CAFNR Welcomes New Faculty

Ten new faculty members join CAFNR for the spring 2023 semester

With the spring semester underway, we are excited to introduce and welcome the new faculty members in our college. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri is proud to introduce 10 new faculty members this semester who will further elevate our research, teaching and extension mission. They each bring a wealth of knowledge in their respective fields, and represent all of our six divisions:

Chase Floyd
Chase Floyd
Assistant Research Professor & Crop Protection Specialist, Division of Plant Science & Technology

Chase Floyd joined the Division of Plant Science and Technology as an assistant research professor and crop protection specialist, based at the Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center in Portageville, Mo. In this position, Floyd will target both entomological and pathological research and develop thresholds to maximize producer yield retention by incorporating new technology and methodologies to aid Missouri producers in controlling pests. Floyd earned his PhD in entomology from the University of Arkansas. While at Arkansas, his dissertation research centered around the management of the rice billbug, a newly designated major pest and has worked to gather biological and ecological information on this previously unexplored pest.  Floyd was a senior graduate research assistant, involved in the research conducted by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension, including insecticide efficacy, biological control strategies, and insecticide resistance evaluations for various crops. Floyd can be reached at

headshot of Stephanie Gates
Stephanie Gates
Assistant Professor, Division of Biochemistry

Stephanie Gates joins CAFNR as an assistant professor in the Division of Biochemistry, hired through the Mizzou Forward program. She previously worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Gates earned her PhD in Chemical Biology from the University of Michigan, where she explored chaperone protein folding mechanisms with electron microscopy. Her current research focus is on how pro-folding chaperones target proteins for degradation via the ubiquitin proteasome system. As a part of this research program, she will use the new Electron Microscopy Core in the Next Gen Precision Health building to collect single particle cryo electron microscopy data for protein structure determination. Gates has been involved in many mentorship, community building and outreach programs throughout her career to support underrepresented minorities in science. Gates can be reached at

Annette Kendall, a muted blonde haired woman with glasses wearing a red blazer with a black and white striped shirt
Annette Kendall
Assistant Extension Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences

Annette Kendall is an assistant extension professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, where her extension work focuses on rural innovation and neurodiversity in innovation. Before coming to CAFNR, she was an assistant teaching professor from 2019-21 and served as the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Trulaske College of Business. Kendall earned her PhD in agricultural and applied economics from Mizzou. She has held roles on-campus, including technology transfer marketing manager and business engagement analyst in the Division of Research, Innovation and Impact. Kendall has taught several undergraduate courses, including Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Mindset. She has been the faculty advisor for the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA) undergraduate competition team since 2018 and coached the Mizzou NAMA Team to first place at the national conference in 2022. Kendall can be reached at

Hongjo Lee
Hongjo Lee
Assistant Professor, Division of Animal Sciences

Hongjo Lee joins CAFNR as assistant professor in the Division of Animal Sciences. Lee’s research focuses on using genome modification tools to develop an avian model system and understanding the genomic networks and molecular mechanisms of avian reproduction. Additionally, he is interested in producing disease-resistant birds. Lee earned his PhD in biomodulation from Seoul National University in South Korea, as well as previously earning his bachelor’s there in food and animal biotechnology. Before coming to Mizzou, Lee was a senior researcher in the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology at the Research Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Seoul National University, and he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Pennsylvania State University. For his contributions to research, Lee was awarded the Outstanding Researcher award by the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology at Seoul National University each year from 2017 to 2020. Lee can be reached at

Tobias MendelsonTobias Mendelson
Assistant Teaching Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences

Tobias M. Mendelson, J.D., MAcc, joins the Division of Applied Social Sciences as an assistant teaching professor where he will teach the following courses in personal financial planning: Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning, Estate and Gift Planning, and Tax Planning. Previously, he was a clinical assistant professor of accounting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville from 2017 to 2022, where he taught courses on individual taxation, corporate and partnership taxation, tax research, and business law. Mendelson earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He is a member of The Florida Bar and the American Bar Association, where he serves as Co-Chair of the Deferred Compensation Committee of the Real Property Probate and Trust Section. Mendelson contributes to several professional publications as a staff editor for the Atlantic Law Journal and as a committee member for the American Tax Association‘s Legal Research Committee. Mendelson can be reached at

Matthew SveumSveum, Matt, Instructor, Division of Applied Social Sciences
Assistant Teaching Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences

Matthew Sveum was recently promoted to an assistant teaching professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, where he also is the director of undergraduate studies for agribusiness management. He previously was an instructor of Agribusiness Management within the division, and before he joined CAFNR, Sveum was an assistant professor of management and economics at William Woods University. He earned his PhD in applied economics from the University of Missouri. Sveum has taught courses such as Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Economics of Managerial Decision Making, and Agribusiness Management Strategies.  He has authored a number of papers on the economic effects of business franchising. He serves on the CAFNR Courses and Curricula Committee at the University of Missouri, where he reviews course and program additions and changes. Sveum can be reached at

Peng Tian - Extension Specialist, Division of Plant Science & Technology
Peng Tian
Assistant Extension Professor, Division of Plant Science & Technology

Peng Tian was recently promoted to an assistant extension professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology, where he also serves as a lab director, leading the team at the Plant Diagnostic Clinic. The clinic is adept at plant disease diagnosis – including turfgrass diseases and the identification of unknown plants and insects, aiding growers, agricultural professionals, agribusinesses, and the various commodity groups in the state. Tian contributes to the campus Integrated Pest Management program and National Plant Diagnostic Network. He routinely publishes articles in Mizzou Crop & Pest News and Mizzou Environment & Garden. His research focuses on identification of new plant diseases and development of innovative assays to characterize and differentiate viral and fungal pathogens in specialty crops to address current plant health problems and ensure the quality of agricultural and horticultural production. Tian earned his PhD in plant pathology from the University of Georgia. Tian previously worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia and as a plant disease diagnostician at the Plant Diagnostic Center at the University of Florida. Tian can be reached at

Kelly Wilson
Kelly Wilson
Assistant Extension Professor, School of Natural Resources

Kelly Wilson is an assistant extension professor in the School of Natural Resources, as well as the assistant director for CAFNR’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture. Wilson also teaches courses in international agricultural development and sustainable agriculture in CAFNR. She earned her PhD in agricultural development and extension education from the Ohio State University. Prior to joining Mizzou, Wilson’s roles included the research project director for the ViM Sustainability & Resilience Study in Burkina Faso at Tufts University, researcher for the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry program assistant for Partners for Development in Benin, and Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar. She has also consulted for farmer training programs, the senior master training for the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil Academy, serving Indonesia and Ghana. She also conducted research in central Kenya from 2016-19 through a USDA Scientific Cooperative Research Program at the University of Missouri. She has received various awards, including the Presidential Fellowship Award and the Judy Erwin Award for Excellence. Most recently, in 2022, she received the Missouri Department of Conservation and Private Lands Division’s External Partner Award. Wilson can be reached at

headshot of Adam Yokom
Adam Yokom
Assistant Professor, Division of Biochemistry

Adam Yokom joins CAFNR as an assistant professor in the Division of Biochemistry through the Mizzou Forward program. Yokom is a first-generation college student who earned his PhD in Chemical Biology from the University of Michigan, where he was an American Heart Association Predoctoral Scholar. He conducted postdoctoral research as a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley studying the molecular and cell biology of autophagy. During his time at UC Berkeley, he was also involved in developing and leading programs to support scientific education, community building, diversity, and inclusivity. He attended University of California San Francisco’s “TRAIN-UP” course to learn best practices in hiring and running an equitable and inclusive lab. Throughout his career he has given guest lectures focused on structural biology, taught organic chemistry courses, and led biochemistry laboratory sessions. His current research focuses on investigating autophagy and lysosome processes related to neurodegeneration. Yokom can be reached at

A headshot of an Asian man with short, dark hair and black glasses wearing a grey sweater layered with a blue plaid, collared shirt.
Zipei (Zach) Zhang
Assistant Professor, Division of Food, Nutrition & Exercise Sciences

Zipei (Zach) Zhang is an assistant professor in the Division of Food, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences. Before joining CAFNR, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Harvard Medical School. Zhang earned his PhD in food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Zhang’s research interests center around food science – specifically development of novel food systems based on physical chemistry by using food ingredients as building blocks to improve the food quality, safety and nutritional properties. He is also intreated in utilizing food grade ingredients to develop novel systems for biomedical applications. He previously taught an online course in food processing as an adjunct faculty at Southwest Minnesota State University, as well as prior guest lecture and mentorship contributions. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists and Phi Tau Sigma, the honor society of food science and technology. Zhang can be reached at