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Agroenvironmental Information Systems Community

Members of the Agroenvironmental Information Systems community couple advanced technology, large datasets (big data), and high-performance computing to provide information for growers and stakeholders to address current and emerging global agricultural and landscaping needs. Our community expertise spans many disciplines including cyberbiosecurity, bioinformatics, geospatial information systems (GIS), high-throughput phenotyping, remote sensing, image analysis, and environmental, climate, and forecast modeling.  Additionally, our community holds systems-level expertise in plant and environmental science disciplines and couples these with non-traditional agricultural fields of study (computational sciences, engineering, and climatology) both within the university and through global collaboration. Faculty, staff, and students in this community serve as a central hub in the connected network of smart farming with automated detection and alert technologies for efficient and sustainable plant production.

Agroenvironmental Information Systems Community Members


Supporting Research Faculty, Postdoctoral Associates and Staff

Ruslan, Research Manager
Ruslan coordinates experimental aspects of our soybean root rot disease and seed composition projects with lab and field personnel. Coordination of experimental material transfer and data processing of the root rot disease project with various collaborators on-campus and at Iowa and Ohio State Universities. Ruslan participates in the design of field experiments and in planting and harvesting and supervise DNA extraction/genotyping in the lab and DNA preparation for genotyping at the USDA/ARS Beltsville laboratory.

Amanda Bly, 
Amanda assists in the lab, greenhouse, and fieldwork.

Robert Burgholzer, 
Robert works on database and web development.

Elizabeth, Research Associate 
Elizabeth coordinates activities in the field for planting, maintenance of soybean plants and harvest and coordinate greenhouse research when necessary for projects.  Elizabeth also performs various molecular research activities in the lab located in Latham Hall.     

Pat Donovan,, Laboratory Specialist Senior
Pat provides geospatial support to SPES faculty and graduate students on research projects including mine land reclamation, crop yield improvement, biofuel land suitability, UAS imagery analyses and acid sulfate soil mapping.Pat creates and manages GIS data for the College in support of nutrient management planning on CALS Montgomery county farms and Virginia’s ARECs.

Morgan Gannon, 
Morgan is an OMAL student, working on leaf wetness model development.

Mikako Gomyo, 
Mikako is an intern from the Ministry of Taxation in Japan, studying vineyard and lab operations.

Hope Gruszewski,, Laboratory Specialist Senior
Hope’s work specializes in growing plants in controlled research environments, as well as supporting field campaigns in environmental conditions. Hope’s current projects involve plant disease dispersal studies, plant tissue culture, pollen dispersal, and algal bloom sampling.

Regina Hanlon,, Research Associate
Regina studies ice-nucleating microbes in the atmosphere and track the movement of hazardous agents in the water.  Regina participates in training and mentoring students in research experiences for undergraduates (REU).  

Kevin Hensler,, Research Associate
Regina studies ice-nucleating microbes in the atmosphere and track the movement of hazardous agents in the water.  Regina participates in training and mentoring students in research experiences for undergraduates (REU).  

Nathaniel Lawton,, Research Specialist Senior
Nathaniel manages the field work for the state official variety tests for corn, wheat and barley. Also, Nathaniel assists with the research projects of Dr. Thomason and his graduate students.

Jungkwan Lee
Jungkwan is an associate professor from Dong-A University in South Korea on sabbatical, working on a spore detection project.

Haijie Liu,, Labratory Specialist Senior,  Haijie contributes to several research projects in Dr. Vinatzer's and Dr. Wang's labs in environmental and plant microbiology and genomics and plant virology using her wide range of skills in molecular biology, genetics, and bioinformatics.

Akiko Mangan, 
Akiko assists with the lab, greenhouse, and fieldwork.

Diana McHenry, 
Diana supervises several labs and assists with our molecular-based research topics.

Niki McMaster,, Research Associate,  Niki manages the mycotoxin testing in the Schmale Lab at Virginia Tech in cooperation with the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.  Conducting the high throughput testing of samples from numerous research groups from across the country. The primary focus of the analysis is the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol and uses GC/MS quantitative methods.        

Abdullah Nahiyan, 
Abdullah is a GRA, MS student, working on biological control of grapevine crown gall.

Akiko Nita, 
Akiko assists with the lab, greenhouse, and fieldwork.

So Yon Park,, Senior Research Associate
So Yon conducts experiments on the characterization of parasitic plant interactions with their hosts. So Yon works on understanding host defense response to parasitism and discovering how parasitic plants manipulate their hosts.

Elizabeth, Research Associate, Elizabeth coordinates the Official Variety Trials in Virginia for barley, wheat, corn and corn silage.  In addition, Elizabeth assists the Extension Grain Crops Specialist with his programs and research.

Diana Scopio, 
Diana is an OMAL student, working on leaf wetness model development.

Athena Tilley,, Research Associate
Athena is manager of the SPES Soil & Water Quality Analysis labs in Smyth and Latham. This cluster of labs supports a wide range of faculty programs in soils, agriculture and water quality research.