UGA Horticulture Department

Two Horticulture Faculty Recognized For Outstanding Teaching

Dr. Paul Thomas and Dr. Tim Smalley were both recently recognized by the University of Georgia with 2018 Outstanding Teaching Faculty Awards at this year’s Faculty Recognition Banquet.  The Horticulture Department was represented with two out of the six in the college awards, including including Dr. Maria Navarro, Dr. Marianne Shockley, Dr. Kylee Jo Duberstein and Dr. Brian H Kiepper. The banquet was held at the Continuing Education Center on April 16th and included a nice dinner with the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Samuel Pardue.

Horticulture Graduate Students Receive Research Awards

Congratulations to UGA Hort students Geoffrey Weaver, Connor Ryan and Kaitlin Barrios whom took 3 out of the 5 competition awards during the Bryson James Student Research Competition. Here is the press release from Nursery Management magazine:

Atlanta, Ga. – Five students from two universities were presented cash awards totaling $1,800 for their presentations at the Bryson L. James Student Competition. The competition took place during the 62nd SNA Research Conference, and the awards were presented on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.

The competition, sponsored by Bennett’s Creek Wholesale Nursery and Lancaster Farms, is named in honor of Dr. Bryson L. James, McMinnville, Tenn., a researcher and consultant who served as SNA Director of Research for more than 30 years. Any student of a university or college having researchers that participate in the Southern Nursery Association Research Conference and not more than a one academic year has passed since their graduation and whose research was completed prior to graduation can participate in the competition. Judging is based on paper preparation and oral presentation. The competition is divided into three categories of Ph.D., M.S., and B.S.

First place winners of $500 each included:
Geoffrey Weaver, University of Georgia (Ph.D.)
Title: Modeling energy-efficient lighting strategies for petunia and impatiens using chlorophyll fluorescence and historical weather data

Connor Ryan, University of Georgia (M.S.)
Title: Susceptability of Sarcococca Taxa to Boxwood Blight Caused by Calonextria pseudonaviculata

Second place winners of $300 each included:
Md Niamul Kibir, Tennessee State University (Ph.D.)
Title: Effect of fungicides and biorational products on Phytophthora root rot of hydrangea cultivars

Matthew Brown, Tennessee State University (M.S.)
Title: Evaluation of fungicides and biofungicides for control of Phytophthora cinnamomi on flood-stressed flowering dogwoods

Third place winners of $200 each included:
Kaitlin Barrios, University of Georgia (Ph.D.)
Title: Mutagenesis of Illicium parviflorum for Novel Phenotypes

In addition to the cash awards for excellence in written and oral presentations for their respective research projects, each student was presented with a plaque.

Outstanding representation Hort Dawgs!

Photo courtesy SNA. 2018 Bryson L. James Student Competition Awards Winners pictured from left to right: Geoffrey Weaver, Md Niamul Kibir, Kaitlin Barrios, Connor Ryan, and Matthew Brown

Hort Faculty Receive Publication Awards from SR-ASHS

 

Congratulations  are in order for eight of our faculty for being awarded a total of five outstanding Extension publication awards they authored and published in 2017.  The recognitions were presented at the Southern Region meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science.  Dr. Tim Coolong, Dr. George Boyhan, Dr. Susanne Stone, Dr. Pam Knox, Dr. Erick Smith, and Dr. Bodie Pennisi each received one award and Dr. Matthew Chappell received two Extension Blue Ribbon Awards!  Dr. Bodie Pennisi was voted In as President Elect for the 2019 SR-ASHS Presidency also. The annual meeting this year was held in Jacksonville Florida.  UGA swept five publication categories this year and will have a Hort faculty member as President. Well done colleagues!

Van Iersel Awarded the 2018 Porter Henegar Memorial Award by SNA Board

Dr. Marc van Iersel, Professor, University of Georgia, Athens Campus, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Porter Henegar Memorial Award!!!

Marc van Iersel was born in the Netherlands and exposed to horticulture at a young age, playing in his grandfather’s flower shop and greenhouses. He studied horticulture in the Netherlands, where he received his MS degree in 1989. He then came to the US and received his PhD from the University of Arkansas in 1994. He has been with horticulture department of the University of Geor­gia since 1995, where he now holds the Dooley professorship.

His current research focuses on cost-effective supplemental lighting technologies in greenhouses and vertical farms. He does so by studying plant physiological responses to different light intensities and spectra. The goal is to develop crop-specific, cost-effective lighting protocols. Past research focused on efficient irrigation and fertilization in the production of ornamental plants. He has pub­lished 120+ scientific papers and has given invited lectures about his research around the world, including in Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Kenya, Canada, Chile, and Brazil.

