Texas Tech University

Lab Members


Shital Poudyal

Dr. Shital Poudyal, Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr. Poudyal is a post-doctoral research associate in the Sustainable and Urban Horticulture lab in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on conserving fresh water quality and protecting the environment by using unconventional water sources for irrigation, reducing production inputs, remediating agrochemicals from runoff, and enhancing soil quality. He received his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University, where he evaluated physiological, morphological, and biochemical responses of various ornamental shrubs subjected to irrigation with unconventional water sources. 

His current research includes the use of biochar to reduce salinity stress, the effect of biochar in phytochemicals production of vegetable crops and the use of carbon-based bioreactors to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural return flow. He is also working in collaboration with various researchers on desalination related projects and developing hydroponics growing system for greenhouse crops at TTU. He, along with members from Simpson's lab, also aim to carry out work to improve the production sustainability of greenhouse and horticulture crops in the Texas High Plains Region. Apart from his research work, he also mentors graduate and undergraduate students, develops lectures for undergraduate courses, and volunteers in professional organizations. He is currently a member of the Graduate Student Activities Committee for the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS).


Alicia Thomas

Alicia Thomas, Ph.D. Student and Instructor

Alicia Thomas is an instructor of horticulture at Texas Tech University in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences teaching and coordinating the Principles of Horticulture and Herbaceous Plant Materials lectures and labs. Teaching is her passion and she strives to develop a love for plants in the many students who take her courses. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in the plant and soil sciences with a research study on horticultural therapy for military veterans. With the information that she gathers from this study, she hopes to construct a horticulture therapy garden for military veterans in Lubbock, TX.  Upon graduation, with her Ph.D. it is her dream to gain an assistant professorship and develop people-plant interactions and horticultural therapy courses.



Shivani Kathi, Ph.D. Student and TA

 Shivani Kathi is from Hyderabad, India. She pursued her Bachelor's in General Agriculture from P.J.T.S. Agricultural University, Rajendranagar. After that, she moved to United States, to further her education and explore more in-depth research opportunities. In 2018, she graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a master's degree in Plant and Soil Science. During her time as a graduate student, she did research on super-absorbent polymers which could be a way to improve plant growth during drought stress. Her research interests include reducing production costs and optimizing plant establishment through cultural and stress management practices and to evaluate the sustainable practices that are affordable and practical for the horticultural industry.



Abishkar in lab

Abishkar Regmi, M.S. Student


Abishkar Regmi is a MS student in Texas Tech working in the Urban and Sustainable Horticultural lab under Dr. Catherine Simpson. He completed his bachelor's degree in agricultural science from Campus of Live Sciences', Tribhuvan University, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Nepal. Currently he is working on multiple production systems factors to induce phytochemical content in ornamental plant production. His research interests focus on plant physiology, greenhouse production, hydroponic system, ornamental production along with spectrophotometric analyses. His goal is to work on different production systems and substrates that can alter the physiology of plants.

Jonah Trevino

Jonah Trevino, M.S. Student

Jonah Trevino is from La Feria, Texas. He studied at Texas A&M University Kingsville and obtained his undergraduate degree in Plant and Soil Science with an emphasis in Horticulture. In 2019 he started his master's degree at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on therapeutic horticulture, specifically the effects plants and nature have on students in a learning environment. He is set to continue his education with a Ph.D. here at Texas Tech after graduation. His research interests include therapeutic horticulture, horticultural therapy, community-supported agriculture, urban agriculture production, and sustainable practices. After completing his education, Jonah hopes to enter the horticultural therapy field, and eventually run his own therapy farm.



Emily Stamm, M.S. Student

Emily Stamm is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Plant and Soil Science. Emily earned a B.A. and an M.A. from Texas Tech in Mathematics. Before joining the Urban Horticulture and Sustainability Lab, Emily taught high school mathematics here in Lubbock. Emily's hobbies include knitting, sewing, painting, cuddling with her cats and dogs, and of course, gardening. Emily's research will be modeling chemical uptake in model plant systems  in hydroponic production.

Savannah Cognasi

Savannah Cognasi, M.S. Student

Savannah Cognasi is a MS student researcher evaluating selenium phytoremediation in hydroponic systems. She received a bachelor's degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Texas Tech in December 2020 and conducted undergraduate research on Mosquito vector control. Her goal is to demonstrate alternative water use in urban agriculture to conserve clean water reserves while nourishing local communities. In her free time, Savannah enjoys hiking, gardening, and volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.