Young Agriculture Scientists Vie For, Score Seed Money

Young Agriculture Scientists Vie For, Score Seed MoneyA select group of young University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have earned grants from the Dean for Research office, thanks to innovative proposals addressing critical agriculture and natural resources issues.


Jackie Burns, dean of research at UF/IFAS, called this year’s selection “highly competitive,” with 26 early career scientists presenting excellent proposals. After a review by a panel of UF/IFAS scientists, Burns announced the awards.

Seventeen awards in total were given to fund a wide range of topics, including ways to detect E.coli in meat to why students don’t eat their school-provided lunches.

The specialty agriculture-related projects to receive awards include:

  • Nathan Boyd; Horticultural Sciences at the Gulf Cost Research and Education Center (GCREC) in Balm; “Development of Precision Application Technology for Weed Management in Vegetables;” $33,476.
  • Zhengfei Guan; Food and Resource Economics at the GCREC; “Development of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) for Florida Strawberry Production;” $49,602.
  • Guodong Liu; Horticultural Sciences; “Rapid Identification of Phosphorous-Efficient Genotypes from Tomato Germplasm Banks;” $48,167.
  • Patricio Munoz; Agronomy; “Discovering the Molecular Mechanism of 2,4-D Herbicide Resistance;” $49,380.
  • Gulcan Onel; Food and Resource Economics; “Creating Sustainable Workforce for Small Fruits and Vegetables Industry in Florida: The Impact of Federal Immigration Programs and Solutions to Labor Shortages;” $49,979.
  • Paul Sarnoski; Food science and Human nutrition; “Developing Better Processed Tomato Products;” $49,103.

Each faculty member will give a poster presentation at the 2016 UF/IFAS Research Awards Ceremony, during which they will present their preliminary research results.