iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee (SSC)

The iLEAPS Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) members are scientists selected from the international environmental research community. New iLEAPS SSC members are appointed by the Scientific Committee of IGBP (SC-IGBP) on the basis of their scientific expertise and serve for a period of three years with the possibility of one renewal period. The SSC guides the overall direction and development of the project by:

  • Providing scientific guidance to and oversee the development, planning and implementation of iLEAPS.
  • Encouraging the promotion and wide awareness of iLEAPS amongst science communities including publication of results.
  • Demonstrating progress and achievements by defining and monitoring milestones and results.
  • Encouraging national governments, regional and international funding agencies to support the implementation of iLEAPS and the achievement of it's goals by providing adequate support to the necessary national, regional and international research.
  • Encouraging collaboration between iLEAPS and other International Programmes and Agencies concerned with the scientific study and assessment of global change.


Current iLEAPS members




Ben Poulter      Dr Ben Poulter (co-chair)

Dr. Poulter is a Research Scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory in the Earth Science Division at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, and an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland. He received his PhD in 2005 from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, studying ecosystem dynamics of wetland systems. As a Marie Curie Fellow, he worked at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK, 2006-2009) and the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL (2009-2011), and then worked as a Post-Doctoral Scientist at Le Laboratoire des sciences du climat et 'environnement (LSCE, 2011-2013). His research team applies remote sensing and dynamic global vegetation modeling to understand i) the role of secondary forests in the carbon cycle, ii) wetlands as the driver for renewed growth in atmospheric methane concentrations, and  iii) climate mitigation and trade-offs from Bioenergy with Carbon  Capture and Storage (BECCS). He was a Contributing Author to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the US Carbon Cycle Science Program 2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR-2), and to the Global Carbon Project carbon and methane budgets, and currently serves on the Editorial Boards for PLOS ONE and Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Silvano Fares

Dr Silvano Fares

Silvano Fares is a research director at the National Research Council of Italy – Institute of BioEconomy, where he is the Head of the laboratory of biometeorology. He was awarded his PhD in Forest Ecology at the University of Tuscia, Italy, in 2008, and has worked as a Postdoc at the University of California - Environmental  Science and Policy Department, USA in 2008-2010. His expertise includes exchange processes involving ozone, biogenic volatile organics, methane and carbon between plant ecosystems and the atmosphere. He has experience using leaf level instrumentation and eddy-covariance      techniques to understand fluxes of  greenhouse gases in forest ecosystems. He is the designated Italian coordinator of terrestrial ecosystems in the frame of the EU program ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System).  In iLEAPS SSC, Dr Fares will bring in ecological expertise and his research interests including greenhouse gases and VOCs exchange in Mediterranean forest ecosystems, application of multi-layer models to explain plant atmosphere interactions under environmental stress.

Dr Sachin D Ghude (co-chair)

Dr Sachin D Ghude is a Scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and Autonomous institute of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. He is also adjunct Professor at Department of Environmental Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India. He is also a visiting scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) USA and member of international Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (iCACGP) and Monitoring, Analysis, and Prediction of Air Quality (MAP-AQ). He was awarded his PhD in Physics at University of Delhi, India, in 2005. His scientific expertise is in atmospheric chemistry and air quality modeling and data assimilation. He is leading Winter fog Experiment (WiFEX) in India and a research group on atmospheric chemistry and modeling.  recent research addresses understanding of atmospheric chemistry of reactive species and its linkage to air quality, vegetation, human health and climate specific to India. His basic research translated into the important socioeconomic application as well as for scientific research related to fog and air quality issues that are important for public service. In iLEAPS, Dr Ghude bring in the scientific community in South Asian countries will try to bring more collaboration with atmospheric chemistry community.  

Dr Sirkku Juhola

Dr Juhola is an assistant professor in urban environmental policy at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki (FIN). She is also a visiting scholar at the Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics at Aalto University (FIN) and an adjunct professor of social and public policy at the University of Jyväskylä (FIN). Dr Juhola holds a BA from the University of Sussex (UK) and a MSc and a PhD from the University of East Anglia (UK). Since obtaining her PhD, Sirkku has worked at the United Nations University - Institute of Advanced Studies (JPN), University of Jyväskylä (FIN) and Umeå University (SWE).
Dr Juhola is the Deputy Chief Scientists of the Nordic Centre for Excellence on Nordic Strategic Adaptation (NORD-STAR) and a member of Finland’s Climate Panel that was set up in 2011 to advice the Finnish Government on climate policy. From 2013, she is also management committee member for Finland of two European Science Foundation Cost Actions; TUD Cost Action TU 1204 "People Friendly Cities in a Data Rich World" and the Targeted network  "Gender, Science, Technology and Environment- genderSTE".

