STEPS-PSI Convergence Hour
Our interdisciplinary team of researchers joined colleagues from the Plant Sciences Initiative on December 1, 2022 for the STEPS-PSI Convergence Hour. This event aimed to foster collaboration and build community. The event was paired with simultaneous in-person events at both the North Carolina State University and the Arizona State University locations. STEPS met with members of the Long, Sozzani, Greiger, and J. Jones research groups.Learn More About PSI
Why Phosphorus Matters for a Circular Bioeconomy
John Classen, Rebecca Muenich, Alison Deviney, and Raven McLaurin feature in ASABE's Resource magazine. They discuss the need to shift the focus from human wastewater to include more alternative sources of recoverable phosphorus including livestock manure and food waste. They further explore the challenges and need for behavioral shifts and technological improvements.Read More Here
The STEPS Center and Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance Celebrated P Week 2022
The event combined a two-day Phosphorus Forum event (November 1 and 2) with a two-day Sustainable Phosphorus Summit (November 3 and 4). Attendees networked and shared knowledge with diverse organizations and people to improve phosphorus sustainability all along the phosphorus value chain. The event was held jointly at the Sheraton in downtown Raleigh and the Plant Sciences Building on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus.
Jim Elser Joins Shane Mauss for the Here We Are Podcast
STEPS Knowledge Transfer Advisor Jim Elser joins comedian Shan Mauss to discuss phosphorus and its environmental impacts. Here We Are: Phosphorus and The Environment was recorded on September 28, 2022. It can be found in the Apple Podcast Library.Listen Here
Lily Kile Enters the Final Round of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition
STEPS Scholar Lily Kile is a finalist in the 8th Annual Three Minute Thesis contest. The final stage of the competition will be held on October 25, 2022. Let’s support Lily as she takes the stage in Hunt Library’s Duke Energy Hall later this month.Learn More Here
Mumtahina Riza Wins 2022 SRA Advanced Materials and Technologies Specialty Group (AMTSG) Student Merit Award
The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) has presented Mumtahina Riza the 2022 Advanced Materials & Technologies Specialty Group (AMTSG) Student Merit Award for her work on "Risk Screening of Phosphorus (P) Capturing Materials for Eutrophication Control: Environmental Impacts and Sustainable Management." Mumtahina Riza is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. She works with Khara Grieger within STEPS to evaluate potential environmental risks of emerging materials for nutrient management.Learn More About the Society for Risk Analysis
Arabel Long on P-recovery from Wastewater in Austria: Challenges, Potentials and Solutions from a Legislative and an Operative Viewpoint
The STEPS Center hosted a talk by speaker Arabel Long entitled "P-recovery from Wastewater in Austria: Challenges, Potentials and Solutions from a Legislative and an Operative Viewpoint" on September 29, 2022. Long is currently wrapping up her PhD dissertation while working to implement a plant at Wien Energie in Vienna that can recover phosphorus from sewage sludge ash.Read More
Yaroslava Yingling Named Distinguished Kobe Steel Professor
We are so pleased to announce that STEPS Theme 1 Co-Lead Dr. Yaroslava Yingling has been named a Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor by the Materials Science and Engineering Department of North Carolina State University. The Yingling Research Group’s focus is on the development of materials informatics, advanced computational models and novel multiscale molecular modeling approaches for investigations of properties and processes in composite, soft and biological materials.Read More Here
STEPS Hosts PSI Partners Breakfast
The STEPS Center in partnership with the Plant Science Initiative hosted the quarterly PSI Partners Breakfast in the Plant Sciences Building on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The event began with a brief overview of the 25 in 25 vision followed by introductions to our key areas of research. Stakeholders and industry representatives enjoyed a light breakfast as they mingled with STEPS members in an atmosphere conducive to creative collisions. Special thanks to Jacob Jones, Ross Sozzani, Doug Call, Jessica Deaver, Dan Obenour, Raven McLaurin, Natalie Nelson, Khara Grieger, Alison Deviney, and Maude Cuchiara.Learn More About PSI
Dr. Geneviève Metson on Planning Circularity for the Radically Different Food Futures We Need: Recycling P Through Biogas and Urban Agriculture in Sweden.
