Four named Faculty Fellows by Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M AgriLife Research named four Faculty Fellows during its awards ceremony Jan. 9 at the AgriLife Center on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

Dr. Kirk Winemiller of College Station has been named Senior Faculty Fellow, while Dr. Amir Ibrahim and Dr. Rhonda Miller, also from College Station, and Dr. Qingwu Xue of Amarillo have been named Faculty Fellows.

The Faculty Fellow title become part of the individual’s title. AgriLife Research established the Faculty Fellows Program in 1998 to acknowledge and reward exceptional research faculty within the agency.

“These four outstanding researchers have exhibited great contributions to sustainability in agriculture, which are critical as our population increases rapidly both in the U.S. and worldwide,” said Dr. Craig Nessler, AgriLife Research director in College Station.

Dr. Kirk Winemiller, Senior Faculty Fellow and Regents Professor in the department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at Texas A&M University, College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Winemiller is an AgriLife Research fisheries scientist and Regents Professor in the department of wildlife and fisheries sciences. His research focuses on fish populations and community ecology, life history strategies and food web ecology with emphasis on rivers, streams and estuaries. According to the nomination, Winemiller is one of the most highly cited researchers within the Texas A&M University System and is globally recognized for his research on the ecology of fish and aquatic ecosystems and applications of ecological science to fisheries management and conservation. He has received more than $19 million in research grants, and 15 of his research papers have been cited in literature more than 100 times, according to the nomination. His 1992 publication on fish life history strategies and population regulation has been cited more than 1,000 times, has inspired similar research of fishes globally, and continues to serve as a model for understanding functional traits in species assemblages with applications to management.

Dr. Amir Ibrahim, Faculty Fellow and professor in the department of soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Ibrahim, an AgriLife Research wheat and small grains breeder and professor in the department of soil and crop sciences, has developed a nationally and internationally recognized small grains breeding program, according to the nomination. His efforts have led to the release of seven wheat and three oat cultivars that feature high yield potential, excellent quality and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. One of the most recent releases, TAM 305 hard red winter wheat, was highlighted by Crop Society of America News for it superior resistance to disease. The cultivar is in demand by wheat breeders throughout the world to use in their breeding programs.

Dr. Rhonda Miller, Faculty Fellow and professor in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Miller, a professor in the department of animal science, specializes in pre- and post-harvest factors that impact beef and pork flavor, quality and composition. According to the nomination, she has developed a national and international reputation as a premier meat and sensory scientist for the beef and pork industries. In the last five years, she has developed

the beef lexicon and pork lexicon for aroma and flavor of intact meat, which establishes a method for measuring beef and pork flavor. As a result of this research, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association established the Beef Flavor Task Force, which Miller is a leading member. The task force establishes research priorities for the association and the work in beef flavor is the only research currently being funded for fresh meat eating quality research.

Xue, AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist in Amarillo, specializes in crop physiology. His research on stress physiology, drought tolerance, water use and water-use efficiency, has had a significant impact on crop management, the agricultural economy and public benefits, according to the nomination.

Dr. Qingwu Xue, Faculty Fellow and associate professor at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Xue’s research is focused on fundamental understanding of crop performance under stress conditions, particularly under drought stress. His research focus has been on major crops in the Texas High Plains including corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, potato and vegetables. His corn research was an award-winning AgriLife Research and Extension project with the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District known as the Corn 12/200 Project, targeting 200-bushel-per-acre corn using just 12 inches of irrigation water per year. This research extended the corn yield versus irrigation water use “production function” to below previously known levels for corn hybrids in the Texas Panhandle. He also led a multidisciplinary team focusing on evaluating yield performance of new drought-tolerant corn hybrids at different irrigation levels. The findings led to water savings of 5 inches a year and allowed groundwater conservation districts to implement policies for reducing annual Ogallala Aquifer withdrawals per irrigated acres.

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