Dr Sebastian Leuzinger

Dr. Sebastian Leuzinger has worked on a large range of ecological topics both in marine and terrestrial environments using a variety of experimental and computational methods. His origin is in marine ecology, but he has mainly worked in terrestrial environments in the past ten years. Dr Leuzinger is chairing the organising committee for the 2023 iLEAPS science conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr Meng

Dr. Meng is a scientist in Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science. She is interested in how land surface conditions respond to climate change, and affect weather and climate substantially, based on observations, satellite data and modelling, particularly over the arid and semi-arid regions, including the high-altitude and cold Tibetan Plateau regions. Now she leads a field observational station called “Zoige Plateau Wetlands Ecosystem Research Station” in Northeast Tibetan Plateau in China. In iLEAPS, Dr Meng will try to bring more collaboration on land-atmosphere interactions and sustainable development in cold Tibetan Plateau region and arid regions between China and other regions globally.

Dr Sato

Dr. Sato is a research scientist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Sciences and Technology (JAMSTEC). His main interest exists for the development of mechanistic models of vegetation structure and functioning. Indeed, he has been developing the SEIB-DGVM, which simulates plant and carbon dynamics under specified climatic conditions. He has been serving as a topical ediror of the Geoscientific Model Development since  2013. He has been a member of iLEAPS comittee within the Science Concil of Japan since 2012. In iLEAPS, Dr. Sato is responsible for activities in Japan as the chair of iLEAPS-Japan.

Dr David Odee

Dr. Odee is a Chief Research Scientist at the Kenya Forestry  Research Institute (KEFRI), Nairobi, Kenya, where he leads the Forest Biotechnology and Ecosystems Group. He is also Visiting  Research Fellow with the Evolution and Environmental Change Group at the NERC  Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). He began his research career studying nitrogen-fixing systems in dryland acacia woodlands of Africa. He has since broadened his work to tropical forestry and agroforestry systems ranging from genes to ecosystems scale,  focussing on the functions and processes underpinning the ecosystem goods and  services for sustainable development. He is currently an Associate Editor for Ecosystems Services Journal. Dr. Odee contributes to the iLEAPS Early Career Scientist Workshop programme. He is leading a national initiative to establish Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research (LTSER) platforms in range of ecosystems, which should also enhance regional coverage for long-term  observation points for land-atmosphere interaction studies.

He will mobilise various stakeholders in East Africa to effectively engage in iLEAPS science goals and programmes through awareness creation, advocacy, strengthening links with the global land-atmosphere community, and networking for knowledge exchange and technical capacity building.



Dr Allison Steiner


Allison Steiner is a Professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research uses and develops models to explore the interactions of the biosphere and atmosphere, with the goal of understanding the natural versus human influence on climate and atmospheric chemistry. Dr. Steiner has been an editor at Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (2014-2018), served on the National Research Council’s committee on The Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research (2016) and is a current member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.

Dr Pallavi Saxena         

Dr. Pallavi Saxena is an Assistant Professor at Department of Environmental Sciences, Hindu College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India. She is also serving as an Advisory Board Member of Air Pollution Scientific Initiative (APSI) under aegis of EnviroComp Institute, USA. Dr. Saxena is also an active member and co-author of Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report (TOAR), an initiative by IGAC. She is also serving as Review Editor of Frontiers of Sustainable Cities Journal in the area of Air Pollution and Climate Change. She has been awarded DST Fast Track Young Scientist Scheme for 3 years (2014-2017) at School of Environmental Sciences Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She has also awarded Post Doctoral Fellowship at Space and Atmospheric Sciences Division, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, India during the year 2013-2014. Dr. Saxena was awarded her Ph.D from Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi in the year 2013. She had defended her Ph.D work on “Effect of Photochemical Pollutants on Plant Species. Her area of interest is trace gases chemistry, aerosol chemistry, source apportionment studies of primary and secondary air pollutants, impacts of air pollutants on plant and human health and air pollution mitigation by sustainable methods like greenbelt development, vertical gardens and biomonitoring studies. Her current research focus on tropospheric ozone monitoring and its impact on plant health, particulate matter pollution and its impact on human health, extreme events studies and air pollutants mitigation by use of plant species. She had also served as a Representative Committee Member of South Asia and Middleeast Region of Early Career Scientist Network of iLEAPS community, UK from 2017-2021. During her career, she has also been awarded Young Scientist Award by Indian Society of Plant Physiology, New Delhi, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India BioCaRe award, Senior Research Associate from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, Senior Research Fellow from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Doctoral Scholarship from Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, Delhi. In iLEAPS, Dr. Saxena will bring sustainable approach towards air pollution mitigation by use of plant species, trace gases source and chemistry, biogenic VOCs contribution in ozone and particle formation, aerosol chemistry and its role in atmosphere and impact studies of air pollutants on plant species at global level and in particular, South Asian Region.


