Inna Popova, UW soil contamination researcher, receives new Leo M. Walsh Faculty Fellow Award

Inna Popova, assistant professor in the UW–Madison Department of Soil Science, has been selected to receive the inaugural Leo M. Walsh Faculty Fellow Award. The appointment starts on July 1, 2023 and runs for five years.

The new award was established by Leo M. Walsh, dean emeritus of the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Walsh joined the Department of Soil Science in 1959, where his research and extension career focused on soil fertility and soil chemistry. He served as chair of the department from 1973-1979, until being named dean of CALS in 1979. Among other accolades, he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the college’s Distinguished Service Award.

With this new fellowship, Walsh aims to recognize and reward promising young faculty in the Department of Soil Science, and provide financial support that will enable them to explore their new ideas and do the foundational research needed to receive competitive grant funding.

“Leo has had an exemplary career in soil science and leadership, and this award is of great help to our growing number of new faculty,” says Alfred Hartemink, professor and chair of the Department of Soil Science. “We grow by his gift.”

Popova, who joined UW in October 2022, focuses on environmental soil chemistry. The goal of her research program is to understand the impact of synthetic chemicals on natural and agricultural ecosystems, including legacy contaminants as well as emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals in soils of urban and agricultural areas. Her innovative programs investigate how soils adapt to contaminant pressure and what mechanisms are involved in that response.