Power from plants: how bioenergy benefits the world


Bioenergy done right can be a climate-friendly way to power the world. Scientists at the Department of Energy-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center are finding ways to develop clean energy systems that benefit society and the environment, from diverse ecosystems to healthy waterways, soil, and air. Join us on Tuesday, September 21, at 6pm Central Time to hear from the researchers who are making bioenergy’s promises a reality. 

This event is in celebration of National Clean Energy Week 2021. Learn more about the week of events here

Watch the recording from September 21st, 2021 here!


Headshot of Adrianna TrusiakAdrianna Trusiak
Research Coordinator

Dr. Adrianna Trusiak joined GLBRC in 2020 and currently supports research on field-to-fuel optimization, switchgrass productivity, and environmental performance. Trusiak is also the point-of-contact for GLBRC's outreach activities at Michigan State University, including the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. She holds a Ph.D. in aquatic geochemistry from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's Earth and Environmental Sciences department. Prior to her work at GLBRC, Trusiak participated in the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research program at Toolik Field Station, AK.


Phil Robertson
GLBRC Portfolio Representative and MSU University Distinguished Professor of Ecosystem Science

Headshot of Phil RobertsonDr. Phil Robertson is University Distinguished Professor of Ecosystem Science in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at MSU, with which he has been associated since 1981. Since 1988 he has directed the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program in Agricultural Ecology at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, where he is a resident faculty. He is also program leader for sustainability research in the Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Dr. Robertson’s research interests include the biogeochemistry and ecology of field crop ecosystems and in particular nitrogen and carbon dynamics, greenhouse gas fluxes, and responses to climate change.

Cheyenne Lei
Doctoral Candidate

Headshot of Cheyenne LeiCheyenne is a doctoral candidate in the Landscape Ecology and Ecosystems (LEES) lab at Michigan State University. She holds a Masters of Arts in Geography from Western Michigan University and is an avid two-time All-American athlete, competing for NCAA and her home country in Track & Field. She is interested in geographic information systems, remote sensing, agricultural ecology, and eddy covariance. Her research analyzes surface reflectivity (albedo) and how it affects the global warming impact of biofuel and forest ecosystems at spatial and temporal scales. In broadening her impacts as an upcoming scientist, Cheyenne has interned at the Huron River and Alger County watersheds, help teach ecology courses at the Kellogg Biological Station, and have guest lectured topics in albedo and global warming impacts from high school educational outreach events, to colleges such as Michigan State and Beijing Normal Universities. When not performing fieldwork or writing, she enjoys playing video games and riding her motorcycle.

Carmella Vizza
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Headshot of Carmella VizzaDr. Carmella Vizza is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Sarah Roley's lab at Washington State University. Carmella's research on nitrogen fixation in switchgrass and its response to changing precipitation patterns is conducted at W. K. Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan. Previously, she received her PhD at the University of Notre Dame investigating how a glacier-to-ocean landscape influences how Alaskan wetlands function. Prior to her PhD research, Carmella also worked as a project manager at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center based in Seattle, WA, examining the role of nutrients brought by Chinook salmon from the ocean to the stream ecosystems where they spawn. Carmella is passionate about biogeochemical processes and microbial communities in a variety of ecosystems and is looking forward to spreading her enthusiasm for environmental science to students at Hawaii Pacific University where this spring she begins her job as an Assistant Professor.

Maurcio Tereja
Postdoctoral Fellow

Headshot of Mauricio Tereja NievesDr. Mauricio Tereja got his bachelor and Masters degree from Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 2014 he moved to Iowa, USA, where he completed his PhD in crop physiology. Since August of 2019 Mauricio has been part of the GLBRC community. As the Keegstra Bioenergy Research Fellow exploring carbon flux in switchgrass, Mauricio Tejera is working with Berkley Walker and Lisa Tiemann at Michigan State University to investigate how carbon partitioning shifts within and among plant tissues, microbes, and the environment in response to abiotic stresses. 

Mauricio's research interests are perennial plant physiology and statistics. A secret no one knows: I make the best gnocchi!

Ali Zahorec
PhD Candidate

Headshot of Allison ZahorecAllison (Ali) is a PhD candidate in entomology and graduate researcher through the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at MSU. She received her BSc. of Zoology from Kent State University before joining the Landis lab as a PhD student of entomology in 2018. An avid nature enthusiast from an early age, her research focus is the integration fascination with insect and ecosystem ecology with concerns over climate change and environmental degradation. Her current research investigates how soil arthropods interact with soil microbes and plants in bioenergy cropping systems. The goal of this research is to better understand how these belowground interactions influence the ability of bioenergy cropping system soils to accumulate and store carbon, a necessary attribute for the long-term sustainability and success of bioenergy as a climate change mitigation strategy.

Tyler Lark
Assistant Scientist

Headshot of Tyler LarkDr. Tyler Lark is an assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), where he leads research on U.S. agricultural land-use change and its impacts on our nation’s land and water resources. He received his Ph.D. from UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute Environment & Resources program in 2017 for his research on America’s changing “Food- and Fuel-Scapes” and today continues to explore issues at the intersection of land use, bioenergy, and food production.

National Clean Energy Week

Logo for National Clean Energy Week

This event is part of National Clean Energy Week—a celebration of the policies, industries, and innovations that power our daily lives while producing no or very little greenhouse gas emissions—taking place September 20-25, 2021. Learn more about the week's worth of scheduled programming at https://nationalcleanenergyweek.org/. If you are a Student with a valid .edu email or a Government Employee with a valid .gov email qualify for free registration.

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Logo for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is a U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With Michigan State University and other partners, we are developing sustainable biofuels and bioproducts made from dedicated energy crops grown on marginal lands. Our mission is simple: creating biofuels and bioproducts that are economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Learn more at glbrc.org

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