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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A plant always makes for a nice gesture on Valentine’s Day, and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are breeding flora that may emit alluring aromas to your sweetheart.
Zhanao Deng, a professor of environmental horticulture at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida, breeds gerbera daisy cultivars that are resistant to powdery mildew, the most destructive fungal disease for this type of flower.
Deng and his team have released several gerbera daisy cultivars, and some of them performed well in industry trials in Georgia, Ohio and Texas.
The research doesn’t stop there as Deng and his lab are breeding more lines for the future. Meanwhile, they are sequencing the gerbera daisy’s genes, developing DNA-based molecular markers, and trying to find and engineer the gene or genes that control resistance to the powdery mildew.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — David and Caroline Garber had dated for three years and were set to be married in a matter of weeks. So, signing up for the University of Florida IFAS Smart Couples program would probably be just tweaking an already perfect union.
“The class was called ‘Before You Tie the Knot,’ and we went in thinking that we already knew each other pretty well,” David Garber, 33, said. “But, we came to realize that we have different communication styles, and that we need to acknowledge and address that to make our relationship better. We learned that I need to give her time to think and process information, so I can’t expect her to give me an answer or solution on the spot. And she learned why it’s important for me to tackle an issue quickly and not let it fester.”
UF/IFAS Extension faculty member Victor Harris created the Smart Couples program after receiving a $5 million grant to help couples, families and teens create and maintain healthy relationships.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Facial recognition software is no longer a thing of the future. But what if similar technologies could one day help farmers identify pests in the field?
Steve Futch, multi-county citrus agent with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, thinks it’s possible. And thanks to the new UF/IFAS Extension Entrepreneurship Program, he and other UF/IFAS Extension faculty now have more of the tools they need to make their ideas a reality.
“One of the missions of UF/IFAS Extension is to connect Floridians with science-based information that will improve their quality of life. Our relationships with our clientele are always evolving, so we are always reassessing and rethinking how we can better serve our audience,” said Nick Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension. “Entrepreneurial thinking can help us get out of our comfort zone and approach problems in new and creative ways.”
Jan. 17 to 19, UF/IFAS Extension faculty members from around the state heard presentations from several UF entrepreneurship experts, including Elio Chiarelli, entrepreneurship specialist with the UF/IFAS Center for Leadership. As a doctoral student in the UF department of agricultural education and communication, Chiarelli’s research focused on successful entrepreneurship within agriculture and natural resources.
Video available at: http://bit.ly/2jveL0r
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Insects and art intersect in a unique campus-wide sculpture and animation contest organized by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologists.
In a project called “Insects Alive,” Andrea Lucky and Lisa Taylor hope to use science and technology to inspire creativity in students across UF.
An interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students from across UF is helping to lead the contest. The team generates 3-D files — based on real ants and spiders — that are produced using a nano-CT scanner at the UF Nanoscale Research Facility. The 3-D images are available to all contest participants to use as the basis for art.
For the contest, UF students in any discipline use the 3-D files of the insects and spiders to create three-dimensional sculpture and animation.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences alumni, a producer who worked with UF/IFAS Extension and UF/IFAS Research and a contributor to the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation will be inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in February.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation have announced the four honorees. Each was born and raised on a Florida farm, and each has made outstanding contributions to Florida’s agriculture industry and mentored future leaders in the field. The UF/IFAS-related inductees are:
- W. Bernard Lester, 78, was born in Havana, Florida. Lester graduated from UF CALS with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics, earning the latter degree in 1962. He earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.Lester returned to Florida and began his career as a research economist with the Florida Department of Citrus. He was eventually promoted to executive director in 1979. In 1986, he took a position with Alico, Inc. Board of Directors until 2005. During this time, he joined the Gulf Citrus Growers Association and was actively involved in all aspects of the association’s mission.“Bernie Lester has been a tireless advocate on behalf of Florida agriculture for more than four decades,” John Hoblick, president of the Florida Farm Bureau, wrote as part of his letter in support of Lester. “His knowledge of production agriculture and his excellent skills in leadership positions are recognized by anyone works with him…”
Who: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty and local farmers
What: The next meeting of the Florida Agricultural Network will include presentations by UF/IFAS Extension faculty, local farmer Ben Strong and Chef James Jackson of the Call Street Café on growing and marketing leafy greens. Presentations will be followed by dinner and networking.