In 1969, an Award of Merit was created to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to ornamental horticultural research and, more specifically, to SNA. In 1972, the SNA Board of Directors resolved that the Award of Merit would be renamed the Porter Henegar Memorial Award for Horticultural Research in memory of the late Porter Henegar, Past Executive Secretary of SNA (1959 – 1972), to commemorate his years of tireless effort and service to the SNA. The recipient is selected annually by fellow research workers for his/her concern and work toward improving the nursery industry

The SNA Board of Directors also honors individuals that have served this association and the nursery industry in various capacities throughout the years and have made outstanding contributions during their active participation in the Southern Nursery Association with honorary membership awards. This year, one deserving industry member has been selected to receive an SNA Honorary Member Award. He has, no doubt, made outstanding contributions to the association and the

indus­try during his participation in the Southern Nursery Association.

Congratulations Dr. van Iersel!

 

Horticulture Department Head Position Announced

Professor and Department Head, Horticulture Position Announced.

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences seeks candidates for the position of professor and head of the Department of Horticulture. This is a 12-month, tenure-track position. The successful candidate will be expected to administer and coordinate high-quality teaching, research and Extension programs while playing a proactive role in increasing extramural support for these programs. Specific responsibilities include faculty recruitment, management and leadership; student recruitment; faculty performance evaluations; the coordination of promotion and tenure procedures; program planning and implementation; budget management; and management of physical facilities, including both laboratory and field facilities. The individual will also work effectively with faculty, representing the department among university and agency administrators, industry clientele, and state and federal personnel. The department head (or their designee) has oversight over field units supporting research, teaching and outreach.

Minimum Qualifications
• A doctorate in horticulture, plant biology or related
biological sciences, with demonstrated excellence in
teaching, research and/or extension.
• The successful applicant must qualify for the rank
of professor.
Preferred Qualifications
• Higher education administrative experience.
• Evidence of creative and innovative leadership.
• Demonstrated success in procuring extramural funding.
• Ability to work effectively with faculty, staff and students.
• A demonstrated commitment to diversity.

Applications
Applications received by February 1, 2018, will be assured
full consideration; however, screening will continue until the
position is filled. Applicants should submit documentation
electronically at facultyjobs.uga.edu/postings/3253.
To apply, submit: (1) a formal letter stating the applicant’s
qualifications for the position and a statement of leadership
philosophy; (2) a current resume that includes a list of
publications; and (3) a list of four references with contact
information including email addresses. References will
not be contacted without further communication with the
applicant. Salary is commensurate with qualifications, and a
comprehensive benefits package is included.
The Department of Horticulture
Research, teaching and Extension faculty (32), students
(30 graduate, 61 undergraduate and 21 organic agriculture
certificate program) and staff (45) are located on the
Athens, Tifton and Griffin campuses. Through research and
Extension, the department supports Georgia’s large and
diverse horticulture industry, which has a farmgate value of
$1.4 billion. Departmental programs include plant breeding,
genetics and genomics; plant physiology; postharvest biology;
plant production management; resource management; and
native plant conservation. Faculty members work on a vast
array of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, herbs, medicinal
plants, endangered native species and row crops.
Outstanding graduate programs leading to either master’s or
doctoral degrees are supported by a large graduate faculty
with diverse research programs and broad disciplinary
expertise. The department hosts a large Extension program
focused on applied research to address the needs of farmers
and the public in Georgia and worldwide.

The University of Georgia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin,
sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or protected veteran status.

Here is the link to the Application Site…    https://facultyjobs.uga.edu/postings/3253

JOB PROSPECTUS: PROFESSOR AND
DEPARTMENT HEAD, HORTICULTURE
For more information, visit caes.uga.edu/departments/horticulture.html.
Nominations are encouraged and accepted. All nominations and inquiries should be directed to Search Committee
Chair and Department of Entomology Head Kris Braman at kbraman@uga.edu or (706) 542-2816.

 

Four Department Students Recieve Prestigeous Sidney B. Meadows Scholarships

The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Fund has announced the names of twelve students from several southeastern universities chosen to receive academic scholarships this year.   In the Undergraduate category, the UGA Hort Department had two out of the six awardees.  Ruqayah Bhuiyan and Michael Delvalle each received one of the $1500.00 scholarships.  In the Graduate Student category, two of the six  scholarships were awarded to Susan Hawkins, and Bethany Harris, both graduate students on the Griffin campus.

Scholarship recipients are determined through a competitive application process, administered by a selection committee, based on academics, determination, demonstrated interest in the horticulture industry, and financial need. This year’s recipients were chosen from the largest number of applications ever received. Created in 1989 by the Southern Nursery Association (SNA), The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund is a 501 (c) 3 corporation providing scholarships to students who are residents of the sixteen southeastern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia – pursuing a career in horticulture. The scholarship is dedicated to one of the most honored horticultural leaders, the late Sidney B. Meadows, who was an avid supporter of student scholarships and believed that providing aid for students was an important way to ensure the growth and development of all facets of the industry.

UGA Research Leader’s Work on Tomato Genome Featured in PLOSbgenetics!

