Silvia Elena Newell, Ph.D.

Biological Sciences

Professor Newell has a Ph.D. in Geosciences from Princeton University.  Her dissertation focused on biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in low-oxygen marine environments in Chesapeake Bay and the Arabian Sea.  For her post-doctoral work, first at Princeton and then at Boston University, she continued her exploration of the nitrogen cycle in the Sargasso Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and Cape Cod.  Currently, her work at Wright State focuses on hypereutrophic Lake Taihu in China, Lake Erie, and Ohio waterways.

Professor Newell is interested in the interactions between global climate change, gross human perturbation of the nitrogen cycle, and subsequent changes in ecosystem function.  Her research combines molecular biology and biogeochemical techniques.  This interdisciplinary approach creates new ways to probe one of the most critical questions in ecosystem ecology: What are the feedbacks governing how the nitrogen cycle interacts with Earth’s changing climate? The goal of her research is to make fine-scale measurements of microbially-mediated nitrogen transformations and scale those rates to understand nitrogen inputs and losses at the ecosystem level.  The Newell Lab focuses on rates of nitrogen transformations (nitrogen fixation, nitrification, anammox, and denitrification) and the relationship between those rates and the diversity and abundance of functional genes, which control key steps of each process.


(Photo credit: Nate Christopher at Fondreist Environmental)


Fall Semester

  • EES 4330/6330 Global Biogeochemical Cycles
  • EES 4780/6780 Environmental Sciences Seminar

Students Advised

Justyna Hampel, MS Candidate (2016)

Lee Slone, MS Candidate (2016)

Daniel Hoffman, Ph.D. Student (started Summer 2015)

Ashlynn Boedecker, MS Candidate (2017)

Erica Strope, Senior Thesis (2016)



Is this you? Log in to update your profile.