First Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Ceremony Celebrates Successful Year of Science

  • By:
    Stu Hutson – (352) 273-3569
  • Source:
    Mark McLellan – mrm1@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In science, success is often measured by the amount of knowledge you can contribute toward the betterment of the world. Last year, the researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences published nearly 1,200 peer reviewed journal articles – and that’s just the beginning.

“Whether working on diabetes or deforestation, cellulosic energy or cellular growth, reproductive physiology or Reynolds Numbers – our researchers are true explorers and true discoverers,” said Mark McLellan, IFAS research dean and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, at the inaugural Florida Agricultural Experiment Station awards ceremony April 18 at the Harn Museum on UF’s Gainesville campus.

More than 75 Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers were honored for a year of research that was, in McLellan’s words, “extraordinary, by any measure.”

The recognitions showed the full range of IFAS research, from patents on slow-release fertilizer to complex computerized methods of predicting how drugs will affect human patients.

“As I travel around the state, I have never seen such interest in what IFAS is doing from a research perspective,” said Jimmy Cheek, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “We are investigating areas of research here that are not being explored anywhere else, and that’s a tribute to those here who are willing to lead the way.”

Among those honored for outstanding research accomplishments were six UF Research Foundation Professors, two Richard Jones Outstanding New Faculty Research award winners, two students who’ve earned the Outstanding Dissertation and Thesis awards, IFAS’ two National Academy of Sciences members, six Eminent Scholars, four Distinguished Professors, 10 researchers whose work garnered more than $1 million in grants in 2006-07, more than 30 FAES Research Innovation Grant winners, three plant patent holders and 18 teams of researchers who received utility patents.

The inaugural event included some brand-new awards as well as several recognitions for previous honors, such as IFAS’ Eminent Scholars and NAS members. Among the newer awards are the Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research awards, given to untenured faculty who’ve begun developing a distinguished record of research, and the IFAS Research Innovation awards, which denote FAES-funded projects likely to be successful with large scale national grant applications, high risk projects with potential for spectacular scientific payoff, or projects that need funding to best position them for commercialization.

Among the newer awards:

Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research awards – Mark Brennan, Natalia Peres

Best Doctoral Dissertation – Phillip Aaron Kirkland

Best Master’s Thesis – Caitlin Hicks

Researchers with more than $1 million in grants, fiscal year 2006-2007 – Nayda Torres, Lonnie Ingram, James Jones, Harry Klee, Frank Mazzotti, Wiley Kitchens, William Haller, Robert McGovern, William Overholt, Laurie Trenholm

IFAS Research Innovation awards – Rosemary Barnett, Mark Brennan; Maria Gallo, Christine Chase; Graciela Lorca, Joseph Larkin III; Lena Ma, Max Teplitski, Balasubramanian Rathinasabapathi, Charles Guy; Lisa House, Carmen Carrion-Flores; Cortney Ohs, P. Chris Wilson; Michael Scharf, Xuguo Zhou, Aurelein Tartar, Drion Boucias, William Farmerie, Faith Oi, Marsha Wheeler; Jason Smith, John Davis, Tom Kubisiak, C. Dana Nelson; Gurpal Toor, Amy Shober, Sabine Grunwald, Geoffrey Denny, Christopher Martinez; Xin Zhao, Jeremy Edwards, Eric Simonne, John Scott

Plant patent holders – Ronald Barnett (oat cultivar “Horizon 321,” Triticale cultivar “342”); David Clark (coleus cultivar “Twist and Twirl®”); Craig Chandler (strawberry cultivar “Carmine”)

Utility patent teams – Lonnie Ingram, Shengde Zhou, (Recombinant Hosts Suitable for Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation); Lonnie Ingram, Kazuyoshi Ohta, Brent Wood (Recombinant Cells that Highly Express Chromosomally-Integrated Heterologous Genes); Ahmed Abouzid, Jane Polston, Ernest Hiebert (Materials and Methods for Producing Geminivirus Resistant Plants); Nan-Yao Su (A Semiochemical Reservoir to Attract Subterranean Termites Tunneling in Soil); Larkin Curt Hannah, Joanna Marie-France Cross (Variants of ADP-Glucose Pyrophosphorylase Affecting Phosphate Sensitivity and Other Parameters); David Clark, Holly Loucas, Harry Klee, Kenichi Shibuya (Genetic Elements Conferring Petal-Specific Transgene Expression); Balasubramanian Rathinasabapathi, Suresh Babu Raman (Beta-Alanine N-Methyltransferase); Zhijian Li, Dennis Gray (Nucleotide Sequences of 28 Albumin Gene and its Promoter from Grapes and Uses Thereof); James Cuda, Lewis Long (Materials and Methods for Controlling Pests); Howard Johnson, Prem Subramaniam, Mustafa Mujtaba, Lawrence Flowers (Inhibitors of Autophosphorylation Protein Kinases); David Clark, Kenichi Shibuya (Enhancing the Fragrance of an Article); David Clark, Holly Loucas (Floral Organ Tissue-Specific Expression of Isopentenyl Transferase); James Jawitz (Device and Method for Passively Measuring Fluid and Target Chemical Mass Fluxes in Natural and Constructed Non-Porous Fluid Flow); Howard Johnson (Orally-Administered Interferon-Tau Compositions and Methods); Philip Koehler (Methods for Eliminating Termite Colonies); Larkin Curt Hannah, Thomas Greene (Heat Stable Mutants of Starch Biosynthesis Enzymes); Ann Wilkie (Fixed-Film Anaerobic Digestion of Flushed Manure); Baldwin Torto, Drion Boucias (An In-Hive Trap and Attractant Composition for the Control of the Small Hive Beetle)

Recognition for previously held honors:

National Academy of Sciences members – Robert Cousins, Lonnie Ingram

Eminent Scholars – William Dawson, Andrew Schmitz, Harry Klee, Robert Cousins, Andrew Hanson, Marjorie Hoy

Distinguished Professors – James Jones, Daniel Cantliffe, Ramachandran P-K Nair, Lonnie Ingram

UF Research Foundation Professors – Thomas Frazer, Peter Hansen, Rongling Wu, Murat Balaban, Willie Garner Harris and Yuncong Li

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