STEPS hosted a talk by Dr. Geneviève Metson entitled "Planning circularity for the radically different food futures we need: Recycling P through biogas and urban agriculture in Sweden" on September 1, 2022 during our learning seminar. Dr. Metson is an associate professor and docent at Linköping University, Sweden in the division of Environmental and Ecological Modeling. She uses both social and natural science methods to investigate how we can better manage phosphorus, and other resources, more sustainably across scales. She received her PhD from McGill University in Canada and has spent time working (in the field) in the US, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Malawi, and Vietnam.Learn More About Dr. Geneviève Metson
Smitom Borah talks with the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center on the Phosphorus World podcast!
STEPS grad student Smitom Borah was recently featured on a podcast on Internal phosphorus loading with Dr. Kenneth Wagner for the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. It is titled, "Lake eutrophication and the accomplice we have ignored so far". The podcast will be uploaded on the SECASC website later this summer.Listen Here
Review of Fate, Exposure, and Effects of Sunscreens in Aquatic Environments and Implications for Sunscreen Usage and Human Health.
STEPS Co-Deputy Director Paul Westerhoff and The National Academies invites you to register for this public release webinar on August 9, 2022 of a new report: "Review of Fate, Exposure, and Effects of Sunscreens in Aquatic Environments and Implications for Sunscreen Usage and Human Health". The report calls on the U.S. EPA to conduct an ecological risk assessment of UV filters to characterize possible risks to aquatic ecosystems and the species that live in them. The report contains information useful for such an assessment. It also describes the role of sunscreens in preventing skin cancer and what is known about how human health could be affected by potential changes in usage. The committee chairs will share key takeaways and respond to questions.Learn More
PSB Partners Breakfast Sep. 15th
Join us for the PSB Partners Breakfast September 15, 2022 in the Plant Sciences Building. This in-person event at the Plant Sciences Building is an opportunity to network and make connections with external partners (both industry and non-industry). It will be hosted by The STEPS Center in conjunction with the Plant Sciences Initiative.Learn About PSI
REU Showcase Live Presentations
REU Scholars and BAE researchers gathered in the Teaching & Visualization Lab to give presentations on our panoramic screen. Guests asked questions and were able to provide real time feedback through our QR code enabled digital link. Our presenters prepared informative works of art that surrounded our guests and provided striking visuals for those watching through our Zoom link.STEPS REU Opportunities
STEPS REU Showcase
The STEPS REU Showcase took place in the Plant Sciences Building on NCSU's Centennial Campus. Scholars, mentors, PIs, staff, and family viewed the students printed posters in Seminar Room 1322. Guests interacted with scholars on a one-to-one level and were able to ask questions. Our presenters include members of the P4 group.More About STEPS REU Opportunities
Scholars from Arizona State, Clemson, and North Carolina State University gathered together to finally meet in person and prepare for a jam packed three day symposium experience. Day one focuses on connection. Day two features two events. The REU Showcase Poster Presentation and the Teaching & Visualization Lab live 5 minute presentations.Learn More About STEPS REU Opportunities
REU Showcase 8/4/2022
Are you ready? We are! Join us for the REU Showcase in the Plant Sciences Building on Centennial Campus. The event runs from 10 AM to 1 PM.Learn More About STEPS REU Opportunities
Borrowed Gene Helps Maize Adapt to High Elevations, Cold Temperatures.
