Water and Irrigation Researchers
Dr. Jonathan Aguilar is an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, based at the Garden City extension office. A native of the Philippines, Dr. Aguilar is an expert on water research issues, and his special focus is how these issues pertain to irrigated agriculture in central and western Kansas. His work for KCARE includes projects on new irrigation technologies such as Mobile Drip Irrigation (MDI), soil and plant water status sensors, and a new multi-year crop water allocation tool. He is also a part of on-farm research and demonstrations of new technologies to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water consumption and researches the impact of poor water quality plant growth, development, and yield in central and western Kansas.
Dr. Aguilar received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). While there, his studies focused on land and water resources as it pertain to irrigated agriculture and environmental stewardship. After graduating, he continued to work at the university as a researcher as well as taking on several water resource-related projects with the UPLB Foundation, the Philippine Department of Agriculture, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Dr. Aguilar came to K-State to pursue his doctoral degree in biological and agricultural engineering and graduated in 2009. He joined the faculty in 2012.
Dr. Ramesh Dhungel is a post-doctoral fellow in K-State’s Department of Agronomy. His interests include a focus on biomass and evapotranspiration; he is working to develop a tool to measure ET in addition to remote sensing.
Dr. Dhungel holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Idaho.
Dr. Behzad Ghanbarian is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Geology in K-State’s Department of Geology. A faculty member since 2017, Dr. Ghanbarian’s research interests include many topics in geology, hydrogeology, environmental sciences, and engineering. His work includes investigations into site remediation, the back-infusion process, and how contaminants diffuse back from low-permeability zones to high-permeability zones.
Dr. Ghanbarian received his Bachelor of Science degree in water engineering from Isfahan University of Technology and his master’s degree in irrigation and drainage from the University of Tehran. His Ph.D., in environmental sciences, is from Wright State University.
Dr. Bill Golden is a research assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics. A specialist in natural resource economics, Dr. Golden is interested in farm management issues related to irrigation and the production of agricultural commodities. He has extensive experience in both academic research as well as private industry.
Dr. Golden graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University with his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He went on to receive both his Master of Agribusiness in Agricultural Economics as well as his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from K-State.
Dr. Stacy Hutchinson is a professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at K-State. Her research focuses on the use of vegetated systems for the mitigation of non-point source pollution, the development of sustainable storm water and land management techniques, and the remediation of contaminated soil and water. Her work will help develop new treatment technologies for improved water quality and quantity as well as sustainable water management practices that mitigate swings in water availability. With KCARE, Dr. Hutchinson is investigating the use of disinfection of biological agents in the field using a mobile advanced oxidation process as part of the Water Research for the Fort Riley Net Zero Initiative.
Dr. Hutchinson received her bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army thereafter. She served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for four years before joining K-State for her graduate work in civil engineering. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from K-State and has been a faculty member since 2000.
Dr. Trisha Moore is an assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Her research focuses on understanding and improving water quality, especially the processes by which natural-based engineered systems contribute to the production of ecosystem services (the benefits people obtain from those ecosystems). Dr. Moore’s studies examine the function of these systems at a variety of scales, from site-scale mechanisms to the watershed scale, and her research group explores questions regarding potential tradeoffs and synergies in the spatial and temporal delivery of ecosystem services under various watershed management approaches. Although the context for her research has been in urban or urbanizing watersheds, Dr. Moore’s research team also works in rural watersheds – like the Smoky Hill River watershed in Saline County – to study streambank erosion and discover new methods for streambank restoration. In addition to this work, Dr. Moore applied her research experience to the recent development of an integrated water quality program between the City of Wichita and upstream agricultural producers in the Little Arkansas River Watershed.
Dr. Moore graduated from K-State with B.S. and master’s degrees in biological and agricultural engineering. She attended North Carolina State University for her Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering, but returned to K-State in 2013 to join the faculty here.
Dr. Andres Patrignani is an assistant professor of soil water management in K-State’s Department of Agronomy. Originally from Argentina, Dr. Patrignani’s main research focus is on the development and advancement of sensor-based soil moisture monitoring systems, the investigation of water management strategies for improved water use in irrigated and water-limited cropping systems, and exploring the interaction between global climate change and soil-water relationships.
Dr. Patrignani received his Bachelor of Science degree in agronomic engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Oklahoma State University, in plant and soil sciences and soil science, respectively. Dr. Patrignani joined the Department of Agronomy in 2016.
Dr. Vahid Rahmani is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research interests include climate change and variability impacts on water resources management, extreme weather event analysis, and water supply and policy. Dr. Rahmani’s group works to understand and improve water quality and availability by investigating large reservoirs and small impoundments sedimentation and how wetland development upstream from federal reservoirs can improve water quality.
Dr. Rahmani attended Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran, where he received his bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering. He received his master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Shiraz University in Iran. He came to K-State for his doctoral studies in biological and agricultural engineering, with a focus on water resources engineering. He has been a faculty member since 2016.
Dr. Matthew Sanderson is an associate professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at K-State. He is a social scientist with interests in population, environment, and development. His recent research investigates how social relations inhibit or allow natural resource conservation. His projects examine how social structures influence groundwater management at multiple scales (from community to global); how social networks shape participation in group decision-making within common pool resource settings; how social factors affect adoption of irrigation technologies; and how culture influences perceptions of the science, knowledge, and information used to make decisions about agricultural adaptations.
Dr. Sanderson graduated from K-State with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics and a master’s degree in sociology. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Utah in 2008.
Lee R. Skabelund
Lee Skabelund is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning in K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design. His research interests include how planning and design can protect ecosystems or ecological functions, and how degraded areas can be improved (with a focus on urban areas). Mr. Skabelund led the planning work on the Kansas State University Stormwater Management Project. He also monitors the Memorial Stadium green roofs for soil moisture and plant health.
Mr. Skabelund is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He joined the K-State faculty in 2005.
Dr. Donghai Wang is a professor in K-State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His research includes investigations into bioconversion of renewable materials into biofuels and chemicals; biomaterials including protein adhesives, resins, and biodegradable composites, and near-infrared technology for analysis of physical and chemical properties of biomaterials. He is interested in how irrigation affects the physical and chemical composition of crops as well as yield and yield quality.
Dr. Wang holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Northeast Agricultural University in China, a master’s degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has been a member of the K-State faculty since 2001.