Filley Lab Group - Timothy Filley - Professor - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University Skip to main content

Timothy Filley - Professor

Timothy Filley

PhD The Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Loyola University of Chicago

Curriculum Vitae
Professor Filley's Twitter

Research Interests: factors controlling stabilization/destabilization of soil organic matter, terrestrial isotope ecology, microbial decay of natural products and emerging pollutants, invertebrate impacts on soils, decomposition chemistry of manufactured carbonaceous nanomaterials

Current Post Doctoral Researchers

Erika FosterDr. Erika Foster
HAMP 4210

Erika’s research delves into soil biogeochemical responses to agricultural management. She studies the plant-soil-microbial interactions that control nutrient availability, including response to organic amendments, such as biochar. In her PhD work at Colorado State, some of her favorite analyses included genomic and enzymatic techniques to assess shifts in microbial nutrient cycling under different sustainable irrigation and soil management strategies. Her postdoctoral work at Purdue revolves around recent agricultural expansion in marginal lands southern Peru for the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Water, Energy, and the Environment. She and collaborators from Univ. de San Augstin will calibrate VNIR and XRF analysis for rapid field characterization of soil health, and distribute soil health test kits to small-scale farmers in the region. Please find more information on her research projects on her webpage.

Zach BrecheisenDr. Zach Brecheisen 
LILY 3-377

I’m a budding forest ecologist, biogeochemist, pedologist, and geospatial-ist; aka a "critical-zonist." I’m interested in how ecosystems respond to and recover from human disturbance, particularly agriculture via old-field succession. Some of the tools and techniques I use in my research include: remote sensing, geomorphic terrain analysis, gas chromatography, 3D printing, X-ray computed tomography, dataloggers & environmental sensor probes, and others to enhance field-based soils and forestry research. My training from undergraduate (NMSU) through graduate (Duke University) education has been inherently cross-disciplinary as I have studied and worked with scholars and researchers from earth sciences, social sciences, and the humanities as part of the NSF-funded US Critical Zone Observatory network at the Calhoun CZO and the broader global Critical Zone Network. In the NEXUS Institute I am currently working to map and quantify agricultural expansion over the last 40 years using Landsat data and preparing field instrumentation to monitor and study soil-profile respiration.

Jino RamsonDr. Jino Ramson 
KNOY 1230

Jino received his bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Anna University, India and Master of Technology degree in Networks and Internet Engineering and Doctoral degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Karunya University, India. Also, he received his Master of Business Administration degree from Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, India. He is an expert in designing IoT system for various societal problems. Currently, he is designing a long range wireless sensor network to monitor soil health in Arequipa region, Peru.

Current Graduate Students

Tingyu HouMs. Tingyu Hou, PhD Student 
HAMP 4171

Research Interests: 

C and N cycling in soils and soil organic matter stabilization pathways, landscape position and the role of erosion and deposition on soil organic matter dynamics. Currently research area is the Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML) Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) focused on the Clear Creek Watershed (Iowa). A primary goal of this work is to develop a stronger chemical basis for predicting the soil organic processes interact with landscape level processes and potentially influence the global carbon cycle. I use a combination of field survey and artificial rainfall simulation experiments, and a variety of approaches including analysis of plant biopolymer (e.g. lignin, substitute fatty acid), and stable isotope techniques to investigate these processes.

Jake KastenbauerMr. Jake Kastenbauer, M.S. Student
HAMP 4171

On a broad scale Jake is interested in terrestrial ecology. A biologist at heart and now a biogeochemist by trade, he has begun to examine the dynamic systems of forest soils. He is currently studying how soil microbes breakdown pyrogenic organic matter, partially combusted plant matter, and incorporate it into their own biomass. Using frozen samples he is performing GC-MS and GC-IRMS to investigate how dead microbes may incorporate PyOM into their necromass via amino sugars, common structural components of cell walls.

Corey LaceyCorey G. Lacey, PhD Student
Agronomy and Ecological Sciences and Engineering

Corey Lacey is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in soil fertility and nutrient management at Purdue University a West Lafayette, IN. Corey was raised on a 200 acre, part-time, cow-calf operation in rural Arkansas. He earned his B.S. from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, AR in Environmental, Soil, and Water Science in 2010. He then went on to complete his M.S. in Agronomy from Illinois State University in 2013. Upon completing his master’s degree, Corey worked in the soil fertility industry. Currently, his research focus is using cover crops, as an infield nutrient loss reduction strategy, to improve nitrogen management and use efficiency in Midwest corn-soybean systems. Corey’s research use multiple techniques to investigate soil N dynamics during the cover crop decomposition period.

Gordon MacLeodGordon MacLeod, PhD Student
SMTH 104
Agronomy, Advised by Dr. Timothy Filley (EAPS/Agronomy) and Dr. Doug Richmond (Entomology)

Gordon’s route to biogeochemical research has been a circuitous one through a bachelor degree in Music (Gordon College, Wenham, MA) and service in the National Guard, among other occupations. After completing a second undergraduate degree in Chemistry (Salem State U., Salem, MA), he worked as an environmental lab analyst where he specialized in analyses for soluble contaminants in water and soil (TestAmerica Labs, Nashville, TN). His research interests lie in plant-nutrient dynamics in soil, and how they are affected by non-native species and anthropogenic land use. Gordon’s current project is examining the effect of invasive scarab beetle grub infestation on soil carbon and nitrogen cycles, as well as on soil physical properties.

