Steven Hall

Steven is the lab’s Principal Investigator and an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University. He received a PhD in Ecosystem Science from the University of California-Berkeley, and an MS in Environment and Resources and a BS in Botany from the University of Wisconsin. Before coming to ISU in 2015, he was a post-doc at the University of Utah Global Change and Sustainability Center. Aside from science, he enjoys hiking, biking, construction projects, and making music.

Wenjuan  Huang

Wenjuan (wjhuang [at] is a Research Scientist who joined the lab in 2015 as a post-doctoral scholar. She earned her B.S. degree in Ecology from the China Agricultural University in 2007 and her Ph.D. in Ecosystem Ecology from the South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013. At ISU, her research has focused on soil carbon and nutrient dynamics.

Carlos Tenesaca

Carlos (Charlie4 [at] is a Research Scientist in the lab who coordinates several of our projects related to soil greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching. He earned a masters degree in soil science from ISU in 2013, where his research focused in soil health and greenhouse gas emissions in areas used for corncob residue storage (cellulosic ethanol production). Before coming to the lab, he was a research associate at the Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory (ISU), where he analyzed soil and plant samples for farmers and researchers.

Holly Loper

Holly (hjloper [at] is a PhD student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology program. She joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 and is interested in ways microbes can affect the world around us. Her current research focuses on how nitrogen from bacteria used to improve fertilizer efficiency may be making its way into the air, water, and maize crops. She received a Bachelors of Science with a double major in Bioinformatics and General Biology from Michigan Technological University.

Matthew Ford

Matthew (fordmatthew3017 [at] is an MS student in the Environmental Science Graduate Program, co-advised by Dr. Tom Isenhart. Matthew first joined the lab in 2020 as a technician. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BS in environmental science and a minor in chemistry. His interests are focused in environmental chemistry and the foundation it sets for healthy ecosystems. His MS research focuses on understanding the influence of soil organic matter on nitrate removal from saturated riparian buffers.

Kyra Oberbroeckling

Kyra (kyraober [at] graduated from the ISU Environmental Science program in 2022 and is now working as a research scientist in the lab. Her senior thesis examined nitric oxide emissions from Iowa agricultural soils.

Current Undergraduate Researchers

  • Mia Waid
  • Tayana Roark
  • Valentine Chenus

Lab Alumni 

Former Graduate Students

Chenglong Ye

Chenglong worked in our lab for two years as a visiting PhD student from Nanjing Agricultural University, where he is now an Assistant Professor. His research focuses on soil organic matter dynamics in natural and managed ecosystems

Nate Lawrence

Nate Lawrence graduated with a PhD from the ISU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program in 2021, with a dissertation focused on understanding nitrous oxide and nitrate leaching from hydric agricultural soils. He is now working as a research scientist with the Savannah Institute.

Wenjuan Yu

Wenjuan Yu graduated with a PhD from the ISU Environmental Science program in 2022. She is now working as a research scientist in environmental chemistry.

Holly Curtinrich

Holly graduated with a PhD from the ISU Environmental Science program in 2022. Her dissertation tested the impacts of metals on carbon and nutrient cycling in boreal peatlands.

Former Undergraduate Students / Technicians

  • Tye Skilang
  • Lien Tran
  • Jessie Ribera (now with Ecological Society of America)
  • Stephanie Tsui (technician, now PhD student at Northeastern U.)
  • Anthony Mirabito (now PhD student at U. of Central Florida)
  • Mariana Gonzalez (LSAMP)
  • Jerry Young Bear (HHMI)
  • A’lece Moore (McNair Scholar)
  • Andrea Boyer (McNair Scholar)
  • Eli Cooper (LSAMP fellow)
  • Lucio Reyes (URAP student; went on to grad school at the University of S. Florida)
  • William Mejia (now with the US Forest Service)
  • Emma Duff (now with Iowa State extension)
  • Laura James (now a conservation scientist)
  • Hannah Craven
  • Lindsay Mack
  • Kris Mueller
  • Collin Stratton
  • Charles Garrett