Eli's research interests includes plant physiology and ecology, climate change, and its effects on agriculture among many others. He did his Ph.D at UC Davis in Ecology. His graduate work centered on the effects of land use change on soil C dynamics in vineyards and oak woodlands in Napa Valley.
As a postdoc, Eli worked with Arnold Bloom on how plants respond to different forms of inorganic nitrogen under elevated CO2 concentrations. He also looked at the 15N discrimination of different forms (plant, fungal, and bacterial) of nitrate reductase.
He finished up his postdoc time with Louise Jackson working on a project examining how different genotypes of processing tomato respond to different types of deficit irrigation. In particular, this project is focused on understanding what traits or suites of traits might increase the capability of tomatoes to perform well under deficit irrigation. This was accomplished by using introgression lines (ILs) in which processing tomatoes have been crossed with wild tomato species to produce genotypes homozygous for a very small chromosomal region of the wild species against a background of the cultivated tomato.