STEPS researchers Fausto Rodríguez-Zapata and Ruben Rellan-Alvarez in conjunction with NSF investigated the HPC1 gene in maize that modulates chemical process that contribute to flowering time. They learned more about variations in lipids called phospholipids and their role in adaptation to cold, low phosphorus, and the regulation of important processes.Learn More
Virtual Reality Lab Networking Event July 13th
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Scholars gathered at D. H. Hill Jr. Library on NCSU’s main campus to learn how virtual reality can augment research. Virtual reality technologies can be used to provide interactive models for the public or help researchers compile their results in collaborative spaces.The VR Studio at the D. H. Hill Jr. Library
Sustained Stoichiometric Imbalance and Its Ecological Consequences in a Large Oligotrophic Lake
Jim Elser in Sustained Stoichiometric Imbalance and Its Ecological Consequences in a Large Oligotrophic Lake reports on 38 years of nutrient dynamics for Flatbed Lake. The data collected highlights the importance of phosphorus and nitrogen levels in aquatic systems.Full Article Here
Unintended Nutrient Imbalance Induced By Wastewater Effluent Inputs to Receiving Water and Its Ecological Consequences
Jim Elser, Yindong Tong, and Xuejun Wang discuss why long-term strategies for domestic wastewater management should not only focus on the total reduction of nutrient discharge through narrow and targeted removal of specific external nutrient inputs but also consider their stoichiometric balances in receiving waters.Read the Full Text
Frontiers: Phosphorus Remediation Using Alginate/Glomalin Biobeads: Examining Structural Cohesivity, Nutrient Retention, and Reapplication Viability
STEPS Jango Bhadha explores solutions to the problem of excess nutrient loading from agriculture and urban runoff resulting in harmful algal blooms. Jango explored the use of biobeads constructed with phytoplankton as a possible medium for a cyclic (CHR) system to address the problem of eutrophication.Read More Here
REU Field Day: Tidewater Research Station
REU Scholars traveled to Plymouth NC to participate in field operations! They met researcher Luke Gatiboni on Wednesday 6/29/2022 on the first REU Field Day. Luke gave a hands-on education on the importance of phosphorus in agricultural soils. After a lecture and tour of the growing fields; students learned how to gather live plant samples. They also helped to gather soil samples and check the overall health of plants in the state’s longest running soil fertility experiment!Read More About the Tidewater Research Station
STEPS SLC and Scholars Networking Event
STEPS Undergraduates, Graduates, Postdocs, REU Students, and RET Scholars met together around a common table for pizza on June 23rd. Participants enjoyed the social setting, discussing research models, techniques, and current affairs. Participants: (Chris Wade, Darrell Harry, Nafisa Amin, Lauren Chandarana, Julianne Buggs, Vedika Shah, Jasmine Peace, Leslie Webb, Elizabeth Trubchaninov, Christopher Good, Brooklynn Blackwell, Nadia Chapple Jessica Deaver, Hezhou Ding, Julianna Nieuwsma, Smitom Borah, Ayden Ferrell, Jasmine Covington, Keyon Kemp)STEPS REU Opportunities
OPF Global: A Sustainable Direction for Phosphorus Will Lead to Better Food Production, Cleaner Waters, Healthier People and Greater Biodiversity.
Jim Elser and Matthew Scholz of STEPS worked with scientists involved in SPS, the P-RCN, and other international efforts to come to a consensus on phosphorus sustainability. The report includes the call to action for governments across the world to reduce global phosphorus pollution by 50% and increase phosphorus recycling by 50% by 2050.Full Report
REU Scholars Breakout Session: Game Lab Social
REU Scholars enjoyed a well earned social event in the Hunt Library on the North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus. The event was held in the Game Lab. The lab is not only the perfect place for students to destress it features a 19.68’ x 4.43’ Leyard LED touch-interactive display that can be split into multiple sections. The lab is often reserved for beta testing games, class instruction, workshops, and PhD defenses. It is open for gaming at all other times.Read More
Sherine Obare and the NNI Nano Matters Podcast Discuss Using Nanomaterials to Develop Highly Sensitive Senors
Sherine Obare joined the NNI to discuss using nanomaterials to develop highly sensitive sensors on the Nano Matters podcast.Listen Here
MSE REU Kick Off Event
Undergraduate scholars met on the Engineering Oval Lawn near Hunt Library at NC State on June 3, 2022 for a mixer with the Materials Science and Engineering Department of North Carolina State University. Scholars met with STEPS and MSE faculty as well as undergraduates in other summer research programs to form lasting connections and expand their scientific networks. The purpose of engaging undergraduate students through STEPS programs is to give students valuable lab experience. These students will go on to become our future leaders in phosphorus research.More About REU programs
Join STEPS at the PSI Building Celebration June 2, 2022
Join the staff and students in the Plant Sciences Initiative building in celebrating the official opening! Come meet your neighbors and learn how PSI will impact the world.Read More
James J. Elser on Ecological Stoichiometry and Nutrient Limitation.