“UF/IFAS Extension partnership with the Florida Agricultural Network fosters communication among farmers, and among farmers and UF/IFAS Extension agents,” said Jim Devalerio, agricultural agent with UF/IFAS Extension Bradford County. “The effort overlaps with our mission to provide relevant, research-based information to an ever-growing small farms client base.”
When: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nearly a century ago, a group of Polk County citrus growers raised about $14,000 to buy land for a research station. Now, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center.
In 1917, UF/IFAS established the Citrus REC. Originally, only a few UF/IFAS scientists worked at the Lake Alfred site, then called the Citrus Experiment Station.
Today, the research center employs 250 people and is also home to the scientific research staff of the Florida Department of Citrus. It is the largest facility in the world devoted to a single commodity, citrus.
“The UF/IFAS Citrus REC has a long, proud tradition of outstanding science and outreach, and the faculty there show every day why the quality of work performed for the next 100 years will be as good or better than the first century at the facility,” said Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida student is eligible for fast-track appointment to government occupations as a finalist of the U.S. Presidential Management Fellows Program. The program is reserved for individuals across the nation with advanced degrees who have gone through a rigorous selection process to become finalists.
As a finalist, Natalie Nelson, an agricultural and biological engineering Ph.D. candidate, will have access to a jobs portal for the full 2017 year where she can apply to positions that interest her. Less than 7 percent of the applicants to the program received this honor.
“A lot of [the fellowship program] is higher level work with high impact,” said Nelson. “It’s very much an applied science. Most of the job portal has career offerings in law, health care administration, foreign diplomacy and similar positions. Science positions are a minority, but I plan to apply to all the jobs related to water. Regardless of if I get a job through this fellowship, I’m most interested in having meaningful impact through my work.”
The Presidential Management Fellows Program is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and has existed for more than 30 years for the purpose of developing potential leaders in the U.S. government. The 2017 finalists represent 59 disciplines, 141 academic institutions and 41 veterans, according to the program website.
Video available here: http://bit.ly/2jAXzTi
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some consumers crave tastier tomatoes than those they buy at the supermarket, so a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher led a global team of scientists that found chemical combinations for better flavor.
In a study published today in the journal Science, Harry Klee, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences, led an international research team that included scientists from China, Israel and Spain. Researchers identified chemicals that contribute to tomato flavor.
Step one was to find out which of the hundreds of chemicals in a tomato contribute the most to taste.
Then, Klee said, they asked, “what’s wrong with the modern tomatoes?” They lack sufficient sugars and volatile chemicals critical to better flavor. Those traits have been lost during the past 50 years because breeders have not had the tools to routinely screen for flavor, Klee said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Former President Barack Obama has named a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences renowned expert on tropical soils a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. Pedro Sanchez, a research professor in the soil and water sciences department, will serve his term until December 2019.
“Dr. Sanchez is not just an outstanding academic, but also a public servant who brings a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to this important role,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.
Sanchez works with the UF/IFAS Institute of Sustainable Food Systems, which focuses on feeding a burgeoning worldwide population while conserving resources. Sanchez was director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he worked from 2003 to 2016. He served as director of the Millennium Villages Project from 2004 to 2010, and co-chair of the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger from 2002 to 2005.
Sanchez is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2003 and the World Food Prize in 2002.
Sanchez received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Cornell University.
By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
Sources: Jack Payne, 352-392-1971, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pedro Sanchez, 352-294-3130, email@example.com