Lab Members

Yanyu Deng


Yanyu is in his first year as a PhD student. He received his B.S. in Ecology from China Agricultural University and M.S. in Geography from Peking University. Currently, Yanyu’s research focuses on soil nitrogen dynamics under Climate-Smart Agriculture, and he’s interested in understanding and quantifying how climate-smart practices will regulate N cycling, thus finding better measures to make our life more sustainable under climate change. When not in the Research Mode, Yanyu enjoys listening/playing music, traveling, playing video games and cooking.

Josh Mirabella


Josh is in the first year of his Soil Science M.S. program. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2021 with a B.S. in Environmental, Soil, and Water Sciences. His current research involves assessing the impacts of dairy manure on soil nitrogen dynamics, encompassing N2O emissions, crop N use efficiency, and N leaching. Outside of academia, he enjoys cooking and baking, playing tennis, and reading.

Savannah Hass


Savannah is a fourth year PhD student at the University of California, Davis in the Soils and Biogeochemistry Graduate Group and is co-advised with Dr. William Horwath. She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry at Villanova University, where she also gained passion for sustainable agriculture. Her research focuses on compost effects on C and N cycling dynamics in both the soil and plants, specifically tomatoes and olives. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time with her fiancé and cats.


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Claire Hudson


Claire is a graduate of Tulane University with a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science. She is interested in farm runoff water quality, soil health, and improving nutrient management through agroecological practices. Currently based in Sacramento, CA, Claire is passionate about adapting water-limited agriculture to maintain food system stability in a changing climate.


Andrew Curtright


Andrew studies the microbial ecology of the soil, focusing on the myriad ways that soil carbon influences the nitrogen cycle. He seeks to unite biochemical mechanisms with ecological principles to explain microbial interactions in the soil. He developed these interests during his Ph.D. study at Michigan State University with Dr. Lisa Tiemann and currently pursues related questions as a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Zhu-Barker’s research group at UC Davis. Outside of the lab, Andrew enjoys cooking, eating, and running. He has strong opinions about Star Wars.


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Lab Alumni

Finnley Weigel