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Marshall McDaniel  |  google scholar 

Associate Professor in Soil-Plant Interactions | Agronomy Department at Iowa State University


The fearless leader, and mischeif maker.


Hobbies:  My spare time is spent playing guitar and bass, mtn biking, playing board games (and card games). 

Lab Manager
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Reid Barker

Research Scientist

Curious about water quality, soil health/conservation, and habitat conservation.

Hobbies: hunting, fishing, gardening, and cooking.

Professional & Scientific Staff

Tim Youngquist

Agricultural Specialist


Curious about water quality, perennial crops, finding space for wildlife habitat within agricultural systems


Hobbies: native plant propagation, ecological restoration, old house preservation, chickens, time with my family


Matt Woods

Agricultural Specialist


Curious about everything agronomy.


Hobbies:  music, sports, and outdoor activities.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Jared Flater    |   twitter

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D. in Agriculture Biosystems Engineering from ISU in 2020

Curious about healthy soil microbiomes, belowground systems, improving agriculture through soil biology. 


Hobbies: running (esp. long distance), hiking and camping with wife and dog, conservation/naturalism


Cole Dutter

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D. in Soil Science and Sustainable Agriculture from ISU 2022


Curious about cropping systems, soil health, farming externalities and sustainable agriculture.


Hobbies: beekeeping, backpacking, cycling, gardening and reading


Toby Adjuik   |   google scholar    |   twitter

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D. in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering from U. of Kentucky 2022


Curious about  soil greenhouse fluxes, process-based and machine learning modeling, and soil amendments.


Hobbies:cooking, listening to podcasts, soccer, and working out

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Ala Khaleel   |   google scholar    |   twitter

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D. Student in Soil Science and Environmental Science


Curious about soil health and water quality, deep soil organic C, and C & N cycling related enzymes. 


Hobbies: reading, camping, hiking, birdwatching, basketball, cooking, music, piano, time with my family.   


Ashani Thilakarathne  

Postdoctoral Researcher


Curious about sustainable agriculture, water quality, soil health, cover crops and N2O emissions.


Hobbies: reading, dancing, cooking and traveling with family.



Hyeonji Song   

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ph.D. in Soil Science

Curious about soil C & N dynamics in climate change, soil and plant interactions in different cropping systems.

Hobbies: travelling, playing drum, something historical, listening to music.

Graduate Students

Malcolm St Cyr   |   twitter

M.S. in Soil Science


Curious about soil formation and fertility, and using combination to manage soil-plant interactions.


Hobbies: discovering historical figures/places by reading or traveling, watching movies/documentaries,             listening to music, and having conversations.


Jessica Nelson

Ph.D. Student in Soil Science & Sustainable Agriculture


Curious about the plant-microbe-soil interactions, building resiliency, and producing more balanced food.


Hobbies: gardening, traveling, hiking, training, healthy food, crystal collecting, and spending time with animals.  


Ally Larson

M.S. in Agronomy

Curious about cover crops and the relationship between soil health and sustainable agriculture systems.

Hobbies: reading, spending time with family and friends, and anything outdoors.


Max Eness

M.S. in Soil Science

Curious about the relationship between yield and sustainability, ag-based climate solutions and how plants influence their own environment. 


Hobbies: games of all sorts, fencing, wood working and all things history.  


Mila Victorio Pessotto

Ph.D. in Agronomy

Curious about sustainable production systems, cover crops, soil fertility and soil health


Hobbies: reading, barbecuing, and spending time with family and friends  

Undergraduate Students

Sage Coffman

B.S. in Environmental Science


Curious about soil health, water quality, conservation practices, and social issues in agriculture.


Hobbies: fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and farming.


Estelle Venable 

B.S. in Agronomy


Curious about the way in which soil microbes are affected after wildfire.


Hobbies: camping, hiking, & spending time with my cat, Mung Bean!


