Muthurishnan

Suresh Muthukrishnan

Professor and Chair of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Department; Director of GIS and Remote Sensing Center

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Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan joined Furman faculty upon completing his Ph.D. at Purdue University where his research focus was on understanding and modeling the impacts of landuse/land cover transformations on water quality and runoff. At Furman, his research focus is on studying the human-landscape interactions and the many different ways it is expressed in the form of impact on humans as well as the landscape processes. He specializes in use of GIS, Remote Sensing, and Drone technologies in addressing problems of scientific and societal importance.

He enjoys mentoring undergraduate students and helping his colleagues implement GIS based solutions to their teaching/research. He has played a pivotal role in developing and implementing a strong GIS curriculum at Furman, promoting GIS awareness and usage across disciplines on Furman's campus, and continues to play an important role in envisioning and supporting application of GIS, Remote Sensing (including drones), and data analysis & visualization methods for various community related projects. He has an ongoing partnership with local law-enforcement and health care providers to find creative ways to reduce accidents and crime and improve health care access in the region through data driven solutions.

Dr. Muthukrishnan strongly believes in immersive experiences for students and his class field trips as well as travel-study programs are designed to provide an incredible, life changing experience to our students. He has directed several study abroad programs including semester in India, and May Experience programs in Iceland and Tanzania. He is an avid photographer and enjoys taking extremely large, giga-pixel images​ of unique landscapes and incorporates them into his teaching.

During 2017-18 academic year, Dr. Muthukrishnan received Fulbright US Scholar Award to spend the year in Malawi, Africa focusing on data driven solutions, community and youth empowerment through the use of collaborative mapping, monitoring, and visualization techniques to improve human health and environmental conditions. He also helped UNICEF Malawi implement a real-time mapping methods using WebGIS and mobile device based data collection approaches as a way to coordinate data collection and track effectiveness of outreach efforts over time. This is enabling UNICEF to take a proactive approach to addressing outbreaks of diseases or other human impacts. As a Fulbright Scholar, he played a key role in receiving a grant from UNICEF to establish the first "African Drone and Data Academy" in Malawi through a collaborative partnership that involves Furman University, Virginia Tech., Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UNICEF Malawi, and Malawi University for Science and Technology. First cohort of 25 students graduated from the academy in March 2020 after spending three rigorous months of training through three modules focused on drone engineering, flight safety and communication, and data analysis and visualization for various applications.

He has won Outstanding Graduate Student of the year award at Purdue University, Outstanding Teaching Award at Purdue University, Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Associate Professorship at Furman University, and The Furman Standard Research Fellowship at Furman University.

Honors

  • 2017-2020. Furman Standard Research Fellowship, Furman University
  • 2017-2018. Fulbright US Scholarship, Malawi, Africa (12 months)
  • 2014-2016. Sustainability Research Fellow, Shi Center for Sustainability, Furman University
  • 2010-2012. Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Associate Professor, Furman University
  • 2002. Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award, Purdue University
  • 2002. Purdue Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Teaching, Purdue University
  • 2002. Henry Silver Graduate Scholarship Award, Purdue University
  • 1995. Research Fellowship and Lectureship Award, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India

Education

  • Ph.D., Purdue University
  • M.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
  • M.S., Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India​
  • B.S., Anna University - Chennai, India

Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan joined Furman faculty upon completing his Ph.D. at Purdue University where his research focus was on understanding and modeling the impacts of landuse/land cover transformations on water quality and runoff. At Furman, his research focus is on studying the human-landscape interactions and the many different ways it is expressed in the form of impact on humans as well as the landscape processes. He specializes in use of GIS, Remote Sensing, and Drone technologies in addressing problems of scientific and societal importance.

He enjoys mentoring undergraduate students and helping his colleagues implement GIS based solutions to their teaching/research. He has played a pivotal role in developing and implementing a strong GIS curriculum at Furman, promoting GIS awareness and usage across disciplines on Furman's campus, and continues to play an important role in envisioning and supporting application of GIS, Remote Sensing (including drones), and data analysis & visualization methods for various community related projects. He has an ongoing partnership with local law-enforcement and health care providers to find creative ways to reduce accidents and crime and improve health care access in the region through data driven solutions.

