Dr. Simmons completed his PhD in Biological System Engineering in 2011 at the University of California, Davis. He went on to work as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis and the Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute, where he studied deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass in soil and compost systems for biofuel and agriculture applications. In 2013, Dr. Simmons joined the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.
Dr. Simmons' research focuses on food system sustainability and sustainable management of agricultural and food processing wastes. Much of this work involves developing methods to transform such wastes into beneficial soil amendments that can improve soil quality, fertility, and pest management to displace use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Currently, Dr. Simmons is working to quantify the reduction in environmental and human health risks associated with using these practices in lieu of conventional soil fumigants.