Lab Members

Amy Burgin, Ph.D. 2007 Michigan State University, B.A. 2002 Coe College
Amy by stream in scotland
Amy is a proud native Midwesterner, originally hailing from Lacona, Iowa (population 361).  Originally in college, she thought she wanted to go to medical school, but a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in NY (Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies) and NH got her hooked on aquatic ecology.  She also completed a semester abroad in Costa Rica that further convinced her that ecology was a pretty great way to spend your working life.  She graduated from Coe College with a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science.  She then started grad school at Michigan State University at the Kellogg Biological Station under the guidance of Dr. Steve Hamilton.  While the REU experience got Amy’s feet wet in streams, working with Steve Hamilton broadened her aquatic interests to wetland and lake ecosystems.  After her Ph.D., she moved to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in NY to complete postdoctoral work with Dr. Peter Groffman.  Her project there focused on using sensors to measure environmental variables in riparian wetlands.  She was an Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011-2015) and  an Assistant Professor at Wright State University in Dayton, OH (2009-2011).  She joined the University of Kansas (Kansas Biological Survey, Environmental Studies, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Depts.) in January 2016 as an Associate Professor.

Please feel free to drop me a note at: burginam<at>gmail<dot>com

Google Scholar Profile    Research Gate   Burgin_short CV



Burgin Lab, Fall 2017: Grant Daily (U), Richard Nguyen (U), Terry Loecke (co-PI), Amy Burgin (PI), Josh Dutton (U), Emma Overstreet (Lab Manager), Cay Thompson (U), Laura Podzikowski (Ph.D.), and Michelle Kelly (M.S.).



Current Graduate Students

Laura Podzikowski, EEB Ph.D. student

Laura Podzikowski

Laura completed her undergraduate degree at Kalamazoo College and a Master’s at the University of Michigan. She started her Ph.D. at KU in fall 2017 and is developing ideas on how to quantify hot spots and hot moments of biogeochemical activity in wetland soils. Her EEB profile is here:

Michelle Kelly, EEB Master’s student

Michelle Kelly

Michelle completed her B.S. at Michigan Tech University and started her M.S. at KU in fall 2017. Her master’s project will build on her undergrad research experience focused on nitrogen cycling in streams and rivers.  Her EEB profile is here:


Current Undergrads

Josh Dutton


Cay Thompson


Richard Nguyen


Grant Daily

Brandon Kannady




Former Postdoctoral Researchers:

Keunyea Song, Ph.D. 2009, Ewha Women’s University, South Korea


Keunyea at our saline wetland field experiment.


Keunyea is interested in how human activities (e.g. agricultural practice or restoration activity) alter ecosystem functions, with a particular focus on nutrient cycling and water quality. Keunyea’s research interests span the fields of limnology, biogeochemistry, and environmental engineering. In addition to her training in South Korea, Keunyea has worked in OH wetlands, the Everglades (Florida) and the Experimental Lakes Area and urban stormwater ponds in Canada. She finds the temperature in Kansas to be “just right.” Keunyea recently started a position as a stormwater monitor specialist with Washington State.

Research Gate Profile

CV_Keunyea Song_July 2016




Ashley Smyth, Ph.D. 2013, UNC-Chapel Hill

DSC_0182 larger cropped

Ashley in the field in North Carolina (we don’t even comment on the hat in Kansas…)

Ashley joined the lab in July 2016, making the transition from saltwater to freshwater. Ashley is broadly interested in biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology and restoration. Ashley recently completed a David H. Smith Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellowship where she examined the efficacy of using oysters as a water quality management tool. In our lab, Ashley is exploring factors that control greenhouse gas fluxes in wetland ecosystems. Ashley became interested in biogeochemistry as an REU, where she realized the impact of human activities on elemental cycles and that she really enjoys being covered in mud. Ashley started a tenure-track position with the University of Florida in August 2017.



Geraldine Norgao, Postdoctoral Associate, Wright State (2009-2011)

2016-05-22 17.10.24

Current: Électricité de France (EDF), Paris · [Research Gate Profile]

Geraldine worked collaboratively with the Burgin Lab and Hammerschmidt Lab. She is interested in the intersection of biogeochemistry, bioturbation and water quality. We published on how bioturbation affects the relative importance of denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA; Biogeochemistry, 2014) and the effects of alum on water chemistry, particularly in Grand Lake St. Mary’s.



