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Welcome Marcelo Martinez as a permanent BSE Office staff member

May 11, 2022. Pullman, WA

With the CAHNRS Business Center staff reduction, their purchasing related responsibilities will be delegated to our department soon. The department’s office has conducted a successful search for a BSE Fiscal Specialist 1 position.  Our new BSE Fiscal Specialist 1 is Mr. Marcelo Martinez.

Marcelo has been going through the Workday related training for the last several days and we hope he will be ready to gradually take over all purchasing processes from the business center.

Marcelo’s office phone number is 509-335-0194, and his email address is
Marcelo, welcome to the Biological Systems Engineering family.  We are delighted to have you in our department.





Lignin-based jet fuel packs more power for less pollution

April 27, 2021  | WSU Insider

Pullman, WA

An experimental plant-based jet fuel could increase engine performance and efficiency, while dispensing with aromatics, the pollution-causing compounds found in conventional fuels, according to new research.

“When we tested our lignin jet fuel, we saw some interesting results,” said Bin Yang, professor with WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and corresponding author on the study. “We found that it not only had increased energy density and content but also could totally replace aromatics, which are a real problem for the aviation industry.”

Yang developed a patented process that turns lignin from agricultural waste into bio-based lignin jet fuel. Such sustainable fuel could help the aviation industry reduce dependance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels while meeting higher environmental standards. “This process creates a cleaner, more energy-dense fuel,” Yang added. “That’s exactly what sustainable aviation fuels need for the future.”

Read the full article: Lignin-based jet fuel packs more power for less pollution.

WSU Flower Thinning Robot

April 26, 2022  |  Wake Up Northwest on NBC Right

Manoj Karkee reports that WSU’s Agricultural Automation group of the Biological Systems Engineering Department has just begun testing their newest robot. The robot is aimed to produce a more stable and efficient pollination and thinning process. The Robotic Pollinator is built with a camera that can detect flower blossoms and determine which need to be pollinated or thinned. Students are currently trying to find the right stage to pollinate the fruit flowers. This comes from trial and error.

Dr. Karkee is trying to develop a robotic solution that would have a camera that works like human eyes to take pictures and works with a “brain”, a kind of artificial intelligence model running on a computer, that detects flowers, locates them and sends the signal to the controller of the robot. This signals the robot where to start thinning the flowers. Karkee thinks the method could also replace honeybees when the robot learns to pollinate flowers.

To view the rest of this news, click on the following link: NBC Right Now, KNDO23 / KNDU25   






Welcome Nina Willis as a permanent BSE Office staff member

April 22, 2022. Pullman, WA

With the CAHNRS business center losing the last personnel related staff member, the BSE Office initiated a search for an Administrative Assistant 2 (Payroll) permanent position in early February. After reviewing applications and conducting interviews, the search committee unanimously agreed to offer this position to Miss Nina Willis.  Most faculty and staff located in Pullman have known Nina since April 2019 when she joined the BSE office as an hourly Clerical Assistant student employee.

We are confident that all of us will appreciate Nina’s professionalism, work ethics, and kindness.  At this point, the other BSE Office Staff have started introducing Nina to very complex payroll/personnel policies, procedures, and Workday/myWSU/MyPassport steps and actions.

Nina’s office phone number is 509-335-4714, and her email address is

Nina, welcome again to the Biological Systems Engineering family.  We are delighted to have you in our department.





Behnaz Molaei receives the AFW’s Karen P. Depauw Leadership Award

AFW’s 2022 Karen P. Depauw Leadership Award has been given to Behnaz Molaei
April 11, 2022. Pullman, WA

Behnaz Molaei just won another leadership award: “The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award” from the Association for Faculty Women (AFW) and the Graduate School. The award has been given during a special ceremony on April 7.

The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award (for doctoral candidates) was created in honor of Dr. DePauw’s service to WSU in 2003 to give recognition to doctoral candidates that demonstrate evidence of leadership skills and/or university involvement.

Huge Congratulations to Behnaz and her proud advisor/mentor Dr. Troy Peters!!

This story has been twitted by Drs. Chilton, DePauw and Schulz:




Behnaz Molaei receives Graduate Student Leadership Award from CAHNRS Academic Programs

CAHNRS Academic Programs
April 5, 2022. Pullman, WA

Graduate students are presently afforded multiple opportunities to be recognized for outstanding academics or scholarship. In contrast, there are few opportunities for them to be recognized for their leadership.

