Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

CALS Controlled Environment Agriculture Center donates 900 pounds of produce to Navajo Nation

Throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic, faculty within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have banded together to serve our local communities—from producing much-needed hand sanitizer for area healthcare workers to most recently donating 900 hundred pounds of fresh produce to Northern Arizona’s Navajo Nation. 

Invested in a Sustainable Path

Mark Jendrisak ’19 started to gravitate toward a career in waste or wastewater management while he was earning his bachelor’s degree.

“When I chose engineering, I realized we could integrate a solution into reducing or reusing wastes,” he says.

Jendrisak also began to think graduate school could be attainable. He applied for scholarships, obtained two jobs, and sought academic and career advice from advisers, instructors and fellow students. He set a goal to finish his master’s degree in biosystems engineering without accruing debt.

Lunar Lasers and Cosmic Crops: NASA Funds UArizona Space Exploration Missions

Many things change for astronauts when they leave Earth and head into space, but at least one remains the same: They need food and water. NASA recently awarded funding to two University of Arizona teams to search for water and grow food in space.

Led by researchers in the College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the missions focus on harvesting water from the lunar surface and improving techniques for microgravity crop production.

Growing Crops in Space

A Forest of Fungi: Detangling the Plant Mycobiome

Fungi are responsible for some of the world’s greatest advances, from penicillin and cancer treating drugs to pest control and food production. But while scientists estimate there are anywhere from 1.5 to 5.1 million species of fungi, the majority of these unknown species are hidden symbionts inside of plants. Thus, the true diversity, function, and potential applications of the fungal microbiome, or “mycobiome,” remains largely untapped.

UA Alum Banks on Indoor Agriculture

Brian Caplan worked in corporate banking on the East Coast for two years before deciding to make a life change. When he learned about UA’s master’s programs and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, he said “it all clicked for me.”

Caplan earned his Master’s degree in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 2018 and now works as an assistant grower at Gotham Greens’ 75,000 square-foot greenhouse near Chicago.

CALS Presents New Partnership with Universidad Autónoma Chapingo for Dual Degrees

This fall, CALS launched two new doctoral-level dual degree programs in partnership with the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, (Chapingo Autonomous University or UACh) in Texcoco, Mexico, near Mexico City. The programs will be offered through the department of Biosystems Engineering (at the College of Engineering) and the School of Natural Resources & the Environment in CALS. Students will earn doctoral degrees from both UACh and the UA.


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