View this newsletter in your browser

Department  of
Plant  and  Soil  Science



Welcome to the PSS Newsletter!

An old year has ended, a new semester has officially begun, and there is much PSS news to report! Faculty, students, and alums have been making headlines, the December graduates have earned our sincere congratulations (and well-wishes for their future endeavors), and Spring 2021 events are underway.

For ongoing coverage of department news and access to an archive of past Newsletters, check out the PSS Newsroom online.

Visit the Newsroom


Ellen Peffley honored by NMSU as distinguished alum

This past fall, Dr. Ellen Peffley Harp was honored by her alma mater New Mexico State University as a 2020 Outstanding Alumna of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. After graduating with three degrees from NMSU in 1985, Peffley went on to lead an enormously successful teaching and research career, including more than two decades with the TTU Department of Plant and Soil Science. She was presented with the award at the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences’ virtual homecoming event in October 2020.    READ MORE »

Montague's collaborative research grant featured by AgriLife Today

A state-wide collaborative research project helmed by Russ Wallace - professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Specialist - and PSS's Thayne Montague recently received a second Texas Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant. The project - “Increasing Texas Strawberry Profitability” - is the extension of an initial phase that has already produced real insights into improving crop production throughout varying regions across the state. The scope and benefits of the ambitious research - which is supported by contributors from AgriLife Extension, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University-Prairie View, and commercial growers - was highlighted in AgriLife Today.    READ MORE »

Beltwide Cotton Conferences and Southern Weed Science Society award-winners

PSS students had strong performances at the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences and Southern Weed Science Society annual meeting:

Beltwide Cotton Conferences    READ MORE »

- Delaney Foster - 1st Place in the MS Weed Oral Presentation

- Jessica Dotray - 1st Place in the Plant Disease Graduate Oral Presentation

- Irish Pabuayon - 3rd Place in the PhD Agronomy, Physiology, and Soil Fertility Poster Competition

- Joseph Burke - 1st Place in the PhD Agronomy, Physiology, and Soil Fertility Oral Competition (Burke is a PhD student at Texas A&M who graduated with his MS from Texas Tech. He works in Dr. Lewis’s joint program which encompasses TTU and TAMU research.)

Southern Weed Science Society meeting    READ MORE »

- Delaney Foster - 1st Place in a Master's Student Oral Paper Section

- Ubaldo Torres - 1st Place in a Master's Student Poster Section


Chuck West retires from PSS

At the end of December, after eight years with PSS, Chuck West retired from his post as Thornton Distinguished Chair. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in management, ecology, and research techniques of forage crops and leading research on reducing water consumption in productive pastureland, West served as director of the CASNR Water Center and provided leadership for the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation. Throughout his time at Tech, West has won several awards for research and teaching, including recently being named a 2020 CASNR Outstanding Researcher by the college and a 2020 Integrated Scholar by the Office of the Provost, a fitting summary to a career spent blurring the lines between research, outreach, and education to the betterment of the university and the community.    READ MORE »

Julia Shamshina joins the FBRI

The PSS and FBRI welcomed Julia Shamshina, Ph.D., to the faculty this January. Shamshina is a Research Assistant Professor in renewable biopolymers and bioproducts, and her research interests lie in the development of biopolymers for high-value industrial use and the eventual replacement of synthetic plastics.    READ MORE »

- Graduate and undergraduate students are invited to present their work at the annual PSS Student Research Symposium on April 5. Abstracts are due by Feb. 21.  See submission details »

- Presentations from the TAWC Annual Water College (held Jan. 20 and 21) are available to be viewed at any time on TAWC's YouTube Channel or from their website.   Read more »



Doctor of Philosophy, Plant and Soil Science

- Vikram Bradley Baliga, PhD

- Isaiah Catalino Manalo Pabuayon, PhD

Master of Science, Horticulture Science

- Jose L. Gradilla

Master of Science, Plant and Soil Science

- Kamalpreet Kaur Dhillon

- Mark Douglas Mayo

- Grace Flusche Ogden

- Ved Parkash

- Randy Lee Riddle

- Pradip Sapkota

- Manavi Singh

Bachelor of Science, Plant and Soil Science

- Kevin Frederick Albus

- Taylor Ben Daniel

- Bryanna Leigh Edwards

- Brenham Andrew Gordon

- Angela Brianne Hamilton, summa cum laude

- Eric Allen Howard, cum laude

- Macy Erin Long, magna cum laude

- Sam McCae Middleton

- Christian Kyle Peters

- Sarah Elizabeth Pounds

- Sam Nelson Stanley Seraphine

- Brianne Marie Swailes, summa cum laude

- Brooke Erin Walterscheid, magna cum laude

- Brady Welch

View the December 2020 CASNR Virtual Commencement »


- Adams, C. B., Ritchie, G. L., & Rajan, N. (2020). Cotton phenotyping and physiology monitoring with a proximal remote sensing system. Crop Science, doi:10.1002/csc2.20434

- Aragón-Raygoza, A., Vasco, A., Blilou, I., Herrera-Estrella, L., & Cruz-Ramírez, A. (2020). Development and cell cycle activity of the root apical meristem in the fern Ceratopteris richardii. Genes, 11(12), 1-24. doi:10.3390/genes11121455

