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CHINA EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH SOCIETY

since 1986

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Staff & Associates

CERS Field Staff

Dr. William Bleisch

Bill is a Field Biologist with long years of experience in China, once serving as Residence Advisor for China’s Forestry Ministry. With degrees from Harvard, Rockefeller and Post Doc at Caltech, Dr Bleisch began working in China in 1987 and have held key positions with Wildlife Conservation Society, Flora and Fauna International, and The Bridge Fund. He has been involved with CERS since its inception in 1986.

Tsering Drolma

Tsering Drolma is a graduate of Duke University with a BA in sociology and a certificate in markets and management. She joined CERS in June 2012 as the education coordinator. For her role as the education coordinator she designs and leads the CERS summer education program. She is passionate about cultural exploration/exchange and experiential education.

Li Na

Li Na has been a long-time office assistant of CERS offices in Kunming, managing all travels and hospitality for staff and guests who travel through Yunnan. She also conducts liaison with other CERS associates within China.

Liu Hong

Liu Hong has been involved with CERS since the mid 1990s. Formerly a key member of our Hanging Coffin conservation team, now Liu focuses on caving activities in southern China. He also collaborates with a number of foreign caving groups, in particular those from the UK, France and Slovenia.

Zhang Fan

Zhang Fan is CERS China Director, having been involved with CERS since 1990. Zhang also serves as Director of Yunnan University’s Institute of Geography. He is a biologist by training, specializing in birds and also a frequent caver. Zhang acted as How Man’s special assistant in China for many years.

Zhou Zhen

ZHOU ZHEN

Zhou Zhen is a long-term volunteer and associate for the CERS education program and field expedition since 2001. Over the years, he has joined many student outdoor activities, and expeditions, and helped with our projects on various sites. In 2017 and 2019, Zhou Zhen participated in the CERS Yarlung River Source exploration trip and the northern Sichuan expedition. In 2023, Zhou Zhen officially joined CERS as our Engineer, field logistic, vehicle maintenance and repair support.

Ei Thantar Myint Sandra

Ei Thantar Myint Sandra received her undergraduate degree from Myanmar’s National Management College and her MBA from Assumption University in Thailand. She has worked for an international oil company. In her current capacity with CERS, she is in charge of administration of CERS activities and project sites, as well as managing cultural heritage projects.

Su Hlaing Myint

Su Hlaing Myint, CERS Field Biologist in Myanmar, took her Master’s degree at Mandalay University. Her research has been focused on freshwater fish and communities related to fishery along the Irrawaddy River.

Phonevilay Soukhy

Phonevilay is a graduate of Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture & Forestry with a Bachelor degree in Environmental Science & Management. She joined CERS in August 2021. For the role of Program Manager, she keeps track progress on the programs, measure impact for the improvement.

Ladasone Phompunya

Ladasone joined CERS team in Laos, 2019. Lada is a native of Luang Namtha Province, one of the northernmost provinces of Lao PDR that borders China. She grew up in the village of Ban Tha Sae, deep inside the Namha National Protected Area. Lada began studying English while in high school at the Luang Namtha Teacher Training College, and continued her studies as she went on to get her degree in International Business Management at Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang. In addition to Lao and English, Lada also speaks Khmu, Thai and a bit of Sam Tao, an endangered language.

Headquarter Staff

Brenda Kan

Brenda works at CERS Hong Kong office. She is responsible for human resources matters, connecting with CERS remote staff in China and other locations, taking care of travel arrangements, translation, archiving CERS slides materials and other general office duties.

Natalie Lai

With a background in video productions and communications, Natalie records and makes films for our expeditions and projects. She also manages the CERS film archive.

Lor Shan

Lor Shan finished her undergraduate degree from the University of Hong Kong in 2024, and joined CERS afterwards. From an interdisciplinary background of environmental science and Buddhism, is interested in a wide range of topics.

Xavier Lee

Xavier has been making films for a number of years, of significance for Action Star Jackie Chan in recording his many off screen activities and charity functions. Xavier has been on a number of CERS expeditions as a filmmaker, both in China and in Myanmar.

Tracy Man

Tracy Man is CERS accountant and she is responsible for keeping control over financial records and all fiscal reports.

Berry Sin

Berry Sin is Logistics Director for CERS and has been working for the Society since 1997. She is in charge of all behind the scene preparations and implementation of expeditions and projects, as well as managing of travel itinerary of staff, guests and student interns. Berry also takes care of CERS home front from lectures, publications to supporter relationship, functions, events and annual dinners.

Astor Wong

Astor Wong

Astor Wong graduated with first-class honors BA in anthropology and Archaeology from Durham University. After graduation, she joined CERS as our Staff Anthropologist from 2018-2020, then pursued further studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2021, Astor graduated with Distinction in MSc Anthropology and Development Management and was awarded the 2021 Lucy Mair Prize for the best Anthropology and Development Management Dissertation.

Yida Lyu

Yida Lyu is a postgraduate from The University of HongKong. She joined CERS after her graduation in 2023 to assist in video shooting and editing work. She has a keen interest in the preservation and promotion of minority cultures, as well as a passion for writing, editing and video production.

Laos

Mr. Airkhun Khamvongxay

Mr Airkun has training in accounting, and he previously studied to be a teacher. He also worked as an assistant trekking guide for eco tours

Ladasone Phompunya

Ladasone joined CERS team in Laos, 2019. Lada is a native of Luang Namtha Province, one of the northernmost provinces of Lao PDR that borders

Chan Deang Souliya

Chan Deang Souliya studied business and English in college and worked for 6 years as a trekking guide. Perhaps his most important training, however, was

Myanmar

Ei Thantar Myint Sandra

Ei Thantar Myint Sandra received her undergraduate degree from Myanmar’s National Management College and her MBA from Assumption University in Thailand. She has worked for

Su Hlaing Myint

Su Hlaing Myint, CERS Field Biologist in Myanmar, took her Master’s degree at Mandalay University. Her research has been focused on freshwater fish and communities

Associates

Liu Hong

Liu Hong has been involved with CERS since the mid 1990s. Formerly a key member of our Hanging Coffin conservation team, now Liu focuses on caving activities in southern China. He also collaborates with a number of foreign caving groups, in particular those from the UK, France and Slovenia.

Aung Myo Chit

Aung is a biologist from Myanmar with many years of field experience in particular with fish, reptiles, birds, bats and large mammals, including dolphins and elephants. Aung has advanced degrees from UC Davis and James Cook University Australia, and is advising grad students of Yangon and Mandalay Universities.

Katia Buffetrille

Katia Buffetrille is an Antropologist, research fellow at the École pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne) in Paris. Her main interests are directed to the study of « popular » rituals, mainly pilgrimages around sacred mountains and rituals to local deities. She has written and edited several books and has published many articles.

Chu Hongjun, PhD

Chu Hongjun serves as Director of the Forestry Bureau of Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang. Chu has been associated with CERS since 2003. Earning his Ph.D. at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009, Chu Hongjun’s doctoral dissertation concerns a comprehensive study of the Mongolian Wild Ass. Chu Hongjun has collaborated with CERS on the research and conservation of the Asiatic Beaver, Argali Big Horn Sheep, and Ibex of Northern Xinjiang.

Chris Dickinson

Chris is founder of Wildlife Asia, with emphasis on filming wildlife and conservation films. A UK national with over 20 years industry experience, he is based in Singapore and travels throughout the region on assignments for such companies as CNN, Discovery and National Geographic. Chris has made several documentary films for CERS and continues to contribute to our film archive.

Cathy Hilborn Feng

Cathy has been CERS newsletter editor since the first issue was published in 1997. She is originally from Canada but has made Hong Kong her home for over 16 years. Formerly an editor for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Cathy is now the English editor of the Hong Kong government’s news website, news.gov.hk. She is also Chairwoman of the SPCA (HK).

Gen Wei

Gen is an expert in diving and has done many inland lake dives within China. In many cases, he performed such duties as a government expert in underwater retrieval efforts. He has helped relocate crashed and submerged airplanes under the lakes of Yunnan, and is often involved in CERS expeditions.

Lau Pok-chi

Lau retired in 2013 as professor of photography at the University of Kansas School of Fine Arts. His teaching career spans three decades at the university with his photographic work and exhibitions focused on many overseas Chinese communities. He joins CERS as Associate beginning December 2013 and collaborates with us on documenting Chinese communities in Myanmar and other Southeast Asian locations.

Luo Sang Choma

Choma is Tibetan and has been associated with CERS since 2004 when the Society launched the Yak Cheese Experimental Project. She is now proprietor of the Yak Cheese Factory in Longdu near Shangri-la and continues to work closely with CERS, including hosting guests of the Society who travel to the area.

Ranee May

Ranee May, retired University of Wisconsin – River Falls faculty associates in the Animal and Food Science Dept. specializing in Dairy Foods. She has taught farmstead and artisanal cheese making for over 30 years. In conjunction with CERS, Ranee pioneered the CERS Experimental Yak Cheese Project which is now in full production as a social enterprise in Shangri-la China.  

Song Haokun

Song is a long-term research associate with CERS specializing in rural economics. He is also a researcher of the Institute of Geography at Yunnan University. Song has written many reports on behalf of CERS and has traveled  with the organization to remote villages for data collecting.

Martin Ruzek

Martin was former NASA scientist and Jet Propulsion Lab researcher. He has been involved with CERS since its inception in 1986 in assisting in all our remote sensing and earth science system needs. Martin was crucial in helping CERS define all three river sources, the Yangtze, Mekong and Yellow River.

Wang Chi Hong

Wang Chih Hong is from Taiwan and has been involved with CERS in field expeditions since 1990. Wang is Editor in Chief of Taiwan’s Rhythms Magazine and often publishes his work with CERS. He further hosts a TV program with the Dai Ai Cable Channel and has collaborated with CERS a number of times in presenting the Society’s work.

Prof. Yu Shuenn-Der

Prof. Yu is a Research Fellow of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He acquired his PhD in Anthropology from the University of California at Davis in 1995 and have since conducted his field research and publications on Taiwan and China’s Tibetan region. His focus is economic and history in anthropology. He is a frequent visitor at our Zhongdian Center.