In memoriam: Friends, colleagues remember Prof. John Dohms

March 10, 2014 under CANR News

In Memoriam: John DohmsThe University of Delaware extends condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of John E. Dohms, a retired professor of animal and food sciences at the University, whose death was confirmed by Newark Police on Feb. 28. Prof. Dohms had been missing since Sept. 13, 2012.

A member of the UD faculty for 32 years, Dr. Dohms retired in 2009 with the rank of professor of microbiology of infectious diseases. His research focused on the pathology of avian disease, and his former students have praised his inspirational teaching and the impact he has had on their lives and careers.

Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), said, “We at CANR grieve the loss of a dedicated colleague and friend who touched the lives of numerous students, faculty and staff. John’s contributions and impacts to the ANFS program were unparalleled.”

Limin Kung, S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Animal and Food Sciences, wrote, “John was respected and loved by all of us to the highest degree. At the height of his career, he was one of the best teachers and an excellent researcher. Students UNIVERSALLY loved him, because of his kind and caring nature as a person and mentor. Students flocked to his classes and to him as an academic adviser. Colleagues regularly sought advice and collaborated with him. As important as all other things, John was a good friend to all of us!”

Jack Gelb Jr., chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, said, “John will be missed by many friends and colleagues in this country who benefited from his service and contributions to the field of animal health. His legacy is reflected in the many fine students he mentored and trained and his sincere desire to make the world a better place.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go to Dr. Kim Herrman, John’s partner of over 25 years and an alumnus of our ANFS program, as well as many other family members and friends,” Rieger said.

Born in New York City, Dr. Dohms graduated from Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey in 1966. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Bowling Green State University in 1970 and 1972, respectively, and earned his Ph.D. in veterinary microbiology from Ohio State University in 1977.

In addition to being a collegiate lacrosse player and lifelong fan of that sport, Dr. Dohms was an avid athlete and outdoorsman who enjoyed swimming, running, whitewater rafting or biking. He took many trips with his friends to experience the outdoors in Central and South America, Africa, New Zealand and the United States, and to pursue his passions that also included fly-fishing and birding.

He is survived by his partner, Kim A. Herrman of Newark, Del.; his brothers, Peter Dohms of Payson, Ariz., and James Dohms of Bradenton, Fla.; his nine nieces and nephews, as well as numerous friends and colleagues.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made in his name and suggests some of his favorite causes and institutions, including the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware, Trout Unlimited and the National Audubon Society.

Details of a memorial service will be announced at a future date.

Condolences may be left online at www.rtfoard.com.

Share

Arthur W. Perdue Graduate Fellowship Program to be established at UD

September 19, 2013 under CANR News

Receiving gift from Perdue Company at the Carvel Research Center.  SHOWN: (l to r) Dr. Jack Gelb, chair of ANFS, Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown of Perdue, and Dr. Mark Rieger Dean of CANR.The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, has awarded the University of Delaware $125,000 over the next three-years to establish the Arthur W. Perdue Graduate Fellowship in the University’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

“The college is grateful to Perdue for providing funding for one of our greatest needs, graduate education,” said Mark Rieger, dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Beyond the funding per se, the gift allows for a closer relationship between UD and Perdue, and we will learn much from each other as we collaborate.”

“The generous contribution from the Perdue Foundation will be used to recruit outstanding graduate students to pursue the Ph.D. degree in poultry science,” said Jack Gelb, professor and chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “In addition to working with faculty at UD, the chosen students will collaborate with scientists at Perdue, and will travel and attend scientific meetings in the U.S. and abroad. We are proud to be the recipient of this gift and look forward to training top young scientists and future leaders in poultry science.”

As Arthur W. Perdue Fellows, the selected students will focus on possible research through the University’s Avian Biosciences Center in the areas of broiler growth and efficiency, muscle biology and physiology, and emerging infectious avian diseases and their control.

