Featuring DRI Scientists


Behind the science with Dr. Casey Schmidt

Meet Dr. Casey Schmidt

Dr. Casey Schmidt is an assistant research professor of biogeochemistry at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev. He specializes in ecological engineering, which is a field of study that combines elements of engineering, ecology and design to help solve environmental problems. Casey holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in soil and water science from the University of Florida, and a B.S. in biology from the University of Washington. He has been a member of the DRI community since 2013, when he moved to Reno with his wife and twin daughters. At present, Casey works remotely from his home on Bainbridge Island, WA. In his free time, he enjoys photography and scuba diving.    Read more about Dr. Casey Schmidt.

Behind the Science with Dr. Mary Cablk

Meet Dr. Mary Cablk

Cablk1 webDr. Mary E. Cablk is an Associate Research Professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev. She specializes in the broad category of “detection,” which includes the use of canines to sniff out targets such as human remains, wildlife, and contraband. She holds a Ph.D. in Forest Resources from Oregon State University, and has been a member of the DRI community since 1999, when she moved to Reno for a postdoctoral position. Mary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Nevada Reno, where she helped to found a forensic anthropology program. She is an Auxiliary Deputy with local sheriff offices, and deploys her own dogs at the request of law enforcement to assist with search and recovery missions. Her current working partner is a Belgian Malinois named Inca, and her last partner, a German Shepherd named Banshee, is retired but lives with her. You can learn more about Mary and her research on her web page: https://www.dri.edu/mary-cablk-research.      Read more about Dr. Mary Cablk.

PI Spotlight: Dr. Clay Cooper

clay cooper sml

Dr. Clay Cooper first became interested in water resources research when he was studying geology for his bachelor’s degree at Northern Arizona University in the 1970s. “At that time, geology was largely a descriptive science, with little understanding of the coupling and feedbacks of the different chemical, physical, and biological processes of an observed phenomenon,” Cooper says. “For example, a geological engineer could estimate a rate of erosion from a hillslope, but that would have been largely intuitive or  based on crude measurements. Hydrology seemed more quantitative and because I enjoyed math and physics, that’s the field I decided to pursue in  graduate school.”  

Postdoc Spotlight: Dr. Hai Pham

dr hai pham

In arid/semiarid regions such as Nevada—where rainfall is scarce and surface water is not available and/or of poor quality—groundwater plays an important role in socioeconomic development. Nevada is facing major groundwater issues, such as groundwater availability, natural and artificial groundwater recharge, and underground storage of hazardous wastes. My research goal is to find new ways to model the Nevada groundwater systems to protect, restore, and promote sustainable groundwater use. 

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