Dr. Zhuping Sheng has been named director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center-El Paso, effective Sept. 1.
Sheng joined the center in April 2001 and is a professor of agricultural engineering with AgriLife Research.
“Dr. Sheng’s expertise in agricultural engineering and water along with his proven leadership ability make him an excellent choice for guiding the El Paso center’s research efforts,” said Dr. Craig Nessler, AgriLife Research director, College Station.
According to AgriLife Research, the mission of the El Paso center is to lead and conduct innovative water, natural resources and environmental research to serve the needs of Far West Texas and the state.
“Among the most important needs for agricultural and urban residents in this region are reliable, adequate and safe water supplies. A border population of more than 2 million, rapid growth, competition for existing water, environmental issues and frequent drought underscore the urgency for finding and implementing effective solutions,” the agency notes.
Sheng plans to make capacity building and service to stakeholders with innovative research a high priority.
“I am looking forward to enhancing the center’s capacity by hiring new faculty and encouraging all of our scientists to participate in more regional collaborative research projects,” he said. “We will work with federal and state agencies and regional entities to identify and address the needs and then provide them the latest research data and information for decision-making.”
Sheng is a registered professional engineer in Texas and a certified professional hydrologist. His passion is the exploration of “alternative, sustainable water sources in arid and semi-arid regions in Texas and around the world.”
At El Paso, Sheng has led the multistate and international development of the U.S.-Mexico transboundary water resources assessment program, development of a coordinated water resources database and geographic information systems website, and development of surface and groundwater models being used for protection of water quality and extension of the useful “life” of stressed aquifers.
He also conducts multidisciplinary research on river operations and salinity management based on understanding the interaction of human activities and the hydrologic processes, and works with regional stakeholders as well as researchers on mitigating climate variability impacts.
Sheng has served and chaired several technical committees including the National Research Council of National Academy of Science and the National Science Foundation Panel. He is currently serving as vice president of the American Institute of Hydrology. He is also past president of the Association of Overseas Chinese Agricultural, Biological and Food Engineers.
He earned his doctoral degree in hydrogeology/hydrology from the University of Nevada-Reno, master of science degree in engineering geology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences-Beijing, and bachelor of engineering degree in hydrogeology/engineering geology from Tongji University, Shanghai, China.