Another area of possible research may focus on intestinal microbiology, physiology and impacts on microbial populations, including those that present foodborne disease challenges.

“The University of Delaware has been serving the needs of the poultry industry on Delmarva for more than 50 years,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president of food safety and quality at Perdue Farms. “We’re pleased to establish a new legacy of learning and higher education through this grant from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. We value the opportunity to provide research opportunities to aspiring scientists whose work will benefit not only Perdue, but others in the poultry industry. We see this as a mutually beneficial partnership.”

About Perdue Farms

Perdue Farms is the parent company of Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, and represents the Perdue family ownership.  Since its beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, through expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the Perdue brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, to the third-generation of family leadership with chairman Jim Perdue, Perdue Farms has remained a family-owned, family-operated business dedicated to making Perdue the most trusted name in food and agricultural products. To learn more about Perdue, visit the website.

The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation is funded through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. The foundation provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of company associates live and work.

Photos by Doug Baker

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Share

Department of Animal and Food Sciences holds 6th annual Student and Graduate Picnic

May 14, 2013 under CANR News

ANFS holds 6th annual picnicOn Friday, May 10, the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS) held its 6th annual Student and Graduate Picnic, with this year’s theme being “The Hungry Games,” from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the Webb Farm.

The picnic was organized by students in Tanya Gressley’s dairy production class. Gressley, associate professor of animal and food sciences, had her students divided into teams of three or four and assigned each team a specific task—such as designing t-shirts, collecting photos and creating thank you posters for the staff—to complete.

Beautiful weather, cow print table clothes and balloons helped add to the festive nature of the day as Gressley and Jack Gelb, chairperson of ANFS, welcomed everyone to the event and offered remarks on the graduating seniors.

The farm staff was thanked by the students, some of which put on a skit to show their appreciation to the farm staff that has helped them out over the years.

Share

High school students explore College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

October 22, 2012 under CANR News

High school students interested in studying food science, plant and soil science and poultry science at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) had a chance to take a closer look at those fields on Friday, Oct. 12, as part of the college’s Exploration Day.

The day started with a continental breakfast in the Townsend Hall Commons followed by a reception at which professors from the departments welcomed the students to the college.

Among those were Blake Meyers, the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences and chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, and Jack Gelb, professor and chair of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Meyers talked about the diverse areas of expertise in the plant and soil sciences department, with professors working in areas ranging from horticulture to landscape design to sequencing plant DNA. “It’s a remarkable department for the range of expertise that we have and we have wonderful student to faculty ratios,” said Meyers. “We have a relatively small undergraduate program, and a larger graduate program in some respects, so that really affords a lot of opportunities for one on one interactions between students and faculty and a lot of research opportunities, and of course a lot of those opportunities lead to internships and lead to jobs later on.”

Gelb spoke to the parents and students about the plethora of job opportunities available to them in the agriculture and natural resources field. “Colleges of agriculture and natural resources generally graduate 30,000 students a year across this nation but really, we need about 50,000 to 60,000,”said Gelb. “There are many job opportunities, so I think this is good news for the parents and the students alike, especially when you’re making a big commitment for that college education.”

After a presentation on admissions and scholarships by Heidi Mulherin, UD admissions counselor, the students divided into three groups — one for students interested in food science, one for plant science and one for poultry science.

The food science students got to visit the UDairy Creamery in the morning, where they tried their hand at making ice cream and participated in an ice cream taste test. In the afternoon, they had lessons on topics such as food packaging and investigating a foodborne illness outbreak.

The plant and soil science students learned about suburban landscaping with Sue Barton, associate professor of plant and soil science; toured the Fischer Greenhouse and the UD Botanic Gardens with David Frey, associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; and explored a plant cell with Janine Sherrier, professor of plant and soil sciences at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

As for the poultry science students, they had a chance to tour the Allen Laboratory in the morning, and in the afternoon, they learned about avian histopathology for disease diagnosis from Erin Brannick, assistant professor of animal and food sciences and director of the CANR Comparative Pathology Laboratory, and investigated a foodborne illness outbreak with Kali Kniel, associate professor of animal and food sciences.

