UF/IFAS Animal Sciences’ Mentor Month: Antonio Faciola

January is National Mentoring Month! This month serves as a time to recognize the many faculty members, like Antonio Faciola, UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences (ANS) Associate Professor, who serve as mentors to our graduate and undergraduate students. These individuals have a significant influence on students’ experience before and after graduation.   

Faciola oversees eight graduate students in the Faciola Lab focused on livestock nutrition. He currently teaches two graduate courses, one undergraduate course, and organizes a study-abroad program. Faciola advises both graduate and undergraduate students through his roles as Graduate Coordinator, advisor for the Ruminant Nutrition Journal Club, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Honors Program in Animal Sciences coordinator.  

Mikayla Johnson completed her master’s thesis, “Effects of trace mineral and diet type on ruminal fermentation, mineral solubility, digestibility, N utilization and the ruminal microbiome,” under Faciola in 2022. Johnson is continuing her academic career under Faciola’s mentorship with her Ph.D. program. She said Faciola inspires his students to work hard and explore opportunities for professional development while also showing compassion for them. 

Faciola with his graduate students during the 2022 UF Animal Sciences Graduate Symposium.

“He does this by always prioritizing their mental health and consistently doing anything in his power to make sure they are well taken care of.,” said Johnson. “He always makes sure that all of his students have the tools that they need to be successful academically and professionally.”

Efstathios Sarmikasoglou, another Ph.D. student under Faciola, has worked with him for four years. He has been studying the ruminal bacteria associated with acidosis. Under Faciola’s mentorship, Sarmikasoglou has developed critical thinking skills that aid him in an independent research role.  

Faciola (red shirt) with graduate students at a lab lunch.

“Dr. Faciola allowed for autonomy when it came to the projects I worked on during my experience as his mentee,” said Sarmikasoglou.  

Faciola is known to have a hands-off approach with his graduate students. He states Faciola’s mentorship has pushed Sarmikasoglou to be inquisitive and think outside of the box. Through Faciola’s mentorship, Sarmikasoglou has published four research papers over the past two years. 

Faciola hosted his graduate and undergraduate research students at his home.

“He’s been supportive in the sense that he welcomed my ideas of integrating novel techniques while exploring my research interests,” said Sarmikasoglou.  

To connect with Dr. Antonio Faciola or learn more about him, visit his faculty profile on the ANS website.

Find more information about the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences events on our website. Stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Any questions or inquiries regarding this piece should be directed toward Shelby Thomas at soesterreicher@ufl.edu. Read more stories like this one here: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/animalsciencesdept/. 


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Posted: January 31, 2023

Category: Agriculture, , UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Advising, Animal Research, Animal Science, Graduate, Mentor, UF Animal Sciences, Undergraduate

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