Each fall we are honored to welcome new faculty members to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. We are lucky to attract such talented academic professionals to help fulfill our teaching, research and extension missions. This year is no exception. Our new faculty members are at the forefront in fields as varied as our degree programs – increasing fertility, biomass/biofuel, event management, soybean breeding for greater tolerance of pests and climate, mentoring of early-career teachers, and grape quality – and are all excited to make contributions and connections across the College and the University.
Sougata Bardhan, Assistant Research Professor, Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences. Prior to this position, Bardhan had been employed as a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri since 2010. His research has focused on biomass and biofuel, and soil quality related to agroforestry practices. Bardhan has secured extramural funds for his research, including serving as co-principal investigator of a $12.5 million project – the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Consortium, studying sustainable biomass production. He received his Ph.D. in soil science from The Ohio State University. Fun Fact: Extremely interested in interstellar travel and the distant universe.
Mauro Palmero, Assistant Teaching Professor, Hospitality Management. Palmero joins Mizzou from East Tennessee State University where he served as an assistant professor. He has experience in facility operation and event management from his time as the sports event manager at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and as the recreation guest services manager at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, both at Walt Disney World. Palmero’s research interests include risk management and social media in event management. He received his Ph.D. in higher education with an emphasis in sport management from Ohio University. Fun Fact: In 2000, was the recipient of The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, an international program intended to promote goodwill among nations and enhance the education of young talented professionals. “The award completely changed my life (the scholarship funded my Masters' degree) and I would not be here today without it. I owe a lot to the Rotary Foundation.”
Andrew Scaboo, Assistant Research Professor, Plant Sciences, most recently worked as a senior research scientist in plant sciences here at the University of Missouri. Before joining Mizzou, he served as a postdoctoral research geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Raleigh, N.C. His research focus is on breeding of soybeans for increased yield, improved human health, and greater tolerance of pests and climatic conditions in Missouri. This has included work to breed beans high in heart-healthy oleic acid that also perform well in the field. He received his Ph.D. in plant breeding from the University of Arkansas. Fun Fact: Enjoys birdwatching.
Thomas Spencer, Professor, Animal Sciences. Spencer is a signature hire for the University of Missouri’s Mizzou Advantage program, One Health/One Medicine, which fosters research and knowledge sharing to improve human and animal health. His research focus has been on increasing fertility through studying the physiological and genetic mechanisms regulating development and function of the uterus and placenta. Spencer joins MU from Washington State University, where he was the Baxter Endowed Chair in Research, professor of animal sciences and molecular biosciences, and associate director of the Center for Reproductive Biology. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is editor-in-chief of the journal Biology of Reproduction. Spencer has been an invited fellow and lecturer nationally and internationally and is principal investigator on grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. He received his Ph.D. in reproductive biology from Texas A&M University. Fun Fact: Was the State of Alabama Hog Showing Champion in 1985 and lived on a hog farm during college.
John Tummons, Assistant Teaching Professor, Agricultural Education and Leadership. Tummons has worked as an instructor of agricultural education and leadership in the Division of Applied Social Sciences since 2009, where he has also served as the coordinator for student teaching internships, undergraduate teaching field experiences, and undergraduate recruitment. His research interests include time management and mentoring of early-career teachers, and engaging students in constructive youth-adult relationships via agricultural education. Tummons has received the Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the Excellence in Education Award from the Mizzou Division of Student Affairs, and was the Professor of the Year for the Mizzou Athletic Department in 2013. He received his Ph.D. in agricultural education from the University of Missouri. Fun Fact: Enjoys building projects from both wood and metal.
Dean S. Volenberg, Assistant Extension Professor, Plant Sciences. Volenberg joins Mizzou from the University of Wisconsin Extension where he was an associate professor, department head for Extension for Door County, and the co-leader of the Fruit and Grains teams. His applied research viticulture program examines the impact of canopy management, vine balance, and integrated pest management practices on grape quality. He has an Extension and research appointment in viticulture and winery operations. His appointment is a collaborative effort of the Grape and Wine Institute (GWI) and Plant Sciences Extension. Dean provides viticulture and winery Extension outreach throughout the state that includes grape production and processing. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fun Fact: Enjoys back-country hiking and camping out of reach of cell phones.