James J. Elser on Ecological Stoichiometry theory and how carbon and nitrogen rich phytoplankton toxins are regulated by nutrient limitation and cellular Stoichiometry.Full Text
Join Matt Scholz and the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance for a Series on Managing Your P on the Farm
Webinar Series by the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance about managing phosphorus on farm land. Hosted by Matt Scholz of STEPS.Watch Here
Rebecca Muenich Answers: How Much Phosphorus Is Safe for Our Streams and Rivers?
Join Rebecca Muenich as she discusses the topic of phosphorus in waterways with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette on the Know the News podcast.Listen Here
Kimia Karimi Awarded First Place in the 2022 Geospatial Water Technology Conference Paper Competition
Kimia Karimi was awarded first-place in the 2022 Geospatial Water Technology Conference Paper Competition for her research on phosphorus watershed modeling. Kimia is a PhD candidate in the Center for Geospatial Analytics at NCSU. She is working with Dan Obenour in Theme 3.Award Details
Dr. Ross Sozzani Promoted to Full Professor
We are so excited to announce that Dr. Ross Sozzani is now a full time professor here at our department! The Sozzani lab aims to gain a coherent qualitative and quantitative understanding of stem cell maintenance at the systems-level. Be sure to follow along with her exciting research and check out her bio! Congratulations Dr Sozzani! We cannot wait to see what you have in store for North Carolina State University !Read Full Bio
Emerging Research Showcase
Join us at the STEPS Emerging Research Showcase! At this Emerging Research Showcase event, we’ll focus on the new NSF Science and Technology Center led by NC State: the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center. The STEPS Center is a convergence research community of diverse and leading scientists that addresses the complex challenges in phosphorus sustainability by integrating disciplinary contributions across the physical, life, social, and economic sciences. The STEPS vision is to facilitate a 25% reduction in human dependence on mined phosphates and a 25% reduction in losses of point and non-point sources of phosphorus to soils and water resources within 25 years, leading to enhanced resilience of food systems and reduced environmental damage.Register Now!
Researcher Rebecca Muenich Honored
Rebecca Muenich was presented with the Early Career Alumni Award by the University of Arkansas. "It was such a privilege to be given this by the first female Dean of Engineering Kim Needy."Read More
Director Jacob Jones provides his perspectives on sustainability and diversity from the CRU Phosphates meeting in Tampa, Florida.
A retrospective by Director Jacob Jones on his experience attending the CRU Phosphates 2022 Conference & Exhibition. He details the value of in person connections as well as the informative presentations of his fellow attendees.Read More
Celebrate Earth Day with STEPS
STEPS is reaching out to students and the public at NC State's Earth Fair today. April is Earth Month, so please take the opportunity to learn about ways to make our life on this planet more sustainable.Learn About the Fair
STEPS Director, Jacob Jones, Attends the CRU Phosphates Meeting
STEPS Director, Jacob Jones, is attending the CRU Phosphates meeting in Tampa the week of March 6, 2022. Contact him at email@example.com to connect and to learn more about the STEPS Center. @jacobljones #CRUphosphatesFind out more
Collaborator Sherine Obare shares her experience!
Sherine Obare discusses her successes at the intersection and convergence of nanotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, and agriculture.Podcast here
Our STEPS launch webinar is now live on YouTube!
This webinar describes the research portfolio of the newly launched STEPS Center for phosphorus sustainability. Lead researchers from the STEPS team describe the variety of research topics that will be pursued in the first year of the Center.Take a look!
STEPS Kick-off Meeting Held Nov. 15-16 at ASU.
