Welcome to Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering!


Feeding 9 billion people by 2050! The Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Department is addressing this world-wide challenge through cutting-edge technology, sustainable practices, and the drive to make a difference in the world. The tools we use range from satellites, to drones, to nanotechnology, to big data science. We’re working on

  • Optimizing growth conditions in controlled environment agriculture
  • Finding alternative fuel and feed sources
  • Irrigating crops sustainably
  • Analyzing big data sets generated from using sensors and controls and looking at metagenomics

Learn how you can help feed 9 billion people by 2050!

Graduate Studies Spotlight

Will Kacheris, ABE MS Student

A Novel Approach for Calculating the Feasibility of UrbanAgriculture using an Enhanced Hydroponic System

Will is working to create an adaptable formula which urban farmers and investors can use to determine the feasibility of a grow operation using parameters specific to their area. This formula will be based heavily on crop trials performed on a specially designed hydroponic system. Will designed and constructed a lightweight, high density hydroponic system to run crop trials for determining best management practices and crop costs.

Will's model also includes factors for land, utility, insurance, tax, and greenhouse construction costs and will have a multitude of inputs for different climactic conditions, such as growing degree days, light variability, and set point variability. The final formula will include price points for growing indoors and retail-specialty areas and determine caloric and nutritional production parameters such as energy/material input per nutrient value and caloric input.



Soohee Cho, ABE PhD Student

Smartphone-Based Biosensors for Detecting Pathogens on Microfluidic Platforms



The early detection of pathogens is crucial for preventing illnesses, and can ultimately secure world health. The fast growing mobile phone market in the developing world greatly potentiates the use of smartphone-based biosensing for the delivery of rapid and point-of-care diagnostics. Soohee uses smartphone biosensing to enable rapid diagnostics on two platforms, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) system & Microfluidic Paper Analytical Device (µPAD) to specifically and sensitively detect low concentrations of pathogens. The fabricated PCR system thermocycles Escherichia coli (E. coli) rapidly, compared to conventional thermocyclers, and can immediately detect the presence of E. coli with a devised smartphone-based fluorescent microscope. Fast results enable remote communication in the field and may prevent disease outbreaks among food and water supplies. In regards to µPADs, superiorly low concentrations of E. coli and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae) are detected from undiluted human urine by smartphone image analysis. Such rapid and easy developed tool can be used for diagnosing or even preventing onset of UTI (caused by E. coli) and gonorrhea (caused by N. gonorrhoeae).


ABE News

$8 Million Awarded to Scientists for Experimental Model Systems

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Marine Microbiology Initiative is investing eight million dollars over the next two years to support scientists, globally and at all career stages, to...

Dr. Ed Franklin recognized at national FFA conference

Dr. Ed Franklin was recognized for his work as Superintendent in Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event in Louisville Kentucky. Dr. Franklin completed his fourth...

Earthlight Documentary wins an Emmy!

The Earthlight documentary created by CALS Film Editor Cody Sheehy and starring ABE professors...

Martian Greenhouse and Controlled Environment Agriculture

Recently Dr. Gene Giacomelli and the Lunar Greenhouse Project were featured in a UA news article following the debut of the new motion picture, The Martian.
"UA scientists already have...

Dr. Bonnie Hurwitz debuts Verve Net

ABE's own Bonnie Hurwitz was recently featured in UA News for her work on the Verve Net virtual network. VERVE Net includes several innovative features, all of which...

New device created by a collaborative team of UA engineers and scientists may reduce time necessary to diagnose tissue infections

Please join us in congratulating Jeong-Yeol Yoon and Dustin Harshman (ABEBS) for their paper on a tissue infections diagnostic device. The paper was published in Science Advances, a...

Dr. Joel Cuello honored as top innovator for UA Agriculture & Life Sciences

Dr. Joel Cuello was featured in the most recent issue of BizTucson as top innovator for UA Agriculture & Life Sciences. The U of A's prestigious I-Squared Awards were given to faculty and...