Commendations Corner – Summer 2020

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In the Commendations Corner, we highlight the awards, achievements, and recognition of our faculty. Please send your own accomplishments to so that your good news can be included in future newsletters.

  • Dr. Daniel Mathew (Animal Science) has received a $495,000 USDA-NIFA grant titled “Characterization of Elongating Cow Conceptus Environment: Identification of Proteins and Metabolites Essential for Survival of the Conceptus.”
  • Dr. Doug Hayes (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) has been awarded a National Institutes of Health R03 to study “Robust Delivery of Antimicrobial Peptides.”
  • Dr. Al Womac (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) has been awarded the distinction of ASABE Fellow by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
  • Dr. Hongwei Xin has been awarded the ASABE “Lalit and Aruna Verma Award for Excellence in Global Engagement.”
  • Dr. Hao Gan (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) received $350,000 from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) SMART Broiler Initiative. He is one of six (and the only university researcher) to receive money during Phase I.
  • Dr. Kevin Moulton (Entomology and Plant Pathology) has been awarded $1.485 million by the National Science Foundation to study “Phylogenomics, Classification, and Revisionary Studies of Meniscus Midges (Diptera: Dixidae).”
  • Research published by Dr. Vince Pantalone (Plant Sciences) titled “Genetic Gain for Soybean Seed Protein, Oil, and Yield in a Recombinant Inbred Line Population” and published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society has been recognized for being amongst the top 10 percent most downloaded papers.
  • Dr. Toni Wang has been honored by the American Oil Chemists’ Society with the 2020 Alton E. Bailey Award.
  • UTRF has an executive and exclusive option agreement with Dr. Tarek Hewezi’s (Plant Sciences) GDM Seeds for this technology, “Discovery of Major Genes Controlling Soybean Resistance to Soybean Cyst Nematode.” They have filed several patent applications related to this technology.
  • UTRF has executed an option for license with Ajinomoto Inc. for Dr. Munafo’s (Food Science) technology on edible mushroom species as food flavor enhancers.
  • For the second year in a row, research from UTIA faculty was featured in their report titled Innovation to Profit. The publication highlights the work of Dr. Doug Hayes (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science), Dr. Annette Wszelaki (Plant Sciences), and Dr. Jennifer DeBruyn (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) on biodegradable plastic mulch.
  • Dr. Joe Zhuang (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) has been awarded $500,000 by the National Science Foundation to develop an international transdisciplinary network to perform research on “Sustainable Urban Systems.” The project is a joint effort with AgResearch, Herbert College of Agriculture, Tickle College of Engineering, and Haslam College of Business faculty.
  • UNS: International Research Coordination Network for Creating Transdisciplinary Nodes of Food-Energy-Water to Support Sustainable Urban Systems.”
  • USDA-NIFA has awarded Dr. Phil Myer (Animal Science) $500,000 to study “Genomic Determinants for The Rumen Microbiome” as part of their $9.7 million investment in animal nutrition, growth, and lactation.
  • The Department of Agricultural and Natural Resources has developed a working group on the “Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Tennessee’s Agriculture and Economy.”
  • Dr. Sindhu Jagadamma (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) has been awarded $500,000 from USDA-NIFA as part of the Organic Transitions Program. Her project is titled “Designing Farmer’s Goal-Oriented Organic Grain Rotations to Optimize Agronomic, Economic and Ecological Outcomes in Tennessee.”
  • Researchers from the Departments of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, led by Dr. Chris Boyer (Agricultural and Resource Economics), have been awarded a $300,000 grant by the USDA. Their project is titled ‘Developing Tennessee Secondary Teachers’ Agribusiness Content and Pedagogical Content Knowledge.’