Genetics assistant professor Xuehua Zhong and plant pathology assistant professor Erin Silva have been selected to receive Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards.
Zhong studies the epigenetic control of gene regulation. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is of great importance to many aspects of biology, ranging from genome integrity, imprinting, cellular differentiation, normal growth and development, disease formation, to potential biotechnological applications. The overall goal of Zhong’s research is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of chromatin-based gene regulation under normal growth and development as well as stress conditions.
Silva’s research focuses on production practices to enhance the productivity and profitability of organic and sustainable cropping systems, including vegetables, row crops and pasture-based systems. The two main research areas of her program are cover crop systems, with a particular emphasis on cover crop-based reduced-tillage techniques, and variety performance in organic production systems. Her extension program focuses on the implementation of food safety practices on vegetable farms, as well as tools to determine cost-of-production on diversified farms.
The one-year award is bestowed on pre-tenure faculty whose research benefits agricultural activities within the United States and whose areas of interest lie in the scientific fields of crop research, improvements in crop yield and quality, or animal sciences. The award can also go to faculty members whose agricultural research is considered biological or physical in nature.