Environmental Sciences

Faculty and Student Information


February 11, 2016 - Seminar: Restoring wetlands in forests, fields and urban areas
March 10, 2016 - Seminar:  Soil infiltration and wetness studies in Middle and West Tennessee
April 14, 2016 - Expert Panel:  Hot topics in Food, Agriculture and the Environment
May 12, 2016 - Seminar:  Urban forests and sustainable cities
June 9, 2016 - Seminar:  Insular ecosystems of the southeastern United States


  Research Interest Contact information
Clement Akumu
Clement Akumu
  • Applied remote sensing, GIS and GPS
  • Spatial analysis
  • Risk/Hazard modeling
  • Land cover/land use mapping and change detection
  • Landscape ecology, species distribution modeling
  • Climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation
202M Farrell-Westbrook Building
Reginald Archer
Reginald Archer
  • Urbanization and environmental change
  • Land use/land cover change analysis
  • Geographic information systems & science (GIS/GISc)
  • Remote sensing
  • Disaster recovery and risk analysis
  • Species distribution and modeling
  • GPS, surveying and mapping, cartography, geography
211D CARP Building
Tom Byl
Tom Byl
Dr. Byl's research interests are water quality and quantity, bioremediation of contamination, geomicrobiology, and geochemistry.  His research includes groundwater in caves, irrigation, surface springs, wetlands, lakes and rivers.  He is considered an expert groundwater bioremediation.  Dr. Byl is a research scientist with the US Geological Survey and has been stationed at TSU through a partnership agreement since 1996. 615-963-5540

Jason de Koff
Jason de Koff
Dr. de Koff's research focuses on bioenergy crop production.  He is currently working on identifying the harvest window for switchgrass for bioenergy based on quality characteristics.  He also works with winter canola and industrial oilseed crops to determine the best varieties for producing biodiesel in Tennessee.
203 Biotech Building

Sam DennisSam Dennis Dr. Dennis's research focuses on water resources and environmental applications of soils.  He is involved in surface water monitoring for pharmaceuticals and personal care products at the watershed scale.  He also works on field scale monitoring of greenhouse gases (N2O, CO2, CH4) and the determination of soil physico-chemical properties at the field scale.   207 CARP Building

Kudjo Dzantor
Kudjo Dzantor
  • Bioremediation/Phytoremediation
  • Coupling bio/phytoremediation to bioenergy feedstock production in degraded lands
  • Soil microbial community structural and functional diversity
  • Plant-microbe signaling and signal disruption by xenobiotic contaminants
202K/211 Farrell- Westbrook Building
Solomon Haile
Solomon Haile
  • Ecosystems service of agroforestry
  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • Bioenergy
  • Spatial analysis of ecosystems service
106A Lawson Hall
Jianwei Li
Jianwei Li
Dr. Li seeks to understand human accelerated environmental changes on cycles of carbon and nutrients in soils and terrestrial ecosystems.  Of particular interest is how climate changes alter soil biogeochemical processes, and the degree to which these changes feed back to long-term carbon sequestration and nutrients cycling.  Dr. Li concentrates on exploring mechanisms that regulate the cycling of carbon and nutrients in soils using field and laboratory observations as well as modeling approaches. 126/204G Farrell-Westbrook Building
Dharma Pitchay
Dharma Pitchay
Dr. Pitchay is a horticulturalist and plant nutritionist by training with more than 20 years of experience in crop production.  His research focuses on the physiology of plant nutrition, substrate formulation for container production, hydroponics, greenhouse production, soil fertility management and fruit, vegetable and flower production.  Dr. Pitchay is actively involved in research to increase the efficient use of fertilizers and increase the quality and yield of fruits and vegetables. 202M Farrell-Westbrook Building
Bharat Pokharel
Bharat Pokharel
Dr. Pokharel's research focuses on developing and testing models used as decision support tools for resource owners, resource managers and policy makers to promote sustainable forest resource management.  He does this using large arrays of data collected from controlled experimental designs, observational studies and remote sensing techniques like airborne laser and LiDAR. 105 Biotech Building
George Smith
George Smith
Dr. Smith's expertise is in environmental design and rural development with a focus on rural community and sustainable agriculture symbiosis.  Dr. Smith is currently conducts research on the impacts of urbanization on Williamson County, TN.  This project has allowed a team of researchers to provide environmental education opportunities to urbanizing counties addressing prevention and remediation solutions.  121 Farrell-Westbrook Building
Sudipta Rakshit
Sudipta Rakshit
  • Fate of emerging contaminants: pharmaceuticals and metalloids (antimony)
  • Fate of extracellular DNA/RNA in the environment
  • Redox biogeochemistry of humic substances
  • Environmental remediation
113/228 Ag Biotech