Lucia ZunigaLucia Zuniga Reynoso, M.S. Student
Ecological Sciences and Engineering
HAMP 4171

Lucia's bachelor's degree is in natural resources and environmental science with concentration in resource conservation and ecological restoration at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is currently studying carbon accumulation in arid irrigated ecoystsem at and potential metals movement with different crops at Arequipa, Peru.

Lab Managers

Dr. Jani SparksDr. Jani Sparks, Stable Isotope Specialist
HAMP 3210

Jani Sparks is the Stable Isotope Specialist for the Purdue Stable Isotope (PSI) Group. She started in the EAPS department during the summer of 2017. Her time is spent operating and maintaining the PSI instrumentation, overseeing lab-specific training, and managing the safety standards for all the PSI lab spaces.

She graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s Geology Department in 2017 with a focus on stable isotope biogeochemistry. During her time at UC, she focused on carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope values in the terrestrial biological systems of Trinidad and Southwest Ohio. Prior to this, she gained a Master’s in Anthropology also from UC and a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University.

Current Visiting Scholars

Ms Xiaoyu PengMs Xiaoyu Peng
Primary Advisor: Prof. Faqi Wu (Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China) 
HAMP 4171

Xiaoyu Peng is a Ph.D. candidate in soil and water conservation at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China. She currently works in the Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML) Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) focused on the Clear Creek Watershed - Iowa. Her work includes measuring the organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon in agricultural soils and analysing the reactivity of deeply buried carbon and the movement of soil due to erosion. 


Undergraduate Technicians

Sara-Diem.pngSara Diem

Sara is a junior at Purdue University studying Biochemistry (ACS) with a focus in chemistry. She is currently working with Post Doc, Martha, on amino sugar extractions from soils. These extractions are then analyzed with GC-MS. Sara is originally from Fort Wayne, IN. After her time here at Purdue, she hopes to pursue a career in industry as a research and development chemist.


Ally-Jacoby.jpgAlly Jacoby

Ally is an undergraduate studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Her research has focused on carbon and metal accumulation in the desert agricultural soils of Arequipa, Peru. She has utilized XRF and VNIR techniques for rapid metal and carbon analysis and is currently working on a soil fractionation to gain a more in-depth understanding of carbon accumulation in this arid system. After graduation, Ally is planning to pursue her Master's degree in Watershed Management.


Kendall-Hoback.jpgKendall Hoback

Kendall is a junior from Georgetown, Indiana majoring in chemistry and minoring crop/soil science. My primary work on the Nexus project is to help with soil fractionation so that carbon content of different particulates can be found.


Past Members and Postdoc Group

  • Dr Christy Gibson, PhD 2017
  • Dr Timothy Berry, PhD 2016
  • Ms Ulyssa Hester, M.S. 2017
  • Ms Olivia Miller, M.S. 2014
  • Dr Sara Top, PhD 2014
  • Dr Nana Wu, (co-advised visiting scholar) PhD 2014
  • Dr Ruzhen Wang, (co-advised visiting scholar) PhD 2015
  • Dr Yuanyuan Li, (co-advised visiting scholar) PhD 2014
  • Dr Courtney Creamer, PhD 2012
  • Dr Katherine Scheiner, MS 2008
  • Mr Keith Cooker, MS 2007
  • Dr Brent Dalzell, PhD 2005
  • Dr Susan Crow, Post Doc 2006-2007
  • Dr Mi-Youn Ahn, Post Doc 2004-2005
  • Dr Karl Dria, Post Doc 2004-2005

Past Visting Scholar Professors, Postdocs, Non Co-advised Students

  • Prof Yun Zhang. EcoPartnership Visiting Scholar in the IML-CZO. Shenyang Agricultural University. September 2014 – October 2015.
  • Prof Na Yu. EcoPartnership Visiting Scholar in the IML-CZO. Shenyang Agricultural University. September 2014 – October 2015.
  • Mr Li Bo. EcoPartnership Visiting Scholar. PhD student, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang. March 2013 – March 2014.
  • Associate Prof Shenjun Qin, EcoPartnership Visiting Professor. Hebei University of Engineering. March 2013 – February 2014.
  • Dr Jennie DeMarco, postdoctoral research associate, Department of Biology at New Mexico State University Summer 2012.
  • Ms Dana Thomas. MS graduate student. Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Summer 2011.
  • Prof Anindya Sarkar, Dept. of Geology IIT Kharagpur, India, Sabbatical Stayin Filley Lab - Feb 2010-Sept 2010.
  • Assoc Prof Joyanto Routh, Dept of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University Stockholm, Sweden, March 10-April 3, 2009.