GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Epsilon Sigma Phi, the national honorary fraternity for Extension, has announced that three University of Florida Extension faculty are among the organization’s top honorees for 2013.
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Marty Main, associate dean for University of Florida Extension and associate director of Florida Sea Grant, is being recognized for his educational outreach by the Ecological Society of America.
He has been awarded the Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education for the success of the Florida Master Naturalist Program.
The award will be presented in August at the 2013 Ecological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis. It recognizes ecologists for outstanding work in ecology education and their program’s ability to connect basic ecological principles to human affairs.
An Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member received the 2013 Excellence Award for Assistant Professors from the university in recognition of her outstanding research.
Assistant professor Michelle Danyluk, food science and human nutrition faculty member at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, was awarded for her work this past year on Salmonella and E. coli detection and dispersal.
Danyluk said she was “tremendously excited” to win the award.
“I’m extremely grateful to all the folks who have supported me as I’ve established my program at UF, and think the award recognizes not only me, but all those who have supported me – especially to the technical staff in my laboratory, my current and previous graduate students, county Extension faculty, the business office staff and the leadership at my center, department and IFAS levels.”
The 10 recipients of this year’s award will each receive a $5,000 grant to use toward their continued research. Danyluk said she hasn’t decided how to spend the grant, but said she’s considering spending toward updated computers for her graduate students or another truck for her team’s field work.
Her research interests include microbial food safety and quality, as well as developing standards for maintaining them in different storage and processing conditions. Her research focuses on fruits, vegetables and nuts and looks at how and why foodborne pathogens survive in production environments and the role environments play in food contamination.
UF/IFAS photo of Michelle Danyluk by Tyler L. Jones
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have found, for the first time, that crop models predicting yields for one of the world’s most important crops begin to disagree under climate change scenarios.
By knowing where those models break down, researchers will be better able to improve them. The computerized models predict crop yields for wheat, one of the world’s most-consumed foods.
Scientists use crop models to foresee which parts of the world may face the greatest food shortages, so that efforts to improve food production can be directed to those places.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the world’s fastest growing agricultural industries, goat farming, is plagued by deadly intestinal parasites, particularly the barber’s pole worm – a pest that poses great danger to the goat-farming industry in the Southeastern U.S. and other parts of the world.
Improper use of commercial medicines has helped make the parasites resistant to many deworming drugs.
But recent research by the University of Florida’s Animal Sciences department may be closing in on a solution. Although researchers say it needs more study, they’ve recently found papaya seeds to be an inexpensive, alternative method for ridding goats of their parasitic passengers.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Eric Hellgren, a zoologist best known for his work with black bears, has been named chairman of the University of Florida’s wildlife ecology and conservation department, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
Hellgren will start the UF job Sept. 1. He spent the last eight years as director of the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at Southern Illinois University. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In malaria-ridden parts of Africa, mosquito netting protects people from being infected while they sleep; now, a University of Florida entomologist wants to improve the netting by coating it with insecticide toxic only to mosquitoes.
The insecticide would work by interfering with an enzyme found in the nervous systems of mosquitoes and many other organisms, called acetylcholinesterase. Existing insecticides target the enzyme but affect a broad range of species, said entomologist Jeff Bloomquist, a professor in UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and its Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Acetylcholinesterase helps regulate nervous system activity by stopping electrical signaling in nerve cells. If the enzyme can’t do its job, the mosquito begins convulsing and dies. The research team’s goal is to develop compounds perfectly matched to the acetylcholinesterase molecules in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, he said.
“A simple analogy would be that we’re trying to make a key that fits perfectly into a lock,” Bloomquist said. “We want to shut down the enzyme, but only in target species.”
GAINESVILLE — A horticulturist with Alachua County’s UF/IFAS Extension office will be recognized for her educational program by the National Association of County Agriculture Agents.
Wendy Wilber was selected as the national winner for the Search for Excellence Award in Landscape Horticulture for her development and implementation of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ program in Alachua County.
The survey of 507 Floridians found that although many see undocumented immigrants as threats to their economic well-being and personal safety, they still had “pockets” of sympathetic views toward those trying to establish themselves as U.S. residents, said Tracy Irani, director of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education, or PIE Center, the research group that led the study.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members have been included in a list of the top 25 women professors in Florida.
Samira Daroub, a professor with the soil and water science department who’s based at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, and Ann Wilkie, a research professor in the department who’s based in Gainesville, received the recognition on the list that appeared in April.
It can be viewed here: http://onlineschoolsflorida.com/top-college-professors-in-florida/women/.