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Director and Institute Professor, Center for Earth System Science and Global Sustainability, Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, Boston College

Dr. Hanqin Tian is Inaugural Director of the Center for Earth System Science and Global Sustainability (CES3), Schiller Institute Professor, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Boston College. He was trained in Systems Ecology, a subset of Earth system science, that takes a holistic approach to the study of ecological systems, especially ecosystems. The Overarching Goal of Dr. Tian’s research is to advance our understanding and prediction of biosphere’s functioning in stabilizing Earth’s atmosphere/climate and providing people with essential goods and services including healthy food, clean energy, clean water and clean air. His current research interest focuses on the predictive understanding of anthropogenic and natural controls over major biogeochemical cycles (C, N and P) and greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) in the coupled human-earth system in the past, present and future. His research on global carbon and nitrogen cycles, and greenhouse gas emissions is at the leading edge of the field. His research has resulted in over 400 publications, among which more than 30 papers published in Nature, Science and their sister journals such as Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience, Natural Communication, Science Advances, PNAS etc. Dr. Tian is a Highly Cited Researcher, ranking in the top 1% by citations (Clarivate Web of Science). He has been ranked among the world’s most influential climate scientists by the Reuters List (2020). Dr. Tian has served on the Board of Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Steering Scientific Committee of the Global Carbon Project (GCP-SSC), Chaired the Asian Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America, and Co-Chaired the International Committee for Global Nitrous Oxide Budget Assessment. He is the recipient of many US and foreign awards and honors including the Creative Research and Scholarship Award, Harry Murphy Award for Excellence in Research, Ye Duzheng’s Global Change Science Prize, and the SEC Faculty Achievement Award. Dr. Tian is elected Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU), Ecological Society of America (ESA) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Tian was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (Brainy Award) in 2019.


  • 2022–present
    Institute Professor, Boston College
  • 2010–2022
    Solon & Martha Dixon Professor, Auburn University
  • 2003–2022
    Professor, Auburn University
  • 2001–2003
    Associate Professor, University of Kansas


  • 1996 
    State University of New York, Syracuse, Ph.D.
  • 1986 
    Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, M.S.
  • 1982 
    Zhejiang University, B.S.


  • 2020
    A comprehensive quantification of global nitrous oxide sources and sinks, Nature
  • 2016
    The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, Nature

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow, Ecological Society of America (2022)
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2020)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2016)