Researcher biography

In summary, my fields of expertise and research interests include:

  • Biophysical/crop and agro-hydrological modelling (crop physiology, agro-meteorology, hydrology).
  • Data analysis, optimization, machine learning and deep learning (R, Python, MATLAB, LINGO, C#, TensorFlow and Keras).
  • Drought and climate change/variability (precision and climate-smart agriculture, sustainable farming).
  • Farm system design and management and hydraulic modeling (surface and pressurized irrigation systems, drainage and water delivery systems).
  • Integrated water resources management (water resources planning, land use management, virtual water).
  • Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS and RS).

My research is at the intersection of crop physiology, cropping systems, water resources management and data science, with a focus on biophysical/crop modelling (APSIM, APSIM-NextGen, SiriusQuality, AquaCrop, DSSAT, WOFOST, SWAP), hydrological modelling (e.g. SWAT, HEC-HMS, IHACRES), climate change/variability, and environment characterization (drought, heat and frost). I am especially interested in conducting large-scale model-aided impact and adaptation studies and systematically analysing simulations of ecophysiological and agrohydrological models to understand the implications of genetic variability, climate change/variability, weather extremes, land use change, and management scenarios for crop production, water resources, economies and societies at various spatial-temporal scales. I am interested in adopting machine learning and deep learning techniques to decipher large-scale complex biophysical and agrohydrological datasets.

As a research fellow in crop modelling and physiology at QAAFI, The University of Queensland, I study the impact of abiotic stresses on wheat crops across Australian and avenues to improve crop adaptivity under current and future climates. I use crop modelling (mostly APSIM and APSIM-NextGen) to explore the value of promising traits under various management and climate scenarios. For instance, I implemented a new photosynthesis module into APSIM-NextGen which enables analysing the impact of improved transpiration efficiency (TE) on wheat and exploring the value of currently existing genetic variability in TE for breeding programs in Australia. In order to further evaluate our hypothesis, Furthermore, I design and conduct field and greenhouse experiments to explore opportunities to improve drought and heat stress tolerance in wheat. I ran a glasshouse experiment in 2019 (to be repeated in 2020) in an automated lysimetric platform at the UQ Gatton campus on 105 genotypes from numerous sources. In addition, I collaborate with a team of UQ researchers to implement and test a new canopy photosynthesis-stomatal conductance module (DCaPST) developed for APSIM and APSIM-NextGen.

In 2015, I joined Limagrain Europe (the world’s 4th largest seed producer) as a post-doctoral research associate and led a joint project with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), which was focused on crop modelling, model improvement, environment characterization, climate change, and data analysis at a pan-European level. I designed and implemented a comprehensive simulation and analysis framework to investigate the impact of abiotic stresses (drought and heat along with nitrogen deficiency) on wheat performance across Europe and identify trends in selected climate indices and wheat traits over 1984-2014 at +8000 locations and +25000 simulation units. I improved the source code (in C#) and interface of the SiriusQuality wheat model and added new modules for crop management automation.

As a research assistant at The University of Tehran, I designed and implemented a planning support system to integrate the DSSAT crop models (wheat, maize, barley, tomato, cotton, sorghum, and potato) into a data-fusion-based agro-hydrological model in order to quantify economic, social and environmental impacts of land use change and selected adaptation strategies under various climate scenarios (two future periods, 25 GCMs). I addressed multiple topics including crop modelling, weather generators, statistical downscaling of climate scenarios, hydrological modelling, optimization, and multi-criteria evaluation.

After graduation, I spent nine months of mandatory military service as head of the Agriculture and Water Resources research group in the Iranian Ministry of Defence being responsible for mid-term and long-term planning, road-map preparation, proposal development, and supervision of postgraduate researchers in the fields of irrigation and drainage, agronomy, and water resources management. Over 2006-2017, I participated in multiple interdisciplinary projects in integrated water resources management, hydraulics and hydrology, irrigation and drainage systems, rural water infrastructures, river engineering, and flood management. I served as senior engineer and project coordinator/manager, especially in the fields of irrigation systems and water resources management, being responsible for coordination and planning, design, preparation of technical reports, time and budget management, participation in meetings, and conflict resolution. I am a certified irrigation system designer and irrigation system installation specialist assessed by the Iran Ministry of Agriculture