About me

My study focuses on the influence of spatial factors, including exposure to nature, the built environment, the food environment, and socioeconomic factors, on physical and mental health by incorporating geospatial data and mobile health technologies.

The aim of my research is to understand the escalating prevalence of chronic diseases from an environmental epidemiology perspective and promote the development of healthy communities in the era of climate change.

Before my Ph.D. study, I taught at the University of Miami School of Architecture and Department of Geography and Sustainable Development as a full-time lecturer, offering courses including Urban Information Analytics, GIS in Urban Design, WebGIS, Geospatial Visualization, and Smart City. I also worked as a GIS consultant for Dover, Kohl, and Partners, a town design and planning firm that focuses on revitalizing traditional towns, growing neighborhoods, and fixing sprawl by design.

During my study at the Population, Health, and Place Ph.D. Program at the University of Southern California (USC), my research mainly investigates the complexities of relationships among human mobility and time-activity patterns, environmental exposures, and cardiovascular disease-related behaviors such as physical activity and diet, through integrating smartphone location data (GPS), geospatial analysis (GIS), physical activity monitors (accelerometer), and mobile surveying techniques (Ecological Momentary Assessment or EMA).

Some notable work of my doctoral research include:

A 2019 literature review article in Health and Place that discusses the current state-of-art of applying GPS in assessing contextual exposure to the built environment in physical activity studies.

A 2021 research article in Journal of Physical Activity and Health that shows neighborhood park coverage protected against physical activity declines in children aged 9-12 years old.

A 2022 research article in Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology that analyzes time-activity and daily mobility patterns of Hispanic women in urban Los Angeles during pregnancy and postpartum using smartphone location data and GIS.

Additionally, I have several studies that are currently under review which cover topics including environmental influences in physical activity maintenance during COVID-19, GPS-based vs. residential exposure assessment. Stay tuned for updates!


2017 – Present

University of Southern California, Spatial Science Institute
Ph.D. program in Population, Health, and Place

2010 – 2012

University of Pennsylvania, School of Design
M.S. in Architectural and Urban Conservation

2009 – 2010

University College London, Bartlett School of Built Environment
M.S. in Urban Development Planning

2005 – 2009

China Agricultural University, College of Environmental Science
B.S. in Environmental Studies

Academic Appointments

2017 – Present

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Real Time Eating Activity & Children’s Health (REACH) Lab
Graduate Research Assistant

2013 – 2016

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
School of Architecture & Department of Geography and Sustainable Development

Consulting Engagements

2013 – 2016

University of Miami Center for Urban and Community Design
GIS Consultant

2012 – 2013

Dover Kohl & Partners
GIS Consultant

2012 – 2013

City of Miami Beach Planning and Zoning Department
GIS Consultant

Professional Affiliations

Active Living Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
American Association of Geographers
American Planning Association
American Public Health Association
Associate of Collegiate Schools of Planning
Society of Behavioral Medicine
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science