STRAIGHT FROM THE SCIENTISTS: Research Profiles

Nick LaBonte: Genetics with a Green Thumb

For LaBonte, caring for and cultivating plants is more than a hobby, degree, or career — it’s a way of life.

Making Waves: Kelsie Ferin Proves Renewable Energy and Clean Water Go Hand in Hand

When Ferin sits down to code, she has a million square miles of soil, water, and sky at her fingertips: from Iowa’s Corn Belt to the Mississippi River, and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico — the backdrop for her research on how bioenergy crops can help purify the nation’s water.

August Schetter: From Family Farm to University Fields

This M.S. Candidate in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois works alongside the people he read about as a kid.

Madhu Khanna: Finding the Right Combination of Energy Crops for the Economy — and the Environment

Khanna leads CABBI’s Sustainability theme, which is providing the environmental and economic perspective for developing efficient bioenergy crops.

Shuai Li: A Passion for Plant Physiology

Getting your hands dirty is at the top of a plant physiologist’s job description. Shuai Li knows this better than anyone, but his love for the research makes hard work well worth the while.

Joe Zimmerman: Working in a Field of Dreams

“A lot of my roots and specialties are in setting up field trials and being out in the field and collecting data and harvesting materials. That’s what I’m passionate about.”

Yoel Cortes-Peña: Finding Sustainability in Life & Lab

Master’s student’s definition of sustainability: “Thinking about the future, using resources wisely, and creating diverse possibilities.”

Arian Ghorbanpour: The Revolutionary Power of Green Chemistry

Postdoc emphasizes the importance of holistic sustainability, stressing that while biologically derived chemicals must be cutting-edge in terms of function, they must be financially competitive as well.

A Love for Nature: Caitlin Moore Uses Micrometeorology to Study Crops, Fields

Postdoc’s work with CABBI revolves around a set of flux towers at the University of Illinois Energy Farm and at a site in Florida, measuring how carbon dioxide and water are exchanged between plants and the atmosphere.

Jing-Jing Liu: A Genuine Love for the Laboratory

If you made a movie about Jing-Jing Liu’s life story, the University of Illinois’ IGB Lab 1200 would be the perfect backdrop for filming. Falling in love, pregnancies, and raising her children dance around the research, engineering, and innovations that mark her adult...

GETTING PERSONAL: Video Clips of our Scientists