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UF/IFAS Research Awards Ceremony Honors Accomplishments, Mentorship

Sixty-three faculty, staff and graduate students from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) were recognized at the 12th Annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Research Awards Ceremony on Thursday.

Robert Gilbert, the new UF/IFAS dean for research, presided over the ceremony.

“One of the priorities throughout my career has been investing time and resources into mentoring early career faculty and students,” Gilbert said. “I am thrilled to join an administration that already focuses on that very objective. Many of our internally sponsored programs have built-in mentorship components, and our faculty excel in that capacity.”

The theme of “mentoring the next generation” was sprinkled throughout the evening. Four of the programs highlighted in the pre-ceremony poster session and opening video included: The Summer Research Internship Program, the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station Jumpstart Awards, the Early Career Scientist Seed Grants and the Travel Awards for Research Grant EnhancemenT (TARGET).

A new award was announced to acknowledge the exceptional achievements faculty are making internationally. Gerrit Hoogenboom and Keith Diem received the 2019 UF/IFAS International Fellows Award. Hoogenboom has visited 64 countries, contributed to nearly 400 peer-reviewed papers and holds editorial roles with four international science journals. Diem focuses on teaching, research and Extension programs for underrepresented populations and is increasingly sought after to participate in international programs, most recently conducting an intensive training program at the University of São Paulo.

Faculty productivity was also highlighted throughout the evening. In 2018, UF/IFAS faculty published 1,611 unique refereed journal articles, a record-breaking number that represents five publications per research full-time equivalent (FTE) and a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Seven of those publications were determined by the committee as representative of the impacts UF/IFAS faculty are making. They were recognized individually during the ceremony and are listed below.

Approximately 150 people attended the event, received the latest publications from the UF/IFAS Research Dean’s Office and attended a reception following the ceremony. Find the digital version of the publications they received here.

Below is a list of UF/IFAS award winners in each category


Best Master’s Thesis: Russel Dame

Advisory Committee Chair: Kelly Grogan


Best Doctoral Dissertation: Zhengxin Ma

Advisory Committee Chair: Kwang Cheol Jeong


2019 UF/IFAS Richard Jones Outstanding New Faculty Award: Yu Wang


2019 UF/IFAS High Impact Research Publications:

“Three Pillars of Sustainability in Fisheries” | Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Authors: Frank Asche, Taryn Garlock, James Anderson, Karen Garrett, Kai Lorenzen


 “Digital PCR Technology for Detection of Palm-Infecting Phytoplasmas Belonging to Group 16SrIV that Occur in Florida” | Published in Plant Disease

Authors: Brian Bahder, Ericka Helmick, De-Fen Mou, Nigel Harrison


“Carbon Accumulation in Loblolly Pine Plantations is Increased by Fertilization Across a Soil Moisture Availability Gradient” | Published in Forest Ecology and Management

Authors: Rosvel Bracho, Jason Vogel. Eric Jokela, Salvador Gezan, Joshua Cucinella, Timothy Martin


“Why Are Hungry College Students Not Seeking Help? Predictors of and Barriers to Using an On-Campus Food Pantry” | Published in Nutrients

Authors: Aseel El Zein, Anne Mathews, Lisa House, Karla Shelnutt


“Macacine Herpesvirus 1 Antibody Prevalence and DNA Shedding Among Invasive Rhesus Macaques, Silver Springs State Park, Florida” | Published in Emerging and Infectious Diseases

Authors: Samantha Wisely, Steve Johnson


“Genomics of the Origin and Evolution of Citrus” | Published in Nature

Authors: Dongliang Du, Frederick Gmitter


“Identification of the Achilles Heels of the Laurel Wilt Pathogen and its Beetle Vector” | Published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Authors: Yonghong Zhou, Pasco Avery, Daniel Carrillo, Rita Duncan, Alison Lukowsky, Ronald Cave, Nemat Keyhani


UF/IFAS’ 2019 University of Florida Research Foundation Professors:

  • Jeffrey Bloomquist
  • Luke Flory
  • Jiri Hulcr
  • Matthew Smith
  • Lukasz Stelinski
  • Samantha Wisely


2018 Plant Patents and Plant Variety Protection Certificates:

  • Jude Grosser
  • David Clark
  • Rosanna Freyre
  • Zhanao Deng
  • Barry Tillman
  • Ann Blount
  • Ronald Barnett
  • Md Ali Babar


2018 Utility Patents:

  • William Dawson
  • Svetlana Folimonova
  • Choaa Amine El Mohtar
  • Siddarame Gowda
  • Philip Koehler
  • Roberto Pereira
  • Ephraim Ragasa
  • Graciela Lorca
  • Susan Percival
  • Chulbul Ahmed
  • Howard Johnson
  • Ann Blount
  • Ronald Barnett
  • Md Ali Babar


2019 UF/IFAS Research Service Award: Kevin Heinicka


2019 UF/IFAS International Fellow Awards:

  • Gerrit Hoogenboom
  • Keith Diem


2019 UF Excellence Awards for Assistant Professors:

  • Yu Wang
  • Francisco Peñagaricano