UKAg celebrates land-grant research

LEXINGTON, Ky.

Current issues in land-grant research and recognition of award-winning researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment took center stage at the 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research.

Hosted by its research office, the college welcomed keynote speaker Will Carpenter, retired vice president and general manager of the New Products Division at Monsanto Company, to give his perspective on the land-grant system.

Carpenter retired from Monsanto in 1992 after 34 years with the company, where he was involved in the development and commercialization of herbicides like Lasso and Roundup. Since retiring, he has served as chairman of the board of directors of Agridyne Technologies Inc., executive-in-residence at Mississippi State University, board member of Aetos Technologies Inc. and adviser to numerous chemical companies.

 Asked to represent the chemical industry as an adviser on chemical disarmament, he was instrumental in both the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the creation of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. Carpenter’s recently published biography, will d…a life in science, provides an intimate look at his life and career. Carpenter also met with UKAg students prior to the celebration to answer questions.

After Carpenter’s keynote, the winners of the 2014 Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award, Research/Extension Impact Award and the Prestigious Research Paper Award were announced.

The Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award is annually given in memory of former UK Department of Entomology chair Bobby Pass. The 2014 recipient is Udeni Balasuriya, Veterinary Sciences, for leading a grant-funded project titled Identification of Genetic Factors Responsible for Establishment of Equine Arteritis Virus Carrier State in Stallions, which received $2.9 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Research/Extension Impact Award is annually given to faculty in the college whose research program has resulted in a fully developed Cooperative Extension program. The 2014 recipient is Daniel A. Potter, Department of Entomology, for his outstanding research and outreach program in turf and landscape entomology.

His nominator’s said, although Potter has no formal extension appointment, he has served as a critical resource for practitioners and extension educators as a turf and landscape entomologist for more than 35 years. He has been recognized for excellence in research in the biology and responsible management of insect pests in the urban and suburban environments. Potter regularly coauthors extension publications with UK extension colleagues, and extends his research through dozens of service presentations at extension conferences and workshops each year. He annually provides more than 500 service consultations about urban landscape insect pests. Those activities reach thousands of end-users and support Best Management Practices for turf and landscape insect pests throughout the United States.

The Prestigious Research Paper Award is annually given to college faculty based on research papers published between 2008 and 2014. The 2014 recipient is Pradeep Kachroo, Department of Plant Pathology, for a paper coauthored with department researchers Bidisha Chanda, Ye Xia, Mihir Kumar Mandal, Keshun Yu, Ken-Taro Sekine, Qing-ming Gao, Devarshi Selote and Aardra Kachroo. Additional coauthors include Yanling Hu and Arnold Stromberg, from the UK Department of Statistics and Duroy Navarre with the USDA in Prosser, Washington. Titled Glycerol-3-Phosphate, a Critical Mobile Inducer of Systemic Immunity in Plants, the paper was published in Nature Genetics.

For four decades the phenomenon of systemically acquired resistance (SAR) in plants has been central to the study of plant resistance to diseases, with such studies consistently indicating that an unknown SAR signal, a hormone, must be transmitted throughout the plant to provide that disease resistance. Discovery of that molecular signal would fill a key gap in understanding plant disease resistance. Kachroo and his group identified glycerol-3-phosphate as that signal, a landmark discovery in the field of plant pathology. This paper was highlighted by The Faculty of 1000 Biology and has been cited 48 times by outside groups since its publication in May 2011. Pradeep Kachroo is the corresponding author of the paper, and as such he was responsible for conceptualizing the study, obtaining funding from the National Science Foundation, and guiding others in the group in their conduct of the experiments.

The recipient of each category received $1,000.

Contact: 

Lesley Oliver, 859-257-1084

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