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2013 Classes Without Quizzes Speaker Bios

Brian AukemaJeffrey Reneau Jim Salfer 
Michael Kantar Charlie Rohwer Emilie Snell-Rood 
Amanda C. MartinCarl RosenDonald Wyse 
Gary Muehlbauer Michael Sadowsky Nevin  Young 

CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes-Brian AukemaBrian Aukema

Brian Aukema is fascinated by how tiny insects can kill big trees, and looks forward to sharing his insights with you.  An assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, Brian’s research and teaching specializes on forest insect outbreaks in the United States and Canada.  Brian and his students are always on the lookout for the Next Big Threat.  When not giving Classes without Quizzes, Brian spends his weekends sweating how long the ash and elm trees in his family’s backyard might avoid death.

CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Michael KantarMichael Kantar

Michael Kantar is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. Currently his primary research is on the development of perennial grain sunflower and understanding the genetics of perennial habit in sunflower. He maintains active projects in other areas including; plant breeding, forage quality, the history of domestication, gene expression, genetic diversity, polyploidy, natural products and soils, as well as agronomic and economic issues surrounding changes in land use. He has served as a teaching assistant in many courses, including “Global Food Production for the Environment and the Citizen”, “Plant Genetic Resources”, “World Food Problems”, “Cytogentics” and “Chromosomal and Molecular Genetics of Plant Improvement”. He completed his B.S. in 2006 and his M.S. in 2008, both at the University of Minnesota.

Amanda C. Martin

CFANS-Alumni-CWQ 2013-Speakers-Amanda C MartinAmanda Martin is a National Science Foundation and UNCF/Merck pre-doctoral graduate research fellow in the Department of Horticultural Science, where she is co-advised by Donald L. Wyse and Adrian D. Hegeman. She entered the plant biological sciences (PBS) graduate program in 2009 and anticipates graduating in 2014. Amanda is interested in linking the production of marketable commercial commodities with the production of ecosystem services. In addition to her dissertation research as a graduate student Amanda has had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant and guest lecturer in classes such as “Advanced Plant Propagation” and “Agricultural Biochemistry”. Amanda has also served as the PBS council of graduate students representative and the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) collegiate delegation lead where she has been able to interact with CBS deans helping to lead the execution of the first annual CBS/Medical School graduate student orientation in fall 2012. Prior to pursuing graduate studies Amanda received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Northland College, Ashland, WI in 2006. Between undergraduate and graduate school she spent time as an au pair living in southern France, Greece, and northern Italy.

Gary MuehlbauerGary J. Muehlbauer

Gary Muehlbauer is a Professor and Department Head in the Department of Plant Biology.  He also holds the Endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics Applied to Crop Improvement in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.  He received his Ph.D from the University of Minnesota and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.  His work is focused on developing and utilizing genomics tools for gene discovery and crop improvement.  Currently, he is the co-director of the USDA-NIFA funded Triticeae Coordinated Agricultural Project.


  CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Jeff ReneauJeffrey K. Reneau 

Jeffrey Reneau is a professor and Extension animal scientist in the Department of Animal Science. Jeff has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since December 1979. Prior to this he practiced veterinary medicine in Parkers Prairie and Buffalo, Minnesota, specializing in large animal care.  Jeff is known for his expertise in the diagnostic use of dairy management records. Recently he has pioneered the application of quality management tools such as statistical process control to improve farm productivity and profitability. He also has an avid interest in applied research in milk quality and mastitis control. 


 CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes-Charlie RohwerCharlie Rohwer

Charlie Rohwer is a research associate for the University of Minnesota. After earning his Ph.D in horticulture from CFANS in 2008, he began work at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca. Among diverse projects, he has previously worked on flowering in Easter cactus, plant resistance to spider mites, and tomato ripening. The majority of his current research focuses on pea and sweet corn production practices and improving phytonutrient production in ginger and Brassica vegetables. In 2010, Charlie married his training in horticulture research with his passion for home-brewing and initiated what he calls “the largest university-affiliated hop research program between Traverse City and Fort Collins" in Waseca.

Carl Rosen

SWAC-rosenCarl Rosen holds joint appointments in the Department of Soil, Water and Climate (80%), where he is Department Head, and a secondary appointment in the Department of Horticultural Science (20%). His primary research emphasis is on vegetable and fruit crops commercially grown in Minnesota, and efforts in recent years have also focused on water quality issues related to fertilizer use and agricultural/ horticultural use of municipal and industrial by-products as soil amendments.


CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Mike SadowskyMichael J. Sadowsky

Mike Sadowsky is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of Soil, Water and Climate; and Director of the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota. Sadowsky studied at the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received his Ph.D in Microbiology from the University of Hawaii in 1983. Between 1983 and 1985, he did postdoctoral research at the McGill University in the plant-microbe interactions group of the Plant Molecular Biology laboratory. He worked shortly for Allied Corporation as a Molecular Biologist and then worked for the USDA in Beltsville Maryland for several years in the Nitrogen Fixation and Soybean Genetics Laboratory. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1989, where he is currently a Distinguished McKnight Professor in two departments and a member of 7 graduate faculties.  

In addition to his teaching and research efforts, Sadowsky is Director of Graduate Studies for the Microbial Ecology Program. He is editor-in-chief of Micobiology Spectrum and was editor of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (where he has served on the editorial board for 25 years) and is currently and editor for Molecular-Plant Microbe Interactions. He also is an editorial board member of the journals Symbiosis and Microbe and Environments. 

Sadowsky has authored or coauthored more than 197 articles in scientific journals and books, was elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 1999 and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008.  His research efforts are directed towards the metagenomic analysis of bacteria in soils, water and human intestines. He has been using metagenomic approaches of the human GI tract, done using new DNA sequencing and computational methods, to provide valuable insights into host-microbe interactions, the microbial ecology of  this complex ecosystem, and practical knowledge about how human GI tract microorganism are related to human health. He is also interested in the identification and characterization of bacterial genes and metabolic pathways involved in the biodegradation of chlorinated herbicides such as atrazine using recombinant DNA methodologies. In addition, his research efforts are directed toward the identification and examination of bacterial genes involved in the early periods of legume-microbe symbioses. He is specifically interested in studying Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium genes that play a prominent role in host/microbe recognition and in the establishment of symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing nodules. He is also actively involved in developing molecular tools to determine sources of fecal bacteria in the environment and is active in several metagenome studies involving humans, animals and the environment.

 CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Jim SalferJim Salfer

Jim Salfer is an Extension educator focusing on dairy management systems.  Jim’s primary responsibilities include conducting applied research and developing educational programs that improve the profitability of dairy producers throughout Minnesota.  Over the past two summers Jim has visited over 50 farms in the upper Midwest with automatic milking systems (robots) to conduct research on the successful management of these systems.  Other work focuses on record systems, nutrition and management.  Before his position with Extension Jim worked as a dairy nutritionist, managed a feed department and managed a dairy farm.


CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Emilie Snell-RoodEmilie Snell-Rood

Emilie Snell-Rood is an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She studies the evolution of learning and flexibility in development to understand how organisms will respond to novel and rapidly changing environments. She teaches Animal Behavior and is developing a class on "Biomimicry." Emilie regularly participates in science outreach, for instance annually organizing an outreach fair at the national animal behavior meeting and teaming up with the butterfly house at the Minnesota State Fair to share butterfly biology with the public.



CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes-Don WyseDonald Wyse

Donald Wyse is a professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, where he teaches and conducts research in weed management, cropping system development, and plant breeding and selection.  His research concentrates on biological weed management, development of multifunctional agricultural systems, perennial crop breeding, and legume and grass seed production systems.  He has focused his research efforts on the development of perennial cropping systems, cover crop systems, biomass prairie polycultures, and has studied their impact on soil and water quality.  He has lead several multi-disciplinary research teams composed of university faculty and scientists from both state and federal agencies.  Wyse was the founding director of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and currently serves as co-director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota.  Recent activities of the center have led to the development of the Mississippi River—Green Lands, Blue Waters Initiative that includes universities, state and federal agencies, and NGO’s that have organized to deal with the landscape issues that impact water quality  in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Basin. He was one of the founding organizers of the Midwest Cover Crops Council and is an active member of the executive committee.    


CFANS-Alumni-2013 Classes Without Quizzes - Nevin YoungNevin Young

Nevin Young is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Department of Plant Biology. Previously, Young was director of the Plant Molecular Genetics Institute at Minnesota. As an educator, Young has taught the introductory CFANS class, "Biotechnology, People and the Environment" for more than 20 years and also now leads the graduate course "Plant Genomics". Together with his students and post-docs, Young uses genome sequencing technology to understand the biology of legume plants and their interactions with microbes. In 2011, he led a group of more than 120 collaborators in publishing the genome sequence a widely studied model legume known as Medicago truncatula in Nature magazine.