OARDC honors award winners at conference

OARDC presented the following awards at its 2015 Annual Research Conference April 16 in Columbus:

Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award

Steve Schwartz, professor and Carl E. Haas Endowed Chair, Department of Food Science and Technology, studies the role of dietary phytochemicals (natural chemical compounds in plants) and functional foods in health, especially cancer prevention. His research on carotenoids (natural pigments found in plants), for example, has shown they can help prevent several types of cancer.

Schwartz also has demonstrated that eating vegetables together with lipids, such as fats and oils, enhances the absorption of carotenoids and the bioconversion of pro-vitamin A beta-carotene.

Most recently, he has expanded into food and nutritional metabolomics and is leading an Ohio State Discovery Theme on the topic. Among his duties, he is director of Ohio State’s Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship.

Steve Schwartz

Read more at go.osu.edu/3KB.

Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award

Andy Michel, associate professor, Department of Entomology, studies how insect pests adapt to rapidly changing selection pressures in ecosystems. He uses the new knowledge to help secure and improve food production.

He runs the Insect Molecular Ecology and Adaptation Laboratory, which targets two major field-crop pests, the soybean aphid and the Western corn rootworm. His work there explores the genetic mechanisms that help those pests resist control. He aims to help farmers improve that control, and with it, food security.

Andy Michel

Michel’s expertise also has led to new collaborations on a wide range of topics, such as emerging plant disease vectors, climate change adaptation in an Antarctic insect, native U.S. lady beetle conservation, and several Mexican and Brazilian pests.

Read more at go.osu.edu/3NX.

Director’s Innovator of the Year Award

Hua Wang, professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, was recognized for her contributions to understanding and controlling antibiotic resistance, a challenge for food safety, public health and the healthcare industry.

Among her achievements, she found that commensal bacteria, including beneficial bacteria, serve as reservoirs and facilitators of antibiotic resistance in microbial ecosystems, such as those in ready-to-eat food products. Based on that finding, she teamed with the U.S. dairy industry to remove antibiotic resistance genes in starter cultures and probiotics used by major suppliers to make yogurt and cheese. The effort slashed the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in U.S. fermented dairy foods.

Hua Wang

Wang also showed that a lack of early antibiotic intervention ups the chance of patients developing hard-to-treat biofilm-based infections. The work has led to improved U.S. medical guidelines.

More recently, she found that administering antibiotics by injection instead of by mouth tremendously reduces antibiotic resistance in test mice and poultry. Though not yet verified in humans, the finding holds promise for public health.

Read more at go.osu.edu/3KG.

William E. Krauss Director’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Research

Megan E. Meuti, a doctoral graduate of the Department of Entomology, was the lead author of “Functional Circadian Clock Genes Are Essential for the Overwintering Diapause of the Northern House Mosquito, Culex pipiens,” which appeared in the February 2015 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology. Her advisor was David Denlinger, Distinguished University Professor in her department.

The Krauss award honors the best published paper by an OARDC-supported Ph.D. student.

Research Poster Competition

The competition, which drew 83 entries, recognized outstanding research posters by OARDC-supported graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and research assistants and associates.

Ph.D. Students

  • First place: Kayla I. Perry, Department of Entomology, “Effects of forest disturbance on ground-dwelling invertebrate dispersal”; adviser, Daniel A. Herms.
  • Second place: Johnathon P. Sheets, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “Effect of limited air exposure and comparative performance between thermophilic and mesophilic solid-state anaerobic digestion of switchgrass”; adviser, Yebo Li.
  • Third place: Yin Chen, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, “Response of grafted glyphosate-resistant and conventional soybean plants to glyphosate”; adviser, Douglas Doohan.

Master’s Degree Students

  • First place: Rachel Medina, Department of Plant Pathology, “Examining the role of maize root exudates influence on soybean cyst nematode hatching”; adviser, Christopher G. Taylor.
  • Second place: Carlos J. Esquivel Palma, Department of Entomology, “Physiological and biochemical assays confirm a functional transition in the Malpighian tubules after a blood meal in the invasive Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus”; adviser, Peter Piermarini.
  • Third place: Rodney T. Richardson, Department of Entomology, “Rank-based inference of pollen type abundance using a multi-locus metabarcoding approach”; adviser, Reed Johnson.

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • First place: Xiaofeng Zhuang, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, “Development of EST-derived single nucleotide polymorphism markers using RNA-seq in Taraxacum kok-saghyz”; adviser, Katrina Cornish.
  • Second place: Wenshuang Xie, Department of Plant Pathology, “Evaluation of a MYB transcription factor as a visible marker for transgenic plant production”; adviser, Christopher G. Taylor.
  • Third place: Chun-Ming Lin, Food Animal Health Research Program, “Generation of attenuated US PEDV vaccine candidates via continuous cell culture passages”; adviser, Quihong Wang.

Research Assistants and Associates

  • First place: Revathi Shanmugasundaram, Department of Animal Sciences, “Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis modulate intestinal cell signaling responses that activate T regulatory cell functions and mediates persistent infections in chickens”; adviser, Ramesh Selvaraj.
  • Second place: Huang-Chi Huang, Food Animal Health Research Program, “Colonization dynamics and effect of human rotavirus infection on defined commensal microflora in a gnotobiotic (Gn) pig model”; adviser, G. Rajashekara.
  • Third place: Therese Miller, Department of Plant Pathology, “Survey of Ohio soybean cyst nematode virulence”; adviser, Christopher G. Taylor.

The first-place winners in each category received $500; the second-place winners, $300; the third-place winners, $150.

A list of all the competition participants and their projects is available at go.osu.edu/3UZ.