Research Areas for Potential Graduate Students in Agricultural & Biological Engineering

Applying particle technology concepts to the handling and processing of grain, food, feed, and other particulate materials. Research areas include powder flow; particle, powder characterization; agglomeration; dust explosion; modeling and simulation.
Hydrology and water resources engineering. Using observations to support open-access, process-based model development; quantifying water cycle alteration through human intervention across multiple scales, climate regimes and ecosystems.
Data generation, flow, and use in decision making Digital agriculture primarily with machinery, cropping, and livestock applications including computation, connectivity, and communication. Open source work through
Surface Materials Science - Exploring and exploiting physical and chemical factors governing particulate interactions to relationships between surface-structure and process-performance of food and pharmaceutical powders and composites
Innovatory for Cells and Neural Machines (ICAN) straddles the domains of digital agriculture (IoT & scalable databases) and computational biology (ML for genomics & cell engineering), both of which use applied machine learning, scalable databases and cloud/edge computing.
Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering. Integration of field based observations, remote sensing products and, hydrology and crop models into a digital ecosystem that can be used to enhance sustainability in the face of environmental change.
Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science Center leader, developing global programs to ensure sustainable access to medicines in Africa and advance discovery in manufacturing technology, quality of medicines, and rare disease research.
Numerical methods and CFD simulation of flows n applications with heat transfer, turbulent gas-liquid flows, sprays and liquid atomization, and mixing. Modeling cavitation in fluid power systems.
Biomaterials, Regenerative Engineering and Drug Delivery. Rational design of cell-instructive polymeric biomaterials and development of bioengineered systems for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration and controlled delivery of therapeutics.
Information Systems Soil and Water Resource Engineering. Hydrologic/water quality model development and application at field to watershed scales, groundwater modeling, environmental decision support systems, GIS, simulation.
Bioseparations to recover valuable co-products from underutilized biological resources and the design of the recovery processes to assess potential economic feasibility of a given co-product.
Machine Systems and Automation: Agricultural Machine Design and Logistics. Precision Agriculture Technologies Evaluation and Application. Automated Systems Design and Modeling.
Agricultural Safety & Health, Rural Rehabilitation, and AgroSecurity. Focusing on loss prevention in the workplace.
Soil Erosion Mechanics, Prediction, and Control. Soil detachment, sediment transport, and sediment deposition processes. Process-based soil erosion modeling (WEPP model). Soil amendments for erosion control. Water quality monitoring and modeling. (USDA-ARS)
Watershed management in agricultural watersheds. Conservation drainage and climate change adaptation for water quality and resilient agricultural landscapes, Conservation practice effectiveness; watershed modeling for improved community decision-making.
Water Resources and Ecohydrologic Engineering: integrated (hydrologic, water quality, statistical) modeling; climate, land use/land management impacts; data-driven approaches for water resources decision making and management..
Transportation planning Economics and modeling, transportation energy and sustainability, agricultural transportation and logistics; highway safety, transportation electrification. (Civil Engineering)
Grain post-harvest handling & storage, powder technology and logistics with focus on post-harvest operations, storage and feedstock characterization for grains, oilseeds, bioprocessing coproducts and lignocellulosic biomass.
Plant phenotyping sensors systems development, along with machine vision, electronics, statistics, machine learning automation and robotics and their applications in plant phenotyping activities.
Bioseparations & Mass Transfer: liquid chromatography, membrane separations, microfluidics, injectable biologics. Pathogen Detection. Biocatalysis: enzymes, cellulose pretreatment, fermentation, process engineering.
Design of intelligent machines and systems. Agricultural robotics. Autonomous and drive-by-wire technologies for vehicles. Sustainable technologies for developing countries. Modeling, simulation, and control of dynamic systems. Fluid power.
Ecological Restoration and Biogeochemistry Water quality in agricultural and urban watersheds; social-ecological systems; field monitoring, lab experiments, and computer modeling to develop environmental solutions and restore ecosystem functions.
Bioprocess engineering for transforming carbohydrates (starch and cellulose) and lipids (vegetable oils) to biofuels and value-added chemicals. Development of novel catalysts, reaction engineering, reactor design, and process integration.
Colloidal and Interfacial Phenomena. Pore formation by antimicrobial peptides in lipid bilayers, molecular dynamics simulation of protein conformation, oxidative stability in food emulsions, pasting behavior of starch.
Waste Management, Treatment, and Utilization : Anaerobic digestion of agricultural and industrial wastes; animal environment and welfare; air pollution monitoring and modeling; and data acquisition software and sensor development.
Optimization of food, pharmaceutical and bio processes using experimental and computer-aided research. Measurement of rheological, transport and kinetic properties, Design of biological fermentation, extrusion, dehydration and separation systems,
Biosensors. Lab-on-a-chip MEMS devices for cell sensing. Biomimetic sensors for environmental monitoring Bio-nanotechnology. Bioregenerative Life Support. Nutrient delivery systems for use in microgravity.
Agricultural Informatics: human-centered design, information modeling, and software engineering for increased resilience in food and agricultural systems. Digital Ag applications in field and cove crops, specialty crops, livestock, and food systems.
Biomaterials. Materials to measure, control, and mimic living cells. Biosensors. Nano/micro biosensors for cell physiology.  Applications in cell transplantation, bioreactors, implantable devices.
Scalable nanomaterials for medical and agricultural applications. Controlled drug delivery in humans, plants, and animals. Plant bionanotechnology, translational nanomedicine, soft material science, process scale-up, pathogen targeting.
Applied data science for enzymology. We develop computational models for enzyme reaction chemistry to make experimentally testable predictions for addressing manufacturing challenges associated with complex synthetic molecules that are important to the society (e.g., pharmaceutical agents, agrochemicals, and food flavoring).
Precision/Digital Agriculture- Remote sensing and Internet of Things (IoT) for managing plants/animals, development of spatio-temporal/machine learning models for site specific plant management, and decision support tools for natural resources management.
Sustainable Systems Modeling: Systems Modeling, Sustainability in Industrial-Natural Coupled Systems (SINCS), Urban Sustainability, Complex Systems Models, Integrated Nitrogen Modeling, Biodiversity Loss, and Chemical Pollutants.
Design of Specialized Machines and Systems for Agriculture: Precision Livestock Instrumentation & Nano-Climate Control; Fresh Water Access for Developing Areas; BioEnergy & Energy Systems; Off-Road Equipment Design; Social Implications of Engineered Systems; Equity in STEM Education.
Bioprocessing, Bioproducts. Biofuels processing/separation, chemical synthesis/modification of biomaterials, synthesis of DNA-protein bioconjugates, bioproducts development.
Systems Biology. Interdisciplinary research: mechanisms of development and regulation of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins. Finite-element modeling of biological systems. Quantitative image analysis, microscopy, and data-driven modeling.
Fluid Power Systems. Design, modeling and testing of new concepts for Hydraulic Systems and Components, with focus on improving controllability and efficiency of fluid power machines in off-road, aerospace, industrial, and automotive applications.
Engineering microbiomes.Field-deployable paper-based microfluidic biosensors for animal health and human health, in vitro models for studying host-microbiome interactions, ecological rules of life, soft materials and devices.
Subsurface hydrology, water quality, tile drainage, preferential flow, water isotopes, field and watershed monitoring.