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4/20/18 - Mississippi State celebrates research success with annual banquet

More than 50 Mississippi State students, faculty and staff are 2018 selections for exceptional research and leadership honors.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum welcomed honorees, their guests and senior administrators to a celebration of the university’s research achievements during a campus awards luncheon last Monday [April 16] in the Hunter Henry Center’s Hal and Linda Parker Ballroom.

Keenum praised them for their work and far-reaching impact in the state, the nation and globally — noting that each one is a “truly outstanding contributor.”



Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum (l-r) congratulates 2018 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award winner Wes Schilling, a professor of food science, nutrition and health promotion. Joining them at the annual research awards banquet for faculty, staff and students are Greg Bohach, the vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, and David Shaw, the vice president for research and economic development. PHOTO: Beth Wynn | Public Affairs

Wes Schilling, a professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, was recognized with the afternoon’s top honor: the 2018 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award.

“We congratulate Dr. Schilling on this very well-deserved honor,” said Greg Bohach, vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at MSU.

The program and banquet are co-sponsored by the offices of the vice presidents for Research and Economic Development and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine.

Since joining the MSU faculty in 2003, Schilling has developed five courses that focus on hands-on experiences and real world examples that greatly benefit his students. He also has completed a sabbatical at Johnsonville Sausage, which helped him learn to better design research projects to impact business decisions. He has served as the graduate student advisor for 34 students, with 28 graduate degrees conferred to these students to date.

His research focuses on sensory science, meat processing (poultry, beef, pork and catfish), meat quality, flavor chemistry, proteomics and statistical methods. His specific research program on sensory research, broiler meat quality, and relationships between sensory quality, flavor chemistry, and consumer science studies have earned him numerous university and national awards.

Schilling has secured more than $2.8 million in funding for his laboratory, while working in conjunction with administrators and scientists in securing over $6 million. He has published more than 125 peer reviewed journal papers since 2003, and more than 60 since 2012. Since 2008, he also has published 15 chapters in textbooks, including eight in the 6th edition of “Principles of Food Sanitation,” which was published this spring. He has presented more than 120 papers at professional meetings. He has written more than 50 invited articles for trade magazines.

In addition to the Powe recognition, the Virginia Tech doctoral graduate has been awarded the MSU Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award, the Achievement Award by the American Meat Science Association, the MAFES Outstanding Research Award, the Rosalind and Rodney Foil Teamwork Award, the Gamma Sigma Delta Excellence in Research Award, the Recent Alumnus Award for CALS at Virginia Tech, and the MSU CALS/MAFES Outstanding Research Award.

The Powe Award is a memorial to the MSU alumnus and longtime research vice president who died in 1996. It is selected at the university level from nominations received from the MSU community.

The annual research awards program honors individuals who contribute significantly to MSU’s mission of research. In addition to faculty, it recognizes and rewards students and staff for accomplishments and creative endeavors, as well as for increasing awareness of the university’s many research programs and capabilities.

“The Annual Research Awards Banquet is a highlight of the academic year at Mississippi State, and it showcases the extraordinary diversity of our research portfolio,” said David Shaw, the university’s vice president for research and economic development.

Other 2018 research award winners include (alphabetically, by academic unit):

— Bagley College of Engineering: Yucheng Liu, faculty; Sandra Ortega-Achury, research support; Zhiyong Gong, graduate student; and Dennison Iacomini, undergraduate student.

— College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station: Raja Reddy, faculty; Thomas Horgan, research support; Cathurika Wijewardana, graduate student; and Hunt Walne, undergraduate student.

— College of Architecture, Art and Design: Jamie Burwell Mixon, faculty; Jacob “Scott” Hudspeth, research support; and Carly Melton, graduate student.

— College of Arts and Sciences: Adam Skarke, faculty; Elizabeth Miller, research support; William David Harris, graduate student; and Nic Ezzell, undergraduate student.

— College of Business: Frank Adams, faculty; Schanna Beckham, research support; and Christian Barney, graduate student.

— College of Education: Daniel L. Gadke, faculty; Latara Arterberry, research support; Kasia Gallo, graduate student; and Allison Moore, undergraduate student.

— College of Forest Resources and Forest & Wildlife Research Center: Heather Alexander, faculty; Landis Herrin, research support; Carolina Baruzzi, graduate student; and Steven Wood, undergraduate student.

— College of Veterinary Medicine: Barbara Kaplan, faculty; Leslie A. Shack, research support; Adef Kordon, graduate student; and Ethan T. Woodyard, undergraduate student.

— MSU-Meridian: Mark Fincher, faculty, and Chris Kelly, graduate student.

— Office of Research and Economic Development: Stephanie Hyche, research support, and Erin Walker Dillard, graduate student.

— University Centers and Institutes: Joby Czarnecki, faculty; Louis Wasson, research support; Chris Zarzar, graduate student; and Cary McCraine, undergraduate student.

Mississippi State’s success with developing intellectual property and licensing new technology also was part of the day’s celebration as four inventors were recognized for obtaining patents in Fiscal Year 2017:

Shien Lu, professor, biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology.

Mark White, professor emeritus, Swalm School of Chemical Engineering.

Jilei Zhang, professor, Forest & Wildlife Research Center, sustainable bioproducts.

— And the late William P. “Bill” Henry, a longtime member of the faculty in MSU’s Department of Chemistry.

Also honored were new graduates of the university’s 2017-2018 Dean Wallace Colvard Faculty Leadership Program:

Shrinidhi Ambinakudige, associate professor, geosciences.

Brian Baldwin, professor, plant and soil sciences.

Cindy Bethel, associate professor, computer science and engineering.

Guihong Bi, research professor, plant and soil sciences.

Stephen Brain, associate professor, history.

Jenny Du, professor, electrical and computer engineering.

David Hoffman, associate professor, anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures.

T.J. Jankun-Kelly, associate professor, computer science and engineering.

Bindu Nanduri, associate professor, College of Veterinary Medicine Basic Science Department.

Michael Seymour, associate professor, landscape architecture.

Lesley Strawderman, associate professor, industrial and systems engineering.

John Wyatt, associate professor, instructional systems and workforce development.

Learn more about the Office of Research and Economic Development at www.research.msstate.edu or the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at www.dafvm.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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