buenos Aires.


Daniel P. Baston


Dan has over 10 years of experience in the fields of environmental science/engineering, software engineering, and geographic information systems (GIS). He has applied his skills to diverse subjects including numerical modeling of heat transfer and groundwater flow, design of statistically-based soil sampling studies, development of computer algorithms for automated boundary digitization, and distributed systems for geographic data editing. He has software development experience in languages including Java, C, C++, Python, R, JavaScript, and Clojure, and is active in the development of major open-source GIS projects including PostGIS and GEOS. At ISciences, Mr. Baston provides software engineering support for research projects including ISciences’ Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM), a global model of water shortage and surplus.


Joshua S. Brinks


Josh has over 10 years of experience as a quantitative ecologist, spatial analyst, and field researcher at a variety of academic, NGO, federal, and state research institutions. Mr. Brinks is an accomplished applied statistician with expertise in several techniques such as Bayesian parameter estimation, hierarchical modeling, and machine learning. He joined ISciences in 2017 as a Research Scientist. Josh’s first project at ISciences was an examination of traditional resilience theory in the context of state economic upheaval and political violence using random forest machine learning models. Mr. Brinks’ dissertation work focused on the interactions between climate and interspecific competition on annual individual tree growth using spatially explicit competition indices and high density LiDAR structural metrics from NASA Goddard’s G-LiHT sensor. Prior to his graduate work, Josh was an experienced field ecologist who spent several years with the Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, and The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where he oversaw the inventory of their 16 ha ForestGEO plot.


Alex de Sherbinin


Alex is the associate director for science applications at CIESIN and serves as Deputy Manager of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN as part of NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). He is coordinator of the Population-Environment Research Network (PERN) and a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data System scientific committee. Dr. de Sherbinin is a geographer who has published in leading journals on the human aspects of global environmental change and geospatial data applications and the integration of remote sensing and socioeconomic data. He recently helped to lead a major World Bank study, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, focused on the potential for climate-driven population movement in three regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Dr. de Sherbinin received his PhD from the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente (Netherlands), his MA in geography from Syracuse University, and his BA in geography from Dartmouth College.


Lisa Emmer


Lisa supports ISciences’ multidisciplinary analyses of global sustainability, human security, and the environment with her skills in research, writing, data discovery, and emerging issues awareness. She is responsible for content, publication, distribution, and social media presence of ISciences’ “Global Water Monitor and Forecast Watch List,” a monthly report presenting a selection of regions likely to encounter significant water anomalies (droughts/floods) within the next nine months. The “Watch List” is based on data generated by ISciences’ proprietary Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM) which documents current conditions and provides forecasts with lead times from 1-9 months.


Marc Levy


Marc, CIESIN deputy director and senior staff associate, is a political scientist specializing in the human dimensions of global environmental change, well known for his work on environmental security, environmental governance, and sustainability indicators. He was a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment, Working Group II chapter on human security and co-chaired the North America Assessment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6) released in May 2016. He is an adjunct professor with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he teaches graduate courses on environment-security linkages, and he also co-directs Columbia’s Certificate Program in Environment, Peace and Security. He has contributed to numerous National Research Council committees and intelligence community initiatives focused on environment-security linkages. At CIESIN he serves as lead project scientist of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center and has led or contributed to diverse projects addressing human-environment interactions including the Africa Soil Information Service, the Environmental Performance Index, and the Haiti Regeneration Initiative. Levy holds a MA degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College.


Kytt MacManus


Kytt is a Geographic Information Systems Programmer in the Information Technology Division of CIESIN and also an adjunct professor in Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and in Columbia College, where he teaches courses on geospatial analysis for sustainable development. He has had key roles in developing a number of decision support tools and systems and interdisciplinary data resources, including the AdaptMap tool for Jamaica Bay and Gridded Population of the World, version 4 (GPWv4). MacManus has a MS in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a BA in Political Science from Northeastern University.


John Squires


John is a Geographic Information Specialist at CIESIN, specializing in spatial analysis and programming. He holds a degree in Sustainable Development and has contributed to numerous projects at CIESIN, including projects focusing on global population distribution, natural hazards exposure data, and siting solar desalinization installations. Previously, John worked at Amazon.com as an Electronic Data Interchange Coordinator, integrating over a thousand trading partners into Amazon's supply-chain and managing the distributor ordering system.


Sri Vinay


Sri is the Associate Director for Information Technology at CIESIN, and also the Systems Engineer for the NASA SEDAC. He manages all of CIESIN’s computing infrastructure and systems development, including a diverse set of decision support tools, archival systems, “big data” resources, and analysis and visualization services. He oversees CIESIN’s integration with Columbia University and NASA information systems, as well as CIESIN’s interoperability with key national and international data networks and platforms. He brings to bear more than two decades of experience in developing, implementing, and operating interdisciplinary data systems and tools utilizing state-of-the-art information technologies and approaches. Vinay holds a MASc degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto, a MEng in Energy Technology from the Asian Institute of Technology, and a BE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Madras.