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Research Affiliates

Nick Smith

Research Affiliate

Nicholas Smith is a social-environmental psychologist with research interests in the perception and communication of risk issues. He was a postdoctoral research associate for the YPCCC working on a variety of projects exploring American public awareness and understanding of climate change. He is currently a research fellow at University College London working on a Œliveable cities¹ project exploring the human dimensions of urban sustainable living. He obtained his MSc in research methods and PhD in social psychology from University College London and his BA in environmental management from the University of Leeds. He can be contacted at

Jagadish Thaker

Research Affiliate

JT (Jagadish Thaker) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. He recently received Ph.D. from George Mason University's Health and Strategic Communication program, for research on the role of collective efficacy—people’s perceptions in their group’s collective abilities—in enhancing community’s adaptive capacity to climate change impacts.

His primary research interests are in the fields of health communication, climate change communication, media content analysis, and strategic communication campaigns.  He has served as a Graduate Research Assistant on a National Science Foundation grant, examining American broadcast meteorologists' best practices to communicate climate science.  He also worked with Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz (Yale University) to conduct and analyze the first national sample survey of Indians’ beliefs, attitudes, and policy support about climate change, and other sustainability issues.  A paper that he co-authored won the top student paper award in the Applied Communication Division in National Communication Association (NCA) conference, San Francisco, 2010.

Prior to his Ph.D. degree, he also worked as English compere in All India Radio, and as a copy-writer in many advertising agencies, before a brief stint at teaching English in Nizam College, his alma mater.  He also holds a master’s degree in English literature from University of Hyderabad.

Tien Ming Lee

Research Affiliate

Tien Ming Lee is a Post-Doctoral Fellow. His research program centers on understanding the proximate and ultimate drivers of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. He has assessed the correlates of local and global species extinction risks, addressed the impacts of past and future global land-use and climate change on biodiversity and protected areas, and evaluated the effects of attitudes and behaviors on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services across multiple scales. Ming's long-term research goal is to develop an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to unravel the underlying social drivers of global conservation issues (including climate change) to inform conservation policies and to optimize conservation efforts, particularly in Asia where it may matter the most in the following decades.

Matto Mildenberger

Research Affiliate & Doctoral Candidate

Matto Mildenberger is a PhD student at Yale¹s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  A political scientist by training, Matto studies how ideology and emotions shape political bargains over climate policy. His work also focuses on the applications of complex systems theory to political science and environmental policy. Matto previously completed an MA (Global Governance) at the University of Waterloo, and an Hon. B.Sc. (Botany and International Relations) at the University of Toronto.

Peter Howe

Research Affiliate

Peter Howe has been an Assistant Professor of Human-Environment Geography at Utah State University since 2013.  His research focuses on the intersection of human perception and cognition with vulnerability and adaptation to climate change and natural hazards.  This research aims to improve the ability of individuals and communities to detect and effectively respond to environmental change.  Dr. Howe's research also explores how spatial relationships influence risk perceptions and decision making, using methods including survey research, spatial analysis, geovisualization, and multilevel modeling.

Prior to joining USU, Dr. Howe worked as a postdoctoral associate with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.  He received his PhD in Geography from Penn State University in 2012.  He also holds an MS in Geography from Penn State, and a BA in Political Science and BS in Geography from Arizona State University.

Sander Van Der Linden
Research Affiliate

Sander joined the YPCCC in 2012 as a visiting research scholar to work with Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz. Sander received his PhD in social-environmental psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and before coming to Yale, he was based at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. From September 2014 onwards, Sander will hold a joint appointment as a post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer in the Department of Psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Sander remains an active research associate of the YPCCC and is involved in a number of experimental research projects.  Sander’s research spans three interrelated areas: (1) judgments and perceptions of environmental risks and persuasive (risk) communication, (2) behavioral change and the psychosocial determinants of pro-environmental and pro-social behaviors and (3) psychological worldviews. Sander also maintains an active research interest in psychometrics and statistical research methods for the behavioral sciences.

Xuan Tang
Research Affiliate

Xuan is currently a visiting research scholar at YPCCC from Renmin University of China. She is in the second year of her PhD study in Communication. Xuan focuses on public opinions towards climate change, and has done some related surveys in China - “The Awareness of Low Carbon Life of Chinese Residents” and “Public Perceptions of Environmental Issues in China”. Now she is doing her research on comparative study of Sino-US public attitudes towards climate change at YPCCC.