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South Centers

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences



The Ohio State University Internal Collaborations:

  • College of Food, Agriculture & Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food, Agriculture, and Biological Engineering
  • School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • OSU Campus USDA-ARS Drainage and Hydrology
  • Ohio State University Extension
  • Department of Entomology
  • Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodesic Engineering

National University Collaborations:

  • Dr. Humberto Blanco - University of Missouri

  • Dr. Srinivasa Rao Mentreddy & Dr. Shambhu Katel - Alabama A & M University Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Science

  • Dr. Parwinder Grewal - University of Tennessee- Entomology and Plath Pathology Dept.

  • Prof. Tefere Tsageye- Kentukey State University Dean of facualty of Agriculture

External Collaborations:

  • Abbe Copple - Pike Soil & Water Conservation District

  • Dave Brandt - President of Ohio No-Till Farmers Association

  • Aaron Lemaster - Jackson County No-Till Farmer

International Collaborations:

  • Ataturk University, Erzurum, Turkey
  • Ukurova Agricultural Research Institute Adana, Turkey
  • Unviersity College of Agriculture, Uos, Sargodha, Pakistan
  • Bahauddin Zakariya University of Pakistan, Multan, Pakistan
  • PMS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Indian Institute of Soil Science (ICAR) Bhopal, MP - India
  • Punjab Agricultural University of India
  • Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Visiting Scholars of OSU South Centers:  Soil & BioEnergy

Over the years, the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program at the Ohio State University South Centers has developed widespread research and educational collaboration with different countries in the world.


Heba Said Ali El Desouky El Abd is working on her Ph.D. thesis work entitled “Plants Response to Nano- and Chelated Nutrients” under the supervision of Professor Hosny Mohamed Abd-El Daym, Plant Physiology, Botany Dept., Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt (principal supervisor) and Rafiq Islam, Program Director, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources at The Ohio State University South Centers, Ohio, USA (host supervisor). Her research work focuses on using iron-based nanotechnology (nanofertilizer) on the physiological processes, growth and yield of greenhouse grown tomato and cucumber production, compared with conventional and chelated Fe fertilizers. So far, she has generated tremendously high quality data to observe that precision technology such as Nanotechnology is far superior to the conventional systems to modify the plant root, stem, and leaf cell structures to improve water and nutrient uptake by plants and consequently, increase plant growth and economic yields.


Emily Archer is currently a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her undergraduate degree in environmental engineering in the Department of Water Resources Management at Central State University (CSU) in 2022. Emily ArcherEmily was an integral undergraduate student researcher in the aquaponics research conducted at CSU. The research was funded by the USDA NIFA through its 1890 Land grant Capacity Building program to CSU with The Ohio State University serving as a joint partner.   
She says that collaborating with an Ohio State University master's student was one of the most rewarding moments of the project. In addition to working in the greenhouse and lab for over two years, Emily also presented her research at conferences. 
In 2021, she presented at the Technological Advances in Science, Medicine, and Engineering Conferences (TASME) and the Association of 1890 Research Directors Research Symposium (ARD) in 2022. Emily received second and first place awards at these conferences for her work on investigating the role of water quality in sustainable production of fish and vegetables using aquaponics. 
As an international student (from The Bahamas), Emily believes the sky is the limit. Her passion for the field of environmental engineering continues to grow, and she hopes to make positive impacts on communities in need.

Gai Zhjia (Peter) is a short-term visiting scientist from the Chinese Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Jiamusi Branch who is working on sustainable agricultural management practices to improve soil health for economic crop production with enhanced ecosystem services. Peter is the second intern to come to the OSU South Centers for a two-month training period from the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences– Jiamusi Branch.

Dr. Natalia Didenko is a Norman Borlaug short-term post-doctoral visiting fellow from Ukraine. Currently, she is working as a Scientific Researcher, Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Kyiv, Ukraine. Her current research focuses on soil compaction, soil quality, and water management related to climate-smart agricultural practices. At Ohio State University, she is working on transferring science-based knowledge to adopt sustainable agricultural management practices in Ukraine. The sciencebased knowledge and research experience she is gaining in the U.S. will be directly applicable to her research interests in Ukrainian agriculture. She is one of the outstanding researchers selected to present her current research at the J-1 Exchange Research Exposition organized by the office of the OSU vice president for research. Recently, she attended the World Food Prize conference in Des Moines, IA.

