See recent news and stories about important work happening in phosphorous sustainability and with the people involved in STEPS.

Contrasting Annual and Summer Phosphorus Export Using a Hybrid Bayesian Watershed Model

Kimia Karimi and Dan Obenour developed a hybrid watershed model using a Bayesian hierarchical framework to characterize nutrient source and retention rates during seasons noted for severe water quality issues in the North Carolina Piedmont region.

Learn More

Wastewater Effluents Impact PFAS Concentrations at Drinking Water Treatment Plants: Sucralose and Predicted De facto Wastewater Reuse Levels Correlate with PFAS Levels in Surface Waters

Join STEPS Co-Deputy Director Paul Westerhoff and EPA Early Career researchers for the Innovations in Environmental Science webinar series. The webinar will explore the high correlation between Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and Sucralose concentrations, as well as modeled DFR levels for river waters used to provide drinking water.

Learn More

Dr. Rada Chirkova Named 2022 Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Dr. Rada Chirkova joins 67 Distinguished Members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for her outstanding scientific contributions to computing that move the field forward. Each nominee must have 15 years of professional experience in the field of computing in addition to serving as a mentor and role model. Rada Chirkova has made significant technical contributions to foundational research in enabling the use of data and knowledge to accelerate data-driven decisions. Dr. Chirkova is part of the STEPS Convergence Informatics team.

Read More Here

STEPS and The Willow AGEP Alliance Discuss Conducting Research with Indigenous Communities

STEPS invited colleagues from The Willow AGEP Alliance to present: Conducting Research with Indigenous Communities. This panel discussion session offered advice and guidance on topics such as cultural humility, working with Tribal Colleges and Universities and Tribal Institutional Review Boards, how researchers can develop authentic and respectful relationships with Indigenous communities.

Learn More About The Willow AGEP Alliance

Updates to the MANAGE Database Facilitates Regional Analyses of Nutrient Runoff

Debabrata Sahoo details efforts to update the Measured Annual Nutrient loads from Agricultural Environments (MANAGE) database. For model evaluations, scientific analyses, policy and management decisions the data repository is available in the USDA Ag Data Commons. MANAGE was developed originally in 2006 to summarize nitrogen and phosphorus runoff data from agricultural land use.

Learn More

Contributions of Healthier Diets and Agricultural Productivity Toward Sustainability and Climate Goals in the United States

Research Theme 3 Co-lead Justin Baker and Ph.D. student Chris Wade explore the indirect reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through seven scenarios of varying U.S. crop yields and healthier diets in both the United State and abroad. Results utilizing the US Fable Calculator and GLOBIOM suggest significant contributions can be achieved toward meeting U.S. long-term climate goals for land use sectors.

Learn More

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

Welcome REU!

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
Image of river flooding

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
Matt Scholz headshot

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
Image of river flooding

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

Jim Elser Inducted into the National Academy of Sciences

Congratulations to our very own Jim Elser on his induction into the National Academy of Sciences!

Read More
Professor Natalie Nelson presents her research

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

Jim Elser On His Induction Into the National Academy of Sciences

A reflection by Jim Elser on his path to this prestigious honor.

Jim Elser to be Inducted into the National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Jacob Jones, Director, Analytical Instrumentation Facility, with a graduate student at the Titan Microscope on Centennial Campus.

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 to connect and to learn more about the STEPS Center. @jacobljones #CRUphosphates

Find 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!

The Global Nitrogen-Phosphorus Imbalance

STEPS investigator and SPA Director Jim Elser continues to lead our understanding of the nitrogen-phosphorus imbalance.

Read the full article here

Join Us!

STEPS: A Convergence Research Center Speaker Seminar

Learn More

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
Jacob Jones in his research laboratory

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
Twitter logo

STEPS Launches New Twitter Account

STEPS is venturing into the world of social media with a new Twitter account. We invite you to engage with us!

Follow STEPS
Bullhorn icon

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 Assistant

Join the STEPS Team
Image of river flooding

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
Tidewater Research Station

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
Becca Muenich headshot

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
Image of Natalie Nelson

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
Aerial view of a landscape

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
Model of Phosphorus Uptake by Plants

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?
Phosphorus-binding protein selective adsorption of 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
Photo of Professor Ross Sozzani in front of greenhouse

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
Shelf of library books

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

Visit the Library
Photo of Jim Elser's book, "Phosphorus: Past and Future"

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
Graphic representing biosensors in the environment

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
Graphic demonstrating bias correction of climate model outputs influences watershed model nutrient load predictions

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
Professor Natalie Nelson presents her research

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
global phosphorus flows diagram

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
Farmer in front of field of corn

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?
Ross Sozzani headshot

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
Aerial photo of Caspian Sea

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
Paul Westehoff

Paul Westerhoff Honored with 2020 A.P. Black Research Award

STEPS researcher Paul Westerhoff received the 2020 A.P. Black Research Award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

Read More
Nelson with students

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
Dr. Christine Ogilvie Hendren

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
a seedling

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
picture of land and sky

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
Two trees with and without groundcover

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
Student in maize field

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