Dr. Muthukrishnan strongly believes in immersive experiences for students and his class field trips as well as travel-study programs are designed to provide an incredible, life changing experience to our students. He has directed several study abroad programs including semester in India, and May Experience programs in Iceland and Tanzania. He is an avid photographer and enjoys taking extremely large, giga-pixel images​ of unique landscapes and incorporates them into his teaching.

During 2017-18 academic year, Dr. Muthukrishnan received Fulbright US Scholar Award to spend the year in Malawi, Africa focusing on data driven solutions, community and youth empowerment through the use of collaborative mapping, monitoring, and visualization techniques to improve human health and environmental conditions. He also helped UNICEF Malawi implement a real-time mapping methods using WebGIS and mobile device based data collection approaches as a way to coordinate data collection and track effectiveness of outreach efforts over time. This is enabling UNICEF to take a proactive approach to addressing outbreaks of diseases or other human impacts. As a Fulbright Scholar, he played a key role in receiving a grant from UNICEF to establish the first "African Drone and Data Academy" in Malawi through a collaborative partnership that involves Furman University, Virginia Tech., Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UNICEF Malawi, and Malawi University for Science and Technology. First cohort of 25 students graduated from the academy in March 2020 after spending three rigorous months of training through three modules focused on drone engineering, flight safety and communication, and data analysis and visualization for various applications.

He has won Outstanding Graduate Student of the year award at Purdue University, Outstanding Teaching Award at Purdue University, Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Associate Professorship at Furman University, and The Furman Standard Research Fellowship at Furman University.

Research

Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan's research interests cover the following areas: Fluvial Geomorphology, modeling land cover transformation and its impacts on water resources, natural hazards, particularly landslides and flood, and the application of Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's or Drones) to address various environmental and health related problems that communities face in various parts of the world.

The broad question that Dr. Muthukrishnan's research seeks to answer is: to what extent human transformation of natural landscapes have altered the natural river processes, and how do these changes in turn impact the humans? Dr. Muthukrishnan and his research group is also involved in a broad spectrum of projects including assessing renewable energy potential for local buildings, improving access to healthcare system in the region, local food system and access to healthy food, green spaces and community health, WebGIS implementations for asset management, crime and accident reduction, environmental conservation, disease mapping, and climate change related studies.

Dr. Muthukrishnan enjoys collaborative research projects as it not only brings opportunities to work closely with faculty across disciplines but also it challenges him to always be a student in pursuit of knowledge. He embraces the ideals of a true liberal arts and sciences education approach and is an excellent role model for our students.

Most recent student projects:

Aaron Kearns: Inventorying Historic Landslides using GIS and LiDAR based approaches for Greenville County, SC
Sarah Grace Payne: Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerability Analysis for Greenville, SC
Jacob Milchuk: Assessing the Economic Benefits of Urban Greenways and Green Spaces in Greenville, SC using a Hedonic Pricing Model
Adeline Li: Assessing Solar Potential for Greenville County Using LiDAR and GIS Based Modeling
Tyler Peoples: Developing a Web-Based Community Asset Map for Greenville County, SC
Kathryn Clark: Development of Spatial Data Infrastructure for Asset Mapping, Management, and Analysis of Furman’s Facilities and Services
Laura McComb: An Analysis of Furman's Recruitment and Retention using GIS
Katie Caulfield: Modeling Landslide Hazards and their Potential Impacts on the Local Communities
Trent McCann: Demographic and Spatial Analysis of Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Trail Users and Usage from 2010-13
Stephen Campbell: Geologic and geomorphic controls on insipient channel development and drainage pattern evolution.
Elizabeth Johnston: Landslide hazards zonation along Blue Ridge Escarpment in the Upstate of South Carolina using GIS based modeling
Tori Hedden: Urban Sprawl in Greenville and its Hydrologic Impacts, South Carolina
Luke Howerter: Geomorphology and GIS based study of the effects of developments on urban streams

