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UF agricultural engineer Bin Gao wins first Joye Giglia Endowment Award

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Bin Gao, an associate professor with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has been named the first recipient of the Joye Giglia Endowment Award, which recognizes research involving new technologies.

The award was announced in September by John Hayes, dean for UF/IFAS research. Gao will receive $3,000 to support research on improving agricultural and environmental sustainability involving biochar, a form of charcoal that can reclaim nutrients from wastewater, and then release them when spent biochar is applied to agricultural fields.

“We’re extremely pleased to provide this support to Dr. Gao,” Hayes said. “Biochar shows great potential as a water filtration medium and a soil amendment and this work exemplifies the principals of innovation and perseverance that the award is meant to recognize.”

Biochar research is one of Gao’s main interests. Working with colleagues at UF/IFAS and other institutions, Gao has published numerous papers on synthesizing innovative engineered biochars and evaluating their ability to remove nutrients and other contaminants from wastewater.

“It is a great honor. I was very surprised to learn that I’d won,” said Gao, with the UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering department. “Our faculty members are pursuing a great number of important research initiatives and I expected to face tough competition.”

The award was presented for the first time this year and will be presented annually in the future, Hayes said.

The endowment comes via a $100,000 gift from the Lake Region Chapter of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association. The award honors the memory of Joye Giglia, the late wife of former chapter president Frank Giglia.

Contacts:

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Source: Bin Gao, 352-392-1864, ext. 285, bg55@ufl.edu