Rachel Hestrin

Postdoctoral Researcher
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
Email: hestrin1@llnl.gov
Phone: +19254244919


  • MS/PhD, Soil and Crop Sciences, Cornell University, 2018
  • BA, Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 2006

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in plant-microbial interactions, terrestrial biogeochemistry, and ecosystem response to global change. My primary postdoctoral research investigates mycorrhizal resource exchange in bioenergy cropping systems, with a focus on biotic response to drought, hyphosphere microbial community assembly and function, and carbon allocation below ground. I use stable isotopes, multi-omics approaches, and imaging to link biotic activity with ecosystem function.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • 2017 – 2018, DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program Fellowship
  • 2017, Barbara McClintock Graduate Student Award, Cornell University
  • 2016 – 2017, NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program Fellowship in Cross Scale Biogeochemistry and Climate    
  • 2015, Soil Ecology Society Student Travel Award, Soil Ecology Society
  • 2014, MacDonald Musgrave Graduate Student Award for Excellence, Cornell University
  • 2014, CALS Alumni Association Enrichment Program Award, Cornell University                    
  • 2014, Best Poster, Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science Poster Session
  • 2011 – 2016, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship   
  • 2011 – 2013, NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program Fellowship in Food Systems and Poverty Reduction
  • 2006, Parsons Scholarship for Field Research in Geography, UC Berkeley
  • 2004, Postcard Prize for Writing in Geography, UC Berkeley


  1. Krounbi L, Enders A, Anderton C, Engelhard M, Hestrin R, Torres-Rojas D, Dynes J, Lehmann J. (2020) Sequential ammonia and carbon dioxide adsorption on pyrolyzed biomass to recover waste stream nutrients. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 8: 7121-7131; https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c01427
  2. Torres-Rojas D, Hestrin R, Solomon D, Gillespie A, Dynes J, Regier T, Lehmann J (2020) Nitrogen speciation and transformation in fire-derived organic matter. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 276: 170-185; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2020.02.034
  3. Hestrin R, Hammer E, Mueller C, Lehmann J (2019) Synergies between mycorrhizal fungi and soil microbial communities increase plant nitrogen acquisition. Communications Biology 2: 233; https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0481-8
  4. Hestrin R, Torres-Rojas D, Dynes J, Hook J, Regier T, Gillespie A, Smernik R, Lehmann, J (2019) Fire-derived organic matter retains ammonia through covalent bond formation. Nature Communications 10: 664; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08401-z
  5. Zwetsloot M, Lehmann J, Bauerle T, Vanek S, Hestrin R, Nigussie A (2016) Phosphorus availability from bone char in a P-fixing soil influenced by root-mycorrhizae-biochar interactions. Plant and Soil 408: 95-105; https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-016-2905-2
  6. Smith L, Stasiewicz M, Hestrin R, Morales M, Mutiga S, Nelson R (2016) Examining environmental drivers of spatial variability in aflatoxin accumulation in Kenyan maize: Potential utility in risk prediction models. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development 16: 11086-11105; https://doi.org/10.18697/ajfand.75.ILRI09
  7. Wang B, Lehmann J, Hanley K, Hestrin R, Enders A (2016) Ammonium retention by oxidized biochars produced at different pyrolysis temperatures and residence times. RSC Advances 6: 41907-41913; https://doi.org/10.1039/C6RA06419A
  8. Wang B, Lehmann J, Hanley K, Hestrin R, Enders A (2015) Adsorption and desorption of ammonium by maple wood biochar as a function of oxidation and pH. Chemosphere 138: 120-126; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.05.062
  9. Hestrin, R (2013) Review of Beyond the Biophysical: Knowledge, Culture, and Politics in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, by L.A. German, J.J. Ramisch, and R. Verma (Eds.). Agriculture and Human Values 30: 653-654.