Principal Investigator: Dr. Yadu Pokhrel

Dr. Pokhrel received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and M.Eng and PhD, also in Civil Engineering, from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Upon receiving his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Hokkaido University, Japan. He then worked at Rutgers University first as a research associate and then as a research Assistant Professor before joining Michigan State University in 2014. Dr. Pokhrel has published his work in a number of leading scientific journals in the field including Nature Geoscience. He serves as a reviewer for more than 20 journals in the field and has reviewed over 60 papers in the past several years. He has also served in review panels or has reviewed proposals for various funding agencies including NSF and NASA. He currently serves as one of the university representatives from MSU for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI). He participates in various international community-driven modeling efforts including the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). Dr. Pokhrel is the recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Faculty (CAREER) Award (see MSU News). He currently serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Hydrology. He is also a guest editor for special issues in journals Water, Atmosphere, and Remote Sensing.

Current Graduate Students

Farshid Felfelani (PhD Student, 2015~); Current Project: Implementation of human water management in the Community Land Model (CLM).

I moved to US in Aug 2015 to start my PhD program. My doctoral plan is mainly devoted to irrigation water use and crop-groundwater interactions in the stressed agro-ecosystems around the world using the Community Land Model (CLM). I have also worked on isolation of human-induced terrestrial water storage variations using GRACE satellite data and HiGW-MAT simulations over highly managed river basins. I received my MSc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Iran where I focused on water systems and facilities operation with an emphasis on decision making. My research background also includes optimal operation scheduling of water pumping stations using artificial intelligence tools and application of artificial neural networks in urban water demand forecasting.

Sanghoon Shin (PhD Student, 2015~); Current ProjectDams, irrigation, and groundwater in high-resolution, regional model Leaf-Hydro-Flood.

Shin Sanghoon

I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Korea University. During my master’s degree, I worked on developing surface flow path searching algorithm, investigating sediment transport through laboratory experiment, and applying metaheuristic optimization algorithms. I am currently implementing reservoir operation and river-flood routing schemes on Leaf-Hydro-Flood model. The new schemes enable the representation of dynamic reservoir extent, an important mechanism that remains largely ignored in continental to global scale hydrological modeling. I am also investigating human impacts on Heihe watershed, which is a highly developed endorheic basin located in northwest China. The human impacts and human-climate interactions are being studied using WRF-Hydro model.


Suyog Chaudhari (PhD Student, 2017~); Current ProjectImpacts of Dam construction in the hydrology of the Amazon basin.

I am a PhD student in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, supervised by Dr. Yadu Pokhrel. Following my undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering in India, I spent 3 years working as a Water and Wastewater System Designer before pursuing a MS in Water Resources Engineering, here at Michigan State University. I continued my studies through the PhD program at Michigan State University with research interests in large scale hydrological modeling, land use/ land cover change, anthropogenic impact, surface water-groundwater interactions, watershed modeling and remote sensing. I’m currently working on the Amazon project to understand the hydrologic impacts of dam construction.

Tamanna Kabir (PhD Student, 2019~); Current Project: Sustainable Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin.

I received my bachelor in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and a Masters in Water Resources Development from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. During my master’s study, I worked on the assessment of biophysical factors of storm surge hazard in the coastal region of Bangladesh. I started my graduate study as a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MSU in Spring 2019. My research interest includes the application of remote sensing data and computer modeling to understand the potential impacts of human land water management in the hydrological system. My doctoral plan is to investigate how water infrastructure development particularly flow regulations by dam construction, are altering the hydrological system in the Mekong river basin. The Community Land Model (CLM) is being used in this regard.

Mateo Burbano (MS Student, 2017~); Current Project: Human and Climate impacts on the Mekong hydrology. 

I received my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University. During my undergraduate studies, I worked on examining a 1.5-acre green roof. The goal of this project was to estimate deposition fluxes of anions and trace metals onto rooftops by using surface analysis techniques of samples taken from runoff and incident precipitation. I am currently an MS student at MSU pursuing a degree on Water Resources Engineering. My thesis research will be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Yadu Pokhrel. I’m currently working on the Mekong project.

Current Undergraduate Students

Jon Mahut (Undergraduate Student, 2018-2019); Current Project: Dams and Mekong hydrology. 

I am a current undergraduate student pursuing two bachelor degrees in both Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Through coursework, extracurricular activities, and internships I have gathered knowledge on sustainable design, emission monitoring systems, and hydraulic water systems. My main interest is in research and development, although I have aspirations of creating an engineering firm that will dampen the adverse ecological effects of human activity. I am currently working as an undergraduate research assistant on a project in the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia to examine how large dams are affecting river hydrology and hydraulics.


Faisal Shahin (Undergraduate Student, 2019-); Current ProjectDams and Mekong hydrology (NSF and MSU EnSURE Program). 

I am a current undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor degree in Civil Engineering. Through the knowledge I have gathered  at MSU I developed an affinity for hydraulic water systems. My main interest is in research and to pursue a PhD; nevertheless, I do have future aspirations of going to water impoverished countries and to help improve their water systems through my own firm.

I am currently working as an undergraduate research assistant on a project in the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia to examine how the proposed construction of large dams are affecting various aspects of the river.



Visiting Scholars/Researchers

Khánh Nguyễn (2019 Summer, Can Tho University, Vietnam); Project: Hydrology, Dams, and Fishery in the Lower Mekong River Basin. 

I am currently pursuing bachelor degree in Advanced Aquaculture Program (in collaboration between Can Tho University, Vietnam and Auburn University, AL, USA). Besides aquaculture, during the coursework and student exchange programs, I have gained knowledge of fish and crustacean genetics, physiology, nutrition, pathology, water science, and fisheries resource management. My main focus is aquatic animal health with the aims to reduce the use and mitigate the side effects of antibiotics, and develop diagnostic protocols for aquatic animal. Currently, I am working under Dr. Yadu Pokhrel’s supervision at Michigan State Unversity as a research assistant on the project of Hydrology, Dams, and Fishery in the Lower Mekong River Basin, examining the relationship between hydrology, sediment transport, and fisheries in the Lower Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia for sustainable development of the whole region.

Past Group Members
  • Nanhang Jiang (2016-2018, MS Student); Project: Trans-boundary water management issues in the Koshi river basin, Nepal.
  • Suyog Chaudhari (2015-2017, MS Student; Continued to PhD).
  • Yaoliang Chen (2016-2017, Visiting PhD Student from Zhejiang University, China): WaterCUBE Project


  • Gonzalo Miguez-Macho (University of Santiago, de Compostela, Spain)
  • Lifeng Luo (Michigan State University)
  • Kalyanmoy Deb (Michigan State University)
  • Dengsheng Lu (Michigan State University)
  • Jiaguo Qi (Michigan State University)
  • Emilio Moran (Michigan State University)
  • David Hyndman (Michigan State University)
  • Nathan Moore (Michigan State University)
  • Tomohito Yamada (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  • Laurent Longuevergne (CNRS – Géosciences Rennes)