Research Urban Horticulture


The urban horticulture research program led by Dr. Genhua Niu, based at the Dallas Center, focuses on developing production and best management practices to address challenges facing the emerging controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry.

Controlled systems for urban agriculture include peri-urban (suburban) greenhouses and indoor vertical farms. Niu's research explores plant production in systems that implement existing and emerging CEA technology at varying degrees.

Plant Factory Second Edition Cover

Plant Factory

The 2019 2ⁿ edition of Dr. Niu and her colleagues' book Plant Factory: An Indoor Vertical Farming System for Efficient Quality Food Production is now available for purchase. Click here or on the image to go to the book's webpage.

Scroll down this page to explore the urban agriculture program. And find a select listing of Dr. Niu's publications as well as links to a comprehensive listing at TAMU Scholars.

Urban Horticulture Team

Dr. Genhua Niu

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Professor, Principal Investigator
Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Dr. Qianwen Zhang

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Postdoctoral Research Associate
Texas A&M AgriLife Research





Dr. Jun Liu

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Postdoctoral Research Associate  
Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Sangjun Jeong

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Graduate Research Assistant
Texas A&M AgriLife Research



Alexandra Syed

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Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Research Areas

plants growing hydroponically in greenhouse

Plants growing hydroponically

Greenhouse crop production in hydroponic systems

Growing conditions such as light, temperature, and humidity fluctuate inside a greenhouse as seasons change. With these changes, crop performance and productivity also vary. Our research aims to address all these variables in developing best management practices for major greenhouse hydroponic production systems. These include nutrient film technique, deep water culture, and ebb and flow among others. Our efforts seek to reduce energy costs, maximize productivity and enhance produce quality.

Indoor Vertical Farming

Unlike in greenhouses, the growing conditions of indoor vertical farms can be controlled precisely without influence from the outdoor climate. Plants in indoor farming systems grow under electric lights without the need for sunlight or soil. Our research in this area focuses on two key aspects: First, we seek to enhance yield and improve the nutritional quality of crops grown in indoor vertical farming systems by manipulating the light, temperature, and root zone nutrient management. Second, we look for opportunities to enhance sustainability and resource-use efficiency. We aim to develop technologies and management practices addressing the efficient use of electricity, water, fertilizers, and other resources.

vertical farming setup inside building

A close-up of the vertical farm salad bar inside Urban Agriculture building at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center at Dallas

Select Publications

Find a complete list of Dr. Genhua Niu's publications at TAMU Scholars.

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