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New faculty profile: Jingyi Huang specializes in soil physics

Jingyi Huang joined the faculty in the Department of Soil Science as an assistant professor in May 2018.

What is your educational/professional background?

I grew up in China and earned my Bachelor’s of Science degree at Central South University in Changsha, China. I got my Master’s and my Ph.D. degrees at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Before joining UW-Madison, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow with a joint-appointment at the The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, both in Sydney, Australia.

How did you get into your field of research?

Inspired by the mystery of electromagnetic induction phenomenon, I started my research career in applying geophysics and sensing technologies in soil and environmental studies.

What are the main goals of your current research program?

My main goals are 1) to use soil sensing technology to improve our fundamental understanding of soil physical processes (e.g. soil water dynamics and nutrient cycles) at various spatial and temporal scales, and 2) to use soil sensing technology to improve our ability to do monitoring, mapping and forecasting of natural resources across Wisconsin and nation-wide for soil management and land conservation.

Just so people know and can help spread the word: I am currently looking for a PhD student for my lab. The position involves conducting state-of-art research activities in an excellent multi-disciplinary environment, including exploring the use of various sensing technologies in soil and water resources monitoring and management.

What attracted you to UW-Madison?

A reputed department of soil science, a large number of diverse agricultural research stations, and an exciting place for conducting research in a multi-disciplinary environment.

What was your first visit to campus like?

My first visit was during the interview for the position. I talked to different people at the university during the 1.5 days and found them very knowledgeable, professional and friendly.

What are you most enjoying so far about working here?

Fabulous people inside and outside my department who have helped me settle in and who have shared their ideas for potential collaboration. My favorite campus spot so far is Lake Mendota in winter, which is very peaceful and idea-intriguing.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.

Definitely. My work focuses on studying soil and water dynamics at various scales, which can be potentially applied to improve our agricultural water use efficiency and reduce nutrient leaching and runoff across the state. I am looking forward to sharing my ideas and expertise in soil sensing and modeling and collaborating with people in CALS and in the university to push the boundary of our understanding of the role of soil in the water-energy-food nexus and help us build a better Wisconsin.

Tell us something interesting about your area of expertise.

I am a soil doctor and I am good at 3-D MRI scans of the soil. If you want to know more about your soil, particularly the stories beneath the ground, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hobbies/other interests?

Hiking and cooking.

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