Soil Fertility Team



Leo Deiss

Visiting Assistant Professor

Leo's Google Scholar Profile

Leo is a professor with focus in ecology, agriculture, and soil science. His main goal is to develop soil health and management solutions for agriculture and other working landscapes.








Current Members



Samaneh Tajik, Postdoctoral Scholar

Samaneh is a postdoctoral researcher in perennial grain cropping systems at the Ohio State University. She is a soil scientist and data analyst whose scientific interests are on discovering relationships among environmental parameters using linear and nonlinear models and machine learning. Her current research is focused on exploring the impact of agricultural system design and management on soil health parameters, grain, and forage yield of Kernza. In addition, as a part of two USDA-funded projects, she will bridge organic and non-organic field research with environmental and enterprise budget data from several field sites located across the US.



Aline de Camargo Santos, Postdoctoral Scholar

Aline started her career in agricultural research as an agronomist in 2012 at the University of São Paulo. She continued her studies, earning a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida in the summers of 2019 and 2023, respectively. Throughout her career journey, she has focused on plant and soil nutrition, plant ecophysiology, and crop stress resilience. Her ultimate goal is to use her multidisciplinary training to conduct research that has a positive impact on farmers and enables collaboration with researchers at local, regional, and international levels. The primary objective of her research is the development of affordable technologies and strategies to overcome the many adversities that affect farmers. Additionally, she looks forward to improving science communication, which she sees as a way to translate scientific findings into practical results that meet the needs of farmers.


Berenice Montano

Berenice Montano, Visiting Scholar

Berenice is a visiting scholar from El Salvador, who graduated from Pan American Agricultural School Zamorano in Environment and Development. Berenice has experience working with organic materials focussed on circular economy and environmental auditories. Berenice is passionate about the processing and analysis of waste to get new agricultural and food products. Besides, in 2022 she interned in the Hemp Extension program of the University of Kentucky where she practiced data collection in research of hemp, tobacco, and corn; additionally, crop management considering climate change and different agricultural practices. She is excited about learning with our program and extending her knowledge in the physicochemical analysis of soil and the study of kernza grain.



Elizabeth Gilson, Student Assistant

Elizabeth is an undergraduate student at Ohio State University, studying Agronomy. Elizabeth has achieved her associate's and is pursuing her bachelor's degree. She worked for the OARDC research greenhouses under the Horticulture and Crop Science department for two years. Elizabeth is interested in soil fertility and the effects of nutrient runoff on crops and the surrounding environment. She hopes to gain experience with IR Spectroscopy and soil analysis applications at the Soil Fertility Lab!



Ben Robinson, Research Associate


Former Lab Leaders

Culman Pic

Steve Culman

Associate Professor and Distinguished Endowed Chair Soil Health in Potato Cropping Systems

Washington State University

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
333 Clark Hall
PO Box 646420, Pullman, WA 99164




Former Lab Members

Graduate Students

Brehm Pugliese Zone Gonzalez
Theresa Brehm
M.S. 2022
Jennie Pugliese,
M.S. 2017
Phoo Pye Zone,
M.S. 2018
Noely Gonzalez-Maldonado,
M.S. 2019
Wade Fleuridor    
Jordon Wade,
Ph.D. 2019
Louceline Fleuridor
Ph.D. 2022

Postdoctoral Researchers

Fulford Chaganti Hurisso Sprunger
Anthony Fulford
Extension Advisor,
University of California
Vijay Chaganti
PostDoc Researcher,
Texas A&M
Tunsisa Hurriso
Assistant Professor,
Lincoln University
Christine Sprunger
Assistant Professor,
The Ohio State University
Will Osterholz
Research Scientist,

Research Staff

Herman Gutierrez Manriquez Hoekstra Mann
Bethany Fortune
Lab Manager
Camila Gutierrez Manriquez
Research Scholar
Nicole Hoekstra
Research Associate
Meredith Mann
Research Assistant
Sharma Saeed Reynen Nyamai
Stuti Sharma
Research Assistant 

Muhammad Tariq Saeed
Visiting Scholar

Kenzie Reynen
Research Assistant
Priscilla Nyamai
Research Associate


Dygert Gingery  
Clay Dygert
Research Associate
Mason Gingery, Research Assistant  

Summer Interns

Elliot Edwards (College of Wooster), Faheem Ali (Case Western University),  Aista Sall (University of South Florida), Nakian Kim (Rice University), Otto Oppenheimer Lugo (University of Puerto Rico), Andrew Herzog (Ohio State), Samantha Wander (Ohio State), Noely Gonzalez-Maldonado (University of Puerto Rico), Madison Campbell (Ohio State).

Undergraduate Student Assistants

Alyson Holzworth, Grace Chapman, Caroline Bensman, Brady Linker, Cassian Filbrun, Nick LaRue, Ryan Hayes, Grant Ratliff, Cassie Reed, Annamarie Davies, Hannah Johnson, Lexie Popejoy, Brenden Tully, Jodi Livesay, Kristina Workinger.