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Faculty Fellows

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From 2005-2011 the Center awarded Faculty Fellowships to Cal Poly Pomona faculty who were pursuing scholarly or creative activities consistent with the mission of the Center - advancing the principles of environmentally sustainable living. Fellows were given financial support for their work, and in return offer a public presentation on their research or creative activity. Many Fellows continue to be active participants in Center programs.

Dr. Hossein Ahmadzadeh Hossein Ahmadzadeh, Ph.D.
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2007

Dr. Ahmadzadeh was supported by the Fellowship for developing a method for the analysis of the fatty acid content of biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel alternative to petroleum-based diesel, which is derived from vegetable oil. Vegetable oil used in biodiesel production may consist of recycled cooking oil or unused oil extracted from a variety of plants, including microalgae produced from the treatment of sewage waste. Proponents argue that biodiesel maintains performance standards while eliminating carcinogens found in petroleum diesel emissions. The Lyle Center has been producing and using this renewable fuel source in its diesel vehicles since 2004.

Fatty acids are important precursors in the synthesis of fuels for energy production. In order to obtain a final biodiesel product with desirable and reproducible quality, the fatty acid content of the biofuel must be monitored carefully by the appropriate selection of experimental conditions and analytical methods. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry is the most commonly used analytical technique for the analysis of fatty acids, as it is able to effectively separate the fatty acids from the other components in the biodiesel fuel. However this process requires an additional chemical reaction to convert the fatty acids to a form suitable for analysis. Dr. Ahmadzadeh has proposed two alternative analysis techniques, High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Capillary Electrophoresis, as a means for eliminating the additional chemical reaction, while still being able to effectively separate the fatty acids from the biodiesel mixture. If successful, these innovations in testing may allow for expansion of high-quality biodiesel production.

Dr. Ahmadzadeh has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 2005. He received his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Alberta, and previously held research positions at the University of Minnesota, York University and Target Discovery, inc. He is the author of numerous publications, including several on Capillary Electrophoresis analysis.

Dr. Ed Bobich Edward G. Bobich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2008

Dr. Bobich was supported by the Fellowship for his study of seed germination and seedling development of Southern California black walnut (Juglans californica). The black walnut is a historically and ecologically important plant in the region, especially in the Pomona Valley where it was and still is the most prominent native tree on undeveloped hillsides. The Lyle Center is home to some 450 black walnut trees, and thousands more dot Cal Poly Pomona’s rangelands.

One of the most important aspects of conservation and sustainable living is the utilization of native plants for agriculture and as lelements. Use of native plants can reduce irrigation and other inputssuch as fertilizers and pesticides, as well as provide habitat for nafauna. Furthermore, there are many native plants, including the blackwalnut, that are known to be beneficial in terms of their nutritional and medicinal properties, but theseplants are not widely available to the general populace. One limitation is that propagating and raisinmany native plants, such as the black walnut, can be difficult because their requirements for germinaand seedling survival are not well understood. Bobich’s research seeks to understand seed germination and seedling responses to available light and water, and whether seeds of fruits from plants that receive irrigation are more likely to germinate and produce larger and more vigorous seedlings than those fplants that did not receive irrigation. Additional research will study how pretreatment of soil with mycorrhizae, symbiotic fungi that increase the nutrient and water uptake of plants and application of nutrients affects seed germination.

Dr. Bobich has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 2005. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from UCLA. His postdoctoral experience includes fellowships with the University of Arizona, UCLA, and a two-year appointment in Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 Center. He is the author of numerous articles on plant ecology, physiology and morphology.

Dr. Brelles-Marino Graciela Brelles-Mariño, Ph.D.
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2006

Dr.  Brelles-Mariño was supported by the Fellowship for studying biological nitrogen fixation in plants, an important process in regenerating soils for sustainable agriculture.  Legumes interact with bacteria in the soil to form “nodules” along roots and sometimes stems that facilitate the transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere into the plant.  This process fertilizes the plant naturally and restores nitrogen to the soil, making it available to future crops and reducing the reliance on fertilizers to provide nitrogen for crop production. 

Molecular signals between bacteria and the plant, known as Nod factors, are responsible for triggering developmental processes in the plant leading to the formation of nitrogen-fixing nodules.  Dr. Brelles-Mariño is studying methods for treating plant seeds with concentrations of Nod factors, to determine if the result is greater nodulation in the plant, and greater yields.  Preliminary laboratory results are encouraging, but Dr. Brelles-Mariño will be examining the effect of field conditions on these processes.  Her research included planting a series of alfalfa test plots at the Center.

Dr. Brelles-Mariño has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 2003.  She received her Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Universidad Nacional de La Plata,  Argentina.  She previously held a position at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in  Toulouse, France, and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain, where she was researching biological nitrogen fixation.

Dr. Jae Min Jung Jae Min Jung , Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of International Business & Marketing
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2009

Dr. Jung was supported for researching the determinants of state-of-origin (SOO) effects in order to shed light on the mechanisms that lead to positive or negative SOO effects. The marketplace is often crowded with many similar products with a few differentiating functional features. SOO is one branding strategy used to differentiate its offerings, capture the attention of the consumer and eventually earn their loyalty through consistently good products and support.

