Principal Investigator

Marynia Kolak, PhD, MFA, MS
Lab Director

Marynia is a health geographer & spatial data scientist using open science tools, spatial epidemiology & an exploratory data analytic approach to investigate issues of health equity across space and time. They use applied geographic data science, quasi-experimental spatial econometrics, and public health informatics to seek & disseminate policy-driven, systems-integrating solutions. 

She is an Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Geography & GIScience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Fellow at the Center for Spatial Data Science at the University of Chicago, and Associate Editor at Preventing Chronic Disease and the Journal of Maps.

Research Team

Aisha Syed, BS
Interim Research Coordinator

Aisha is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she studied Geography & GIScience. In the past, she has conducted community-engaged research in the areas of climate change and disaster resilience. She is passionate about open and transparent research that is sensitive to lived human experiences.

Adam Cox, MS, MLIS
Interim Research Software Engineer

Adam is a geospatial developer with a background in GIS and archaeology, and a passion for open source software. Originally from southwestern Wisconsin, he lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Jorge Corral
Covid Atlas & Place Project Team

I am senior in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability with a minor in chemistry. I am passionate about environmental justice from a holistic point of view taking into account the natural, social and built environments.

Augustyn Crane
Place Project Team

My name is Augustyn Crane, a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am majoring in GIS and I love cartography and data modeling!

Mandela Kwame Gadri, MS
Covid Atlas Team

Ph.D. student Mandela Gadri has a BS in urban planning from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, and an MS in community and regional planning from Iowa State University. He also has a certificate in GIS and worked as a planner with the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa prior to joining UIUC. Mandela is interested in GIS and transport poverty.

Emily Glenn
Covid Atlas Team

Emily is a junior at UIUC, majoring in Earth, Society, & Environmental Sustainability. She passionate about climate, weather, and environmental justice. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, gymnastics, and storm chasing.

Stefan Illic
Chives Project Team

My name is Stefan Ilic. I am a junior GGIS major at UIUC with a desire to pursue cartography. Although I have minimal research experience, I am very much a team-oriented person that can learn and adapt to different environments. Stefan is a 2022 Roepke Scholar.

Elaina Katz, BA
Place Project Intern

Elaina is a recent graduate from the University of Chicago, where she studied Anthropology. Her time spent working in an environmental law clinic inspired her commitment to advancing environmental justice through community driven research. She is specifically interested in the ways in which spatial data science can be utilized by community groups in addressing health inequities born of environmental exposures.

Wataru Morioka, PhDc
Opioids Research Team

Wataru Morioka is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and GIScience, UIUC. His research interests cover GIScience and spatial analysis. Developing new analytical methods of geospatial data, he is aiming to evaluate people’s living environment such as accessibility to public amenities in order to enhance public life.

Sparshdeep Singh
Chives Project Team

Sparsh is a Junior studying Computer Science at UIUC. He will be working with the lab at the intersection of geospatial data manipulation and web development. Some of Sparsh’s hobbies include food, gardening, and League.

Sarvagnya Vijay
Covid Atlas Team

My name’s Sarvagnya Vijay and I’m a sophomore studying Statistics and Computer Science at UIUC. Some of my hobbies include playing guitar and researching the elements of the perfect 2d pixel game, and in my free time I love to read fantasy fiction and play way too much Valorant.

Research Collaborations

Aresha Martinez-Cardoso, PhD

The Embodying Race(ism) Lab,
The University of Chicago

Qinyun Lin, PhD

Institute of Medicine,
University of Gothenburg (Göteborg)

Lawrence Brown, PhD

Center for Urban Health Equity,
Morgan State University

Michelle Stuhlmacher, PhD

Department of Geography,
DePaul University

Imelda Moise, PhD, MPH

Geography & Inequalities Lab,
The University of Miami

Paul Joudrey, MD, MPH

Center for Research on Health Care,
University of Pittsburgh

Basmatte Boodram, PhD, MPH

School of Public Health,
University of Illinois at Chicago

John Schneider, MD, MPH

Center for HIV Elimination,
The University of Chicago

Lab Alumni

Research Assistants, Visiting Scholars, Internships, & Past Staff Members Since 2016

Sarthak Joshi, Susan Paykin, Dylan Halpern, Stuart Lynn, Kamaria Massey, Olina Liang, Desiree Becerra, Shelley Hoover, James Keane, Marc Loeb, Liana Lan, Vidal Anguino, Jr., Margot Bolanos Gomez, Ziqian (Alexa) Jin, Isaac Kamber, Kenna Camper, Laura Chen, Andres Crucetta, Stephanie Yang, Ryan Wang, Lorenz Menendez, Gabe Morrison, Yoon Hong Park, Richard Lu, Erin Abbott, Bibind Vasu, Yao Xen Tan, Cyrus Caughey, Tiye Stephens, Irena Gao, Grant Morrison, Angela Li, Moksha Menghaney, Fanmei Xia, Sam Joyce, Helena Abney-McPeek, Emily Selch, Olina Liang, Jizhou Wang, Yuming Liu, Breanna Yang, Arpan Laha, Erin Ochoa, Andrew Morse, Ally Muszynski, Andrew Warfield, Jinfei Zhu, Sinduri Soundarajan, Chandler Hall, Javier Andres Rojas Aguilera, Christian Villanueva, Isaac Rand