Biological & Environmental Engineering
Soil & Water Lab
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Srabani Das (Goswami)

Phone: 607-255-4992
Office: B62 Riley Robb Hall
Advisor: Michael F. Walter
Degree Program: PhD


I have grown up and worked for several years in India, before coming to Rochester, NY in 2007. I graduated with a Masters in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India and another in Life Sciences from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. After completing a semester at Cornell University, I took leave for few years and am back from Fall 2011 as a fulltime PhD student and a fulltime mother of two wonderful kids. At Cornell, I also work as a Teaching Assistant for the Biology course BioG1105-1106 since 2011.
In India, as a part of the WWF-CGIAR (World Wildlife Fund-Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) 'Dialogue on Water, Food and Environment', I have coordinated a project aimed to streamline civil society processes for development of sustainable water projects in India. As a research consultant for the International Water Management Institute, I have developed assessment procedures for determining ecological status of Indian River basins. I have been a British-Chevening Environmental Fellow at the University of Wales Bangor, UK and have taught Environmental Studies and Environmental Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology as an Adjunct Faculty.

My Current Projects and Interests

Sustainability of Perennial Grass Bioenergy Crops on New York Landscapes

In New York State (NYS), perennial grasses have immense potential as a source for cellulosic ethanol, combined heat and power generation and direct combustion. In order to develop a sustainable bioenergy program on marginal lands of NYS it is important to determine potential soil quality and soil organic carbon (SOC) improvements from perennial grass feedstocks. The focus of my research is to explore the relationship between soil aggregation and SOC forms, examining the physical, chemical and biological soil characteristics of the wet and more poorly drained marginal soils at four different field sites. The variables being used are soil texture, depth, and moisture, plant species with C4 and C3 photosynthetic pathways (Switchgrass and Reed Canarygrass respectively), nitrogen fertilization and age of stands.


My exciting/enriching experiences at work include an opportunity to brief the Standing Committee of Water Resources, Parliament of India on the potential environmental impacts from the proposed Interlinking of Rivers program, visiting the mighty Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls and interactions with people from the poorest regions of Central India.