University of Georgia Professor Samuel Aggrey has earned the Richard B. Russell Professorship in Agriculture.
Established by the Richard B. Russell Foundation through a generous gift, the endowed professorship is meant to support innovative research and teaching that advances agricultural science, research and conservation.
Aggrey is internationally known for his research in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Poultry Science.
"I’m so thankful to have a researcher of Dr. Aggrey’s caliber with us on faculty in the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia," said Todd Applegate, head of the Department of Poultry Science. "His research has spanned numerous areas, including nutrigenomics, as well as developing our understanding of individual bird and tissue responses during a disease or other stressors. Additionally, over his career, he’s been at the forefront of developing our future scientists not only through his lab at UGA, but also in partnerships with other universities and nongovernmental agencies throughout the world, especially in Africa. My heartfelt congratulations go out to Dr. Aggrey for this honor."
Aggrey said the honor will allow him to expand his research program and attract a higher caliber of graduate students into the program, purchase laboratory equipment and help him establish an international lecture.
“I feel that this appointment recognizes the work we have done in my research program. Such recognition provides a prestige and authority in the field in which you are working, which allows you to attract more grants and also helps in recruiting graduate students,” Aggrey said. "The primary goal of academics is to make a contribution — in your department, in your college, in your university and in the world. I am very pleased to have received this honor, but with or without recognition, I believe you should try to do everything that is expected of you and more.”
Aggrey plans to use support from the professorship to advance his lab’s research into stressors on poultry production, including heat stress and Eimeria, a genus of parasites that includes various species capable of causing the disease coccidiosis in poultry and other animals.
“Normally when you start any new research program it takes three to five years to gain traction in that subject. We have really gained a lot of insight in this area and we are systematically trying to unravel all of the mysteries around it,” he said. “You also don’t get to where you are just by yourself.”
Aggrey is currently collaborating with Romdhane Rekaya in the UGA Department of Animal and Dairy Science, Adelumola Oladeinde with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Lilong Chai in the UGA Department of Poultry Science, Martin Wagner at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria, and other scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya; University of Ghana; and Cairo University.
An expert in developing genetic markers that help poultry breeders produce more disease-resistant, feed-efficient and heat-tolerant bird, Aggrey is a leading expert in the study of nutrigenomics. His lab is also investigating how feed components, parasite load and genetics impact the birds’ microbiome and gut health. He is co-editor of the definitive texts “Poultry Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology” and “Advances in Poultry Genomics and Genetics.” He is internationally sought-after to conduct trainings on breeding methods.
Since joining CAES in 2000, Aggrey has received the 2013 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research, the 2014 Poultry Science Association Broiler Research Award and a 2016 Carnegie Fellowship.
To learn more about the Department of Poultry Science, visit poultry.caes.uga.edu.