"How Food Impacts Human Health" was the theme of OARDC's 2013 Annual Research Conference, which took place in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus April 25.
The speakers included CFAES Dean Bruce McPheron; OARDC Director Steve Slack; OARDC Associate Director David Benfield; Henry Thompson, director of Colorado State University's Cancer Prevention Laboratory; Steve Schwartz, Carl E. Haas Endowed Chair in Food Industries and director of CFAES's Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship (CAFFRE); and physician-scientist Dr. Steve Clinton, associate director of CAFFRE and molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention program leader at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The following awards also were presented during the program.
Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award
Guo-Liang Wang, an international expert on the molecular genetics of host-plant resistance to plant diseases, especially in rice, received the center's 2013 Senior Faculty Research Award. The award honors outstanding achievements by an OARDC faculty member at the rank of professor.
Wang, a member of the Department of Plant Pathology, has successfully cloned genes for disease resistance in rice, which is a staple food for more than half the world's population. The genes, which help reduce yield losses to such major rice diseases as Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryizae and Magnaporthe grisea, have since been incorporated into rice-breeding programs in Asia, Africa and South America.
Junior Faculty Research Award
Yebo Li, who works to develop new sustainable bioproduct and bioenergy sources, won OARDC's 2013 Junior Faculty Research Award. The award honors outstanding achievements by an OARDC faculty member at the rank of assistant or associate professor.
Li, who is an associate professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, leads OARDC's Wooster-based Bioproducts and Bioenergy Research Laboratory, which focuses on biomass, biofuels, biopolymers, anaerobic digestion, and algae-based biofuels. "The results of his work have led to industries seeking him out as a collaborator and to license the discoveries and technologies coming out of his lab," one of Li's nominators wrote.
Innovator of the Year Award
Andy Ward, a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, earned the 2013 Innovator of the Year Award for his two-stage ditch design, which has benefits for both agriculture and the environment. It's seeing wider use in Ohio and the Midwest. The award honors innovation and entrepreneurship by OARDC scientists.
The new design has a small main channel at the bottom of the ditch -- stage one -- and raised, grass-covered "benches" along both sides of the channel -- stage two. The benches catch any overflow from the channel, are high and wide enough to keep heavy rain runoff from topping the banks and flooding surrounding farmland, and serve in the same way as a natural river's floodplain.
Multi-disciplinary Team Research Award
The Vegetable Safety Research and Extension Program received the 2013 Multi-disciplinary Team Research Award for its efforts to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by fresh produce. The award, which is given every three years, honors research excellence by teams comprised of OARDC scientists from a range of fields.
The team studies how produce gets contaminated in the first place, then uses that knowledge to develop new control methods that are science-based, affordable, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable.
The team's members include Jeff LeJeune, Gireesh Rajashekara and Linda Saif of the Food Animal Health Research Program; Sally Miller, Brian McSpadden Gardener and Feng Qu of the Department of Plant Pathology; Richard Moore and Robyn Wilson of the School of Environment and Natural Resources; Doug Doohan of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science; Lydia Medeiros of the Department of Human Nutrition; and Rob Scharff of the Department of Consumer Sciences.
Krauss Director's Award for Excellence in Graduate Research
Nicholas Teets, who in fall 2012 earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Ohio State, earned OARDC's William E. Krauss Director's Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.The award honors the best published paper by an OARDC-supported doctoral student.
Teets co-wrote "Gene Expression Changes Governing Extreme Dehydration Tolerance in an Antarctic Insect," which appeared in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in December 2012. The journal, according to its website, is one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. The study looked at a tiny flightless midge called Belgica antarctica, which is the only insect native to Antarctica, which is not just the coldest place on Earth but also the driest.
Teets has been part of a research team focused on Belgica antarctica and also has studied the role of calcium signaling during cellular cold-sensing in insect tissues. His faculty adviser was David Denlinger, who is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Entomology.
Research Poster Competition
The following awards were presented in the conference's annual research poster competition, which honors outstanding posters -- displays detailing research projects -- by OARDC-supported Ph.D. and master's degree students, postdoctoral researchers, and research assistants and associates.
- First place: Nicholas Teets, Entomology, "Calcium Signaling Mediates Cold-sensing in Insect Tissues"; David Denlinger, adviser.
- Second place: Fabiola Gutierrez Orozco, Human Sciences, "Alpha-mangostin Exacerbates Pathology in a Mouse Model of DSS-induced Colitis"; Mark Failla, adviser.
- Third place: Fangfei Lou, Food Science and Technology, "Inactivation of Human Norovirus by High Pressure Processing Using Virus-like Particles as a Model"; Jianrong Li, adviser.
- First place: Jedediah Stinner, Environmental Science Graduate Program, "Ecological Impacts of Organic Dairy Production on Primary Headwater Streams in Northeast Ohio"; Richard Moore, adviser.
- Second place: Kayla Perry, Entomology, "Widespread Ash Mortality Caused by Emerald Ash Borer Impacts Ground Beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) Assemblages"; Dan Herms, adviser.
- Third place: Timothy Frey, Plant Pathology, "Root-knot Nematodes Regulate the Jasmonic Acid Pathway in Order to Suppress Host Defenses"; Chris Taylor, adviser.
- First place: Jennifer Ahn-Jarvis, Food Science and Technology, "Isoflavone Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism After Consumption of Soy and Soy-almond Bread in Men with Asymptomatic Prostate Cancer"; Yael Vodovotz, adviser.
- Second place: Jiying Zhu, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, "Co-digestion of Soybean Processing Waste and Deteriorated Hay in Solid-state Anaerobic Digestion (SS-AD) for Biogas Production"; Yebo Li, adviser.
- Third place: Victor Ujor, Animal Sciences, "Unravelling the Role of Calcium (Ca2+) in Acetone-butanol-ethanol Fermentation by Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB 8052"; T.C. Ezeji, adviser.
- First place: Wenshuang Xie, Horticulture and Crop Science, "Identification of Natural Rubber Siosynthesis-related Proteins of Hevea brasiliensis by Photoaffinity Labeling"; Katrina Cornish, adviser.
- Second place: Marcal Plans Pujolras, Food Science and Technology, "Monitoring Authenticity and Adulteration of Peruvian Pisco by Infrared Spectroscopy Combined with Pattern Recognition Analysis"; Luis Rodriguez-Saona, adviser.
- Third place: Sarah McNulty and Griffin Bates, Horticulture and Crop Science, "Cold-induced Rubber Production in Taraxacum kok-saghyz"; Katrina Cornish, adviser.
-- Kurt Knebusch, CommTech