The STEPS Kick-off meeting was held Nov. 15-16 at ASU. Participants from North Carolina State University's STEPS Program met with counterparts at the Arizona State University campus.Event Details
ASU Experts Address Efficiency, Sustainability of Agricultural Fertilizer with STEPS
The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center brings interdisciplinary experts to pursue its “25-in-25” vision as ASU experts address efficiency and sustainability of agricultural fertilizer.See The Announcement
STEPS Joins a Prestigious Class of NSF Science and Technology Centers
The newly awarded Center will use a convergence research approach to accelerate fundamental scientific discoveries and the development of novel and sustainable technologies and practices to control, recover, reuse and manage phosphorus.See The Announcement
New Job Opportunities in STEPS
STEPS is seeking highly qualified staff applicants for positions in the Center's headquarters at NC State: Diversity Coordinator, Business Officer, and Administrative AssistantJoin the STEPS Team
Accepting Abstracts for Phosphorus Chemistry Session at ACS Spring Meeting
STEPS team members have organized a session at the ACS Spring Meeting: Advancing Phosphorus Chemistry for Sensing, Removing, and Recovering Phosphorus. Abstracts for this session are due on October 11.Submit An Abstract
Phosphorus-Focused Session at American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
STEPS researchers have organized a session at the AGU Fall meeting entitled “Convergent research to manage human interactions with the phosphorus cycle” this December. Invited speakers include STEPS team member Luke Gatiboni and collaborator Elise Morrison.Register For The Meeting
Rebecca Muenich Receives Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award!
Rebecca Muenich, Assistant Professor in Arizona State's School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, received a 2021 ASU Faculty Women’s Association Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.More About Becca's Mentoring
Nelson Receives NSF CAREER Award
Natalie Nelson, Assistant Professor in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NC State, was recently awarded an NSF CAREER grant. Her research will focus on using sensor data to monitor water dynamics and better predict water quality after tidal flooding.More About Natalie's Award
Nutrient Optimization and Reducing Runoff
Jim Elser recently joined Dan Poston on Larta Institute's Deeper Dive podcast to discuss how innovation can play a key role in improved nutrient optimization and how nutrient efficiency and management can reduce nutrient runoff.Listen to the Podcast
Legacy Phosphorus Uptake by Plants Relies on Fertilization History
Luke Gatiboni and his team recently published work exploring how different phosphorus (P) fractions in soils contribute to plant uptake. They found that all soil P fractions can potentially provide plants with P depending on P fertilization history.How Do Plants Access Legacy Phosphorus?
Immobilized Phosphate-Binding Protein (PBP) Highly Selective for Phosphorus
Recent work from Brooke Mayer's group at Marquette demonstrated that phosphate-binding protein could selectively adsorb phosphorus even in solutions containing high concentrations of arsenate, which has a similar molecular structure.More about PBPs
Ross Sozzani Named Director of Plant Improvement Platform for Plant Sciences Initiative
Ross Sozzani, associate professor in NC State’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, is known for her work in plant development and stem cell regulation, and her research interest is at the interface of computational and biological sciences.Get to Know Ross
Shared Phosphorus Sustainability Library
The STEPS team is currently developing a public Zotero library that includes seminal works for the advancement of convergence science and phosphorus sustainability. The library-in-progress is available at the link below; we invite your contributions. Please send relevant citations to firstname.lastname@example.org.Visit the Library
Jim Elser's New Phosphorus Book Released
In "Phosphorus: Past and Future", world authorities on phosphorus sustainability Jim Elser and Phil Haygarth explain Phosphorus's involvement in biology, human health and nutrition, food production, ecosystem function, and environmental sustainability. The book provides an insider's take on this essential resource and why all of us need to wrestle with the wicked problems this element will cause, illuminate, or eliminate in years to come.Hear From the Authors
FEAST of Biosensors
Eric McLamore and colleagues recently published a review paper that focuses on innovations in food, environmental, agricultural, and related core sensing technology meta-domains.Find Out More
Bias Correction of Model Outputs Influences Nutrient Load Predictions
Recent work out of Rebecca Muenich's lab demonstrates the impact of bias correcting climate model output on watershed model nutrient load prediction. Bias correction was found to influence hydrological processes and historical and future nutrient load predictions.Learn More