However, little is known about the efficacy of the use of SOO information. Understanding precisely what factors determine such SOO effects would help state governments and farmers to adjust their target market and refine advertising and other promotional strategies accordingly. His research is intended to provide some marketing guidance to the state government, farmers, food processors, and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable marketing programs that are locally based. These programs would encourage people to buy local produce and reduce the number of “food miles,” or the distance products travel from farms to the stores and markets that sell them.

Dr Jung holds a PhD in marketing from the University of Cincinnati. He was the recipient of the Excellence in Research Award from the North Dakota State University College of Business and named honorary scientist by the Rural Development Administration of the Republic of Korea from 2004 to 2007.

Dr. Joan Leong Joan Leong , Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2010

Dr. Leong was supported to conduct field research into wild bee pollination of seedless watermelon as an alternative to declining populations of managed European honey bees.

The recent, highly publicized Colony Collapse Disorder of European honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera) has resulted in a decline in the number of managed colonies available to support the pollination of agricultural crops.  While managed honey bees are the pollinator of choice for crops such as the seedless watermelon (Citullus lanatus), several recent studies by Dr. Leong and other researchers document native or wild bee pollinators as a possible alternative.

Using native or wild bees as pollinators for watermelon crops represents a specific application of the largely untapped and unrecognized reservoir of ecological services that can be provided by native insects.  Strong contributions of wild bee species to watermelon production appear to be linked to the extent of natural habitat in proximity to the crop, as well as management practices, such as organic production, which accommodate the presence of native pollinators.  The use of wild bees as agricultural pollinators builds on a key regenerative strategy of “letting nature do the work,” and could advance more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and sustainable watermelon production.

Dr. Leong has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 1999, and is the Research Coordinator for the Cal Poly Pomona College of Science CCRAA Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program.  She is the author of numerous publications on bee pollination, and recipient of the Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Section 6 Project Grant.  She holds a PhD in Ecology from U.C. Davis and also received postdoctoral training there in Entomology.

Dr. Palomo Mónica Palomo, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2011

Dr. Palomo was supported for her field research on identifying and mitigating lead contamination in urban sites which have the potential for community-based gardening or agricultural activity.

The California Environmental Protection Agency reports that approximately 90,000 properties in California remain underutilized because of real or perceived environmental concern. In California and across US, home and community gardening practices are popular and encouraged by local sustainability groups. Gardening activities in brownfields (sites which often are environmentally contaminated from former industrial activities) will support the Cal/EPA initiative of developing successful programs to assist in returning these sites to safe and productive use. Dr. Palomo’s study intends to expand upon on-going efforts led by the department of Agronomy at Kansas State University to evaluate how use of compost or other soil amendments could reduce bioaccessible lead in contaminated soil, thus promoting safe gardening practices and returning brownfields to productive use.

Dr. Palomo has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 2008, and recently served as a visiting scholar at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. Previous funding support includes awards from the NSF ADVANCE grant at Cal Poly-Pomona and the American Society of Civil Engineers. She is the author of publications on soil science, and has presented her findings at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress of the American Society of Civil Engineers and for the American Chemical Society. Dr. Palomo holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from Kansas State University, where she was a Research Associate in the Civil Engineering and Agronomy departments at Kansas State University.

Dr. Michael Page Michael Page , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2009

Dr. Page was supported by the Fellowship for researching the waste vegetable oil collected by the Lyle center from local vendors for the development of oil-based paints. Urethane oils (UOs) are one of the most widely used types of materials in the paint and coating industry. In fact, linseed oil has been used as a prime ingredient of protective varnishes and decorative coatings for centuries. Typically UOs are formulated using linseed, sunflower, soybean, tallow, and dehydrated castor oils.

Through his research, Dr. Page hopes to position Cal Poly Pomona as a leader in the development of environmentally sustainable oil-based paints and varnishes starting from waste vegetable oil instead of pure oils that are typically used to make these products.
At the Lyle Center and in his own lab, waste vegetable oil is converted to biodiesel. In the case of UOs, vegetable oil is reacted with commercially available glycerol. Dr. Page is hoping to use recovered glycerol (up to 80-90% purity) as a substitute for commercially available glycerol to make urethane oil. By using recycled crude glycerol, Dr. Page will reduce the chemical waste generated in the Chemistry Department and at the Lyle Center. Dr. Page hopes this research will lead to the creation of sustainable markets for crude glycerine.

Dr. Page has been an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly since 2008. He was a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow 2006-07 at Caltech and received the UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry.

Professor Emeritus Bob Perry Professor Emeritus Robert C. Perry, FASLA
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2008

Professor Perry was supported for his work in developing a clear and quantifiable framework for the measurement of carbon storage and carbon release through fossil fuel consumption associated with urban landscape plantings. There has been increasing interest in clarifying carbon sequestration benefits of plants and emissions associated with landscape plantings in response to climate change and the desire to reduce carbon within the atmosphere.