The three groups had lunch together in the Townsend Hall Commons before breaking off for panel discussions with current UD students and alumni from their respective areas of interest.

Latoya Watson, academic adviser at CANR, said of the event, “Exploration Day is designed to introduce high school students to some of our science-based majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Students participate in hands-on activities so that they can get a better understanding of their majors of interest. For example, depending on the track students choose, ‘student explorers’ may find themselves touring our Biosafety Level 3 avian research facility, performing activities that simulate a foodborne illness outbreak or even traveling inside plant cells by using some of the most high tech microscopes. These are unique experiences that we hope give them more insight into their intended fields of study.”

Patrick McDonough, a student interested in plant science who manages his own vegetable garden at his home in New Jersey, said that he was looking forward to touring the Fischer Greenhouse.

Caroline Coffee was one of the students who participated in Exploration Day, and she said that she enjoyed touring the Allen Laboratory and getting to see the chickens. “I’ve never held a chicken before and never worked with chickens,” said Coffee. “That was just a really cool experience for me.”

Coffee, who is interested in studying veterinary medicine, said that she also enjoyed learning more about virology and getting to tour the CANR facilities. “The facilities are definitely impressive and if I decided to go here and get accepted, knowing what I would have as far as the hands-on things and the opportunities for my education was really cool.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Share

Emergency Poultry Disease Response workshop considers biosecurity, rapid response

June 26, 2012 under CANR News

The University of Delaware hosted its fourth annual Emergency Poultry Disease Response (EPDR) certificate program June 18-21. The workshop, which was held on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus, was aimed at teaching both local and international participants about preparedness planning, biosecurity and assessment, and rapid response techniques and technology with regard to avian disease outbreaks.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Avian Influenza Coordinated Agriculture Project 2, this year’s workshop included participants from all over the globe. Thirteen countries were represented, including Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bolivia, Mexico and Japan.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons spoke at the opening of the event, talking about the importance of having strong measures in place to curb any avian disease outbreaks and praising UD for its role in helping educate local and international audiences on the topic.

“I am thrilled that the University of Delaware continues to sponsor and support this unique program,” Coons said. “As we’ve learned, avian influenza and other challenges to poultry health and poultry management are truly global. They spread quickly, they spread globally and they present a threat to all of us.”

Coons talked about the importance of collaboration, saying there are important technical aspects in the management of modern poultry flocks that can and should be shared. “My hope is that you will go home having had a great four-day experience and saying to folks, ‘You ought to sign up, because this was an amazing experience,’ and then sharing ideas about how we can continue to strengthen and broaden a global community that is committed to feeding the many, many people who need what poultry brings.

“I just want to thank the University of Delaware for hosting this and for having such a positive global orientation, and for [their] national leadership role in making sure that we’re all able to deliver a secure poultry future,” Coons said.

Eric Benson, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS), explained that the course came about during international efforts in Romania and Bulgaria and that it is adjusted every year based on changes in avian disease understanding.

Benson said feedback from past participants in the course has been positive, with many saying it “really helped them to make changes” in their understanding of the subject.

George Irvine, of UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, explained to the participants that they will soon be joining a group of poultry and veterinary professionals from across the world who are alumni of the program, and that they will need to “engage now, but engage also with each other later, because we can only work together on these problems, which are global. Disease doesn’t define borders, it steps right across them.”

During the intensive four-day workshop, participants received instruction from UD faculty members on things such as influenza viruses and detection, hands on surveillance swabbing and learned about equipment disinfection.

