Category Archives: Our Team

Maheen Akram

Maheen Akram holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, where she successfully pursued a double major in Economics and Political Science, setting the foundation for her academic and professional pursuits. Immediately after graduating from Wellesley, Maheen spent three years working at Goldman Sachs, Ayco Financial Management. Her experience at Goldman provided her with valuable insights into the complexities and inequities of the financial world and its impact on individuals and communities. Driven by a strong desire to contribute to the advancement of financial literacy and inclusion, Maheen aspires to pursue a Ph.D. to delve into the impact of financial education on individuals’ investment decisions. Her research interests focus on how targeted financial education initiatives can empower underserved communities and lead to improved financial decision-making. Currently, Maheen is serving as a board member and the Secretary for the Kashmir Education Initiative, a 503c non-profit organization that plays a crucial role in providing educational opportunities to underserved students in Kashmir. Her dedication to promoting education and empowerment underscores her strong belief in the transformative power of knowledge. Maheen enjoys camping, cooking, and playing team sports in her free time.


Mashood Ahmad Farooqi

Mashood Ahmad Farooqi is interested in the role of social and environmental determinants on physical and mental health clinical outcomes. As a trained physician, he is also interested in how medical students are trained in understanding the role of social and environmental determinants on clinical outcomes. In the Food Lab, Mashood is working with a team to explore the impact of structural determinants on mental health disorders and substance abuse. 

Prior to joining the UB Food Lab as a research fellow, Mashood completed his Bachelors in Medicine and Bachelors in Surgery (MBBS) from Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. 

Mashood is an avid football fan. In his spare time, Mashood enjoys reading fantasy and history, and spending time in the gym and in the wilderness.

Kate Hays

Kate Hays is a current master’s student at the University at Buffalo, pursuing a dual degree in public health and urban planning. She is interested in the impacts of the built environment, particularly at the intersection of community health, climate justice, and racial equity. Before returning to school, she worked as a medical case manager for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY, and as an instructor at an adult literacy program in Chelsea, MA. She graduated from Boston University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Festus Adegbola

Festus Adegbola is a graduate student at the UB Geography Department. Festus’ research focuses on spatial ecology with the aim of monitoring degrading ecosystems using remote sensing techniques and proffering sustainable management approaches to ultimately restore such ecosystems. 

At the Food Lab, Festus assumes the role of a GIS analyst, responsible for overseeing and processing all projects and tasks that involve geographic information. Festus enjoys playing musical instruments. Sax and piano are his favorites.

Touseef Yousuf Mir

 Touseef Yousuf Mir is an ethnographic researcher, teacher, and public engagement & advocacy professional. He currently serves as faculty at the Centre for Development Studies, Department of Social and Policy Sciences (SPS), University of Bath, United Kingdom. His work takes a principally multidisciplinary approach sitting at the intersection of conflict studies, comparative politics, and everyday state and society. Using the ethnographic (qualitative) methodology, his work upends the gaze to the popular experience side of the state-society debate within conflict studies. His work particularly looks at the protracted conflict situation of Kashmir.




Kahad Adamu

A doctoral student in urban and regional planning, Kahad Adamu is interested in the political ecology of gold mining in Sub-Saharan Africa and managing natural resources (land and water), land management and administration, and affordable housing. 

At the Food Lab, Kahad works on a variety of analytical projects. He is currently investigating the racial disparities in the spatial distribution of retail food destinations in Erie County. He is also involved in the Healthy Corner Store Initiative (HCSI) project.  

Before joining UB, Kahad earned an MSc in Urban Development Planning from University College London (UCL) and a BSc (Hons) in Land Economy from KNUST in Ghana. Kahad previously worked as an adjunct lecturer at Kumasi Technical University in Kumasi, Ghana, where he taught courses such as Land Use Planning and Administration and Property Rating and Taxation. He also worked with the Land Resources and Management Center (LRMC) on projects that examined urban governance and informal settlement in Ghana’s capital city.

Zane Longwell

Zane Longwell is a current Master of Urban Planning student at the University at Buffalo investigating how the City of Buffalo can support locally-owned food retail. He is interested in food systems equity, urban agriculture, climate justice, and affordable housing. He was recognized for his advocacy work as the Faculty Liaison with the Graduate Planning Student Association by receiving a Master of Urban Planning Service Award and was also nominated for a Pillars of Leadership Student Organization Officer of the Year award. In 2022, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Studies at Kent State University. Outside of school, Zane enjoys watching reality TV, reading, going to coffee shops, and hiking.


Research Affiliates

Research Affiliates are outstanding team members who collaborate with us remotely on specific research projects.

  • Radhika Kumar, MPlanning (India)
  • Rosie DeVito, MPH (USA)
  • Joy Resor, MUP (USA)
  • Midhat Fayaz, Geo-Informatics Doctoral Candidate ’20 (India)
  • Athar Parvaiz, Independent Journalist (Kashmir)
  • Cassandra Granville, 26th Congressional Hunger Fellow
  • Megan Smith, 26th Congressional Hunger Fellow
  • Zhu Zin, PhD Geography

Insha Akram

   Insha Akram is interested in understanding the experiences of women smallholder farmers living in the conflict setting of Kashmir valley in the Himalayan region within their communities’ food systems and creating equitable spaces for women. Her research interests include gender discrimination, women’s equity within traditional markets, and food sovereignty in occupied regions. In the Lab, Insha’s work focuses on smallholder farmers growing indigenous collard greens in Srinagar city of Jammu and Kashmir and coordinates all of the lab’s team.  Insha is currently pursuing a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in Community Health and Food Systems. Before pursuing graduate studies at the University at Buffalo, Insha trained in biological sciences and business management. She has worked in the IT industry and food retail industries. During her work in the retail industry, her perspectives changed while working with differently-abled/disabled employees, reinforcing her focus on creating equitable systems. Outside the lab, she enjoys reading novels, horse riding, and eating sweets. She is a nature lover.