Plant Sciences Research Interests

  • Clint Beiermann

    Forages & Weeds

    Dr. Clint Beiermann, Assistant Professor of Forage Crop Production & Weed Management, conducts research focused on improving productivity and resilience of forage crop production systems. Research interests include: agronomic management factors that influence crop weed competition, the impacts of weeds on forage production and quality, and weed management practices in forage production.

  • Kelsey Brock

    Invasive Plants

    Dr. Kelsey Brock, Assistant Professor, works to solve problems caused by invasive plants, especially in rangelands and natural areas in Wyoming. She uses both empirical and predictive methods to understand multi-species invasions in the context of global changes, including biodiversity loss, climate change, and increased introductions via economic expansion. Research findings are then applied at the local-landscape scale (where weed control groups usually operate) by developing an invasion informatics toolkit — an interdisciplinary endeavor borrowing aspects from the fields of data science, geography, taxonomy and weed science to facilitate early detections and help prioritize management decisions.

  • Ji-Jhong "JJ" Chen

    Environmental Horticulture

    Dr. JJ Chen, Assistant Professor, will focus on research relating to environmental plant physiology, nursery production, and horticultural technologies to optimize the efficiency and sustainability of green industries in the state of Wyoming. Specifically, his research program will study 1) precision irrigation using alternative water sources, 2) landscape plant selection, and 3) sustainable fertilizer management. In addition, he evaluates the application of sensors and other technologies that can assist greenhouse and field management, such as NDVI sensors, smart controllers, and satellite imagery. He also investigates the bio-physical mechanisms responsible for plant abiotic stress tolerance in the greenhouse and field. 

  • Donna Harris

    Plant Breeding

    Dr. Donna Harris, Assistant Professor, will focus her research in the area of plant breeding and genetics working on several relevant crops to Wyoming with a focus on the current and potential needs of both the producer and consumer.


  • Jim Heitholt

    Crop Physiology

    Dr. Jim Heitholt, Professor of Crop Physiology, expects to compare genotypes of dry bean and other crops for tolerance to water stress. Heitholt plans on conducting greenhouse studies where water availability can be closely controlled as well as field studies where fully irrigated crops are compared to crops receiving only 75% of full irrigation. Heitholt intends to work with breeders to establish segregating populations of dry bean and to measure agronomic traits and physiological variables that might improve selection efficiency as opposed to selection based on yield alone.


  • Randa Jabbour

    Sustainable Agriculture

    Dr. Randa Jabbour, Associate Professor, conducts research with the overall goal to utilize ecological interactions to design sustainable agricultural systems. Specifically, she studies 1) pest management in cropping systems, 2) the effect of biodiversity and habitat heterogeneity on ecosystem services, and 3) the role of farmer decision-making in agricultural management, in collaboration with social scientists.


  • Andrew Kniss

    Weed Management

    Dr. Andrew Kniss, Professor, leads a research program focusing on diverse aspects of weed management in crops. Current research themes include non-target impacts of weed management, weed seed bank ecology, crop-weed interactions, and herbicide-resistant weed management. Recent and ongoing research projects include: the effect of shade avoidance responses on sugarbeet and dry edible bean growth and development; development of a herbicide-resistant weed risk assessment tool; seed-bank ecology and management, especially of kochia (Bassia scoparia); the impact of crop rotation and tillage on herbicide-resistant weed evolution; improving weed management in sugarbeet; and impact of cover crops on dry edible bean.


  • Brian Mealor

    Invasive Weeds

    Dr. Brian Mealor, Professor and Director of the Sheridan Research & Extension Center, leads an extension, research and teaching program focused on: 1) investigating long-term impacts of non-native invasive weeds on native plant communities, 2) developing and improving management strategies to reduce the ecological and economic impacts of invasive weeds, and 3) actively restoring rangelands that have been degraded by invasive species. His work is done primarily in extensively-managed rangelands of the western United States. Current programmatic endeavors include: the Western Land Management Practicum (a collaborative, service-learning course with UW, Sheridan College, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, and Texas A&M University Kingsville), NEW Native Plants – selecting and developing native plant materials for the Powder River Basin, and the Northeast Wyoming Invasive Grasses Working Group – multi-partner, landscape-scale working group for strategic management of medusahead and ventenata in Wyoming.


  • Urszula Norton


    Dr. Urszula Norton, Professor of Agroecology, conducts research in the areas of both basic and applied science, concentrating on questions formed to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic or chronic disturbances on ecological underpinnings of ecosystem resiliency and sustainability. I am interested in agroecological principles governing sustainable food production in time of diminishing natural resources and environmental change and the short and long-term consequences of climate variability on ecosystems services.