Past Lab Members

Annie Irshad

Annie Irshad
Research Specialist
airshad@clemson.edu

I got my Master’s degree in biotechnology in 2015 from Lahore College for Women University, Pakistan. Then, I joined Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China in 2016 and earned my Ph.D. degree in Grassland Agriculture in 2021. I have joined Clemson University in 2021 as a Research Specialist. My research interests are physiological and molecular responses of legume crops towards abiotic stresses. I have studied the effects of Rhizobium inoculation and exogenous melatonin application on enhancing the abiotic stress (salinity, heat, and cold) tolerance in legume species. I have also worked on plant tissue culture and transcriptomic based experiments under drought stress in legumes. My long-term goals are to excel in the field of plant physiology and molecular biology and explore physiological mechanisms linked with plant-microbe interaction and nutrients use efficiency.

Sajjad Raza

Sajjad Raza
Research Specialist
sraza@clemson.edu

I got my Ph.D. in plant nutrition in 2018 from Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China, and then continued working as a postdoc in the same lab for 2 years and three months. I then joined Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology as a Research Associate and worked there for 8 months. I have joined Clemson University in 2021 as a Research Specialist and will work with Dr. Farmaha. During my seven years of research, I have worked extensively on the biogeochemistry of nitrogen and carbon. My research interests are budgeting of nitrogen cycle, nitrogen use efficiency, and reactive nitrogen losses. Recently I have focused on nitrogen-induced soil acidification and its consequences on inorganic carbon losses. I have developed expertise in this field, demonstrated by 17 peer-reviewed publications (7 as first-author) and increasing citation rates (currently 523 citations in Google Scholar). My long-term goal is to emerge as a leader in the field of soil health and share my expertise and knowledge with farming community to facilitate better nutrient management and conservation of precious soil resource.

Udayakumar Sekaran

Udayakumar Sekaran
Research Specialist 1

I graduated with a Ph.D. in Soil Science in 2017 from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India, and then joined the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in December 2017 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and worked for 2 and half years. And then I joined Clemson University in June 2020 as a Research Specialist. I am always passionate about my work and I love what I do. I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do the best in my job. In my previous postdoc at SDSU, this passion led me to challenge myself daily and learn new skills that helped me to publish 12 international peer-reviewed publications. I always set goals constantly, so I have something to strive forward and I am always looking for an opportunity to learn new skills and achieve greatness. Currently, I am working with Dr. Farmaha and focused on conducting field plot research and learning a lot about extension activities. I wanted to explore and learn more about field plot research and other different research methods, data analysis and presentation techniques, and collaboration with various professionals like other scientists, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students made that possible. My hobbies and interest are traveling, photography, mentoring, playing volleyball, and swimming.

My long-term research goals are to study about: Microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, plant-microbe interactions, nitrogen and carbon cycling, soil fertility and nutrient management, and bioenergy crop production.

Mandeep Singh

Mandeep Singh
Ph.D. Student (Fall 2019- Present)
mandees@clemson.edu

I earned my master's in agronomy from Punjab Agricultural University, India. Then, I joined a Ph.D. in Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University in the fall of 2019. I completed my coursework at the main campus of Clemson University during the first semester and then, moved to Edisto Research and Education Center, Blackville, SC to pursue my research. Currently, I am working on a research project focused on quantifying the nitrogen and potassium credits of single and multi-species cover crops in a cotton-peanut cropping system. I am figuring my way to understand secrets lying in the skin of the earth. It provided me unique opportunity to diversify my work experience. I am loving to work and learn new skills from brilliant minds; colleagues, farm crew members, field technicians, and scientists. I enjoyed training high school students and summer interns during my research. My hobbies are reading books, following trailblazers in agriculture, and videography.

Research Interests: Soil fertility, Nutrient Management, and Crop Production.

Courtney Kittel standing outside on campus at Clemson University.

Courtney Kittel
Undergraduate Student
clkitte@clemson.edu

I am an undergraduate student from Dayton, Ohio. I am studying Biosystems Engineering at Clemson. As a UPIC intern I helped in the lab working to find the nutrient analysis from the plants and soil under different fertilization methods. I also was able to help take soil samples and do soil moisture readings. I rewired and modified griddles to create a hot plate for an Ammonium recovery method. I enjoyed my time at Edisto working under Dr. Farmaha. I enjoy hiking in my free time.

Adesuwa Sylvia Erhunmwunse smiling while doing research outside.

Adesuwa Sylvia Erhunmwunse
Master Student
aerhunm@g.clemson.edu

Adesuwa was a master’s student in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. When she was at Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha’s lab, she evaluated the potassium fertilizer recommendations for soybean in South Carolina. She holds a BSc degree in Microbiology from University of Benin, Nigeria and a MSc degree in Soil Science from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nigeria. Her research interests include soil fertility and health, soil microbial ecology, and sustainable agriculture.

Drake Gilliland running tests for research during internship.

Drake Gilliland
Undergraduate Researcher
dgillil@g.clemson.edu

Drake is an undergrad at Clemson University from Easley, SC majoring in Mathematical Sciences with an emphasis in Statistics. As a UPIC intern under Dr. Farmaha, his responsibilities included nitrogen testing on soils, fertilizer spreading in the field, and aggregate stability testing. While the internship was outside of his field of study, Drake used the opportunity to learn something new and improve both his work ethic in the field and his scientific knowledge in the lab.

Emma Simonis headshot outside with beautiful field in the background.

Emma Simonis
Undergraduate Researcher
esimoni@g.clemson.edu

Emma Simonis was a UPIC soil nutrient management intern for Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha in the summer of 2020. She was a senior at Clemson University working towards her bachelor's degree in environmental science with a focus in natural resource management. As a UPIC intern, she assisted Dr. Farmaha with organic carbon testing, wet and dry aggregate testing, and fertilizer application. Her primary projects were the reorganization of the soil field lab, processing of soil and plant samples, and creation of a soil science training manual.