The HDMA center is a research institute under the College of Arts and Letters, at San Diego State University.

Director and Founder

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou

Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Director of HDMA Center, Professor of Geography) 2012 SDSU President's Leadership Fund (PLF) Awards for Excellence, expert in Web GIS, Mobile GIS, Cartography, Social Media, and Big Data.

Advisory Board Members and Co-Founders

Dr. John Elder John Elder (Distinguished Professor of Public Health; former director and Senior Core Investigator, Institute for Behavioral and Community Health [IBACH]) 2012 SDSU President's Leadership Fund (PLF) Awards for Excellence, expert in randomized trials for chronic disease prevention in Latino communities.

Dr. Piotr JankowskiPiotr Jankowski (Chair of Geography), expert in Spatial Decision Support Systems. Public Participation GIS, Visual Analytics, Geocomputation Methods, and Volunteered Geographic Information.

Dr. Brian SpitzbergBrian Spitzberg (Senate Distinguished Professor, School of Communication), expert in communication theories, communicative (in)competence, obsessive relational intrusion.

Dr. Jean Mark GawronJean Mark Gawron (Professor of Linguistics). Areas of research include Computational Linguistics (parsing and semantic interpretation, vectorbased semantics, combining semantic and social network information) and Theoretical Semantics (logic-based approaches to semantic interpretation).

Associate Directors

Dr. Bruce AppleyardBruce Appleyard (Public Affairs) focuses on identifying how these policies and practices can be used in concert with one another to improve sustainability, livability, social equity, and public health outcomes.

Dr. Atsushi NaraAtsushi Nara (Geography) has developed advanced spatio-temporal analytic algorithms, data mining and geovisualization frameworks and toolkits, monitoring methodologies, agent-based models, and web-GIS applications to facilitate understanding and decision making of moving object dynamics.

Dr. Joseph GibbonsJoseph Gibbons (Sociology) focuses on the implications of class and racial segregation within and between neighborhoods across three areas: the service provision of nonprofit community-based organizations, neighborhood conditions, and health disparities.

Dr. Lourdes MartinezLourdes Martinez (Communication) focuses on social influence, social network analysis, and health communication campaigns. Currently researching how people gather and share information from their social environment and how this affects their behavior.

Core Research Faculty

Dr. Vivian HuangfuLuwen(Vivian) Huangfu is Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at Fowler College of Business. Her areas of research expertise include business analytics, public health, machine learning, and data mining. Dr. Huangfu has extensive experience in overweight prediction, COVID-19 vaccine, cancer studies, pavement distress detection, and sentiment analysis. Her research has been published in a list of conference proceedings and journals.

Dr. Michael PeddecordMichael Peddecord, Dr.P.H. is Emeritus Professor of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU) and a research associate at SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age. He previously taught a variety of graduate courses including: Public Health Surveillance and Health Program Planning and Evaluation. His current public health practice activities at the Epidemiology and Immunization Branch, San Diego County health department focus on influenza surveillance, vaccination coverage assessments and evaluation immunization improvement initiatives.

Dr. Eyal OrenEyal Oren is Associate Professor of Epidemiology, with training as an infectious disease, spatial and social epidemiologist. He has extensive experience in epidemiological and clinical research, working on the effective adoption of interventions in the community as well as in developing evidence-based strategies and practices from secondary data analyses and novel data sources. Dr. Oren has long-term experience in working with vulnerable populations, with an emphasis on new technologies, including use of screening techniques among migrant farmworkers and refugees (along the U.S.-Mexico border and within the U.S.), use of search and social media data as communication and health surveillance tools, and use of molecular methods to detect disease transmission. Particular health outcomes of interest include tuberculosis, respiratory infections, hepatitis A, asthma and Helicobacter pylori-associated stomach cancer.

Dr. Gabriela FernandezDr. Gabriela Fernandez’s research focuses on urban metabolism ideologies and material flow analysis of metropolitan cities. Identifying urban typologies and socioeconomic indicators in the urban context while promoting urban metabolism public policy. Fernandez is Co-founder and Researcher at the Metabolism of Cities
Living Lab, a non-profit organization registered in Brussels, Belgium with data, tools, and publications related to urban metabolism studies.

Graduate Students:

     Doctoral Students:

         Chanwoo Jin (Geography, SDSU)

         Jaehee Park (Geography, SDSU)

         Jian Xu (Geography, SDSU)

         Christopher Swindell (Geography, SDSU)

     Master Students:

         Adarsh Bhandari (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Shravani Hariprasad (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Caleb Smith (Geography, SDSU)

         Samantha Hall (Biostatistics, SDSU)

         Salma Iraqi (Public Health, SDSU)

         Emma de la Torre (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Kyle Fontelera (Public Health, SDSU)

         Ashish Panchal (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Jingfei Zhang (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Tatyana Dyugaeva (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Claire Merson (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Hsin Ling Chen (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Nathan Orenstein (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Nia Fan (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Elizabeth Mikita (Public Health, SDSU)

         Nathan Orenstein (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

         Jingfei Zhang (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

Former Advisory Board Members

Dr. Sheldon ZhangSheldon Zhang ( Past Chair of Sociology, Professor ), expert in Human Trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, Probation and Parole, etc.

