People

Principle Investigator

Rebecca Neumann

Becca joined the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington in the summer of 2011. Prior to this, she was a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University where she studied how plant roots and soil conditions modulate the amount of water moved through the landscape. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a thesis project focused on understanding one of the major human health problems in Bangladesh: arsenic contaminated groundwater. Prior to graduate school, Rebecca worked as an environmental engineering consultant for EG&G Technical Services, and received her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and B.A. in Art and Art History from Rice University. Outside of work, Becca enjoys hiking, biking and rock climbing with her two kids and husband.
Contact: Email Phone: (206) 221-2298 Office: Wilcox 168


Postdoctoral Researchers

Javier Espeleta

Javier Espeleta joined the Neumann lab in January 2013 as a visiting scholar from Costa Rica with the goal of studying how plant hydraulic redistribution interacts with soil carbon and nutrient cycling. He is currently working in rhizosphere-scale modeling but will ultimate connect with larger-scale work currently undertaken by project collaborators. Javier obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, a M.Sc. from the University of Florida, and B.Sc. and Lic. degrees from the University of Costa Rica. His main research area is plant ecophysiology, primarily the study of plant roots and the interactions with ecosystem processes. Prior to his move to Seattle, Javier worked in research and science coordination for different institutions of the US and Costa Rica, and in diverse ecosystems, such as temperate grasslands and forests, deserts and tropical rainforests. He served as associate science director and research assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 EarthSciences and as postdoctoral researcher for the University of Minnesota, Florida International University and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. In Costa Rica, he worked at EARTH University, La Selva Biological Station and the Tropical Science Center. Javier also collaborates with efforts in climate change education and outreach. Outside of work, Javier likes to hike, play soccer and run, and also support the sport and academic activities of his two kids and wife.
Contact: Email


Colby Moorberg

Colby Moorberg is a soil scientist that joined the Neumann lab as a postdoctoral researcher in January of 2014. His education includes a BS in environmental science from Iowa State University in 2008, a MS in soil science from North Carolina State University in 2010, and a Ph.D. in soil science also from North Carolina State University in 2014. His graduate research focused phosphorus release from wetlands restored from row crop agriculture, and included root studies at the greenhouse and field scales, and a phosphorus balance for a restored Carolina Bay wetland. Colby’s research with the Neumann lab focuses the effect of plant roots on methane oxidation in boreal wetlands in Alaska. In his free time Colby and his wife, Stacy enjoy cycling, as well as hiking and camping with their two beagles.
Contact: Email


Graduate Students

Lara Pracht

Lara Pracht received her B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2010 at the University of Kansas. While there, she was actively involved in Engineers Without Borders, traveling abroad to Andean communities in Bolivia to work on engineering projects. Her research at UW is focused on understanding the effects of altering groundwater flow patterns on groundwater arsenic concentrations in Bangladesh. Outside of school, Lara enjoys reading, traveling, and music.
Contact: Email




Farnaz Aslkhodapasand

Farnaz received her B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2012 from Sharif University of Technology in Terhan, Iran. Her research is focused on modeling methane production and methane oxidation in wetlands, at both the root-scale and landscape scale.
Contact: Email






Nick Waldo

Nick received his A.B. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Harvard University in 2013, where he conducted research in ultrasound water purification. Before coming to the University of Washington, he was a research assistant at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution working on paleotempestology. At UW, Nick is researching the effects of plant roots on soil oxidation in wetlands and the corresponding effects on methane emissions. While away from research, Nick enjoys hiking, skiing, climbing and any other excuse to be outdoors with his wife.
Contact: Email





Undergraduate Students

Joe Ellingson

Joe Ellingson is in the senior year of his B.S. in Civil Engineering. He joined the lab during spring 2013 and now works as an assistant on multiple research projects in the lab. Joe spends his time outside of school backpacking, rock climbing and playing guitar.
Contact: Email





Bobby Ardissono

Bobby is a rising sophomore working towards a B.S. in Civil Engineering who joined the lab in the winter of 2014. Outside of the lab and school, Bobby works as a ski instructor and enjoys hiking, running,​ and mountain biking.
Contact: Email





Former Group Members

Jen Levye

Jen is a former research technician for the Neumann Lab. She is now an PhD student at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Outside of work, Jen enjoys hiking and camping, baking, and boardgames with friends.






Alex Fussell

Alex worked in the Neumann lab as an undergraduate researcher during the 2011-2012 academic year. She is now employed as an environmental engineer in a local engineering firm. Alex is an avid ultimate frisbee player and a member of the Washington women's team, Element Ultimate, and enjoys rock climbing, running and taking advantage of Seattle's rare but beautiful sunny days.






Hunter Brown

Hunter Brown received his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2013. He worked in the Neumann lab as a research assistant during his senior year of undergrad and for an additional six months post graduation. While here, he focused on the design and construction of sediment test columns, as well as calculating experiment parameters, to analyze the capacity and removal mechanisms of a PRB, to remove arsenic from contaminated groundwater. Outside of work Hunter enjoys slacklining and biking around Seattle, hiking, wildcrafting, stacking rocks, and rock climbing.