The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences Graduate Student Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates graduate students who have demonstrated leadership that has positively impacted their unit, college, campus, or wider community. The award is not just for longstanding leaders; it is reserved for those who made significant positive contributions or improvements to the operations and functions of these programs, initiatives, or organizations. The winner receives a $1,000 award.

CAHNRS Academic Programs announces that Behnaz Moleai has been chosen to receive the 2022 Graduate Student Leadership Award.

Behnaz’s advisor is Dr. Troy Peters.



Three Minute Thesis – Uddhav Bhattarai wins the CAHNRS PhD Competition

Uddhav Bhattarai has won the PhD CAHNRS 3 Minute Competition. He will compete at the WSU wide competition.

Congratulations Uddhav and Good Luck during the next phase!!

CAHNRS 2022 – 3 Minute thesis Results




  1. Uddhav Bhattarai – BSE – $1000 (Presentation Title: Robot Laborers for Apple Crop Management) – won tie-breaker and will advance to the University-level competition.
  2. Ramesh Sahni – BSE – $1000 (Presentation Title: Fixed spray system: Every drop to the drop)
  3. Sudha Upadhaya, Plant Path – $500 (Presentation Title: Can a picture save thousands of plants?)


  1. Em Rendleman, Entomology – $1,000 (Presentation Title:Experimental Varroa Mite Treatment in the European Honey Bee Apis Mellifera)
  2. Srijana Shrestha, Horticulture – $500 (Presentation Title: Professional Development Training for Soil-Biodegradable Plastic Mulch (BDM))
  3. Noah Willsea, Horticulture – $250 (Presentation Title: Retractable netting reduces sunburn risk while maintaining red color in apples)
  4. Jasmine Richman, Animal Sciences – $250 (Presentation Title: Investigating the activin receptor signaling pathway as a key regulator ofmuscle grown following whole genome duplication events)


Behnaz Molaei receives the GPSA College Representative of the Year Award

March 23, Pullman, WA

Reanne Cunninghamm Chilton, the President  and Marwa Aly, Executive VP and Budget Chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) at WSU announces that Behnaz Molaei has been awarded the GPSA College Representative of the Year Award.

She is being recognized as an execeptional college representative and chair of the awards and scholarships committee.

GPSA is so happy to recognize Behnaz’s accomplishments by giving her this award.

Behnaz’s advisor is Dr. Troy Peters.



Juming Tang inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) 2021 Class of Fellows

December, 2021  |   WSU Research

Juming Tang, Regents Professor, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, has been inducted into the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) 2021 Class of Fellows.

“Congratulations to Matthew McCluskey and Juming Tang for their induction as NAI Members. Through research and discovery, their innovations provide cutting-edge solutions to challenges that will benefit society and influence science, technology, and innovation worldwide,” said Sita Pappu, assistant vice president for the Office of Commercialization.

Tang has invented and commercialized electromagnetic spectrum wave-based food processes. Tang has focused his research on advancing thermal processing technologies and supporting knowledge for control of bacterial and viral pathogens in foods with minimum adverse effects on taste and nutrition.

Tang’s laboratory has developed two commercially viable technologies based on 915 MHz microwaves for production of high quality ready-to-eat meals with extended shelf-life in different storage conditions. The unique engineering designs allow predictable and rapid heating of pre-packaged food that eliminates food pathogens, replacing the long-time industrial method of canning foods.

Source: WSU Research

Dr. Shulin Chen Receives Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award


WSU Showcase  |  March 25, 2022

Shulin Chen’s technological innovations have made industrial processes more sustainable. Chen develops bioconversion processes and systems for the production of biofuel, bioenergy, and bioproducts. Using anaerobic digestion systems, his research team invented a process to convert manure and other dairy-industry waste to bioenergy. The systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also recover nutrients from wastewater, alleviating concerns about surface and groundwater pollution. Six anaerobic digestion systems are now functioning throughout Washington.

WSU established the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award in 2018. Dr. Chen is the 2022 recipient of the award. [continue reading]

Source: WSU Showcase Award Recipients, 2022