The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has selected four finalists in its search for dean of the Agricultural Research Division and director of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station. The candidates will visit Nebraska and participate in public presentations and forums between Aug. 8 and Aug. 19.
The finalists, listed by public presentation date, follow. A complete bio of each candidate, along with details about their public presentations as locations are finalized, will be available here.
Manjit Misra, director of the Seed Science Center, founding director of the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Products, endowed chair of seed science, technology and systems, and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University
Appointed as the chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Genetic Resources Advisory Council for two terms by the secretary of agriculture, Misra has served on more than 60 local, national and international boards and committees. These include the steering committee for the Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Conference on Biotechnology, the Scientific Advisory Council of the American Seed Research Foundation and the board of directors of the Iowa Seed Association. He has also received numerous leadership awards, including Distinguished Service Awards from the American Seed Trade Association.
Public presentation: Aug. 8, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Forum: Collaboration and Partnerships: Aug. 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Forum: Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Aug. 9, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Forum: Culture, Climate and Inclusive Excellence: Aug. 9, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Mindy Brashears, associate vice president of research, Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor in Food Safety and Public Health and director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University
Brashears is a well-published researcher whose work focuses on mitigation strategies in pre-harvest production and post-harvest processing environments to improve food safety and public health. She also studies the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance in food and animal systems. Her interests are primarily in meat, poultry and vegetable products. She also has a passion for food security and leads international research teams to South and Central America and the Caribbean to improve food safety and security in those sectors and to set up sustainable agriculture systems in developing areas.
Public presentation: Aug. 11, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Forum: Collaboration and Partnerships: Aug. 11, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Forum: Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Aug. 12, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Forum: Culture, Climate and Inclusive Excellence: Aug. 12, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Tala Awada, associate dean and director, Agricultural Research Division and professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Awada provides leadership and supports the strategic and operational mission of the Agricultural Research Division. In her role, she also oversees the division’s global research mission and supports team building and mentoring activities across IANR’s academic units and centers, as well as the research, extension and education centers across Nebraska.
Awada is also a professor of plant ecophysiology in the School of Natural Resources and co-leads with the Agricultural Research Service of USDA the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research network site in Nebraska, one of 18 ARS-USDA sites in the nation. She is a fellow of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, and the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska.
Public presentation: Aug. 16, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Forum: Collaboration and Partnerships: Aug. 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Forum: Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Aug. 17, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Forum: Culture, Climate and Inclusive Excellence: Aug. 17, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Derek McLean, senior science adviser, Office of AIDS Research, National Institutes of Health
McLean is an experienced scientist and leader in academic, industry and government settings. He is currently a senior science adviser in the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health. His role is to guide and confirm research funding aligns to the priority areas established by NIH. In this role, he supports research that impacts the health and well-being of people and enhances efforts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Prior to NIH, McLean was the senior director of collaborative research for Phibro Animal Health Corporation, in which he led a global research program to develop and demonstrate the value of products that improve animal health.
Public presentation: Aug. 18, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Forum: Collaboration and Partnerships: Aug. 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Forum: Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Aug. 19, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Forum: Culture, Climate and Inclusive Excellence: Aug. 19, 2 to 3:30 p.m.
The Agricultural Research Division is the major research agency for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The division’s scientists work to improve the quality of life for Nebraskans and others across the country and world, making important contributions to agriculture, food industries, environment, community development and human well-being. Research occurs in fields, feedlots, the natural environment, homes, yards, gardens, cities and towns.
The candidate selected as the next dean will replace Archie Clutter, who will retire at the end of 2022 after holding the position for more than 10 years. Under Clutter’s leadership, both research awards and expenditures have grown steadily, culminating in fiscal year 2021, when the division received a record $64 million in externally sponsored awards. At the same time, the division has seen the construction of state-of-the-art research facilities and the development of interdisciplinary research teams created to more holistically address complex issues related to food, water, climate and the environment. Learn more about the Agricultural Research Division.