Published on 04/28/17

CAES graduate students honored at year-end ceremony

By Merritt Melancon

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is home to more than 500 graduate students.

They provide much of the muscle behind the college’s research and teaching accomplishments and serve as the linchpin in many of the college’s most productive laboratories.

Faculty and staff gathered April 26 at the CAES Graduate Student Recognition Reception to celebrate the hard work that graduate students put into making the college once of the best agricultural teaching and research institutions in the country.

Amrit Bart, director of the CAES Office of Global Programs and keynote speaker for the gathering, encouraged the students to collaborate with their peers around the world and to use graduate school as a time to broaden their horizons.

“Science is inherently global,” Bart said. “We have no choice but to conduct research globally. When you look at the literature base, you will see that 1 in 5 of the world’s scientific papers are now authored internationally, so we know that science is already global.

“No one has all the answers themselves, and no one can find answers by themselves. So, as scientists, we need to learn to work together … The future of research is in your hands.”

CAES Assistant Dean for Research Harald Scherm presented the 2017 E. Broadus Browne Awards for Outstanding Graduate Research to recognize the exemplary research already being conducted by these students.

These awards are named for pioneering CAES research administrator and UGA Experiment Station Director Edmund Broadus Browne to honor his distinguished service. These awards are meant to encourage research creativity and effective communication among students seeking master’s and doctoral degrees.

This year’s E. Broadus Browne Award winners are Noelle Fuller and Carolina Ballén-Taborda.

  • Fuller, who studies in the Department of Horticulture, won first place in the master’s-level competition with her presentation, “Harvestable Weight and Essential Oil Content of Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) Varieties.” Fuller’s major professor is horticulture Associate Professor David Berle.
  • Ballén-Taborda, who studies in the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, won first place in the doctoral-level competition with her presentation, “Mapping a New Source of Root-Knot Nematode (RKN) Resistance from the Wild Species A. stenosperma and Introgression into Peanut Arachis hypogaea L.” Her major professor is crop and soil sciences Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Scott Jackson.

Two students tied for the second-place award in the doctoral-level competition: Alex Blacutt and Cristiano Bortoluzzi.

  • Blacutt, studying in the Department of Plant Pathology, tied for the second-place award with his presentation, “Bacillus mojavensis RRC101 Lipopeptide Antagonism Induces Morphologic and Metabolic Changes Echoed by Transcriptomic Response in Fusarium verticillioides.” Blacutt’s major professor is plant pathology Adjunct Professor Scott Gold.
  • Bortoluzzi, studying in the Department of Poultry Science, also tied for the second-place award with his presentation, “Sodium Butyrate Improved Performance 1 While Modulating the Cecal Microbiome and 2 Regulating the Expression of Intestinal Immune-Related Genes of Broiler Chickens.” Bortoluzzi’s major professor is poultry science Department Head and Professor Todd Applegate.

CAES Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Josef Broder presented students with Outstanding Teaching Awards, which recognize graduate teaching assistants who go above and beyond to spark the curiosity of undergraduate students and help them understand difficult concepts.

This year’s Outstanding Teaching Award winners:

  • Jayce Brandt, Department of Entomology
  • Pablo Chialvo, Department of Entomology
  • Ashley Duxbury, Department of Entomology
  • Shan Gao, Department of Plant Pathology
  • Cheng-Fang Hong, Department of Plant Pathology
  • Leilani Sumabat, Department of Plant Pathology

To view more photos from the recognition ceremony, visit the Graduate Student Awards 2017 Flickr album at

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
Download Image