Peer-Reviewed Publications
*Denotes undergraduate student coauthor

  • (In Review) Holm, R. H., Hall, R. P., Muthukrishnan, S., Munthali*, T., and Sinda*, M., Promoting multiple-use water services for smallholder rice farmers cooperative members in Karonga District, Malawi, International Journal of Water Resources Development.
  • (Accepted). Ranson, W. A., and Muthukrishnan, S., Geology and Geomorphology of the Jones Gap Debris Slide, Jones Gap State Park, Greenville County, South Carolina, South Carolina Geology Journal.
  • 2019. *Kaponda, P., Muthukrishnan, S., Barber, R., Holm, R. H., Drinking water quality and human dimensions of cholera patients to inform evidence-based prevention investment in Karonga district, Malawi, International Journal of Water Supply, Vol. 19 (7): 2079-2087. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/ws.2019.086.
  • 2018. *Bailey, B., Dripps, W., and Muthukrishnan, S., Spatial analysis of hydrological productivity in fractured bedrock terrains of the Piedmont of northwestern South Carolina, Journal of South Carolina Water Resources, Vol. 5(1), Pages 25–33.
  • 2015. Lewis, P.G., Andersen, C.B., Moloney*, T. P. , Muthukrishnan, S., Relationship between Dry Deposition of Ions and Urban Land Cover in the South Carolina Piedmont, Journal of Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 226:266, Springer Publication.
  • 2015. Muthukrishnan, S., Prioritization for Targeted Watershed Improvement, In ESRI Map Book, Vol. 30 (p18), 160 pages. ISBN: 9781589484252, ESRI Press.
  • 2012. *Price, A. E., Reed, J. A., & Mutukrishnan, S. Trail user demographics, physical activity behaviors, and perceptions of a newly constructed greenway trail. Journal of Community Health, 37(6), 1264-1268.
  • 2011. Julian A. Reed, Steven P. Hooker, Suresh Muthukrishnan, and Brent Hutto, User Demographics and Physical Activity Behaviors on a Newly Constructed Urban Rail/Trail Conversion, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Vol. 8, pp. 534-542
  • 2008. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L., An ecological approach with primary-care counseling to promote physical activity, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2008 (5), p. 169 – 183.
  • 2007. Muthukrishnan, S., Lewis, G.P., and Andersen, C.B., Relationships between land cover, vegetation density, and nitrate concentrations in streams of the Enoree River basin, piedmont region of South Carolina, USA (Chapter 24), in, D. Sarkar, R. Datta, and R. Hannigan (eds.), Concepts and Applications in Environmental Geochemistry , Elsevier Press, New York, p. 517-542.
  • 2007. Muthukrishnan, S., Geology:Long-Term Hydrologic Impacts of Land Use Change (Chapter 15), in, Diana Stuart Sinton and Jennifer J. Lund (eds.), Understanding Place: GIS and Mapping Across the Curriculum, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA, p. 212-222.
  • 2007. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L, A descriptive examination of a novel approach to primary care counseling for physical activity in a community health center in upstate South Carolina. The EJournal of the South Carolina Medical Association, 103(March) , 40-43.
  • 2007. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L. An ecological approach combined with primary care counseling to promote physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(5) Supplement: S80-S81, May 2007.
  • 2006. Muthukrishnan, S., J. Harbor, K. J. Lim, and B. A. Engel, Calibration of a simple rainfall-runoff model for long-term hydrological impact evaluation, Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), 18(2):33-40.