As plants grow, they fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store carbon in their tissue. The use of fossil fuels to achieve and maintain urban landscapes leads to the release of carbon that offsets and often exceeds the storage benefit of plants. Urban landscape plantings can be considered sustainable when they accrue more carbon storage than is released by the use of fossil fuel energies over the planned life cycle of the landscape. Scholarly investigation is needed to gather and summarize existing knowledge about the biomass of plants, the carbon/fossil fuel energy relationship, and models that quantify carbon sequestration by plants and carbon release from fossil fuel use. This knowledge exists in various fields of study, particularly the biological and physical sciences, and needs to be adapted and presented within the context of urban landscape plantings. Once developed, Professor Perry’s framework can be integrated into sustainable design practices and education, advancing the understanding of this issue among the design professions.

Robert Perry was a Professor of Landscape Architecture for 25 years before retiring from Cal Poly Pomona in 1997. He has since returned to serve as a Lecturer within the Department, teaching a variety of design studios and planting design courses. He is the author of two well-known books on plants for Western regions, has served on numerous task forces focused on water conservation, and has been named a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects. He received his Master of Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, and his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.

Dr. Jon C. Phillips Jon C. Phillips , Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Food Marketing and Agribusiness Management
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2007

Dr. Phillips was supported for the Fellowship to analyze resources for sustainable agricultural development in the high desert region of San Bernardino County, California. The unincorporated areas north of the Cajon Pass near Silverwood Lake are experiencing significant urban development pressure. However, alternative uses, such as the promotion of agricultural production may be possible, particularly high-value crop production. High-value crops include certified organic products, which are produced without synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Biodynamic production is another growing trend in high-value crops. Biodynamic agriculture seeks to bring about balance and healing of the environment through integrating crops and livestock, recycling nutrients, and maintaining the soil and the health and wellbeing of crops and animals.

Dr. Phillips has been conductingt an inventory of resources within the high desert region to assess the feasibility of these types of high-value agricultural production. This work builds on Dr. Phillips’ previous research developing such inventory methods. The study will evaluate agro-ecological resources, labor supply, institutional and physical infrastructure, access to markets and supporting industries, and various forms of capital resources. Special attention will also be paid to the infrastructure for marketing produce locally through roadside stands, farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture, a concept where community members pledge to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and supporting local food production.

Dr. Phillips has been a member of the Cal Poly Pomona faculty since 2002. He received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. He also received an MBA from Wayne State University, an M.A. in economics from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Western Agricultural Economics Association, the Food Distribution Research Society, and the Raisin Administrative Committee. He is the author of numerous journal articles and technical reports related to agricultural firm management. He has also made more than twenty research presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. In addition to his professional activities, Dr. Phillips enjoys hiking in the mountains with his wife and son.

Professor Joan Woodward Joan Woodward
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2005

Professor Woodward was named Faculty Fellow while she served as Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture. She was supported to study the potential resilience of designed landscapes by examining landscapes in the Los Angeles region that maintain integrity after being released from regular irrigation and maintenance.  The intent is to extract lessons from such landscapes so that future landscapes can be designed to maintain aesthetic and ecological function in the face of probable volatility.  Professor Woodward believes such findings are critical, particularly for communities with high concentrations of elderly and impoverished populations, as well as publicly maintained landscapes such as parks and open space.  These landscapes are most vulnerable to increases in water and energy costs, which could result in widespread release from irrigation and maintenance.

Professor Woodward is working on a book that will include essays and photographs reflecting on the success and potential of these “feral landscapes” in the Los Angeles region.  She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, including the book Waterstained Landscapes, published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2000. 

Dr. Terry Young Terry Young , Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Anthropology & Lyle Center Graduate Faculty
Lyle Center Faculty Fellow, 2006

Dr.  Young was supported to prepare a monograph exploring the history and geography of American camping between the decades when it emerged as a distinct recreation and when the various modes of camping, for example backpacking and motorized camping, reached maturity.  One of Dr. young’s goals is to understand camping in terms of regeneration and sustainability.  In his book Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development (Wiley, 1994), John Lyle argued that the “linear flows” of our urban-industrial society were responsible for degenerative patterns around us.  Our collective response to the degeneration – the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – leads to alternative plans and mitigation measures, but these approaches, Lyle declared, are mere palliatives that only help in the short run.  Dr. Young’s work argues that even as Americans have attempted to mitigate society’s negative impacts on the physical environment, they also have sought to alleviate damage to their own individual and collective psyches through a form of recreation, camping.  Like EIAs and alternative plans, camping is a palliative that has not brought us closer to sustainability.  It has only helped Americans feel better without addressing deeper issues. 

Dr. Young’s work describes, analyzes and explains the prescriptive camping literature’s justifications for camping and thus opens a window into the motivations of campers and camping’s cultural meaning.  He will use the Fellowship to aide in developing a manuscript for scholarly publication, which will ultimately be incorporated into his upcoming book:  Heading Out: American Camping from 1860 to 1990

In addition to the Fellowship, Dr. Young is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Lyle Center, teaching courses in the Master of Science Program in Regenerative Studies.  He received his Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA, and is the author of Building San Francisco’s Parks, 1850-1930 (Johns Hopkins, 2004).