Associate professor of horticultural science Christian Thill died Aug. 7 of an irregular heartbeat. As a potato breeder, plant geneticist and professor, he was a highly respected scientist with a passion for collaborative efforts in the development of new potato breeds to improve crop yields, disease resistance and other desirable traits. He was especially excited about two of his recently developed potato varieties, including MonDak Gold, which was released for commercial production in 2014. A scholarship will be established at the university in his name.
Prominent food scientist Koushik Seetharaman, 48, died in early June, a few days after he became ill during a Memorial Day weekend gathering. He was named the new General Mills Cereal Chair in the food science and nutrition department in 2013; before that, he held an industry research chair in cereal technology and was a professor at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Memorial scholarships have been established in Ontario and with the American Association of Cereal Chemists, and a scholarship has been set up for his son, Samuel.