Taylor Geospatial Institute Announces Inaugural Class of TGI Fellows

by | May 30, 2023

ST. LOUIS – The Taylor Geospatial Institute today announces the inaugural group of TGI fellows.

The program enables TGI member institutions to recruit and retain distinguished researchers in geospatial science fields, develop the next generation of scientific leaders and catalyze collaboration to accelerate the St. Louis region’s development as a global geospatial center of excellence.

The program recognizes rising stars and internationally renowned scientists who demonstrated unwavering commitment to advancing TGI’s mission of advancing geospatial sciences and visionary leaders who pioneer innovative solutions to revolutionize industries and inform policy decisions to create a better future.

The first TGI fellows include:

Joel Burken, Ph.D., Curators Distinguished Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology

Genda Chen, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology

Malia Gehan, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant member at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Carmel Martin-Fairey, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Harris-Stowe State University

Abby Stylianou, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science at Saint Louis University

Stylianou is also a fellow of the Research Institute at Saint Louis University. She was named a St. Louis Business Journal 40 Under 40 in 2022. She has leveraged her interest in image processing, deep learning, and citizen science to solve some of the world’s most dire problems.

In addition to building datasets and AI tools to combat human trafficking, Stylianou has been funded by the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for her research on building novel machine learning algorithms for plant phenotyping and crop breeding.

“We are excited about the inaugural class of TGI Fellows,” said Vasit Sagan, Ph.D., Taylor Geospatial Institute acting director and associate professor of geospatial science at Saint Louis University. “TGI Fellows play critical role in establishing the bridges between TGI and its global partners. They serve as guiding beacons in pursuit of new knowledge, inspiring others by fostering a legacy of scientific excellence that propels TGI’s mission, and leading others to advance innovation, transforming ideas into practice that shape a future that heavily relies on development of geospatial technologies.”

The Fellowship

TGI Fellows are appointed for a period of three years and each fellow can be reappointed for a second term. They are expected to grow as researchers by participating in collaborative grant develop workshops, presenting their work at TGI events and collaborating on geospatial research.

The fellows may be allocated discretionary funding to help support research, a TGI post-doc, individualized access to data analytics and computing resources and grant proposal development support.

The TGI consortium includes Saint Louis University, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Harris-Stowe State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Missouri University of Science & Technology, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Washington University in St. Louis. Collectively, these institutions encompass more than 5,000 faculty and 100,000 students.

Housed at Saint Louis University, TGI aims to advance geospatial science through multi-institutional, interdisciplinary collaborations to create innovative, real-world solutions to societal grand challenges. It supports a collaborative research and training environment. The Institute’s focus areas include core geospatial science, food systems, geospatial health and national security.


Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 13,500 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place. 


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