- Benedetti, M., Barera, S., Longoni, P., Guardini, Z., Herrero Garcia, N., Bolzonella, D., . . . Dall’Osto, L. (2021). A microalgal-based preparation with synergistic cellulolytic and detoxifying action towards chemical-treated lignocellulose. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 19(1), 124-137. doi:10.1111/pbi.13447

- Chen, L., Yang, H., Fang, Y., Guo, W., Chen, H., Zhang, X., . . . Cao, D. (2020). Overexpression of GmMYB14 improves high-density yield and drought tolerance of soybean through regulating plant architecture mediated by the brassinosteroid pathway. Plant Biotechnology Journal, doi:10.1111/pbi.13496

- Cushman, K. R., Pabuayon, I. C. M., Hinze, L. L., Sweeney, M. E., & de los Reyes, B. G. (2020). Networks of physiological adjustments and defenses, and their synergy with sodium (Na+) homeostasis explain the hidden variation for salinity tolerance across the cultivated Gossypium hirsutum germplasm. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11 doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.588854

- Dube, N., Bryant, B., Sari-Sarraf, H., & Ritchie, G. L. (2020). Cotton boll distribution and yield estimation using three-dimensional point cloud data. Agronomy Journal, 112(6), 4976-4989. doi:10.1002/agj2.20412

- Esmaeili, N., Cai, Y., Tang, F., Zhu, X., Smith, J., Mishra, N., . . . Zhang, H. (2020). Towards doubling fibre yield for cotton in the semiarid agricultural area by increasing tolerance to drought, heat and salinity simultaneously. Plant Biotechnology Journal, doi:10.1111/pbi.13476

- Gu, H., Lin, Z., Guo, W., & Deb, S. (2021). Retrieving surface soil water content using a soil texture adjusted vegetation index and unmanned aerial system images. Remote Sensing, 13(1), 1-16. doi:10.3390/rs13010145

- Kaur, A., Neelam, K., Kaur, K., Kitazumi, A., de los Reyes, B. G., & Singh, K. (2020). Novel allelic variation in the phospholipase D alpha1 gene (OsPLDα1) of wild oryza species implies to its low expression in rice bran. Scientific Reports, 10(1) doi:10.1038/s41598-020-62649-w

- Kaur, J., Phillips, C., & Sharma, J. (2021). Host population size is linked to orchid mycorrhizal fungal communities in roots and soil, which are shaped by microenvironment. Mycorrhiza, 31(1), 17-30. doi:10.1007/s00572-020-00993-5

- Kaur, J., Schwilk, D., & Sharma, J. (2021). Seed germination and plant fitness response of a narrowly endemic, rare winter annual to spatial heterogeneity in microenvironment. Plant Species Biology, 36(1), 36-51. doi:10.1111/1442-1984.12292

- Lasee, S., Subbiah, S., Deb, S., Karnjanapiboonwong, A., Payton, P., & Anderson, T. A. (2020). The effects of soil organic carbon content on plant uptake of soil perfluoro alkyl acids (PFAAs) and the potential regulatory implications. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, doi:10.1002/etc.4786

- Mangat, P. K., Shim, J., Gannaban, R. B., Singleton, J. J., & Angeles-Shim, R. B. (2021). Alien introgression and morpho-agronomic characterization of diploid progenies of Solanum lycopersicoides monosomic alien addition lines (MAALs) toward pre-breeding applications in tomato (S. lycopersicum). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, doi:10.1007/s00122-020-03758-y

- Patel MK, Kumar M, Li W, Luo Y, Burritt DJ, Alkan N, & Tran L.P. (2020). Enhancing salt tolerance of plants: from metabolic reprogramming to exogenous chemical treatments and molecular approaches. Cells, 9  (11) doi: 10.3390/cells9112492.

- Sapkota, M., Young, J., Coldren, C., Slaughter, L., & Longing, S. (2020). Soil physiochemical properties and carbon sequestration of urban landscapes in Lubbock, TX, USA. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 56 doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2020.126847

- Sayeed, M. A., Schumann, M., Wanjura, J., Kelly, B. R., Smith, W., & Hequet, E. F. (2021). Characterizing the total within-sample variation in cotton fiber length using the high volume instrument fibrogram. Textile Research Journal, 91(1-2), 175-187. doi:10.1177/0040517520935212

- Yan, J., Fischel, M., Chen, H., Siebecker, M. G., Wang, P., Zhao, F. -., & Sparks, D. L. (2021). Cadmium speciation and release kinetics in a paddy soil as affected by soil amendments and flooding-draining cycle. Environmental Pollution, 268 doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115944

- Yerramsetti, N., Dampanaboina, L., Mendu, V., & Battula, S. (2020). Synergistic factors ensue high expediency in the synthesis of menaquinone [K2] analogue MK-6: Application to access an efficient one-pot protocol to MK-9. Tetrahedron, 76(49) doi:10.1016/j.tet.2020.131696

For a deeper cut, visit the departmental list of publications.

See more publications

What are we missing?

Have an announcement, research development,
publication, or upcoming event? We want to hear about it!

If you have any questions, corrections, or contributions
regarding the PSS Newsletter or online Newsroom,
please contact Melanie Jackson at

Contact us


Department  of  Plant  and  Soil  Science



Texas Tech University, Department of Plant and Soil Science
Box 42122
Lubbock, TX 79409

806 _ 742 _ 2838

Feb 12, 2021