Dr. Esther van der Knapp, Professor in the Department of Horticulture and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics and her team of scientists from UGA and The Ohio State University have recent had their work on Cell size regulation published in PLOS genetics, a very prestigious genomic science journal.  According to the research summary:  “Starting about 10,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, human societies began the transformation from a hunting and gathering-dependent lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle. This transformation was accompanied by plant and animal domestication. Tomato shows a huge increase in fruit weight that has arisen as a consequence of its domestication. We identified a gene that encodes a poorly characterized protein that controls fruit weight in tomato. The mutation that led to the increase in fruit weight arose early during the cultivation of tomato and is now incorporated in all large tomato varieties. The gene regulates cell size in the fruit and is called Cell Size Regulator. The increases in cell size are proposed to relate to cellular maturation that accompanies fruit growth.”

To see the actual publication, follow the link provided below:

Fruit weight is controlled by Cell Size Regulator encoding a novel protein that is expressed in maturing tomato fruits.  Qi Mu , Zejun Huang, Manohar Chakrabarti, Eudald Illa-Berenguer, Xiaoxi Liu, Yanping Wang, Alexis Ramos, and  Esther van der Knaap. 2017  PLOS Gen 13(8) e1006930.

http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1006930

Dr. Paul Thomas – Winner of 2017 Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education

A renowned researcher, prolific speaker and mentor to college students is the recipient of the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) 2017 Alex Laurie Award. The association will present the honor to Paul A. Thomas, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Georgia’s horticulture department, on Sept. 9 during SAF Palm Beach 2017, SAF’s 133rd Annual Convention at The Breakers in Florida.

Established in 1948, SAF’s Alex Laurie Award is named for the eminent professor at The Ohio State University. Over the course of his 60-year career, Laurie laid the groundwork for research that revolutionized the floriculture industry and left a lineage of students, teachers and researchers continuing to provide the information necessary to ensure the industry’s future.

 

Thomas earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in botany from Southern Illinois University and his doctorate in plant physiology, with a specialization in plant carbohydrate transport in maize, from the Pennsylvania State University. His current research involves water conservation, production input reduction, sustainable greenhouse practices and implementation of wireless, sensor-controlled irrigation systems in nurseries and greenhouses.

At UGA, Thomas teaches greenhouse management, horticultural business practices and interiorscaping classes. A key component of his program is facilitating experiential learning through industry internships. Thomas serves as the State Extension Specialist in floriculture. In this position, he plans and implements regional and state programs involving greenhouses and the florist industry.

Thomas has published more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific and outreach articles and has received 41 academic awards. He has given more than 600 presentations to industry groups and has extensive diagnostic experience.

He serves as a grant reviewer on the American Floral Endowment’s education committee and chairs the American Society for Horticultural Science’s endowment committee. Thomas has also been very active in the Vic and Margaret Ball Internship program managed by the American Floral Endowment.

Notably, he served a six year term as a committee member of the D.C. Kiplinger Chair in Floriculture’s oversight committee, and served as a grant panel manager for the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Thomas is dedicated to nurturing aspiring horticulturists. He has over 20 years of service to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, as well as the college’s Young Scholars Program (a STEM High school co-mentoring program) and serves as faculty advisor to the Tau Chapter of the Pi Alpha Xi national horticulture honor society.

He has also served as a judge for the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a coalition of Georgia colleges created to recruit underrepresented demographics to studies in science, technology, engineering and math; the Georgia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium; and the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair.

For information about the Alex Laurie Award, visit safnow.org/awards.

Dr. Suzanne Stone Appointed Director of R&D, Production at Urban Seeds, Inc.

More excellent employment news: Congratulations to UGA Horticulture PhD graduate student Suzanne Stone, whom graduated this May and has accepted a great position with Urban Seeds, Inc., as Director of R&D and Production. Urban Seeds is an Aeroponic greenhouse based growing operation located in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Suzanne “My job is to develop company grow plans, which includes evaluating variety performance, nutrient management, integrated pest management, and greenhouse management. I also supervise the grow team and am developing employee protocols. The company is very much technology-driven, so daily I collaborate with engineers to develop solutions for more sustainable greenhouse food production, packing, distribution. I will work with chefs to find the best tasting and highest quality produce to elevate their menus. This is truly a dream job and the company is fantastic!” Suzanne did her doctoral work under Drs Cecelia McGregor and George Boyhan and by all accounts did a fantastic job on her dissertation. Congratulations Dr. Stone! To learn more about Urban Seeds: http://urbanseedinc.com/

 

van Iersel Horticultural Physiology Lab Receives GRA Grant

LEDs of different colors are used to study spectral effects on plant growth and physiology.

Dr. Marc van Iersel’s Horticultural Physiology Lab has received a $60,000 grant from the Georgia Research Alliance to continue their collaboration with Dr. Mark Haidekker’s photonics lab in UGA’s College of Engineering, and PhytoSynthetix. This long-standing collaboration is focused on the development of energy-efficient, cost-effective methods for supplemental lighting in controlled environment agriculture. We focus on integrating plant physiology and engineering to develop lighting approaches to specifically apply supplemental light when it can be used most efficiently. Given that the energy costs to provide supplemental lighting can be as much as 30% of the total production costs, reduced energy use can have a big impact on the greenhouse industry.