Presentations
*Denotes undergraduate student coauthor

  • 2019. Johnston, E. C., Burke, M., Caers, J., Davenport, F., Wang, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Diffenbaugh, N. S., The combined influence of antecedent rainfall and urbanization on landslides: an empirical approach based on data for the Pacific Coast of the United States, Annual Meeting, American Geophysical Union, 9-13 December, 2019, San Francisco, CA.
  • 2019. Muthukrishnan, S., Geological and geomorphic manifestations of the East African Rift in Malawi and its present-day implications, Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 51 (5), September 22-25, 2019, Phoenix, AZ.
  • 2019. Muthukrishnan, S., *Kamba, M., *Kaponda, P., Holm, R. H., Tembo, M., Barber, R. Cholera in Malawi: Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Occurrence and Prevention Strategies, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 3 - 7, 2019 (64), Washington, D. C.
  • 2018. Johnston, E. C., Caers, J., Wang, L., Davenport, F., Muthukrishnan, S., Diffenbaugh, N. S., Multi-scale signatures of climate change on landslide susceptibility: a case study for the Pacific Coast of the United States, Annual Meeting, American Geophysical Union, 10-14 Dec. 2018, Washington, D.C.
  • 2018. *Kamba, M., *Kaponda, P., Holm, R. H., Tembo, M., Barber, R., Muthukrishnan, S., Surveillance of Cholera Outbreak in Karonga District, Malawi Using ArcGIS Online, ESRI Canada User Conference, October 23-24, 2018, Fredericton, CA.
    2017. *Palumbo, R., Muthukrishnan, S., Landscape of Annexation: Winners and Losers, Annual ESRI User Conference, July 9-13, 2017, San Diego, California.
  • 2017. *Li, A., and Muthukrishnan, S., Assessing Solar Energy Potential for Existing Buildings in Greenville County, South Carolina, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 5 - 9, 2017 (62), Boston, MA.
  • 2017. *Milchuck, J., and Muthukrishnan, S., Do Green Spaces Increase Property Values? A Case Study from Greenville, South Carolina (USA), Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 5 - 9, 2017 (62), Boston, MA.
  • 2017. Muthukrishnan, S., Winiski, M., and Donald, J., Cross-Institutional Collaboration to Develop GIS Curricular and Knowledge Pathways for Effective and Efficient Blended Learning Delivery, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 5 - 9, 2017 (62), Boston, MA.
  • 2016. Muthukrishnan, S., and Winiski, M., Drone Technology for Low-Cost Precision Mapping on Campus and in the Community, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, March 29-April 2, 2016 (61), San Francisco, CA.
  • 2016. Winiski, M., Muthukrishnan, S., *Peoples, T., Hipp, C. S., Snow, J. Z., and Baker, R., Developing a Web-Based Community Asset Map, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, March 29-April 2, 2016 (61), San Francisco, CA.
  • 2016. *Mackey, J., and Muthukrishnan, S., Mapping Solar PV Potential for Furman University Using LiDAR and GIS, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, March 29-April 2, 2016 (61), San Francisco, CA.
  • 2016. *Clark, K., and Muthukrishnan, S., Development and Application of a WebGIS based Facilities Management and Decision Support System, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, March 29-April 2, 2016 (61), San Francisco, CA.
  • 2015. Suresh Muthukrishnan, Quinn, J., Dripps, W., and Cozad, M., Tree Mapping and Ecosystem Services Calculation using Collector for ArcGIS: A Crowdsourcing Model. Annual ESRI User Conference, July 20-24, 2015, San Diego, California.
  • 2015. *Keesee, J., Muthukrishnan, S., and Winiski, M., Feasibility of establishing an agricultural greenbelt around Greenville, South Carolina. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 21-25, 2015 (60), Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2015. *Caulfield, K., Muthukrishnan, S., GIS Based Modeling of Landslide Hazards and their Potential Impacts on the Local Communities in the Upstate of South Carolina. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 21-25, 2015 (60), Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2015. *McComb, L, Muthukrishnan, S., and Winiski, M., Future proofing recruitment strategies for Colleges and Universities using a GIS based approach. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 21-25, 2015 (60), Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2015. *McCabe, W, Muthukrishnan, S., and Powers, A., Mapping "Food Deserts" in Greenville County. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 21-25, 2015 (60), Chicago, Illinois.
  • 2014. Suresh Muthukrishnan, Watershed Prioritization for Targeted Watershed Improvement, Upper Reedy River Watershed, Greenville, South Carolina. Annual ESRI User Conference, July 14-18, 2014, San Diego, California.
