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ISSE develops policies, technologies, and educational programs that respond to pressing environmental and security issues. ISSE’s centers, programs, and initiatives cut across multiple disciplines, engage the university’s research faculty and staff, and address issues of environmental sustainability.

ISSE’s specialized centers, programs, and initiatives address the many issues that relate to sustainability. ISSE houses Tennessee Water Resource Research Center, East Tennessee Clean Fuels, Methane Center, International Research Coordination Network to Create Transdisciplinary Nodes of Food-Energy-Water to Support Sustainable Urban Systems (FEWSUS), and the Appalachian Leadership Institute. Sponsored by federal and state agencies as well as local organizations and companies, they conduct research and provide education and outreach for water, energy, and economic sustainability.


Dr Yulong ZhangDr. Yulong "Mars" Zhang has been selected to fill the position of assistant research professor in ISSE. Most recently, he was a research scientist in the Laboratory of Environmental Model & Data Optima (EMDO), affiliated with the University of Maryland. Dr. Zhang’s post-doctoral research was in the Remote Sensing and Ecological Modeling Group in the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His PhD is in Remote Sensing of Ecology from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Zhang’s Research Interests
His ultimate mission is to understand how the terrestrial biosphere works as a key piece of the breathing Earth System, using remote sensing, ecological modeling, and ground observation to achieve this goal. Specific research areas are

  • Monitoring terrestrial vegetation activity and retrieve plant hydraulic traits based on multi-source remote sensing and ground measurements
  • Modeling atmospheric exchanges of carbon and water with terrestrial biosphere and explore how they are shaped by climate change and human-induced land use/cover change
  • Exploring the potential links between terrestrial vegetation variability with large-scale atmospheric teleconnections such as ENSO and Arctic Oscillation
  • Developing high resolution land surface products based on machine-learning, multi-source remote sensing (optical, thermal, and microwave) and cloud platform
  • Investigating dynamics and sustainability of Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Dr. Zhang has more than ten year’s research experience in Remote Sensing of Ecology. Past research activities include a series of projects funded by NASA Carbon Cycle Science (2017-2020), U.S. National Science Foundation (2013-2018), USDA Forest service (2014-2015), and Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008 – 2013).


2020 ISSE Annual Magazine is online


ISSE Annual Report to
Tennessee Higher Education Commission online

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