Paul Koch and Lucia Gutierrez receive Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards

Plant pathology assistant professor Paul Koch and agronomy assistant professor Lucia Gutierrez were recently selected to receive Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards.

Koch’s research is focused on the impact of various environmental factors on the persistence and activity of fungicides applied to golf course turfgrass. Other areas of research include the presence and activity of root-infecting diseases, and the precise conditions favoring snow mold development on turfgrass. The overarching goal of Koch’s program is to create sustainable, attractive and functional urban and suburban landscapes. He has appointments in extension, teaching and research, and develops science-based solutions to problems affecting landscape managers. He also oversees the Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab and the Turfgrass Fungicide Testing Program.

Gutierrez is a cereals breeder and quantitative geneticist. Her research focuses on integrating state of the art genotyping technologies with large phenotyping studies to study complex traits and their response to the environment. Her applied research focuses on the study of some of the most relevant traits in agriculture such as yield, grain quality, and some diseases which are genetically complex traits that are highly affected by the environment. Gutierrez uses strong theoretical development coupled with state of the art breeding tools to hand release high performing, locally adapted varieties of oats, wheat and barley to serve the Midwest agricultural systems.

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.