Kaiyu Guan
Kaiyu Guan
Associate Professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
(217) 300-2690
S-508 Turner Hall

For More Information


  • PhD, Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2013
  • B.S. Geography, Geoinformatics, Nanjing University, 2008


I am an environmental scientist and an innovator creating science- and artificial intelligence-based solutions to ensure sustainability of food security and the environment. I am currently the Blue Waters Associate Professor in ecohydrology and remote sensing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I am also the founding director of the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center at UIUC. My research group uses satellite data, computational models, fieldwork, and machine learning approaches to address how climate and human practices affect crop productivity, water resource availability and ecosystem functioning. My group has keen interests in solving real-life problems, such as large-scale crop monitoring and forecasting, water management and sustainability, and global food security. We have published 100+ papers in leading scientific journals, including Science, Nature, Global Change Biology, etc. Our group leads 20+ major federal research projects funded by NASA, DOE, NSF and USDA. 

More information can be found at: http://faculty.nres.illinois.edu/~kaiyuguan/.

I have plans to recruit graduate students and postdocs with full supports in the coming years in the area of "crop remote sensing and modeling." 

Academic Positions

  • Postdoctoral scholar, Stanford University, 2013-2015
  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2016-2021
  • Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2021-Present
  • Founding Director, Agroecosystem Sustainability Center, UIUC, 2021-Present

Other Professional Employment

  • Research Scientist, The Climate Corporation, 2015
  • Founder and Chief Scientist, Aspiring Universe Corporation, 2019-Present

Research Interests

  • Ecohydrology, Crop Remote Sensing, Crop Modeling and Forecasting, Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change, Vegetation Dynamic Modeling, Terrestrial Remote Sensing (optical/microwave), Biogeography, Drought, Vegetation Phenology, Tropical Ecology, GIS

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Guan, K., Lobell, D.B., Berry, J., Joiner, J., Guanter, L., Zhang, Y., and Badgley, G. (2015) "Improving the mointoring of crop productivity using spaceborne solar-induced fluorescence", Global Change Biology.
  • Guan, K., Sultan, B., M., Biasutti, M., Lobell, D.B. (2015) “What aspects of future rainfall changes matter for crop yields in West Africa”, Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Shukla, S., Safeeq, M., AghaKouchak, A., Guan, K., and Funk, C. (2015) “Temperature impacts on the Water Year 2014 Drought in California”, Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Guan, K., Pan, M., Li, H., Wolf, A., Wu, J., Medvigy, D., Caylor, K. K., Sheffield J., Wood, E.F., Malhi, Y., Liang, M., Kimball, J. S., Saleska, S., Berry, J., Joiner, J., and Lyapustin, A. I. (2015) "Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate", Nature Geoscience.
  • Sultan, B., Guan, K., Kouressy, M., Biasutti, M., Piani, C., Hammer, G.L., Mclean, G., and Lobell, D.B. (2014) "Robust features of future climate change impacts on sorghum yields in West Africa", Environmental Research Letters, 9(10).
  • Reid, M.C, Guan, K., Fabian Wagner, Mauzerall, D.L. (2014) "Global Methane Emission from Pit Latrines", Environmental Science and Technology, 48,8727-8734.
  • Guan, K., Wood, E. F., Caylor, K. K., Medvigy, D., Sheffield, J., Pan, M., Kimball, J., Xu, X and Jones, M.O. (2014) "Terrestrial hydrological control on vegetation phenology of African savannas and woodlands", Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 119(8), 8727-8734.
  • Good, S.P., Soderberg, K., Guan, K., King, E. G., Scanlon, T., Caylor, K.K. (2014) "δ2H Isotopic flux partitioning of evapotranspiration over a grass field following a water pulse and subsequent dry down", Water Resources Research, 50(2), 1410-1432.
  • Sheffield, J., Wood, E. F., Chaney, N., Guan, K., Safri, S., Yuan, X., Olang, L., Amani, A., Ali, A., and Demuth, S. (2014), "A drought monitoring and forecarsting system for Sub-Sahara African water resources and food security", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(6), 2014.
  • Yuan, X., Wood, E. F., Chaney, N. W., Sheffield J., Kam, J., Liang, M., and Guan, K. (2014), "Probalistic Seasonal Forecasting of African Drought by Dynamical Models", Journal of Hydrometeorology, 14, 1706-1720.
  • Guan, K., Medvigy, D., Wood, E. F. , Caylor, K. K. ,Li, S. and Jeong S.J. (2014) "Deriving vegetation phenological time and trajectory information over Africa using SEVIRI daily LAI", IEEE transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 53(2),1113-1130.
  • Guan, K., Wolf, A., Wood, E. F., Medvigy, D., Caylor, K. K. and Pan, M. (2013) "Seasonal coupling of canopy function and structure in African tropical forests and its environmental controls", Ecosphere, 4(3).
  • Guan, K., Wood, E. F. and Caylor, K. K. (2012) "Multi-sensor derivation of regional vegetation fractional cover in Africa", Remote Sensing of Environment, 124, 653-665.
  • Guan, K., Thompson, S.E., Harman, C. J., Basu, N. B., Rao, S. P., Sivapalan, M., Kalita, P.K. and Packman, A. I. (2011) "Spatio-temporal scaling of hydrological and agro-chemical export dynamics in a tile-drained Midwestern watershed", Water Resource Research, 47, W00J02.

Journal Editorships

  • Guest editor for Special Issue: “Climate extremes and biogeochemical cycles in the terrestrial biosphere: impacts and feedbacks across scale” in Biogeosciences

Professional Societies

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Meteorological Society (AMS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)
  • European Geophysical Union (EGU)


  • Blue Waters Professorship, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, UIUC (2016)
  • NASA New Investigator Award, NASA (2016)
  • AGU Global Environmental Change Early Career Award, American Geophysical Union (AGU) (2018)
  • NSF CAREER Award, NSF (2019)
  • SoAR Foundation's annual selection of scientists to represent the U.S. agricultural research, SoAR Foundation (2019)
  • Faculty Fellowship on Climate Risk, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (2020)
  • CAS Faculty Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (2020)
  • High-Performance-Computing (HPC) Innovation Excellence Award, Hyperion Research (2020)
  • Distinguished Promotion Award, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (2021)
  • Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists Finalist, New York Science of Academy (2021)

Recent Courses Taught

  • NRES 401 (GEOG 401, GGIS 401) - Watershed Hydrology
  • NRES 402 - Ecohydrology & Water Mgmt
  • NRES 499 - Ecohydrology & Water Managemnt
  • NRES 512 - Terrestrial Eco Remote Sensing
  • NRES 522 - Remote Sensing Applications
  • NRES 598 - Terrestrial Remote Sensing App