Dr. Botir Haitov is a Fulbright post-doctoral research fellow from Uzbekistan. He is a senior researcher and associate professor in the Plant Science Dept., Tashkent State Agrarian University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Current agricultural production systems in Uzbekistan rely heavily on irrigation, excessive tillage, and limited crop rotation approaches which are not functionally efficient for agroecosystem services. Moreover, the threats of climate change are constantly increasing, and its impact on agricultural production in Uzbekistan has already started; therefore, it is crucial for us to start acting now. The goal of his Fulbright research fellowship is to study the long-term effects of continuous NT with multi-functional cover crops in a wheat-corn-soybean rotation for enhanced agroecosystem services including cover crops biomass nutrient contribution, soil bio-diversity, soil C sequestration, compaction alleviation, and soil health and farm productivity.

Emmanuel Amoakwah, a Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Soil Science, University of Cape Coast, Ghana is funded by the USDA-Borlaug LEAP program for a 10-month scholarship to complement his Ph.D. research work in Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources. This is his second time to visit and study at OSU South Centers. The first time, he came in 2013 as a USDA-Borlaug short-term scholar to learn more about newly developed lab and field research techniques. That work experience he acquired at the OSU South Centers persuaded him to enroll in the Ph.D. program at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. His Ph.D. research study is titled “Biochar Effects on Nutrient Recycling, Mitigation of Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Crop Productivity.” Specific objectives of his research are to: (1) Characterize physico-chemical characteristics of biochar, (2) Determine the effects of biochar greenhouse gas emissions, (3) Measure the effects of biochar on soil quality, and (4) Determine the effects of biochar on crop productivity. Some progress of his work is illustrated on this page.

visiting scholar from TurkeyDr. Yilmaz Bayhan, a Tubitak senior postdoctoral fellow from Turkey, joined the Soil, Water and BioEnergy program in July. He is a professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Namik Kemal University in Tekirdag, Turkey.  Dr. Yilmaz has performed research on conservation tillage systems and no-till machinery. His one-year fellowship program involves studying long-term continuous no-till and multi-functional cover crop systems to maximize agroecosystem services in Turkey. He will conduct research based on continuous no-till and cover crop field experiments in Ohio.

“Current agricultural production systems in Turkey rely heavily on traditional irrigation, excessive use of tillage and reactive chemicals, and a very limited crop rotation, which are responsible for degrading agroecosystem services,” Yilmaz said. He explained he will be studying the continuous no-till, both with and without multi-functional cover crops in the agronomic crop rotation experiments established OSU South Centers. The science-based knowledge and research experience he is gaining in the U.S. will be directly applicable to his research interests in Turkish agriculture. Dr. Yilmaz will transfer the knowledge and skills learned from this experience to adopt sustainable agricultural management practices in Turkey. He also hopes to develop new undergraduate and graduate courses focused on cover crops.

Borlaug visiting scholar from Burkina FasoDr. Alima Arzouma Bandaogo, a new USDA-FAS Borlaug visiting scholar from Burkina Faso in West Africa has recently joined our Soil, Water and, Bioenergy Resources Program. Currently, she is employed at the National Institute of Environment and Agronomic Research as a senior Soil Scientist since 2014. Alima has focused her research on integrated soil fertility management because accelerated soil degradation is one of the major problems that is affecting smallholder farmers in Africa, including Burkina Faso. Agriculture in Burkina Faso is characterized by minimum investment, poor crop yields, and low farm income as the soils are poor quality with low soil organic matter and nutrient contents, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Almost 85% of the population in Burkina Faso is involved in agriculture for growing rice, corn, sorghum, and millet as staple food crops.

Alima received the highly competitive prestigious USDA-FAS Borlaug fellowship to work in the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program of The Ohio State University South Centers for her professional development under the mentorship of Dr. Rafiq Islam. Her training focus is to acquire science-based knowledge to address integrated soil fertility management practices for economic crop production in Burkina Faso under climate change effects. She is eager to learn more about new soil and crop analytical techniques, soil quality, cover crops and nutrient recycling, crop rotation and tillage systems, greenhouse gas emissions, field experiments, sampling procedures and multivariate statistics, manuscript and grant writing techniques.

lijun caiLijun Cai, a Research Associate in the Sustainable Agricultural Technology Institute of the Jiamusi Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China, visited the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program in late 2017. She has been working at the academy since 2014. Her field of research interests are: Sustainable agriculture; Cover crop; Conservation tillage; Soil health; and Semi-dwarf soybean breeding.

She was a short-term scholar studying recent developments in U.S. sustainable agricultural management practices, including the most recently developed analytical techniques. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. on Plant Nutrition at the Department of Land Resources and Environment of the Shenyang Agricultural University in Liaoning, China.

sergiy lavrenko visiting scholarDr. Sergiy Lavrenko, an assistant professor with the Department of Agriculture, Faculty of Agronomy at Kherson State Agricultural University in Kherson, Ukraine has completed his two-month fellowship in our Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program at The Ohio State University.