  • 2014. *McCann, T., Muthukrishnan, S., and Reed, J., User demographics and patterns of use of the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 8-12, 2014 (59), Tampa, Florida.
  • 2013. Ranson, W. R., Muthukrishnan, S., Johnston, E., Campbell, S., and Geier, P., Ongoing Research on Slope Stability in Upstate South Carolina: Field Observations, Lineament Studies, and Landslide Modeling. Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. October 27–30, 2013 Vol. 45, No. 7, p.154, Denver, Colorado.
  • 2013. *Bailey, B J., Dripps, W. R., and Muthukrishnan, S., Spatial analysis of well yields in fractured bedrock terrains of the piedmont of northwestern South Carolina, 62nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of Geological Society of America, 20-21 March 2013, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 2.
  • 2013. *Campbell, S.., and Muthukrishnan, S., A study of drainage pattern evolution using automatically extracted lineaments in Cleveland Quadrangle, South Carolina, 62nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of Geological Society of America, 20-21 March 2013, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 2.
  • 2013. *Johnston, E., Muthukrishnan, S., Landslide hazard zonation in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area using GIS-based modeling, , 62nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of Geological Society of America, 20-21 March 2013, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 45, No. 2.
  • 2012. *Kelliher, Caitlin, and Muthukrishnan, S., Analysis of Land Cover Changes and their Hydrologic Impacts from 1974 to 1990 in Greenville County, South Carolina, 61st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of Geological Society of America, Asheville, NC, 1-2 April 2012.
  • 2012. *Wynn, Luke A., and Muthukrishnan, S., Effectiveness of LiDAR for Rapid Channel Geomorphic Assessment, 61st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of Geological Society of America, Asheville, NC, 1-2 April 2012.
  • 2010. Muthukrishnan, S., and Davis, A., GIS and Sustainability: Project based introductory GIS course curriculum, POS3340, Annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 10 - 12, October 2010, Denver, CO.
  • 2010. Muthukrishnan, S., Andersen, C. B., and Garihan, J. M., Linking Geology and Sustainability in Iceland, POS3216, Annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, 10 - 12, October 2010, Denver, CO.
  • 2010. Andersen, B., Vulava, V., Callahan, T., Dripps, W., Muthukrishnan, S., Shelley, D., and Thom, T., Geochemical constraints on floodplain groundwater source, flow paths, and surface water mixing at Congaree National Park, South Carolina, Northeastern Section (45th Annual) and Southeastern Section (59th Annual) Joint Meeting (13-16 March 2010), Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 1, p. 144
  • 2010. *Fowler, G, *Coffey, R., Andersen, B, Muthukrishnan, S., and Lewis, G., Geomorphic controls over nitrate concentrations in urban headwater streams of the South Carolina piedmont, Northeastern Section (45th Annual) and Southeastern Section (59th Annual) Joint Meeting (13-16 March 2010), Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 1, p. 69
  • 2010. *Howerter, L., *Coffey, R., Muthukrishnan, S., Andersen, B, and Lewis, G., Geomorphic variability in urban and rural streams in the piedmont region of South Carolina, Northeastern Section (45th Annual) and Southeastern Section (59th Annual) Joint Meeting (13-16 March 2010), Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 1, p. 69
  • 2009. *Fowler, G., and Muthukrishnan, S., Geomorphology of streams in urban golf courses in the South Carolina piedmont region, 58th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, March 12-13, St. Petersburg, FL
  • 2008. *Cruz, A., Haney D. C., and Muthukrishnan, S., Relationships between urban land cover, fish assemblage structure, and channel geomorphology in the Enoree River basin, South Carolina, The Association of Southeastern Biologists, v. 55
  • 2008. Lewis, G. P., Dripps, W. R., Andersen, C. B., Haney, D.C., Muthukrishnan, S., and Liao, M.-K., The Furman University River Basins Research Initiative: a multidisciplinary examination of urban influences on piedmont streams, South Carolina Water Resources Conference, October 14-15, North Charleston, SC
  • 2008. Anderson, C., and Muthukrishnan, S., A study of hydrological impacts of land cover change using NLCD - effect of study area scale on the magnitude of impacts, Annual meeting of the Southeastern Geological Society of America, March 11-12, Charlotte, NC
  • 2008. Taysom, B., and Muthukrishnan, S., Analysis of watershed imperviousness and its relationship to stream geomorphology, Annual meeting of the Southeastern Geological Society of America, March 11-12, Charlotte, NC​