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Joseph Albano is new director of UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience, has been appointed director of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida.

The director position entails helping faculty, meeting with colleagues and faculty at other research and education centers around the state, handling administrative matters from UF’s main campus, solving problems and representing the Mid-Florida region of UF/IFAS to customers and stakeholders.

“For me, the job itself was one that I felt I was ready for,” Albano said. “I am excited to lead a team of great faculty and to be able to implement my own ideas and goals and build this center into a place that can better serve our valued customers and stakeholders. We have some really good people here at the Center and I think that one of the joys I look forward to is developing young faculty to be productive and get through the tenure and promotion process.”

Albano has been on the job since January and has engaged in outreach work with the American Floral Endowment and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.

“My goal is to serve industry and urban environments through excellence in teaching, extension and research,” Albano said. “They all have a part to play in teaching the next horticulturists, who will serve our industry through extension and research.”

The Mid-Florida REC specializes in many areas including:

  • Biological control of arthropods, pests and weeds through introduction of natural enemies to reduce dependence on chemicals.
  • Technical and economical efficiencies of producing and marketing environmental plants.
  • Characterization and control of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce’s Disease), which causes death of grapes and environmental ornamentals.
  • Ecology and control of chironomid midges (blind mosquitoes) in Florida’s lakes and ponds.
  • Effects of production systems and cultural care on establishment, under varying conditions, of plants in the landscape.
  • Introduction and evaluation of new ornamental crops to Florida.
  • Development of best management practices for ornamental crops to benefit producers, consumers and the environment.
  • Quantification and modeling of water use of woody shrubs and trees for development of precision irrigation in nursery production.

Before accepting this position, Albano worked as the research programs director at the Horticultural Research Institute and as a research horticulturist at the USDA Agricultural Research Services’ Horticulture Research Laboratory, focusing on plant nutrition and water quality in ornamental crops and citrus.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University-Fresno in agricultural science. He also earned a master’s degree in horticulture and a doctorate in plant physiology, both from Clemson University. Albano is from Tampa, where he began his work in horticulture on a vineyard and winery located in Pasco County. He then attended UF for a year, where he completed an internship at the Leesburg Research Center, studying nutrient deficiencies in grapes.

Michael Gutter

Dr. Joseph Albano