He came to South Centers as one of the visiting scholars sponsored by the Civilian Research Defense Foundation-Ohio State University US-Ukraine Competitive Research Program for his professional development to teach and conduct research and disseminate information on climate-smart agriculture.

During his two-month fellowship period at The Ohio State University, he played a significant role in our program’s teaching, research, and Extension activities. He was actively involved in lab and field research and learned several new techniques to collect, process, and analyze biological, chemical, and physical indicators of soil quality associated with enhanced ecosystem services under climate-smart agriculture.



Du Jiaxing Visiting ScholarDu Jiaxing (Jacky), was a new short term exchange scholar (2-months) from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) from the Heilongjiang (Jiamusi branch) that joined the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program at The Ohio State University South Centers.

Jacky is a researcher at the Sustainable Agriculture Research Institute of the CAAS-Jiamusi, having worked on no-till equipment since 2015. He is also a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. degree. Under the supervision of Dr. Rafiq Islam and Wayne Lewis, he will be working on no-till equipment, cover crop planting, and other features of climate-smart agriculture.


Katia Visiting ScholarKateryna Chorna, researcher in the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation under the Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv, was a short-term exchange scholar for a two-month period at The Ohio State University South Centers. In 2016, the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation and The Ohio State University signed a memorandum of understanding and are partnering together on a Civilian Research Defense Foundation (CRDF) project. CRDF Global, Ukrainian Ministry of Education, and The Ohio State University funded her fellowship under a grant program entitled “Impact of sustainable agricultural management practices on soil quality and crop productivity.” During her fellowship period, she was involved in applied research activities and Extension activities associated with climate-smart agriculture, as well as working with modern laboratory equipment and learning analytical techniques. She was also trained on writing peer-reviewed articles, grant proposal, factsheets, and news articles as part of her professional development.


Nurlan Visiting ScholarNurlan Kuldybayev, a PhD candidate from the Plant Protection Department of the Kazak National Agrarian University (Almaty, Kazakhstan), was recently a short-term visiting scholar with the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources program at The Ohio State University South Centers. His 8-week advanced training program ran from August 1 through September 30, 2019 for his professional development on soil health, soilborne disease and biocontrol, conservation tillage, cropping diversity with multifunctional cover crops, data management/visualization, and manuscript writing. Nurlan was actively involved in lab and field research, and learned new techniques to collect, process, and analyze soil, water, air, and plants associated with enhanced ecosystem services. He attended several professional meetings, workshops, and field days. His short-term training was supported by the American Councils for International Education (ACIE) under a grant project entitled ”Strengthening U.S. and Kazakh Scientific Capacity Through Joint-Institutional Agricultural Teaching, Research, and Outreach Development.”


Emmanuel Compaore Visiting ScholarDr. Emmanuel Compaore, Head of the Soil Chemistry Division of INERA, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, recently studied at The Ohio State University as a short-term visiting scholar for one month with the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program.

He is one of the leading soil scientists in Burkina Faso. His professional development training was focused on conservation agriculture related to long-term, no-till cropping diversity with cover crops and soil amendments with agroecosystem services.

Moreover, he received training on our sophisticated laboratory equipment and tools, and vast resources of computing, statistical, and library facilities to improve his data analysis and interpretation capability.

In return, we benefitted from his research experience and training, and cultural activities acquired in Burkina Faso.

Visiting scholar Riti Chatterjee

Riti Chatterjee, a PhD candidate at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Vishwavidyalaya in West Bengal, India, is working on conservation agriculture as one of the Senior Research Fellows at the Center for Advanced Agricultural Science and Technology, Indian Council of Agricultural Research-NAHEP, and World Bank-funded project. She is pursuing her doctoral research on estimation of ecological services in terms of energy, climate, and knowledge management: the dynamics of social ecology of conservation agriculture.

She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural sciences from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Vishwavidyalaya. In her MS degree program under the supervision of Professor S.K. Acharya, she focused on the health and ecological dynamics of farmwomen. Hers was named best master’s thesis jointly by Banaras Hindu University and RASSA. So far, she has published seven peer-reviewed research articles in national and international journals and co-authored book chapters.

As part of her on-going PhD program on conservation agriculture, she received the World Bank fellowship for a period of six months to pursue her Extension outreach research at The Ohio State University. Currently, she is working as a visiting scholar in the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program at The Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon under the supervision of Dr. Rafiq Islam.