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Dr. Joel L. Cuello

Professor of Biosystems Engineering, University of Arizona

Biography

Joel L. Cuello Ph.D, is a Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Director of the Global Initiative for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands (GISAD) at The University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

A globally recognized expert in the engineering of sustainable biological and agricultural systems, his technical expertise in both engineering and biology provides the platform for engineering designs in various agricultural and biological systems with emphasis on optimizing biological and agricultural productivities while fostering resource sustainability and environmental protection.

Prof. Cuello has designed, constructed and implemented varied types of engineered agricultural or biological systems, including those applied in bioregenerative space life support, crop hydroponics, plant tissue culture, micropropagation, industrial mass production of algae and plant cell and microbial cultures for production of biomass, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, etc. He is the Principal Inventor of the patented algae photobioreactor series -- the Accordion photobioreactors -- and is the creator of the Minimally Structured, Modular and Prefabricated Vertical Farm design (the Vertical Greenbox® Solution) that is considered an archetypal design for Vertical Farming 2.0.

Prof. Cuello conducted his postdoctoral research in the Controlled Ecological Life Support System Division at NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida as a U.S. National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate. He earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural & Biological Engineering, with Minor in Chemical Engineering, from The Pennsylvania State University in 1994. He also earned two M.S. degrees (Agricultural & Biological Engineering;  Plant Physiology) from The Pennsylvania State University. He obtained his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. He is a lifetime Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China and a Faculty Fellow at the Innovation Center of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

Prof. Cuello has published over 50 refereed journal publications and 11 book chapters, and has delivered over 200 professional presentations around the world. As major advisor, he has graduated 26 Ph.D. and M.S. students, and has mentored three postdoctoral research associates, five international visiting Ph.D. candidates and 10 international visiting scientists and professors. Prof. Cuello has lectured and has been invited as Guest or Keynote Speaker around the world, including in Brazil, China, South Korea, Israel, Palestine, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, India, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

He is an active member of a number of scientific and professional societies, having served as officer of technical committees for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the Institute of Biological Engineering (IBE). He recently served as President of the Arizona Chapter of the ASABE. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Biopharmia, LLC based in Oslo Norway, C-Trade based in Tucson, Arizona, and has also done so for companies based in India and Africa.

He has developed and currently teaches the courses “Globalization, Sustainability and Innovation” and “Engineered Sustainable Solutions in the Food, Water, Energy Nexus” at The University of Arizona.

Prof. Cuello has been inducted as member of three U.S. professional honor societies, including the U.S. Honor Society of Agriculture, the U.S. Honor Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and the U.S. National Honor Society of Engineering. He was elected to the Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering in 2012, and was the 2012 Recipient of the Excellence in Global Education Award by The University of Arizona’s Global Initiative Program. Prof. Cuello is a 2015 Recipient of the Tech Launch Arizona I-Squared (Innovation and Impact) Award for his innovative work on various algae production systems. He was also elected as Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Science and Technology – Philippines in 2016.