Former KU Undergraduates:

Austin Brewer, KU Undergrad (Sophomore)


I began working in the Burgin Lab in February 2016, shortly after it was established. I am majoring in Biochemistry and hope to gain a lot of research experience while working in the lab. My background in science thus far (from High School science classes and projects) has mainly focused on  phytoremediation using algae. I won local and international awards using this project as a focus. I hope to pursue a career in research after I graduate.



Shawyan Ahmadian, KU Undergrad (Sophomore)

I had always had an interest in the world around me, pursuing science only gave me a greater opportunity to truly understand it. Working under Dr. Burgin has given me the the chance to expand my understanding of aquatic ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and microbial ecology. My initial purpose for going into research was to apply my previously attained skills in the field to produce breakthroughs that would ultimately help our society. By being an undergraduate, I have given myself the time to grow as a scientist and innovator; consequently, I will be able to make great strides in writing and publishing.



Paniz Borzoofard, KU Undergrad (Sophomore)

I am majoring in Biochemistry and Psychology with a Pre-Med focus. I hope to gain experience in the lab and develop skills that will benefit me during medical school. My current research experience has centered around my high school project in which I used celastrol to kill and inhibit colon cancer cell growth. After college I plan to attend medical school and start a career in medicine.


Former University of Nebraska Graduate Students:

Karla Jarecke, M.S. UNL, 2015; Currently Ph.D. student at Oregon State

Karla worked as a technician in our UNL Lab for a year before opting to do her M.S. on linking soil oxygen and greenhouse gas dynamics.  She graduated in May 2015 and published her work in Soil Biology & Biochemistry.

Kaycee Reynolds, M.S. UNL, 2015; Currently at EcoLab in Minneapolis

Kaycee came highly recommended as a graduate of Coe College (Amy’s alma mater). She completed her work using nitrate sensors in Iowa to inform understanding of sampling optimization, which was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Christa Webber, M.S. UNL, 2014; Currently at Northern Natural Gas

Christa Webber’s M.S. focused on understanding alum and fish removal experiments at the Fremont Lakes Recreational Area in Nebraska.

Valerie Schoepfer, M.S. UNL, 2013; Currently Ph.D. student at Southern Cross University

Valerie started her M.S. at Wright State and moved to Nebraska to complete it in 2013.  She worked on understanding iron-sulfur linkages in coastal wetlands experiencing salt water intrusion, which was published in JGR-Biogeosciences.


Former Undergraduates:

Cassie Chicorz, UNL, B.S. Environmental Restoration Science

Ellen Dolph, UNL, B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife

Cain Silvey, UNL Environmental Restoration Major, Dec 2014; Currently a firefighter with the National Forest Service

Katie Schlafke, UNL Natural Resources Major, May 2015; Current M.S. student at South Dakota State

David Moscicki, UNL Fisheries & Wildlife Major, May 2015

Carrie Adkisson, UNL Fisheries and Wildlife, Dec 2014

Dayton Horton, UNL Water Science

Lindsey Potter, UNL Water Science

Adam Buchli, UNL Fisheries and Wildlife, May 2015

Emily Waring, UNL Biosystems Engineering, May 2014

Emily Hoehn, UNL Water Science, May 2014

Alicia Lenners, UNL Environmental Studies, May 2013; Went on to do Peace Corps in Paraguay

Nick Jenkins, UNL Fisheries & Wildlife

Max Gade, UNL Water Science Major, May 2012; M.S. from Syracuse University (2014), currently working in Environmental Consulting

Jocelyn Olney, UNL Biology, May 2012

Sarah Harvey,Wright State Biology, June 2012

Erin Cull, Wright State Biology, June 2012

Melanie Stall, Wright State in Biology, June 2013

Evan Palmer-Young, Cary Inst. REU student and Cornell U. undergraduate, May-August 2008; Currently a Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst

Philip Riekenberg, University of Texas at Austin graduate intern from Jan-Aug 2007; currently a Ph.D. student at Southern Cross University with Bradley Erye.

Erin Payne, Kalamazoo College SIP and REU, 2006 and 2007; currently a Ph.D. student at U. MI

Scott Crowley, Kalamazoo College Senior Individual Project (SIP), 2005