Dr. Deborah Neher, Professor and Chair, Department of Plant and Soil Science
Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, 1990
M.S., Plant Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1986
B.S., Environmental Science, Summa cum laude, McPherson College, 1984
I am a soil ecologist with research interests in developing biological indicators for environmental monitoring of agricultural, forest, and wetland soils. I view nature as a model and am a question-driven researcher using population and community ecology approaches. I have more recently studied compost and have been engaged in regional assessment of the quality control, food safety, environmental impacts, user perception and marketing of diverting food scraps from landfills. I partner with Jason Parker, Meredith Niles and Eric Roy to develop transdisciplinary grant proposals on this topic. The initiative was initially funded by the Northeastern Experiment Station Directors Planning Grant NE1502.
Dr. Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Post-doctorate Fellow in Sustainability Science, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, 2014-2015
Ph.D., Ecology, University of California at Davis, 2014
B.A., Politics with honors in Environmental Studies, The Catholic University of America, 2005
My work lies at the intersection of food systems and the environment from the perspective of behaviors, people and policy. I utilize multiple approaches in my research including global scale-modelling, incorporation of remote sensing data, quantitative surveys, focus groups and interviews. I believe through this mixed methods approach my work is more comprehensive by incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data.
Dr. Eric Roy, Assistant Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources
Voss Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute at Brown University for Environment & Society, 2014-2015
Ph.D., Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, Minor in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Louisiana State University, 2013
M.S., Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2008
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Old Dominion University, 2006
Nutrient cycling is the common thread that ties together my different research interests. My students and I quantify the forms, biogeochemical transformations, and fluxes of essential nutrients for life on Earth, aiming to: (1) clarify important processes that underpin ecosystem function, (2) identify opportunities for beneficial intervention, and (3) design systems that achieve nutrient management objectives. This includes analyzing soils, sediments, plants, water, and wastes in “natural”, engineered, urban, and agricultural ecosystems. We also use material flow analysis, modeling, and GIS to study nutrient dynamics at larger spatial scales. Increasingly, we are focused on developing and evaluating strategies for nutrient recovery and recycling to support a circular economy.