New CEA Research Programs in the U.S.

A round table of young CEA professors discuss their current research at their respective universities, ending with an interactive Q&A among industry members and academics.


Kellie Walters: Controlled Environment Plant Physiology at the University of Tennessee

Description: Kellie’s research focuses on controlled environment physiology of food crops. The overall goal is to determine how to leverage environmental controls (light intensity, duration, and quality, temperature, and CO2), plant nutrition, and plant growth regulators and hormones to improve production efficiencies, yield, and crop quality. In addition to general physiology and production research, her lab is focusing on in-house analysis of secondary metabolites contributing to crop flavor and nutritional value to improve taste, appearance, overall consumer appeal, and producer profitability and sustainability.


Shuyang Zhen: Controlled Environment Agriculture Research at Texas A&M

Description: Shuyang Zhen joined the Horticultural Sciences department at Texas A&M as an assistant professor in August 2020. She will discuss her research program in Improving Yield, Quality, and Profitability of Food Crop Production in Greenhouses and Indoor Farms.


Qingwu (W) Meng: Delaware Indoor Ag Lab at the University of Delaware

Description: Dr. Qingwu (William) Meng is an Assistant Professor of Controlled-Environment Horticulture in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from China Agricultural University as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in Horticulture from Michigan State University. In the Delaware Indoor Ag Lab (DIAL), his team conducts environmental plant physiology research to improve efficiency and value of controlled-environment specialty crop production. His research program focuses on LED lighting applications and environmental optimization in indoor facilities and greenhouses.


Yujin Park: Indoor Farming Research at ASU

Description: My research at ASU focuses on horticultural crop physiology and controlled environment agriculture. My research aims to better understand how environmental controls regulate plant growth and development of horticultural crops and improve crop production efficiency in indoor vertical farming and greenhouse production. I’m currently working on four research projects, including 1) Investigating the efficacy of using luminescent greenhouse film on the plant growth and fruit yield of strawberry plants; 2) Developing growing protocols of industrial hemp transplants; 3) Improving the efficacy of sustainable organic fertilizer for growing hydroponic leafy greens; and 4) Investigating the effects of light control on indoor hydroponic strawberry production.


Joshua Craver: CSU Controlled Environment Horticulture Research Program

Description: The Colorado State University (CSU) Controlled Environment Horticulture Research Program focusses on enhancing the production of vegetable and floriculture crops. Specifically, Joshua Craver’s lab is evaluating whole-plant physiological and morphological responses to the environment and then utilizing this information to optimize the timing and extent of production inputs. Current projects include characterizing plant responses to carbon dioxide to optimize enrichment strategies for horticultural crops and investigating interactions between light quality and temperature for ornamental propagation.


Garrett Owen: Pioneering Kentucky’s Controlled-Environment Horticulture Industry

Description: The University of Kentucky Controlled-Environment Horticulture (CEH) led by Dr. W. Garrett Owen aims to pioneer Kentucky’s floriculture and greenhouse food crops industries through innovative research and Outreach. Research initiatives include production systems, culture, management, and production use efficiency. Specifically, the food crop research pertains to production and growth management strategies of vine crops and identifying alternative vegetable crops for cultivation under protection. His Extension initiatives pertains to plant nutrition and monitoring of greenhouse crops. Garrett teaches one course, Greenhouse and Controlled-Environment Production and Management which covers floriculture and food crop production.