Zachary M. Easton, PhD -Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering CV

My research addresses both native and managed systems, considers processes at plot- to large river basin-scales, and is relatively evenly divided among field study/monitoring, modeling, and application of results to real world problems. Current projects focus on several areas, such as: 1) How do land use and climate (change) impact water quality? Work here focuses on characterization of the relationships between land use distributions, climate and patterns of nutrient and water flows in the landscape. 2) How do agricultural and urban management practices affect water quality? This work integrated plot and field scale research with basin scale modeling to assess the impact of best management practices on water quantity and quality. One of the roles has been to develop and test basin scale hydrologic models designed to provide accurate estimates of both water quality and quantity. 3) What processes control the fate and transport of nutrients and sediment? Recent work has focused on assessing influence of anaerobic conditions on denitrification in a denitrifying bioreactor designed to treat diffuse ground water nitrate.  4) Developing data access and sharing protocols that facilitate seamless and  transparent data transfer between disparate data source. We develop tools and code that provide researchers from multiple domains with the data they need to complete their research. 5) Can we bridge basic research and modeling to management and application? For instance, results from past research efforts are currently being used to drive policy decisions on nutrient management in both agricultural and urban systems.

Dan Fuka, PhD – Senior Research Scientist – Department of Biological Systems Engineering CV

I am a research scientist and engineer with professional experience in complex problem solving and high performance computing. I recently transitioned from the commercial Research & Development world into academia, earning a PhD in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. My doctoral work focused on different aspects of hydrological modeling, including ways of incorporating more process-based approaches into existing agricultural management models. My previous commercial research and development activities involved, among other things, weather forecasting, primarily for energy companies in the throughout United States.


Jeremy Hanson, Research Scientist, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Co-located at the Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis MD

Graduate Students

Elyce Buell – PhD Candidate in Biological Systems Engineering

My research interests include mathematical modeling of water movement including snow melt, sediment and nutrient transport. My previous experience was as a consulting engineer and I enjoy the freedom to answer the questions I want to answer that academia has to offer.


Roja Kaveh – PhD  Candidate in Biological Systems Engineering

My research interests include field to basin-scale hydrological modeling . In particular, developing new tools to help watershed modelers working in low data environments . I am currently working with different weather data sources from ground, reanalysis, and satellite-based estimates to investigate to develop and asses methodologies for predicting watershed hydrological responses. I am also interested in using emerging technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensors in precision agriculture.

Sabrina Mehzabin – PhD Student in Biological Systems Engineering

Binyam Afsaw – PhD Student in Biological Systems Engineering

Undergraduate Research Assistants

William Auchincloss – Undergraduate in Biological Systems Engineering

Louise Koepele – Undergraduate in Biological Systems Engineering


Parth Modi, MS 2021, PhD Candidate University Colorado Boulder current

Moges Wagena, PhD 2018, PostDoc 2019-2020, Consulting Engineer Current

Emily Bock,  MS 2014, PhD 2017, PostDoc 2018-2019, Civil Engineer USDA NRCS current

Andrew Sommerlot, 2017 -PhD, Research Scientist USEPA Chesapeake Bay Program current

Brady Coleman, MS 2017, Engineer Arcadis current

Russell Umstead, MS 2016 – Engineer Afton Scientific current

Martin Davis, MS 2016 – Research Scientist MyAgro, Senegal current

James Wade, MS 2015 – Engineer Straughan Environmental current

Nick Smith, MS 2013 – Calculus Professor College of William and Mary current

Justin Haber – Undergraduate in Biological Systems Engineering

Casey Shrading – Undergraduate in Biological Systems Engineering

Colby Dechiara – Undergraduate in Biological Systems Engineering