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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Meet graduate student Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney

Jonathan Mahoney.

Jonathan Mahoney is a PhD student studying plant breeding in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. While completing an undergraduate internship at the USDA in Ames, Iowa, he became part of a collaboration that connected him to UConn. Here is what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate?

I studied at Iowa State University in the Department of Horticulture and graduated in 2014.

What was your major?

My major was horticulture with an emphasis in fruit and vegetable production.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school?

It was partly due to the people that I worked with at Iowa State, especially the faculty, and the research that I did as an undergraduate at the USDA-ARS, National Plant Germplasm System.

It was also probably my own curiosity. Learning what something is, that’s interesting, but I want to know why and how. I think graduate school allows me to do that with experiments and scientific discoveries.

Who is your advisor? (more…)

Website relays native plant info

Native plants website

Homepage of New England Native Plants Initiatives website

New England native plants have a new ally with the creation of a website dedicated to disseminating information about them.

The New England Native Plants Initiatives site highlights “the important role native plants play in our ecology,” said Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture graduate student John Campanelli. He and his advisor, Associate Professor Julia Kuzovkina, co-initiated the website while working on a related DOT native grasses project.

Campanelli adds that the site acts as a clearinghouse to “direct people to organizations and businesses related to native plants in our region,” with the goal of increasing use of the plants. The new CAHNR website has several potential audiences from amateur gardeners to government and industry professionals to conservationists.

Native plants benefit ecosystems and the environment. For example, forbs, or wildflowers, provide ideal forage (pollen and nectar) for native pollinators like bees and butterflies. With the increased use of native forbs, there is the potential to reverse the decline of pollinator populations in the region, says Campanelli. The website has a page devoted to pollinators, and it includes links to fact sheets and research articles.

Campanelli points out an additional bonus, “Native plants are better adapted to a region’s ecological parameters. They require fewer inputs, such as water and fertilizers, to thrive.” This fact and the ability of natives to provide habitats for many species of wildlife, such as birds, reptiles and amphibians, contribute to a cleaner environment and conservation efforts, according to Campanelli. (more…)

Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Awards and accoladesRecently, some of CAHNR’s faculty (names in bold type) were selected for awards that recognize their accomplishments.

The Research Excellence Program provides seed funding to promote, support and enhance the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of faculty at UConn. The Office of the Vice President for Research recently announced the 2017-2018 Research Excellence Program-Storrs recipients. CAHNR awardees and their departments and projects are:

Assistant Professor Christopher Blesso, of nutritional sciences, Defining the Impact of Dietary Sphingomyelin on Lipopolysaccharide Translocation and Inflammation.

Assistant Professor Nathan Fiala, of agricultural and resource economics, Wheels of Change: Impact of Cycles on Female Education and Empowerment in Zambia. Co-PI: Assistant Professor Nishith Prakash, of economics (more…)

College faculty plan international collaborations at networking event in Cuba

While the future of US foreign policy remains unclear, the warming of relations with Cuba under the Obama administration produced an opportunity for US scientists and researchers to connect with their Cuban neighbors. Associate Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences recognized the benefit of shared knowledge and the advancements that could be achieved through the formation of partnerships with Cuba. She created the Cuba Research Initiative to pair the University of Connecticut with several Cuban institutions to facilitate an exchange of ideas and establish joint research ventures. Multiple trips by UConn representatives have forged memoranda of understanding and these formalized relationships are now shaping into potential projects.

The UConn faculty at ICA

Ana Legrand, Guillermo Risatti, Steven Zinn and Hedley Freake (left to right) at the Institute of Animal Science.

College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) faculty members spent a week in Cuba in January 2017 for a networking event to outline possible partnerships. Guillermo Risatti, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, led the group. He was accompanied by Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension, Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science. Aviana Rosen, former project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, also traveled with the group. With a focus on agriculture and animal science, they met with representatives from the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA) and the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH). The group discussed specific areas in their respective disciplines that would benefit from collaboration as well as broad initiatives, including forming study abroad opportunities and assisting with the publication of journals to share US and Cuban research. The individual CAHNR departments and UConn Global Affairs provided funding for the trip. (more…)

Historical image of the week

Government experts test power of gas to keep weeds out of golf greens.

Government experts test power of gas to keep weeds out of golf greens. Washington, D.C., Aug. 4. Attention golfers!! Your putting is bound to improve and your cussing cut down if the tests now being conducted by grass experts of the Department of Agriculture on the use of tear gas to keep weeds out of golf greens are successful. A.E. Rabbit, (left) grass specialist of the United States Gold Association with whom the Department of Agriculture is cooperating in making the tests, is pictured as he pours the gas into the soil while Stanley Graeff, Dept. of Agriculture, rakes it over. The gas treatment was developed by Dr. John Monteith of the Department of Agriculture. Photo part of Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress)