Cameron M. Pittelkow – Adjunct Assistant Professor of Agronomy

Cameron was Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois from 2014-2019 before moving to the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis. He maintains Adjunct status at Illinois to complete his research projects and advise graduate students until completion of their degrees.

His research interests include sustainable intensification, international agriculture, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and integrated cropping system assessments addressing both agronomic and environmental goals of crop production. He received his BA in Environmental Biology from Colgate University, and his MS and PhD degrees from UC Davis in International Agricultural Development and Agronomy, respectively.





Kristin Greer
– Senior Research Specialist

Kristin has worked in the field of soil fertility and crop production for almost fifteen years. She is a University of Illinois graduate and holds a major leadership role in the lab, managing field research experiments and day-to-day lab operations in coordination with graduate students and other lab members to ensure that we are meeting our project goals in an efficient and timely manner. Outside of work she farms approximately 500 acres of corn and soybeans with her husband.








EmranShah-Al Emran – PhD student

Emran joined the lab in May 2016. His research focuses on climate-smart, sustainable cereal systems for Bangladesh. He is co-advised by Dr. Tim Krupnik at CIMMYT and Dr. Virender Kumar at IRRI. He previously worked as an Agricultural Development Officer at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in the Sustainable Intensification Program (SIP). His graduate work at UIUC is supported by the Lee Foundation Rice Research scholarship through IRRI. Emran’s research experience involves remote sensing using UAV and satellite technologies, nutrient management, and on-farm research and extension projects for cereal-based cropping systems. He is interested in life cycle assessment tools, crop modeling, climate change adaptation and mitigation, nutrient management and resource-conserving crop technologies. He holds a BS in Agriculture and MS in Agronomy from the Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) in Bangladesh.





Meng-chun photoMeng-Chun Tseng – PhD student

Meng-Chun joined the lab in August 2016. His research is focused on quantifying opportunities and tradeoffs related to the sustainable intensification of rice systems in Uruguay. He received his BS degree in Agronomy and MS degree in plant breeding, both from the National Taiwan University. Besides his academic training, Meng-Chun previously worked at the Taoyuan Agricultural Research and Extension Station in Taiwan, and with the Taiwan technical mission in Belize. Through his work he seeks to develop multidisciplinary approaches to enhance both the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems.







Niki _ reducedNicole Lee – PhD student

Nicole joined the lab in fall 2018 and is co-advised by Dr. Adam Davis. Her research interests include international agricultural development, sustainable cropping systems for smallholder farmers, and social and behavioral factors influencing the adoption of integrated weed management practices. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies, Horticulture, French, and Spanish from the University of Idaho and an MS degree in Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.








Giovani Preza Fontes – PhD student

Giovani started in the lab in May 2017. He is co-advised by Dr. Laura Christianson. He received his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil, and his M.S. in Agronomy from Kansas State University. His PhD research is focused on evaluating the agronomic and environmental impacts of cover crops and 4R nitrogen management on tile-drainage nitrate losses and soil nitrous oxide emissions in a continuous corn cropping system. His research site is the Dudley Smith farm near Pana, Illinois which aims to serve as a sustainable intensification research platform for corn production in Illinois. His areas of interest include soil fertility, precision agriculture, and crop and nutrient management practices applied to sustainable agriculture.







Marshal White

Marshal White – MS student

Marshal joined the lab in the Fall of 2018. He is conducting research in Peru with a focus on balancing agronomic and environmental goals in smallholder rice production systems. This project is a collaboration with CIAT and FLAR. Marshal has a B.S in Environmental Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. He has spent most of his career working in Swaziland, initially with NGOs on maize seed production for southern Africa, and then as a manager of a corporate high tunnel vegetable farm. Since moving to Illinois in 2017, he has worked as both a lab and agronomy technician.







Lab Alumni


Mingwei Yuan – Postdoctoral Research Associate

Mingwei joined the lab from 2016-2018 to evaluate agronomic practices which maintain high crop productivity while minimizing negative environmental impacts in Illinois cropping systems. Her research assessesed cover crop impacts on corn and soybean yields at the field-scale using UAVs, soil nitrous oxide emissions as influenced by tillage and residue management practices in long-term continuous corn, and phosphorus and potassium management based on previous Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council projects. She received her PhD in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include adaptive nutrient management, crop modeling in response to nutrient deficiency, agroecosystem modeling for decision support, and climate/land use changes effects on agricultural sustainability.

Mingwei is now a Data Scientist at Bayer Crop Science.





SaritaSara Riccetto – MS student

Sara was in the lab from 2016-2018. Her research focused on integrating geospatial agronomic and environmental indicators of agricultural systems at a regional scale. She obtained her BS in Agronomy from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay. She previously worked as a research assistant in the National Institute for Agricultural Research (Uruguay), evaluating water management impacts on water productivity and environmental issues in rice systems (GHG emissions and arsenic dynamics), as well as management options for improving productivity and water use efficiency in soybeans.

Sara is now a PhD student in Uruguay.








Kamaljit Banger – Postdoctoral Research Associate (2015-2017)

Kamaljit worked on a project monitoring and modeling soil N availability in corn-soybean production systems. This work was funded by the Nutrient Research and Education Council of Illinois. Through a combination of field experiments and modeling, he applied his expertise in soil science, carbon and nitrogen dynamics, and process-based modeling to help develop a decision support tool that provides location-specific, near-real time predictions of soil N availability and losses.

He is now a postdoc at the University of Guelph.






Rebecca Graham picRebecca Graham – MS student (2015-2017)

Rebecca’s research focused on soil nitrous oxide emissions in response to enhanced efficiency N fertilizer sources in Illinois corn production systems. She holds a BS in Soil Science from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. She previously conducted field research on soil GHG emissions as an intern with the Regional Approaches to Climate Change for Pacific Northwest Agriculture project at Oregon State University.

She is now a Soil Science Instructor at Cal Poly.








Juan Burjel – Research Assistant

Juan worked in the lab during 2016-2017. He holds a BS in Agronomy from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay. Before coming to the US he worked as a field agronomist and crop adviser for commercial producers in Uruguay. He assisted our research projects focused on sustainable nitrogen management in Illinois by helping with soil and greenhouse gas sampling and equipment operation. In his spare time he was in charge of UAV operations and GPS technical support for the lab.

Juan now runs his own farming and crop advising business in Uruguay.







Camila Martins – Visiting Scholar

Camila joined the lab during the 2017 growing season as a visiting scholar. She obtained her BS in Agronomy from Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil in 2014. She assisted with field research projects related to N losses and UAV remote sensing. In Brazil, Camila previously worked with precision agriculture, soil fertility, and nutrient management at farm scale.

Camila is now a graduate student at Iowa State University.








Ben with chamberBen Baechle – Research Assistant (2015-2016)

Ben’s academic background is in Molecular and Cellular Biology at UIUC. For several years following graduation, he conducted field research in the Department of Crop Sciences at the Energy Farm. Currently he assists with all aspects of our GHG work including gas and soil sampling, sample analysis, and design and operation of materials and equipment for trace gas analysis.








Joe EdwardsJoe Edwards – Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015-2016 (co-advised with Dr. Angela Kent and Dr. Wendy Yang)

In 2016, Joe was awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship sponsored by the UIUC Office of Undergraduate Research to pursue independent research on the impacts of biochar addition on soil nitrous oxide emissions and nitrogen cycling microbial communities. During the 2015 growing season, Joe assisted with various field research projects in the lab. He is a double major in Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences and Integrative Biology at UIUC. His areas of interest include sustainable agriculture, soil nitrous oxide emissions, and reducing the environmental impacts of crop production.







Dr. Xu ZhaoXu Zhao – Visiting Scholar (2015-2016)

Dr. Zhao is an Associate Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing, China and Vice Leader of the Changshu National Agroecosystem Observation and Research Station. His work in China focuses on mechanisms of N transformation and migration in cropland soils, particularly rice paddy ecosystems. As a visiting scholar, Dr. Zhao quantified the impacts of soil and nutrient management practices on nitrous oxide emissions and drainage nitrate losses to develop strategies for maximizing yields while minimizing environmental impacts in high-yielding corn cropping systems.






Alexandre Pedrinho in field2

Alexandre Pedrinho – Visiting Undergraduate Research Assistant (2015)

Alexandre worked in the lab as a visiting student through the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. He completed his Bachelors degree in Agronomy at Sao Paulo State University in Ilha Solteira-SP, Brazil. He is currently researching soil GHG emissions and microbial communities for his MS at CENA-University of São Paulo with Professor Siu Mui Tsai. His areas of interest include sustainable crop production, nutrient cycling, and soil GHG emissions.