Sustainability Research Team


Professional Staff

Ben Putman is a Fayetteville native and currently serves as a research associate at the University of Arkansas. He earned his B.S. in 2013 and M.S. in 2015 from the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. His research focuses on the use of process modeling and life cycle assessment in the area of sustainable livestock production. Specifically, he investigates the environmental footprints for U.S. beef and pork in different regions of the country.

Daesoo Kim is a post-doctoral fellow in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. He is originally from South Korea and received his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas under the direction of Professor Greg Thoma. He has been working on several research projects, specifically in the field of life cycle assessment and sustainability of dairy products and food supply chain system. 

Kamel Almutairi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Ralph E. Martin  Department of Chemical Engineering. He is from Saudi Arabia where he earned his B.S. in 2007 from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He then went on to earn his  M.S.  in 2012 from Oklahoma State University. Kamel's research focuses on assessing large-scale energy policies via linking computable general equilibrium model to life cycle assessments.

Karla Morrissey obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the UofA in May of 2017. She is now a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at UofA in the Chemical Engineering Department working with Dr. Greg Thoma. Her research concentrates on life cycle assessment and sustainability. 

Jasmina Burek is a mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arkansas. Her broad research interests are in energy, water, and climate change nexus. Her current focus for the University lies in improving the environmental sustainability of commercial buildings, applied energy systems, agriculture, and food systems. She combines LCA with process modeling and quantitative methods including Monte Carlo uncertainty, cluster and classification analysis, and multi-objective analysis.

Prathamesh Avadhut Bandekar received his B.S. in  Agricultural Engineering at Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth University in 2006 and then went on to receive his Master of Science in Biological Engineering at the UofA.  As a research associate now, Prathamesh develops algorithms and models that simulate U.S. pork production systems. These models support life cycle assessments and help agricultural industries make informed decisions regarding best management practices.

Ranjan Parajull is a research associate at the Department of Chemical Engineering on the University of Arkansas campus. He completed his Ph.D. from the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University in Denmark. During his Ph.D. research, he applied the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method to the assessments of potential environmental impacts of agricultural and biobased products production systems. Currently, at the UofA's Department of Chemical Engineering, Ranjan is involved in a multidisciplinary project aimed at enhancing the productivity, resilience, and sustainability of domestically produce Fruits and Vegetables (F&V) supply chains of the US. 

Martin Christie is a Ph.D. candidate in the chemical engineering department at the UofA where he also received his B.S. in the same field in 2015. He is involved in the development of a poultry farm process model for simulation of poultry production cycles for the United States Poultry and Egg Association's sustainability strategy.  Through the simulation of poultry growth via integration of bird growth simulations, statistical simulation of flocks, and heat transfer/psychrometry simulations of poultry barns, Martin provides ecological footprints and economic/resource requirements for hypothetical farm operation changes.

Graduate Students

Angelica Makuch is a graduate student studying environmental engineering and earned her B.S. in 2016 in biological engineering. Her focus of study is in corn life cycle assessment and agricultural sustainability.  Her current project is intended to provide an understanding of nitrogen efficiency throughout corn's life cycle. This information is then presented to The National Corn Grower's Association through apexes and model simulations used to replicate a diverse array of farm types.

Brandon Taylor received his B.S.  in biological engineering in Spring 2017. He has decided to pursue a Master of Science in the same field at the University of Arkansas. His main project is also concerned with the corn life cycle assessment. Specifically, Brandon uses SemaPro to model the environmental impacts of the crop. 

Jacob Hickman graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Engineering and a Foundations of Sustainability Minor in 2016.  He is currently a master's student in biological engineering and plans to graduate in 2018. Right now, he is working on the retrospective life cycle analysis of swine production and the automation of life cycle analysis with a previous focus on dissolved ozone water treatment. Jacob is a registered engineer intern in the state of Arkansas and has previously interned for the USDA-National Resources Conservation Service and BlueInGreen. 

Andrew Shaw is currently earning his masters degree in biological engineering at the University of Arkansas where he earned his bachelor's degree in the same field. Right now, he is working on a water cap analysis for fruit production in the United States. The goal is to determine prospective growing regions under current climate conditions and future climate change scenarios that may sustain these eight different fruits and vegetables and to evaluate water availability within these growth regions for support of these crops.