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Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Professor Selected as Inaugural MU Ombudsperson

Pamela Bruzina, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine, was named MU’s inaugural ombudsperson by Provost Latha Ramchand on July 1, 2023.

In this role Bruzina will serve to provide informal assistance and impartial conflict and dispute resolution to MU faculty as a designated neutral party. She will also develop educational programs for faculty to facilitate access to existing conflict resolution resources and reporting mechanisms.

“My overarching goal for the ombudsperson role is for faculty to feel seen, heard, and cared for,” Bruzina said.

The ombudsperson is housed in the Office of the Provost and serves a promoter of fairness in our institution. Bruzina will act as a source of information and referral for faculty members, aid in answering individual’s questions and concerns, and assist in resolution of those concerns.

To learn more about Bruzina’s position as ombudsperson, visit: Pamela Bruzina selected as inaugural MU ombudsperson // Show Me Mizzou // University of Missouri.

Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry Receives Fellows Award from Academy of Science-St. Louis

Gary Weisman, curators’ distinguished professor of biochemistry, was recognized by the Academy of Science-St. Louis as a 2020 fellows awardee. The organization delayed their 2020 celebration due to COVID-19, and recognized those awardees, including Weisman, in its 2023 celebration on Sept. 20.

Since its inception, the Academy has promoted the recognition of the impressive scientists of the St. Louis region. The organization focuses the region’s attention upon individuals, institutions and corporations known worldwide for their scientific contributions to research, industry, and quality of life. In every category, preference is given to candidates who also have a record of excellence in communicating with the public, mentoring colleagues, or leadership in the field of science or industry.

Weisman is internationally recognized for his work on P2 nucleotide receptors and for cloning the first human gene for a nucleotide receptor (P2Y2R), a critical step in the identification of other members of this receptor family that plays important roles in neurotransmission and inflammation.  His work has centered on understanding how P2 nucleotide receptor activity can be manipulated for the treatment of human diseases.

Two CAFNR Faculty Named as Curators’ Distinguished Professors

The University of Missouri Board of Curators recently named two CAFNR faculty members as Curators’ Distinguished Professors. The classification is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators.

Michael Williams, chair of the UM Board of Curators, said the strength of the UM System’s academic institutions hinges on the expertise of its outstanding faculty.

“It is always an honor to recognize our faculty with the highest and most prestigious rank awarded by the Board,” he said. “Their dedication to the university’s missions of education, research, service and economic development is paramount as we work constantly to create a better society.”

“These are prestigious appointments reserved only for outstanding scholars and teachers that are internationally recognized for their contributions,” said Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri. “Their work elevates our understanding of the world around us and educates the next generation of leaders.”

This year’s recipients in CAFNR are:

  • Blake Meyers, professor of plant sciences and technology. Meyers’ research focuses on plant molecular biology with an emphasis on RNA sequencing in plants.
  • Patrick Westhoff, Howard Cowden Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics. Westhoff is the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI-MU) and conducts research on agricultural markets and policymaking.

Visit the UM System website to view a full list of recipients from across the system.

SNR Faculty Elected as Fellow for the American Fisheries Society

Jodi Whittier, assistant research professor of fisheries and wildlife, was elected as a Fellow for the American Fisheries Society. Fellows are “members who have made outstanding or meritorious contributions to the diversity of fields that are included in the American Fisheries Society. Contributions can include, but are not restricted to, efforts in leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, resource management and/or conservation, and outreach/interaction with the public.”

She received the award at the AFS meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., in August.

CAFNR Graduate Student Named One of First Remington R. Williams Award Winners

Rishabh Mahendra, a doctoral student in Agriculture and Applied Economics, was named one of the first seven recipients of the Remington R. Williams Award by the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

In honor of Remington R. Williams, student representative to the UM Board of Curators from 2020 until his death in June 2022, the award recognizes exceptional student leaders who excel in and out of the classroom with the utmost integrity across the UM System. Recipients must display a positive impact on our institution, inspire growth and development of their fellow students in both academics and extracurricular activities, and always exhibit outstanding character and a collaborative spirit.

Mahendra is the founder and the first president for Universities Fighting World Hunger-Mizzou, a global higher education movement focused on educating, mobilizing and organizing students, faculty and administrators in the war against hunger; president of the Division of Applied Social Sciences’ Graduate Student Association; and director of the Deaton Scholars Program at Mizzou, in which student teams use creativity to solve socioeconomic and environmental issues around the world.

“I had a heartfelt conversation with Remington’s father, and he shared something that deeply resonated with me. Remington had written about leaving a legacy on his wall, and I found a profound connection to that sentiment,” Mahendra said. “Our world is filled with remarkable individuals who are making a positive impact, and I am fortunate to have learned from their incredible examples. With this award as a reminder, I am inspired to continue my journey and strive for even greater achievements. I solemnly pledge to honor Remington’s legacy in my own unique way, dedicating my life to serving others, uplifting society, and most importantly safeguarding our precious environment.”

Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Faculty Member Receives Edwin Bierman Award from ADA

Elizabeth Parks, professor of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, was named by the American Diabetes Association as its 2023 Edwin Bierman Award recipient.

Honoring meritorious achievement in the field of diabetes, the Edwin Bierman Award is presented to a researcher who has made outstanding scientific contributions to the understanding and treatment of diabetes and macrovascular complications. In conjunction with the award, Parks presented the Edwin Bierman Award Lecture during the American Diabetes Association’s 83rd Scientific Sessions on June 23 in San Diego, Cali.

CAFNR Graduate Student Named DCRC Scholar

Isabella Sellmer Ramos, a Master’s student in Animal Sciences, was named the 2023 DCRC Scholar by the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council.

Studying reproductive physiology, Ramos is investigating the underlying mechanisms of postpartum uterine disease, mainly focusing on the changes that could be observed in uterine histoarchitecture of diseased cows to potentially provide a more efficient course of treatment that could prevent reproductive losses.

The DCRC Scholars program recognizes an outstanding graduate student studying dairy, animal or veterinary science, microbiology or a related program, with an area of interest that includes dairy cattle reproduction and fertility. Applicants submitted an interest statement that detailed their interest in dairy cattle reproduction, career goals and research project, and their academic adviser provided a letter of recommendation.

The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council is focused on bringing together all sectors of the dairy industry – producers, consultants, academia and allied industry professionals – for improved reproductive performance.

CAFNR Recognized for Best Recruitment Materials at NAADA

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources received first place in Print Media Division-Student Recruitment Materials at the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association’s 2023 Publications and Projects Competition. The award was presented at NAADA’s annual conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 6-8.

Print media submissions are evaluated based on concept, writing, design, photography/graphics and print quality.

CAFNR’s student recruitment materials are a joint project between the Marketing & Communications Office and the Office of Academic Programs. Reagan Brown, marketing communications coordinator, oversees the project.

44 CAFNR Researchers Contribute to Innovation

CAFNR researchers generate innovations that are further developed in commercial settings for the benefit of society each year. In calendar year 2022, 44 CAFNR researchers had patents, commercial agreements, startup companies and first product sales.

These researchers are:

  • Mathew Ashby, senior research specialist
  • Yan Barnett, senior research consultant
  • Andrew Biggs, CMREEC assistant director for crops
  • Shi-Jie Chen, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biochemistry
  • Michael Wayne Clubb, research specialist lead
  • Mark V. Coggeshall, adjunct assistant professor
  • Melissa Crisel, senior research associate
  • Ryan DelPercio, doctoral student
  • Elizabeth De Meyer, doctoral student
  • Bishnu P. Dhital, research specialist
  • Dan England, senior research specialist
  • Stacey Hamilton, instructorXiao Heng, associate professor of biochemistry
  • Robert L. Kallenbach, associate dean
  • Kiho Lee, associate professor
  • Ryan Lock, extension specialist
  • John A. Lory, extension associate professor
  • Nicholas Meier, senior research specialist
  • Clinton Meinhardt, senior research specialist
  • James Meng, expert programmer analyst
  • Wesley Moore, senior research specialist
  • Kelly Nelson, professor
  • Alice Nguyen, research specialist
  • Henry Thien Nguyen, professor
  • Jaume Padilla, associate professor
  • Mihail Popescu, professor
  • Randall S. Prather, Curators’ Distinguished Professor
  • Xiaofan Nui, associate director of program/projects
  • Elizabeth Prenger, senior research specilaist
  • Thomas P. Quinn, professor
  • Ronald Revord, assistant research professor
  • Andrew Scaboo, assistant professor
  • James Grover Shannon, professor emeritus
  • Gubir Singh, assistant professor
  • Scotty Lee Smothers, senior research associate
  • Zhenwei Song, research scientist
  • Minviluz G. Stacey, assistant research professor
  • Marissa Triller, senior research specialist
  • Mariola Usovsky, senior research associate
  • Bongkosh Vardhanabhuti, associate professor
  • Yun Wang, doctoral student
  • Kevin D. Wells, associate professor
  • Chunye Zhang, postdoctoral fellow
  • Jianfeng Zhou, assistant  professor
  • Xiaoqin Zou, professor

CAFNR Faculty Member Appointed to Nationwide Insurance Board

Keri Jacobs has accepted a role on the Nationwide Board Council for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Jacobs is an associate professor of agricultural and applied economics, the MFA Chair in Agribusiness, and executive director of the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL).

Nationwide’s Board Council is a non-policy making advisory board that helps Nationwide be and remain a leader in the risk management issues that face agriculture today and into the future to ensure a safe, vibrant and growing community.

Jacobs views this service as an important avenue for gaining insights into the topics and challenges relevant in the agriculture and food value chain, as well as for networking and promoting the University of Missouri and GICL within the ag and food industry.