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UF/IFAS researchers lauded for scientific study efforts

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences celebrated science at its annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station research awards ceremony, held April 25 at the Harn Museum on campus.

It was the sixth year for the event in which dozens of faculty members and graduate students from around the state of Florida are lauded for their scientific achievements.

UF/IFAS scientists’ work includes such projects as working toward the development of a natural sweetener, the evaluation of sea-level rise and land development’s effects on an endangered mammal and the study of termites’ gut environment as an aid to improved energy production, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“Every day of the year, our researchers are working toward scientific solutions to global problems, as well as those closer to home,” he said.

John Hayes, IFAS dean for research, said since becoming dean last year, he’s been constantly impressed by the quality of work he’s seen.“IFAS scientists are advancing the frontiers of science, and providing critical knowledge to help our communities and industries thrive in the face of an ever-changing world,” he said. “The breadth and creativity of their work is truly incredible.”

Research Professor Emeritus Award

After Paul Lyrene’s retirement in 2009, he stayed on part-time to help ease the transition for his successor. He has since continued his blueberry-breeding work, including sparkleberry – a Florida native, non-commercial berry being introduced to commercial blueberry to obtain its favorable traits.

Graduate Research Awards of Excellence

Best Master’s Thesis: Jason Scott Entsminger, food resource and economics, for “Implications of Developed-Nation Standards Regimes for Agro-Food Trade and Rural Development: Case Investigations of Welfare Impacts in Vegetative Crops.” Jeffrey Burkhardt and John VanSickle co-chaired Entsminger’s supervisory committee.

Best Doctoral Dissertation: Kofikuma Adzewoda Dzotsi, agricultural and biological engineering, for “Rainfall Variability Effects on Aggregated Crop Model Predictions.” Jim Jones chaired Dzotsi’s supervisory committee.

Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award

Vance Whitaker of the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center is the 2013 Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award winner for his work to improve strawberry breeding. His recent work includes development and release of the new strawberry cultivar Winterstar.™

Plant Patents

Brent Harbaugh,  Zhanao Deng, caladium ‘UF 331’; Jose Chaparro, peach tree ‘UFSHARP’; Richard Henny, Jianjun Chen, aglaonema ‘UF-808-4’;  Paul Lyrene, blueberries ‘C97-41’ and ‘C00-09.

Utility Patent: Barry Tillman and Dan Gorbet, peanut ‘UFT113.’

American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Fellows

James Jones, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Karen Koch, Horticultural Sciences, and Lena Ma, Soil and Water Science

National Academy of Sciences

Harry Klee, Horticultural Sciences

Wetland Lifetime Achievement Award

Ramesh Reddy, Soil and Water Science

University of Florida Research Foundation Professors

Fredy Altpeter, Agronomy; David Clark, Environmental Horticulture; Matias Kirst, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Bill Pine, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation; Max Teplitski, Soil and Water Science; Alan Wright, Soil and Water Science

Early Career Scientists

Twenty UF/IFAS researchers were awarded Early Career Scientist “seed funding” to support work that could help shape their careers:

Barry Alto of the Florida Medical Entomology Lab-Vero Beach, for “Effects of larval competition on vectcorial capacity of Dengue vectors,” Stephanie Bohlman of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, for “Modeling species and carbon dynamics of tropical forests at landscapes scales by integrating remote sensing and functional traits,” Randall Cantrell, Family, Youth and Community Sciences, for “Practices for accelerating behavior modification in home occupants through assessment of minor home-conservation measures,” Soonkyu Chung, Food Science and Human Nutrition, for “Effectiveness of ellagic acid on obesity: novel regulation of obesity by epigenetic modification,” Nicolas DiLorenzo, North Florida Research and Education Center-Marianna, for “Effects of chemical treatment of forages with alkali on beef cattle performance and greenhouse gas emission,” John Driver, Animal Sciences, “Natural Killer T (NKT) cell control of pandemic swine influenza infection: A novel pig model,” Robert Fletcher, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, “Large-scale land clearing and oil palm production in Borneo: Biodiversity effects and sustainability strategies,” Salvador Gezan, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, “Improving the output of breeding programs through advanced software for generating optimal experimental designs,” Erica Goss, Plant Pathology, “Understanding the evolution of the potato late blight pathogen in the Andes and its global impact,” Jiri Hulcr, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, “Understanding beetle-fungus symbioses through new technologies,” Kwang Jeong, Animal Sciences, “Underlying mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in cows with uterine diseases,” Christopher Martinez, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “Resolving the Pan Paradox: Using evapotranspiration as an indicator of climate,” Anne Mathews, Food Science and Human Nutrition, “Using media to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in elementary school lunch programs,” Robert McCleery, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, “Biodiversity, ecosystem services and valuation of conservation in the rapidly changing landscapes of Swaziland, Africa,” Eric McLamore, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “PhysChip: a non-invasive biochip technology for physiological sensing in agricultural sciences,” Christine Miller, Entomology and Nematology, “Social networks in an agricultural pest, the squash bug,” Mathews Paret of the North Florida Research and Education Center, for “DNA-Directed metal nanoparticles against plant pathogenic Xanthomonas perforans on tomato,”  Kelly Rice of Microbiology and Cell Science, for “saNOS Regulation of Staphylococcus aureus physiology and virulence,” Stephanie Wohlgemuth of Animal Sciences for “Effect of the gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide on cellular stress responses and its interaction with autophagy,” and Lincoln Zotarelli of Horticultural Sciences for “Alternative irrigation systems for water saving and enhanced fertilizer use efficiency for vegetable crops – an integrated approach.”

High Impact Research Publications

Eight projects were singled out as “high impact” research publications. The UF/IFAS researchers involved include:

Chunxian Chen and Fred Gmitter (Human Health) for “Characterization of Furanocoumarin Profile and Interitance Toward Selection of Low Furanocoumarin Seedless Grapefruit Cultivars”; Rudolf Scheffrahn (Energy Production) for “High-Resolution Analysis of Gut Environment and Bacterial Microbiota Reveals Functional Compartmentation of the Gut in Wood-Feeding Higher Termites”; Robert McCleery, Jennifer Seavey and Susan Cameron Devitt (Ecosystem Health) for “Impacts of a Half Century of Sea-Level Rise and Development on an Endangered Mammal”; Denise Tieman, Peter Bliss, Lauren McIntyre, Adilia Blandon-Ubeda, Dawn Bies, Asli Odabasi, Mark Taylor, Charles Goulet, Melissa Mageroy, Thomas Colquhoun, Howard Moskowitz, David Clark, Charles Sims and Harry Klee (Food Quality) for “The Chemical Interactions Underlying Tomato Flavor Preferences”; Patrick Minogue, Masato Miwa, Donald Rockwood and Cheryl Mackowiak (Water Quality) for “Removal of Nitrogen and Phosphorus by Eucalyptus and Populus at a Tertiary Treated Municipal Wastewater Sprayfield”; Steven MacKenzie and Natalia Peres (Agricultural Sustainability) for “Use of Leaf Wetness and Temperature to Time Fungicide Applications to Control Anthracnose Fruit Rot of Strawberry in Florida”; Laurie Trenholm, Bryan Unruh and Jerry Sartain (Landscape Management) for “Nitrate Leaching and Turf Quality in Established ‘Floratam’ St. Augustinegrass and ‘Empire’ Zoysiagrass” and Luke Flory, Kimberly Lorentz and Lynn Sollenberger (Invasive Plants) for “Experimental Approaches for Evaluating the Invasion Risk of Biofuels Crops.”

IFAS Research: FEAS Awards