Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Sanjiv Sarin, Ph.D.; Provost Beryl McEwen, Ph.D.; Research Technician Zhongge (Cindy) Lu; Professor Guochen Yang, Ph.D.; and Dean Mohamed Ahmedna pose for a photo at the Celebration of Faculty Excellence.
N.C. A&T’s Celebration of Faculty Excellence on May 7 recognized outstanding service by CAES faculty in the areas of research, teaching and advising.
Guochen Yang, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, received the university’s Intellectual Property Award. His area of expertise is plant tissue culture and micropropagation. His research interest has been using tissue culture and micropropagation techniques for economic development including rescue of endangered species, mass production of rare species and plant species with high economic values, and for secondary production such as nutraceuticals.
“The most rewarding part of doing research is educating next-generation scientists and finding solutions for real societal issues, like helping to alleviate food security concerns,” Yang said.
As principal investigator or a Co-PI, he has been collectively awarded funding of about $3 million. His research resulted in one GenBank deposit at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nearly 30 refereed journal papers, 10 conference proceedings papers, and more than 150 presentations at national and international scientific conferences.
He has 11 intellectual property activities including two U.S. patents, one pending U.S. patent, four U.S. provisional and utility patent applications and subsequent patent application publications, and four invention disclosures. In addition to maintaining a high level of productivity to advance his science, He uses his science to better serve small-scale producers by developing protocols that can significantly increase their production and profit margins.
Uchenna Anele, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, received the university’s Rookie of the Year award for research. His research goals are focused on improving nutrient utilization and abatement of greenhouse gas emissions in ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) through efficient and sustainable supplementation strategies.
His research philosophy has been to collaborate with other scientists to get research done faster, cheaper and with more breadth and depth. In the fast and very dynamic field of animal nutrition, it is almost impossible for one researcher or scientist to conduct cutting-edge research from beginning to the end alone. Anele has built a multidisciplinary team that includes engineers, a microbiologist, a mycologist, a food scientist, a nutritionist, a bioinformatician and an economist.
Academic scholarship is at the core of professional growth and development, which is why he takes this aspect of his job very seriously. He has been involved in both basic and applied research in the area of Animal Science since his undergraduate degree, which has made him appreciate involving undergraduate students in his research whenever possible.
“I get students excited about trying research for the first time by sharing the big picture with them and explaining how their contributions to science can outlive them,” Anele said.
- S. Patent No. 9,950,987 – “Aspirin derivatives and uses thereof” – issued April 24, 2018, to Shengmin Sang, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and a researcher at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies.
- S. Patent No. 10,028,505 – “Micropropagation of Alexandrian laurel” – issued July 24, 2018, to Guochen Yang, Ph.D., and Zhongge (Cindy) Lu, researchers in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design.
- European Patent No. 2170106 – “Process for preparing hypoallergenic and non-allergenic peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) utilizing an endopeptidase” – issued May 23, 2018, to Mohamed Ahmedna, Ph.D.; Jianmei Yu, Ph.D., and Ipek Goktepe, Ph.D., for research conducted in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Ahmedna became dean of the CAES in October.
Valerie J. McMillan, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, was recognized for winning the University of North Carolina System’s 2019 Board of Governors (BOG) Award for Excellence in Teaching.
McMillan also won the Outstanding Teaching Award for the CAES.
JUNIOR FACULTY TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARD
Yewande Fasina, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, received one of the university’s two Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards. As a poultry immuno-nutritionist, Fasina provides quality instruction and mentorship to her students both in and out of the classroom.
She has made significant strides in building the capacity of poultry research and student engagement, and is very passionate about helping her students realize that there is no limitation to what they can accomplish if well focused. She hopes to continue to use her teaching, outreach, service, and scholarly activities as a platform for increasing the number of minorities engaged in poultry science and allied industry.
Chastity Warren English, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education, received the Academic Advising Excellence Award for the CAES. She has advised undergraduate and graduate students since 2007.
English’s approach to advising incorporates the National FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” She is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of her students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
PROMOTION AND TENURE
The Celebration of Faculty Excellence also recognized four CAES faculty members who have been promoted:
Devona Dixon, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.
Paula Faulkner, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience, has been promoted to full professor.
Hye Won Kang, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.
Reza Tahergorabi, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor.