CAFNR welcomes new faculty — Spring 2024

Five new faculty members join CAFNR for the spring 2024 semester

Jesse hall and the columns
Katherine Hagely

Katherine Hagely currently serves as an assistant teaching professor in the Division of Plant Sciences and Technology (PST). Her teaching experience spans various courses, including Plants and Their Cultivation, Plant Structure and Function, Grapes and Wines of the World, and Principles of Viticulture and Winemaking. Prior to coming to the University of Missouri, she taught courses at Columbia College, Moberly Area Community College and the University of Michigan. Beyond her academic role, she has served as a Commissioner on the Environmental Quality Commission in the Jefferson City since January 2022. Hagely is an active Master Gardener, beekeeper and has been a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 2009. Hagely earned her Ph.D. in Plant, Insect, and Microbial Sciences from the University of Missouri, with an emphasis on Plant Genetics and Molecular Biology. Hagely can be reached at

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Feng Lin joins CAFNR as an assistant professor and soybean breeder at the University of Missouri’s T.E. ‘Jake’ Fisher Delta Research, Extension and Education Center, located in Portageville, Mo. Prior to his current position, Lin was a postdoctoral fellow and then an academic research specialist, respectively, at Michigan State University, focusing on soybean breeding. His soybean research examined yield, oil and protein content and research on specialty varieties, while enhancing their resistance to diseases. Lin also worked for DuPont Pioneer as a maize breeder in Changchun, China, focusing on similar research areas with corn. Lin earned his Ph.D. in Plant Genetics and Breeding from Purdue University. He serves as an associate editor for Scientia Agricola, a position he’s held since 2022. Lin can be reached at

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Thiago Martins joins the Division of Animal Sciences as an assistant professor in beef reproduction, extension and research. His research and extension efforts are primarily focused on improving and disseminating reproductive biotechnologies such as estrous synchronization and artificial insemination. Before coming to Mizzou, Martins served as an assistant professor of Beef Cattle Science at Mississippi State University where he conducted applied research and managed the beef herd of a REEC. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida, conducting research on early embryonic mortality in cattle and overseeing a statewide extension program, similar to the Show-Me-Select Replacement Beef Heifer Program. Martins earned his Ph.D. in Sciences and Veterinary Science from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine (DVM equivalent) from São Paulo State University. Martins can be reached at

Rob Myers

Rob Myers currently serves as the director of the CAFNR Center for Regenerative Agriculture and the Regional Director for Extension Programs at USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. Additionally, Myers is an extension professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology. Myers earned his Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota. He is the lead Principal Investigator on a $25 million USDA-NRCS climate-smart grant that helps farmers and landowners adopt climate-smart practices – the largest grant ever awarded to an MU faculty member. Myers also leads a $10 million USDA-NIFA project on cover crop variety development. Myers has held a number of administrative and leadership roles over the years, including a one-year, part-time endowed chair appointment at the University of Minnesota, during which he conducted interviews with agricultural leaders, educators and researchers to explore barriers and opportunities related to cover crop adoption in the Midwest. Myers can be reached at

Ivair Valmorbida

Ivair Valmorbida joins CAFNR as an assistant professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology and state extension specialist. Valmorbida will develop and implement extension and research programs focused on insect pest problems of field and forage crops. His research examines insect resistance and integrated pest management practices and insect resistance evolution to control tactics. Before coming to Mizzou, Valmorbida was a product development manager at ADAMA where he coordinated field trials for effectiveness of insecticides. His expertise guided product strategy, regulatory protocols and sales team materials. While conducting predoctoral research at Iowa State University, Valmorbida researched aphids on soybean leaves and evaluated aphid survival after insecticide applications. Valmorbida earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Iowa State University. He holds memberships with the Entomological Society of America and the Entomological Society of Brazil. Valmorbida can be reached at