Former Members

Dr. Caroline ThompsonCaroline Thompson is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, specializing in cancer epidemiology and epidemiologic methodology. Her substantive topic areas include ethnic and other disparities in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment, and cancer-related mortality understood through geographic and social contexts. Her methods research is concerned with the use of existing sources of health-related “real world” data (e.g., electronic health records, pharmacy claims, cancer registries, etc.) for cancer population health research and the treatment of systematic error via quantitative bias analysis in observational epidemiology.

Dr. Calvin (Chin-Te) JungCalvin (Chin-Te) Jung (Former Chief Data Scientist) focused on using state of art technologies to design and implement Web-GIS applications to consolidate research results of HDMA center.

Dr. Eric BuhiEric Buhi (Former Associate Director) focused on understanding and promoting sexual health among young people. He studied the impact of and employed innovative technologies for health promotion/behavior change.

Former Visiting Scholars

Professor Chen, Feixiang (Beijing Forestry University). Expertise: Mobile GIS, GIS databases, Android Platform Application Development.

Professor Yi-Chen Wang, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. Expertise: Health GIS, Physical Geography.

Dr. Bo Liu is an Associate Professor Faculty of Geomatics at the East China Institute of Technology. His interests include spatial topological relation, Spatial data conflation and VGI.

Former Doctoral Students

Chris Allen (working at ESRI)

Nana Luo (graduated in 2020)

Jiue-An (Jay) Yang (Geography, SDSU, 2017).

Su Yeon Han (Geography, SDSU, 2016).

Former Master Students

Eduardo Cordova (Geography, SDSU)

Christian Mejia (Geography, SDSU)

Karen Robinett (Geography, SDSU)

Timothy Anderson (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

Karenina Zaballa (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

Irwin Mier (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

Harmit Chima (Big Data Analytics, SDSU)

Melanie Lopez (Geography, SDSU)

Ilana Goldflam (Linguistics, SDSU, 2019)

Wayne Kepner (Public Health, SDSU, 2020)

Rachelle De Ocampo (Public Health, SDSU, 2020)

Jessica Dozier (MS in Geography, SDSU, 2016)

Elias Issa (Geography, SDSU, 2016)

Jared Jashinsky (MPH in Public Health, SDSU, 2016)

Stephanie Nowinski (Graphic Design, SDSU, 2016)

Cody Rosentrater (Public Health, SDSU, 2016)

Vaishali Doshi (Publich Health, SDSU, 2016)

Dhiraj Patil (MS in Computer Science, SDSU, 2016)

Alejandra Coronado (Geography, SDSU, 2017)

Hao Zhang (Geography, SDSU, 2017)

Chi-Feng (Jeff) Yen (Geography, SDSU)

Deborah Milam (Geography, SDSU)

Haihong Huang (Geography, SDSU, 2019)

Cynthia Mae Chow (Public Health, SDSU, 2019)

Former Undergraduate Students

Austin Westphal (Geography, SDSU)

Ken Tominaga (Geography, SDSU)

Affiliated Faculty


Norma Ojeda (Chair)

Enrico Marcelli

Joseph Gibbons


Mark Thayer (Chair)

Edmund M. Balsdon

College of Business

Bongsik Shin (MIS)

Janie Chang (Accounting)

Xialu (Charlotte) Liu (MIS)


Seth W. Mallios (Chair)

Political Science

Madhavi McCall (Chair)

Kristen Hill Maher

Dipak K. Gupta (CDI project, Co-PI)


Piotr Jankowski (Chair)

Stuart Aitken (Past Chair)

Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Director of HDMA Center)

Atsushi Nara (GIS Faculty)

An Li (GIS and Landscape Echology)

André Skupin (GIS Faculty)

Trent Biggs (Climate Change)

Fernado Bosco (Human and Urban)

Pascale Joassart (Food and Community)

Doug Stow (Remote Sensing)

John Weeks (Demography)


Jean Mark Gawron (CDI project, Co-PI)


Peter A. Andersen

Brian H. Spitzberg

Lourdes Martinez

Public Affairs

Stuart Henry (Director)

Shawn Flanigan

Bruce Appleyard

Sherry Ryan

Learning Design and Technology, JMS CSU, Chancellor's Office

Minjuan Wang

Graduate School of Public Health

John W. Ayers

Guadalupe X. Ayala

Gregory Anthony Talavera

Heather L. Corliss

Caroline A. Thompson

John Elder (Distinguished Professor)

Social Work

Yawen Li

Mark B. Reed

Susan I. Woodruff


Philip A. Greiner (Director)


Chun-Ta Lai (Ecology)

Rebecca Lewison

Psychology(and IBACH)

Linda C. Gallo

Kristen Wells

Computer Science

Mary Thomas

Roger Whitney

Liu Xiaobai

Wei Wang

Computational Science Research Center

Mary Thomas

Jose E. Castillo

Chicana/o Studies & English and Comparative Literature

Emily Hicks

Digital Humanities

Joanna Brooks

Jessica Pressman

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Sahar Ghanipoor Machiani

Xianfeng (Terry) Yang

SDSU Research Foundation

John Crockett

Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience

Ksenija Marinkovic