Scientists lauded in second annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ceremony

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida horticultural sciences researcher Paul Lyrene struggled as he worked to keep a grasp on five plaques given to him to mark five plant patents for blueberry cultivars he created.

“I think I won the most pounds of awards,” he joked as the second annual UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment Station awards ceremony ended Tuesday evening at the Harn Museum of Art.

Lyrene, one of more than 65 researchers honored, said he believes the ceremony helps scientists learn what their peers across campus-and often, the state-are up to.

Mark McLellan, IFAS research dean and FAES director, thanked the researchers for their dedication and hard work.

“It is time to salute some exceptional researchers for their passion … for their search and discovery of new ideas, and their intensity to create solutions-solutions for our lives,” he said during the ceremony.

UF President Bernie Machen also addressed the scientists, noting that it was a refreshing change to focus on research accomplishments rather than tight budgets.

“The times we’re facing are indeed challenging, and sometimes we can get lost in the morass,” he said. “This last hour helps bring us right back to why we’re here … solving the problems of our world.”

Among those noted for their accomplishments were more than 35 IFAS Research Innovation Award winners, two Award of Excellence for Graduate Research winners, six UF Research Foundation Professors, two Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award winners, eight researchers whose work drew more than $1 million in grants in 2007-08, five plant patent holders and two teams of researchers that received utility patents.

The award winners included:

Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Awards-Matias Kirst, Kati Migliaccio

Best Doctoral Dissertation-Jennifer Zaspel; Adviser, Marc Branham

Best Master’s Thesis-Daniela Dutra; Adviser, Michael Kane

Researchers with more than $1 million in grants, fiscal year 2007-08-Kelly Morgan, Maurice Marshall, Frank Mazzotti, James Jones, Michael Dukes, Frederick Gmitter, Lonnie Ingram, Carrie Harmon

IFAS Research Innovation Awards-Patrick Inglett, Stephen Opsahl, James Jawitz, Alan Covich; Claudio Gonzalez, Byung-Ho Kang, Joseph Larkin III; Paul Fisher, Bruce Welt, Ernesto Fonseca; Arthur Berg, Melanie Correll, Rongling Wu, Kenneth Boote, C. Eduardo Vallejos, James Jones; Don Rockwood, Jude Grosser, Matias Kirst, J.Y. Zhu; Bin Gao, Pratap Pullammanappallil, James Jones, Nicholas Comerford; Glenn Israel, Brian Myers; Anita Wright, Mitchell Knutson; Amr Abd-Elrahman, Ahmed Mohamed, Michael Andreu, Gurpal Toor, Scot Smith; William Overholt, James Cuda, Dean Williams; Sanjay Shukla, Robert Gilbert, Zane Helsel, Lonnie Ingram, Kelly Morgan

UF Research Foundation Professors-Jeffrey Brecht, Nicholas Comerford, Jesse Gregory, Jeffrey Jones, Gary Peter, James Syvertsen

Plant patent holders-Paul Lyrene (blueberry cultivars Snowchaser, FLX-2, FLX-1, Farthing, Scintilla); Brian Scully (zoysiagrass cultivar BA-305); Ronald Barnett (oat cultivar Trophy, rye cultivar AGS 104); Daniel Gorbet, Barry Tillman (peanut cultivar Florida-07)

Utility patent teams-Julie Maupin-Furlow, Lee Ann Talarico Blalock, Lonnie Ingram (Cloning and Sequencing of Pyruvate Decarboxylase Genes from Bacteria and Uses Thereof); Dennis Gray, Richard Litz (Selection of Fungal Resistant Grape Somatic Embryos)

Writer:  Mickie Anderson mickiea@ufl.edu

Photo cutline:

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Dean for Research Mark McLellan, genetics researcher Matias Kirst and University of Florida President Bernie Machen watch a video outlining Kirst’s work at the second annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station awards ceremony Tuesday evening at the Harn Museum of Art. Kirst, one of more than 65 scientists honored at the event, received the Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award. Photo by Tyler Jones.