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Washington State University

Jingjin Zhang’s Alumni Story

April 29, 2021 |

Jingjin Zhang

I always believe that agriculture is the foundation and future of the world and automation is the future of agriculture, which was deeply confirmed by my Ph. D. study experience at WSU. I graduated in the Spring of 2014 with a Ph. D. in Agricultural Automation from the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.

Interdisciplinary research training during my Ph.D. period in CPAAS has guided me in the direction of my career. I am currently working as an associate professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and lead a diverse team including post-doc, graduates and undergraduate students from areas of horticulture, environmental engineering and plant physiology. My research focused on plant factory, specifically on automatic environmental regulation and crop quality improvement. Most of my research projects are funded by national science foundation and provincial-level research grants, aiming to solve problems in production and analyze scientific mechanism. I was selected for the 2016 “Chen Guang” project, which was a Talent plan supported by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Shanghai Education Development Foundation.










Xin Zhang wins prestigious “Pellizzi Price 2020” award for his PhD dissertation

October 5, 2020  | Rome, Italy

The Club of Bologna announced that Xin Zhang has been selected as one of 4 winners to the prestigious “Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize for 2020”. This prize is a recognition given to top PhD dissertations selected on agricultural mechanization and automation internationally through a bi-annual international competition.

Dr. Zhang received the award for his dissertation titled “Study of canopy-machine interaction in mass mechanical harvest of fresh market apples”. 

The award is given by the Club of Bologna, Rome and the Academy of the Georgofili of Florence. Winners of this award automatically become members of the Club of Bologna.

Congratulations, Dr. Zhang!

Source: Club of Bologna, Rome, Italy.












Tao Dong and NREL Scientists In Golden, CO develop Non-Toxic Polyurethane

September 29, 2020  | CBS News, Denver, CO

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden have invented a new polyurethane that originates from algae, waste grease, or natural oils. The “greener” polyurethane eliminates health-damaging toxins inherent with the current petroleum-based polyurethane. Polyurethane is a type of plastic developed in the 1950s. Its uses range from wood finishes, adhesives, sprayable foams and synthetic clothing fibers.

Former BSE/WSU graduate student, Dr. Tao Dong, an alumnus of the Shulin Chen lab, is working on the bio-based, nontoxic polyurethane resin, together with former intern Stephanie Federle. This is a promising alternative to conventional polyurethane. Tao states that the lab has demonstrated that the chemistry is tunable. He also says that now the lab can control the final performance through their unique approach.

Phil Pienkos, a former chemist from NREL, adds that traditional methods of producing polyurethane rely upon toxic chemicals and non-renewable petroleum. The goal of the lab was to develop a new plastic with all the useful properties of conventional polyurethane but lacking the costly environmental effects.

Chen states that Tao has been collaborating with his lab here at WSU’s Biological Systems Engineering. This year, he and Tao worked together to develop a major proposal for the DOE. Tao has also indicated a willingness to offer internship opportunities at NREL for BSE students.

Source: Local CBS News in Denver, CO.












My Journey after graduation from WSU – FEC club presentation

November 7, 2019  | FEC Club

Former BSE/WSU graduate student, Dr. Sumeet Dhawan, visited the FEC club on November 7th, 2019 to give a seminar describing his experience working in a major Food Processing company after leaving WSU. Dr. Dhawan is a former graduate student of Dr. Shyam Sablani’s laboratory, in the Food Engineering section of BSE.

Dr. Sumeet Dhawan serves as a Scientist in Cooking Technologies for Nestlé Development Center based in Solon, Ohio. He also did a short assignment (6 months) with the company in their Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost based in San Francisco, CA to learn Design Thinking Methodologies and collaborating with Start-up’s across various Nestlé Business.  Sumeet serves as the Chair for the Lake Erie Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) chapter. He received his PhD in Food Engineering from Washington State University in 2013; and Bachelor in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology, India.










Brian Bodah Joins NYSAES Leadership Team

Brian Bodah, BSYSE graduateBrian Bodah’s experience and success in agricultural research at WSU helped lead him to a place “where he envisions opportunities for NYSAES to continue its impact in New York and around the world.”

After graduating from BSYSE in 2013, Brian took a post as Director of WSU Pierce County Extension in Tacoma, and also went back to graduate school to earn his MBA at the U.W. Tacoma at the same time.  He graduated from the UWT last month, and also started his new post at Cornell as the Assistant Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Congratulations Brian!

[ Q & A with Brian on Cornell’s site ]