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Carolyn Lowry

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Carolyn joined the Plant Science Department at Penn State in January 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Weed Ecology and Management. Carolyn’s research applies basic ecological knowledge towards improving the functioning and resilience of agroecosystems, largely focusing on managing weedy plants. Carolyn’s current research interests include investigating and predicting the effects that climate change will have on weeds and weed management; as well as understanding how root traits and belowground dynamics influence weed interference and community assembly.

David Long

Research Technologist


David joined the lab in April 2023 and is new to the Weed Ecology program.  He has been a laboratory technician/technologist for the last 18 years working for the University of Florida, the USDA-ARS, and the last 12 years at PSU in the Entomology Department. When he is not working, he enjoys reading, cooking, home improvement projects, worshiping his cat, and he is an unashamed Lego addict.


Emma Rice


PhD Candidate, Ecology Program

Emma is interested in agroecology, belowground root community interactions, and agricultural sustainability. Her research is focused on cover crop and cover crop-weed belowground root functional diversity and its effects on ecosystem services.  Prior to arriving at Penn State, she worked as a Research Associate in a molecular ecology lab at Montana State University and earned a MS in biology at Grand Valley State University. Both experiences allowed Emma to investigate the efficacy of different management strategies on terrestrial and aquatic weed species. In her free time Emma likes to hang out with her cats and get outside to hike, bike, kayak, garden, and travel. 

Katherine Blocklove

PhD Student, Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences 

Katherine studies feedbacks between invasive grasses and the rhizosphere microbiome, and the subsequent influence on plant community composition and soil nutrient cycling. She graduated from Brandeis University with a B.S. in Neuroscience, Biology, and Psychology. With work experience in organic agriculture and community food distribution, Katherine’s aim is to inform how plants influence the Nitrogen cycle so that future crops can be engineered with the ability to enhance their own nutrition. Katherine joined the Lowry Lab in 2022 and is co-advised by Dr. Jesse Lasky in the Biology department at the Huck Institute of Life Sciences, as part of the Root Resiliency Fellowship. In her free time, Katherine enjoys crochet, drawing, and gardening.


Nasib Koirala

PhD Student, Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences 

I come from the plain lands in the mountainous country of Nepal. My current research focuses on understanding how forage crops and associated weeds change their behavior with the changing climate. This could help us to make a strategy to maintain resiliency in the forage cropping system. Before Joining Penn State in 2022, I got my MS in Horticulture and Crop Science from The Ohio State University. I enjoy playing different sports, gardening, trekking, and outdoor activities. 

Kara Eckert

Masters Student, Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences 

Kara is a State College native with a diverse background in domestic and international plant experience. She is driven by a pursuit for sustainability in all aspects of life, but especially in agriculture. At Susquehanna University, she participated in study abroad opportunities in England, Mexico and Puerto Rico where she engaged in various ecological and ethnobotanical programs.  Currently, Kara studies seedbank weed seed mortality and seed-degrading microbes in perennial crop and cover crop systems that could assist with ecological weed management. In her free time, Kara loves hiking and foraging, and when she's not in the woods, you can find her horseback riding and walking her cat. 


Assistant Professor of Weed Ecology and Management


Ashley Isaacson, MS AEPS

Current position: PSU Extension Educator (Dauphin County)

Ashley graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2019 with a B.S. in Crop Sciences with a concentration in Agroecology. She joined the Lowry Lab in the fall of 2020 to study how elevated temperatures projected with climate change could affect weed communities in perennial forages. Additionally, Ashley is interested in developing greater scientific communication skills and learning about how farmers can adapt to a changing climate. Ashley also enjoys reading, trying new recipes, embroidery, and bird watching.

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