Graduate Students

Samuel Janofsky

I am a first year PhD. candidate working with Dr. Jackson Gross and joined the program because of my interest in developing sustainable practices for commercial aquaculture production. These include effluent and nutrient reutilization, the implementation of modern reproduction techniques, and the development of new aquaculture species, particularly Sacramento Perch. I have a B.S. in Fisheries Biology from Humboldt State University where I was involved in aquaponics with White Sturgeon.

My background in fisheries biology allows me to take a conservationist approach to the accelerating growth of the aquaculture industry. It is my strong belief that sustainable practices must be profitable to the private sector in order to achieve incorporation and produce significant production at low to no environmental cost. As such, all of my research interests have been formed with this central tenant in mind. I am thrilled to be contributing to a legacy of aquaculture and environmental research at UC Davis.


Geoffrey Mangalam

I am a fifth year undergraduate student majoring in Sustainable  Agriculture and Food Systems. My main interests lie in greenhouse production as well as other decentralized food systems such as community gardens, edible landscapes, and CSAs.

I currently work with Doctor Gross on conducting administrative tasks such as purchasing, meeting scheduling, and website maintenance. In addition, I am assisting in the design and construction of a research-focused decoupled aquaponics system at UC Davis West Campus. I also currently work at the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS), where in my first year at UC Davis I helped conduct an assessment of Zoonotic risks (Salmonella enterica) in aquaponic lettuce production. This research will hopefully contribute to the establishment of Good Agricultural Practices for aquaponics.

Devon Maddex

I am a third-year undergraduate Animal Science major with a pre-veterinary focus. My areas of interest are pretty broad and revolve around animal science, but I am really fascinated by exotic animals and wildlife. 

Dr. Gross has introduced me to the environmental and conservation side of animal science which has influenced the topics I want to research. My current research with Dr. Gross involves fish progenitor germ cells with the goal of learning more about their functions and the potentials for bioengineering. This technology has countless applications, but we will be primarily working on implanting progenitor germ cells of one fish species into a surrogate in efforts to conserve fish populations, re-establish endangered species, or increase aquaculture production.

Alexes Juarez

My general interest is conservation ecology  within the scope of climate change.  I am just beginning my third year as an undergraduate in the Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity major and would like to go to graduate school and focus my research on invasive species. My current project with Dr. Gross is to develop detection methodology for pathogens (Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus) within a Giant Keyhole Limpet culture system. In particular, we are working with a private company who is developing culture techniques to grow and produce limpets and maximize KLH (keyhole limpet hemocyanin) levels within their animals. KLH is an area of interest because it is a carrier protein for cancer vaccines. Since KLH does not create an immune response in patients, it is being researched for its pharmaceutical potential in human health such as breast and bladder cancers, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and cutaneous melanoma.



Kellen Parrish

My research is focused on determining sustainable methods for recycling water and recapturing aquaculture solid wastes to repurpose them as fertilizers. I currently work on a large aquaculture farm in California’s Central Valley where we are evaluating the feasibility of different waste and water recovery methods from aquaculture effluent.

I focus on the utilization of aquaculture effluents because they carry valuable nutrients that can be utilized elsewhere in food production streams. This research is applicable on a global scale with aquaculture and I’m interested in developing the concept of aquaculture as an agricultural system with two outputs, fertilizer and animal products.  From here, the models developed for different systems can be scaled up, down or modified depending on the resource constraints of a given area. As aquaculture continues to grow, so will its waste outputs than can be converted from liability to asset with a little bit of planning and design!