Sokhna Khadija Mbacke

B.S. in Agronomy

Curious about plant production and management practices for soil preservation. 


Hobbies: working out and cooking.

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Sydney Pottebaum

B.S. in Independent Studies

Curious about water quality, sustainability, and the relationship between soil and climate change.


Hobbies: running, swing dancing, and puzzles/games

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Rebekah Veldboom

B.S. in Environmental Science

Curious about about land and water use, prairie conservation, and biodiversity in soils and plant communities


Hobbies: outdoor adventures, reading, listening to music, piano, and tennis


Marisol Argueta-Hernandez

B.S. in Horticulture

Curious about sustainability and plant and floral recreation.

Hobbies: crafting, movie nights, and singing.


Grace Wetterling

B.S. in Microbiology

Curious about plant, soil, and microbe interactions, the effects of cover cropping, and the future of our soils.

Hobbies: baking, cooking, reading, and puzzles.

...this could be you

We are frequently looking for new people to join the lab.  Please contact us for details.

Lab Alumni

Zach Simpson (Postdoc 2021-2022) - now at USDA-ARS in Ft. Collins, CO
Kate Glanville (Postdoc 2020-2021) - now at NRCS in Salina, Kansas
Britt Moore (Postdoc 2020-2021) - now faculty at University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Morgan Davis (Postdoc 2018-2020) 
- now faculty at University of Missouri
Mriganka De (Postdoc 2017-2020) - now faculty at Minnesota State University
Michael Lawrinenko (Postdoc 2017) - now at EPA in Ada, OK
Reid Barker (M.S. in Soil Science and Environmental Science 2023) - Dr. Matt Helmer's Lab at ISU
Wes Kramer (M.S. in Agronomy) - now at Syngenta in Slater, IA
Christar Kin (B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering 2022, MBA 2023) - now at The Foth Companies in Des Moines, IA

Stephen Potter (M.S. 2019, Lab Manager) - now at Soil Water Outcome Fund in Ankeney, IA
Valeria Cano Camacho (M.S. 2022) - now at Practical Farmers of Iowa in Ames, IA

Derrick Kapayou (M.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and M.A. in Anthropology 2022) - now Ph.D. Student at ISU
Emma Molburg (M.S. in Soil Science 2022) - now at NRCS in Galesburg, IL
Tomás Sitzmann (M.S. in Soil Science 2020) - now Ph.D. Student at Grignani & Zavattaro Labs at University of Turin
Teresa Middleton (M.S. in Soil Science 2019) - now at Iowa Soybean Association
Jacob Studt (M.S. in Soil Science 2019) - now in Heaton Lab at University of Illinois
Rebecca Baldwin-Kordick (M.S. in Soil Science 2018) - now at Mad Agriculture
Casey Luke 
(B.S. in Agronomy 2022) - now M.S. in Geospatial Lab for Soil Informatics (Miller Lab) at ISU Agronomy
Allee Koestner (B.S. in Agronomy 2022) - now at Advanced Agrilytics
Jean Etnyre (B.S. in Environmental Science 2021) - now graduate student at Arizona State University
Terry West (B.S. in Agronomy 2021) - now in Omaha, NE

Haley Wilson (B.S. in Agronomy 2021) - now at the National Resource Conservation Service
Perla Carmenate (B.S. in Agronomy 2020) - now graduate student at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Jack Pieper (B.S. in Agronomy 2020) - now graduate student at Oregon State University
Justin Hunter (B.S. in Agronomy 2020) - now graduate student in 
Davis Lab at University of Missouri
Carrie Dodd (B.S. in Animal Ecology 2020) - now technician at University of Texas A&M
Theresa Brehm (B.S. in Agronomy 2020) - now graduate student in Culman Lab at Ohio State University
Mitchell Roush (B.S. in Agronomy  2017) - now graduate student with Dr. Andrew Manu

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Soil-Plant Interactions in the McDaniel Lab

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