Dr Kirsti Ashworth

Kirsti is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow at Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, where she heads the SAPlInG (Society-Atmosphere-Plant Interactions Group) Lab. She has a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences and her research interests focus on all aspects of fluxes of reactive trace gases, particularly biogenic volatile hydrocarbons, as well as nitrogen and sulphur-containing compounds.

She has expertise in developing and applying models of land surface-atmosphere interactions across space and time, with a particular focus on the bi-directional relationships between global change (climate, air quality and land use) and forest biogeochemical processes and human health. Kirsti has experience in laboratory and field-based measurements of plant physiology, morphology and biochemistry, atmospheric concentrations and fluxes of trace gases, and personal exposure to air pollutants. She has also gained experience bringing together qualitative and quantitative data collation and analysis methodologies in her role as theme lead for Health and Wellbeing Futures at Lancaster University’s prestigious Institute for Social Futures. Kirsti is also an affiliate member of the cutting-edge Data Science Institute through which she explores advanced Big Data and AI analysis techniques. She currently leads two participatory research studies” “Planting Healthy Air in Schools” a project to introduce trees and other vegetation into primary school playgrounds and an initiative to map people’s perceptions of greenspace in the City of Lancaster District.


Dr Gemma Purser 

Dr. Purser has recently completed a PhD on the emission of volatile organic compounds from bioenergy forests and their potential impact on air quality at the University of Edinburgh. She conducted this research with support from Forest Research and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). Gemma is an analytical chemist and has previously worked on projects related to carbon capture and storage (CCS), geothermal systems and radioactive waste storage, in particular conducting fluid-rock-CO2 experiments and monitoring gases and fluids emitted from the subsurface geology. Gemma has been a member of the iLEAPS early career scientist network committee since 2017 and has developed a range of activities to enable early career scientists to present their research through webinars and the use of social media platforms.

Dr Jiming Jin


The broad professional goal of Dr. Jiming Jin is to improve the understanding and prediction of climate and hydrological cycles at regional scales with both theoretical and applied studies. His main approach to achieve this goal is fundamentally numerical computer modeling. Specifically, he focuses on improving physical modeling of land and lake processes and exploring how these processes interact with the atmosphere.  He is currently affiliated with Yangtze University.

Dr Gregor Feig

Gregor is a biogeochemist and, atmospheric and environmental change scientist with experience in the fields of atmospheric composition monitoring, air quality management, atmospheric emissions inventory development, biogeochemistry, land-vegetation-atmosphere interactions, atmospheric modelling, and climate services and climate change adaption. Currently he is responsible for the development of the Expanded Freshwater and Terrestrial Environmental Observation Network (EFTEON), which is a research infrastructure in the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR) program, that is hosted by SAEON. The EFTEON is developing as a network of six heavily instrumented and networked research landscape representing important ecological and social system in South Africa. The instrumentation consists of micrometeorological and meteorological observations at each site and continuous hydrological observations with associated repeated measures of biodiversity ecosystem productivity and land use and land cover observations. Previously he was responsible for the management of management of a network of three eddy co-variance flux towers located in savanna ecosystems in South Africa and the management of a network of cavity ring down spectroscopy carbon dioxide and methane instruments and a network of 16 ambient air quality stations, where the concentrations of thirteen atmospheric pollutants and meteorology were continuously monitored. He has been involved in the development of the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory System (NAEIS) which is a web-based system for the reporting of industrial, and other, emissions to the atmosphere. He was also involved in the development and testing of the land surface component of the CSIR Earth System Model, based on the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE) model.

Dr. Stefan WolffStefan Wolff is a meteorologist and an atmospheric scientist working in the Amazon rain forest since 2010. In the ATTO project (Amazon Tall Tower Observatory) he works as a scientist and being the representative of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) – Mainz / Germany at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) – Manaus / Brazil since 2016. His main research focusses in reactive trace gas processes within and above the Amazon rainforest. He did his master degree at the University of Hannover and his PhD at INPA/UEA. Dr. Wolff is co-founder of the ATTO community project, a strong collaboration between the ATTO project and the communities based at the near Uatumã river. Regarding the outreach of science in the Amazon rainforest, he has been in touch with various media and journalists during the last years, supporting and participating in several documentations, press articles, radio broadcasts and podcasts. Dr. Wolff is co-founder of the Latin American Early Career Scientists Network (LAECESS) and has been the iLEAPS ECS chair between 2019 and 2021.


Past iLEAPS members >>