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5/2/13 - Mississippi State researchers honored for work

More than 40 Mississippi State faculty, students and staff are 2013 selections for university research and leadership honors.

Honorees, their guests and senior administrators were in attendance at a campus awards banquet April 29.

Before an audience of friends and colleagues gathered at the Palmeiro Center, plant and soil sciences department professor Daniel G. Peterson received the night's top honor -- the 2013 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award.

Peterson's research is focused on exploring the structure and evolution of plant and animal genomes using genomic, cytogenetic, molecular biology and computational biology techniques.


Plant and soil sciences department professor Daniel G. Peterson, left, the winner of the 2013 Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award, was congratulated by Greg Bohach, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine. PHOTO: Megan Bean | University Relations

Peterson is a member of an international research team analyzing cotton genes, chromosomes and their evolution. Last December, their work was published in the prestigious journal Nature. Recently, he and the team received the 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award from the National Cotton Council of America and Cotton Incorporated.

Peterson is also director of Mississippi State University's Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology, and a scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

"Dr. Peterson's work on the cotton genome has garnered national and international attention," MAFES Director George Hopper said earlier this year. "This research will lead to the development of plants more resistant to pests, diseases and the effects of rapid climate change."

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 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.

"Our research enterprise is growing in a number of different areas because of the collaboration between our two divisions," said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development.

Greg Bohach, vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine, echoed Shaw's assessment.

"Mississippi State research is making a difference thanks to the excellence of our university's scientists, staff and students, and their collaborative efforts that have led to MSU's recent designation by the Carnegie Foundation as a very high research activity university," he said.

"We are here tonight, in part, to celebrate these efforts," Bohach added.

Shaw had to miss the banquet at the last minute in order to participate in an economic development announcement in West Point.

"We are very pleased that Yokohama has selected Clay County as the site to build its next tire plant," Shaw said.

The Japanese company announced on Monday that it will invest $300 million in the new manufacturing facility that is expected to create some 500 jobs initially. According to officials, future expansions could potentially increase the company's investment to more than $1 billion and up to 2,000 jobs.

"We are proud of the role Mississippi State played in helping to land this major economic development project for our state," Shaw said.

Other 2013 MSU research award winners include (alphabetically, by academic unit):

--Bagley College of Engineering: Pedro J. Mago, faculty; Mohsen Eshraghi, graduate student; and Ankit Arya, undergraduate student.

--College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station: Brian Baldwin, faculty; JoVonn Hill, research support staff; Brian Luck, graduate student; and Kaitlyn Hardin, undergraduate student.

--College of Architecture, Art and Design: Dominic Lippillo, faculty; Kelsey Johnson, research support staff; and Whitten Sabbatini, undergraduate student.

--College of Arts and Sciences: Dongmao Zhang, faculty; Carly Cummings, research support staff; Jonelle Husain, graduate student; and Donald Brown, undergraduate student.

--College of Business: Marcia Watson, faculty; Robert Van De Graaff Randolph, graduate student; and Parker Stewart, undergraduate student.

--College of Education: Stamatis Agiovlasitis, faculty; Lorie White, research support staff; Roland Webster, graduate student; and Jennifer Cooper, undergraduate student.

--College of Forest Resources: Philip Steele, faculty; Venkata Penmetsa, research support staff; Nathan Svoboda, graduate student; and Jason Cromer, undergraduate student.

--College of Veterinary Medicine: Bindu Nanduri, faculty; Andreza S. Figueiredo, research support staff; and Ronald Pringle, graduate student.

--Office of Research and Economic Development: Marlene Langford, research support staff; and Lanford Porter Jr., graduate student.

--University Centers and Institutes: Jim Aanstoos, faculty; and Lee Hathcock, research support staff.

Also honored were new graduates of the Faculty Leadership Program: Sherif Abdelwahed, Matthew Boggan, Angi Bourgeois, Cody Coyne, Dana Franz, Todd French, James Giesen, Mark Horstemeyer, Isaac Howard, Kimberly Kelly, Lelia Scott Kelly, Thomas Lacy, Andy Londo, Karen McNeal, Oliver Myers, Trisha Phillips, Colleen Sinclair and Henry Wan.

Jim Laird | University Relations

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