Morgan Irons

Soil & Crop Sciences


Morgan A. Irons (she/her/they/them) is a Soil and Crop Sciences Ph.D. candidate in the Lehmann Lab at Cornell University, where her research focuses on microbial-adhesion mechanisms and organo-mineral, organo-organic interactions in soil aggregates and their effects on soil organic carbon persistence under Earth gravity and varying gravity conditions. Irons is also a Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Deep Space Ecology, Inc., an agriculture and space business startup working on the challenges of food insecurity and human sustainability in the deep spaces of Earth, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Irons’ academic and industry research has led to the Terraform Sustainability Assessment Framework for bioregenerative life support systems, the development of the quasi-closed agroecological system model for extreme environment habitation, soil management methodology for degraded regolith conditions, and the experimentation of gravity mechanisms for natural Earth soils and biochar growth media on the International Space Station and on a Blue Origin mission. Irons is a 2022 Schmittau-Novak Small Grant awardee, a 2022 Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability Graduate Research Fellow, a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a Carl Sagan Institute Fellow, a Norfolk Institute Fellow, a Hubbard Brook Young Voices of Science alum, the 2019 Ken Souza Memorial Spaceflight Award recipient, a 2017 Brooke Owens Fellow, and a 2017 Human of the Year recipient from Motherboard VICE Media. She received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Environmental Science & Policy and Biology from Duke University with a minor in chemistry.