2022 Research Faculty and Staff

2022 Crop Physiology Lab
University of Illinois Department of Crop Sciences

Faculty, Staff, & Students

Frederick E. Below, Professor and Principal Investigator

Dr. Below is a Professor of Crop Physiology in the Department of Crop Sciences. His research is focused on understanding factors limiting crop productivity, particularly corn and soybean. He has taught introductory crop courses to undergraduates, as well as advanced courses to graduate students, and given numerous presentations at international and national conferences. He developed the “Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World” and the “Six Secrets of Soybean Success” as tools to teach farmers and agricultural professionals the value of their individual crop management decisions.

Juliann Seebauer, Principal Research Specialist

My research focus is on the physiological basis underlying the growth, development, and final quality of grain. I use multiple approaches to accomplish this goal, including in-vitro kernel and panicle culture, stem infusion, hydroponics, and field studies, while integrating regional weather patterns, agronomic management, and quantitative chemical analyses.

Email: jzzz@illinois.edu LinkedIn: Juliann Seebauer Twitter: @JuliSee1

Jared Fender, Senior Research Specialist and M.S. Student

As a senior research specialist for the laboratory, my main focus revolves around the equipment utilized in the CPL research program. As fertilizer application methods and placements are constantly being redesigned, our research-scale equipment needs to adapt to keep up with the shift to “industry standards”. Alongside the equipment, I am focusing on utilizing fertilizer catalysts such as Bacillus spp. to increase inorganic phosphorus availability throughout the growing season to improve corn yield and NUE, with an interest in a 4R approach to fertilizer sources, timings, and placement methods.

Connor Sible, Postdoc

I am interested in high yield corn and soybean production systems with a range of different approaches. Prior to starting a postdoc, my previous research focused on categorizing biological products and in understanding where, how, and why they work to improve fertilizer use efficiency and increase crop yields. My current research still touches these topics, but I have added a focus on crop residue management and genetic by management interactions.

Email: sible2@illinois.edu LinkedIn: Connor Sible Twitter: @ConnorSible

Logan Woodward, Ph.D. Student

I am interested in improving nutrient use efficiency and grain yields of row crops, predominately through the use of biostimulants. Many of these technologies are new to the market, and they belong to a vast array of product categories. It is vital to understand their modes of action and how these types of products can be used to improve agronomic sustainability. I am focused on understanding ways to maximize the efficacy of these biostimulant and biological technologies through synergies with other agronomic management factors.

Marcos Loman, Ph.D. Student

My research focuses on soil fertility, fertilizer technologies, and plant nutrition for improved corn and soybean yields. My primary interests are on the efficiency of fall or spring-applied fertilizer and how different fertilizer sources can affect nutrient availability and movement throughout the soil profile. Additional research projects of mine include the interactions of phosphorus fertilizers and lime for improved soil nutrient availability and organic phosphorus mineralization.

Samuel Leskanich, M.S. Student

My research interests are focused on the integration of new agronomic products like innovative fungicides and fertilizers into different management systems in corn and soybean production. These management systems include standard approaches with lower inputs and progressive systems with additional inputs in the attempt to maximize grain yields. As not all products are “one size fits all,” it is important to know in which system a new product may work best.

Darby Danzl, M.S. Student

I am interested in agricultural products or practices that are environmentally friendly, economically practical, and highly responsive in terms of crop growth and grain yield. My research focuses on the use of carbon amendments and their potential to increase soil health, nutrient use efficiency, and carbon sequestration in corn and soybean crop rotations. With a background in environmental economics, I understand that financial feasibility is crucial for implementation, which is why I am looking to simultaneously increase crop productivity while mitigating climate change impacts.

Visiting Scholars

Fabrício Geraldini, Brazil

My name is Fabrício Geraldini, I am here at the Crop Physiology Lab as a Visiting Research Scholar, since April 2022. I am from Campos de Holambra, southwestern São Paulo, and I have a degree in Agronomic Engineering from the Federal University of São Carlos – SP.  My areas of interest are soybean variety management, biological products, plant physiology and also management for high yields.  I am learning a lot about American agriculture and also learning in the field about my areas of interest from the great team I work with.  I am looking for a position with companies to work in sales or technical department in Brazil.

Fábio van de Groes Swart, Brazil

I am an undergraduate student in Agronomy at the University of São Paulo – “Luiz de Queiroz” College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. It has been a great opportunity being an intern at the Crop Physiology Laboratory. I am having the opportunity to learn about agriculture in America and also high yield management for corn and soybeans with great professionals. My research interests are in the study of corn hybrid and soybean variety management, biological products, and fungicides.