Nithya Rajan, Ph.D., has been named director of the Center for Greenhouse Gas Management in Agriculture and Forestry, Bryan-College Station — an organization established in February 2023 by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M University.
Rajan is a professor of agronomy and agroecology in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Her lab performs basic and applied research into developing climate-smart agricultural management practices that help increase agricultural systems’ resilience, profitability, sustainability and security.
The center brings together expertise across Texas A&M to advance the abilities of agriculture and forestry systems to meet a new paradigm of safe, affordable food and fiber production that also strives toward a minimal carbon footprint, with a goal of net-zero emissions.
“I am thrilled to step into this important role,” Rajan said. “We are dedicated to not only advancing research but also actively serving producers and policymakers, positioning us as leaders in greenhouse gas management and awareness.”
Rajan earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Kerala Agricultural University and master’s degree in soil science from A.N.G.R. Agricultural University in India. She earned her doctoral degree in agronomy from Texas Tech University.
Leading global carbon emission research and education
G. Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research, Bryan-College Station, stressed the importance of the center’s role in advancing research and education on greenhouse gas management.
“While there is much work to be done, agriculture can play a significant role in helping manage greenhouse gases,” Lamb said. “Dr. Rajan’s arrival as director is a major step toward realizing these goals and furthering the strategic priorities of AgriLife Research to pioneer knowledge that nourishes health, strengthens communities, protects natural resources and supports economies.”
Formation of the Greenhouse Gas Center in February included a $5 million endowment from the Hood Family Foundation of California.
“Our experience and influence across all life sciences put Texas A&M AgriLife at the center of new discoveries, technologies and emerging practices,” Lamb said.
Next steps for the center
The center will focus on strengthening ongoing research in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration. Rajan and Lamb said they foresee the center obtaining increased funding from grants, contracts and endowments. The center will also work to garner increased visibility for related initiatives to bolster collaborations across Texas, the U.S. and the world.
With Rajan’s acceptance of the director’s position, the Center for Greenhouse Gas Management will establish internal and external advisory boards. They will generate strategies for the specific multidisciplinary collaborations that will be undertaken by the center.
Rajan said that as the Center for Greenhouse Gas Management embarks on its journey, it is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of agriculture and forestry systems towards sustainability and resilience while addressing the global challenge of greenhouse gas emissions.
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Author: Gabe Saldana