Natalie Nelson Named NC State Faculty Scholar
NC State's University Faculty Scholars Program recognizes and rewards emerging academic leaders who demonstrate significant achievement. This year's cohort includes STEPS's Natalie Nelson. Dr. Nelson is an Assistant Professor of Data Analytics and Integrated Modeling in the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department. Research in Nelson's lab takes a data-intensive, management-focused, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of complex biological system dynamics.Learn More about the Scholars Program
Big Data's FRST Step in Environmental Stewardship
NC State Professor Deanna Osmond, who helped to initiate STEPS, led a multi-university team in creating the Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool (FRST). The primary goal of FRST is to increase soil testing transparency by promoting clear and consistent interpretations of fertilizer recommendations by providing the best possible science in order to enhance end-user adoption of nutrient management recommendations.Find Out More About FRST
Accessing Legacy Phosphorus in Soils
STEPS team members collaborated on a recent review paper that highlights the (1) current knowledge on the occurrence and bioaccessibility of phosphorus in soil, (2) legacy phosphorus transformations with fertilizer applications in relation to their potential bioaccessibility, and (3) approaches and challenges for accessing native soil phosphorus for crop production.Learn More about Legacy Phosphorus
More Transparency Recommended for Gene-Edited Crops
STEPS team member Dr. Khara Grieger recently published a policy forum paper with Dr. Jennifer Kuzma in the journal Science calling for a coalition of various stakeholders to work together to provide basic information about gene-edited crops to lift the veil on how plants or plant products are modified and the use of gene editing in food supplies.Why Is Transparency Needed?
STEPS Co-Director Ross Sozzani Awarded AccelNet Grant
This catalytic-level project (Accelerate Integration of Engineering and Agricultural Research using Artificial Intelligence, AI2EAR) will promote strategies to improve yield, reduce crop loss, decrease crop resource demands, and increase food nutrition.Find Out More
New "Phosphorus Science Now!" Video
Hear the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance's discussion with Dr. Rich McDowell of Lincoln University in New Zealand. They explored his 2020 Geosciences Data Journal paper "Global database of diffuse riverine nitrogen and phosphorus loads and yields".Follow the Discussion
Natalie Nelson named Early-Career Research Fellow of the National Academies' Gulf Research Program
Natalie Nelson, assistant professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department and principal investigator of the Biosystems Analytics Lab, is one of 20 fellowship recipients.Read More
Hendren named director of App State Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics
After a national search, Dr. Christine Ogilvie Hendren has been named director of Appalachian State University’s Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics (RIEEE).Read More
ASU and MCC team up with USDA research service to expand agriculture education
Mesa Community College and Arizona State University have partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Arid Lands Agricultural Research Center (ALARC) to create new opportunities for agriculture education in the Valley. The collaboration, a result of a three-year, $682,313 grant, created the urban-agriculture nexus project, a course of study between ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the MCC Sustainable Agriculture program.Read More
Call receives prestigious CAREER Award
Dr. Douglas Call received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. The overall goal of Call’s CAREER project is to protect human and environmental health by developing treatment technologies that more completely degrade toxic organic pollutants in a cost-effective manner. Call’s primary focus will be on degrading chlorinated solvents, a broad class of chemicals used in everyday products such as paints, pesticides, and cleaning solutions.Read More
Fabric Mulch Groundcovers Save Water
Water and nutrient management in Florida citrus is a challenging problem. A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) team is analyzing fabric mulch groundcovers for young lemon trees on a commercial scale. During the last year, the use of groundcovers has shown water savings of 50 percent when combined with soil moisture sensor irrigation scheduling.Read More
Álvarez's A-maize-ing Research
Rubén Rellán-Álvarez brings plenty of diverse thought, creativity and teaching to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry. Prior to joining CALS in January 2019, Álvarez started a lab in Mexico in 2015 at the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity.Learn More about Maize