Bill Sutton
Bill Sutton
Dr. Sutton is a wildlife biologist by training but incorporates many themes of ecology into his research.  He works broadly on the impacts of anthropogenic (human-based) disturbances on wildlife populations, including land-use change, climate change, and wildlife pathogens.  His research tends to be primarily field-based, but he also incorporates laboratory-based research to better understand mechanisms of change impacting wildlife populations.  202G Farrell-Westbrook Building
Dr. De'Etra Young
De'Etra Young
Dr. Young's research explores the effects of urbanization on water quality.  She is currently looking at the effects of urbanization on wetlands.  Dr. Young is also exploring the positive associations between urban forest ecosystems and human health and wellness. 202 Biotech Building



Graduate Students

  Research interest Advisor
JeTara Brown
JeTara Brown
JeTara Brown was born and raised in Nashville, TN.  She earned her undergraduate degree in civil engineering at TSU and has interned with the Department of Energy and Department of the Navy.  At TSU, she has been doing research to understand the transport of contaminants in karst systems along with environmental management. Byl
Sherly Celada   Li
Shivam ChawlaShivam Chawla Shivam is originally from India and currently works on research related to the sustainable utilization of winter industrial oilseed crops in small farm production systems for biodiesel production. de Koff
Manisha DoluiManisha Dolui Manisha earned her undergraduate degree in Zoology and her post-graduate degree in environmental science from the University of Calcutta, India.  After graduation, she worked as a project assistant for the Global Change Program at Jadavpur University.  At TSU, she is working on a research project related to environmental remediation that is focused on adsorption of antibiotics by soil minerals. Rakshit
Jeronimo GomesJeronimo Gomes Jeronimo is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, but he has called the U.S. home for the last 6 years.  Jeronimo graduated from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a B.S. in Wildlife Science.  After graduation, he worked as a lead technician in the Southern Appalachian Silviculture and Biodiversity Study at Virginia Tech.  At TSU, Jeronimo will be developing a spatial distribution model for the eastern hellbender throughout Tennessee and will be using environmental DNA to help evaluate the species' status within the state.  Sutton
Man Kumari GiriMan Kumari Giri Man Kumari is originally from Nepal where she earned her undergraduate degree in forestry science at Tribhuvan University.  After graduation, she worked as a project field officer with Bird Conservation Nepal and as a field officer with Geonet Pvt Ltd.  At TSU, her research is focused on biomass modeling of Tennessee using forest inventory and analysis data and Landsat data. Pokharel
Wayman Ho
Wayman Ho
Wayman earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Boise State University.  After receiving his M.S. in environmental engineering, he worked for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for 3 years.  He is currently working on his Professional Science Masters in Applied GIS and performs research on water quality monitoring and transportation of groundwater contaminants. Byl
Siyang Jian Siyang performs research related to climate change and soil biogeochemistry.  He is currently working on a meta-analysis of the effects of nitrogen fertilization on soil extracellular enzyme activities and soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics. Li
Steven KennedySteven Kennedy Steven earned his M.S. in Agricultural Sciences at TSU and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. by continuing his research on blueberry production. Pitchay
Anand Kumar
Anand Kumar
Anand is originally from India where he earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture at Banaras Hindu University.  After graduation, he worked in natural resources management at TERI University.  At TSU, he is working on a research project that is focused on carbon sequestration in an agroforestry system. Haile
Mark OkaforMark Okafor Mark is originally from Nigeria and is working on research at TSU related to the effect of wetlands to remove pollutants from urban runoff. Young
Bryan SallmanBryan Sallman Bryan is a native of middle Tennessee and earned his bachelor's degrees at Birmingham-Southern College and MTSU.  At TSU, he is working on research related to tungstate (VI) sorption at the hematite-water interface to understand the effects of solution properties and competing anions. Rakshit
Edmund TettehEdmund Tetteh Edmund is originally from Ghana, West Africa where he has worked on diversity corn inbred lines using SSR primers.  At TSU, he is working on identifying differences in about 40 different varieties of winter canola to determine the best for production in Tennessee based on yield and oil and meal quality.  This information can be used to assist farmers in their decision to grow a winter crop to protect their soil and maximize their income. de Koff
Grija Vijayan
Grija Vijayan
Grija was born and raised in Johor, Malaysia and earned her B.S. in Zoology at the National University of Malaysia.  In 2014, she earned her M.S. in Agricultural Sciences at TSU.  As a Ph.D. student, Grija is focusing on the physiology of plant nutrition for food crops under hydroponic and greenhouse systems. Pitchay
Nicole WitzelNicole Witzel Nicole is originally from Minnesota and received her undergraduate degrees in Conservation and Field Biology and Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin, Steven's Point and University of Wisconsin, River Falls.  She has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Iowa State University.  At TSU, she is doing research on the spatial distribution of the streamside salamander using environmental DNA. Sutton
Brian WongBrian Wong   Smith