WOOSTER, Ohio – Ohio State University Professor Emeritus Mo Saif, former head of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ (CFAES) Food Animal Health Research Program, has been appointed to the board of directors of the newly created Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research.
Authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase scientific and technological research, innovation and partnerships critical to boosting America’s agricultural economy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research creates $20 in economic activity,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the foundation.
“Investments in innovation made over the past several decades have developed new products and new procedures that have been critical to the continued growth of American agriculture. We must continue to make strategic investments in research and technology if we are to remain leaders in the global economy.”
An internationally recognized virologist, Saif is a leading researcher in the field of poultry diseases, having discovered and advanced knowledge concerning viral infections that affect the intestinal tracts and the immune systems of turkeys and chickens.
He was also a pioneer in figuring out how influenza viruses can be shared between different animal species, such as turkeys and pigs, and how they change in the process. Saif's research in this arena has contributed to the medical community’s understanding of influenza viruses that jump from animals to humans.
“Dr. Saif was chosen from over 300 nominees for this select board of directors, a testament to the high quality of his scientific contributions and the regard he is held in by his colleagues,” said Steve Slack, director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the research arm of CFAES. “It is a great honor for Ohio State University to have one of its scientists selected from a national pool of outstanding leaders.”
The 15-member board includes several university researchers, as well as representatives from industry and private foundations.