The workshop wrapped up on Thursday, June 21, with Robin Morgan, dean of CANR, and Jack Gelb, chair of ANFS, handing out certificates to the participants, signifying that they had completed the course and that they are now official alumni of the EPDR program.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

 

Share

Jack Gelb awarded 2012 Worrilow Award

January 23, 2012 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

Worrilow Award winners (from left to right) Ted Haas(2001), Wesley Towers (1990), Jack Gelb (2012), U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Walter Hopkins (1997), Joanne Whalen (2011), Buzz Klopp (2000) and Ed Kee (1995). Present but not pictured was Keith Carlisle (1998).

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper spoke to a large gathering at University of Delaware Cooperative Extension’s Friends of Ag Breakfast in Harrington on Friday, Jan. 20, concluding a successful Delaware Ag Week. The breakfast also served as the occasion to present the 2012 George M. Worrilow Award to UD’s Jack Gelb, Jr.

Gelb is chair of UD’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and director of the Avian Bioscience Center in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The award is presented annually by the UD Agricultural Alumni Association to an individual, in recognition of exemplary service to agriculture. The honor is named for Dr. George M. Worrilow, who served as dean of the college from 1954 to 1965.

Past Worrilow Award honorees Ted Haas (2001) and Spangler (Buzz) Klopp (2000) saluted Gelb’s five decades of excellence and his significant contributions to CANR, Delaware agriculture and, in particular, to the Delmarva poultry Industry.

“Jack is known to Delaware, nationally and internationally for his research and emphasis in avian respiratory diseases, avian influenza, and for his major role in the discovery of Gumboro Disease,” Klopp said.

The economic benefits of his research have been significant, saving the Delaware poultry economy $250,000 a week, Klopp told the large audience.

“This is an incredible honor for me,” Gelb said. “I did not have the opportunity to meet this fine gentleman (George Worrilow) but I have heard so many stories how he set things up and got things done. He inspired people about agriculture. That’s what it is all about, isn’t it?”

At UD, Gelb earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1974 and a master’s degree in animal virology in 1976. He received his doctorate in microbiology and avian medicine from the University of Georgia.

“I came to the college in the 1970s, riding that first ecology wave and then, as now, students were welcomed, nurtured and developed there,” Gelb said.

He recalled, “As students, we got to work with leading veterinarians and researchers and work with farmers directly.”

Gelb marveled at the value of being able to put what was learned in the classroom and lab to practical use in the field.

Remarks on behalf of Gov. Markell

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, former UD Extension specialist and Worrilow Award recipient in 1995, brought remarks from Gov. Jack Markell and kudos for Gelb.

Kee said previous recipients review the resumes and make recommendations for the award. “You set a high bar,” Kee said.

Kee shared remarks of behalf of the governor and the administration’s efforts to promote Delaware agriculture and its continued competitiveness in a global market.

“Gov. Markell appreciates the economic importance of agriculture, as a way of life and for the cultural traditions that are a part of Delaware,” Kee said.

Kee cited the success of the Young Farmer’s Program, which offers zero percent interest to enable the purchase of land and assists the next generation of farmers in the settlement process.

“The governor understands the need to sustain our profitability and keep on the competitive edge in ag,” Kee said.

Through a strategic fund, the Markell administration supports infrastructure and businesses that are agricultural fixtures in Delaware, including Perdue, Mountaire, Vlasic and Hanover. “We want to keep them here and allow them to compete in a global economy,” Kee said.

At the breakfast Kee shared that Markell acknowledged the Delaware Rural Irrigation Program (DRIP) in his recent State of the State address. Through the investment of strategic funds, Delaware farmers are able to invest in new irrigation systems. In the past, Delaware has gone from 25,000 acres to 130,000 acres of irrigated cropland. “Farmers made that investment. That is why agriculture works in Delaware,” he said.

Nutrient management

Also at the event, Carper saluted Delaware agriculture and its willingness to face inland bay pollution head on by taking the lead in the formation of the Nutrient Management Commission in the 1990s.

Dave Baker, chair of the commission, and William Vanderwende, vice-chair, were recognized for their efforts and were presented with framed copies of Congressional Record statements issued on Dec. 14, 2011.

“In our state the ag community stood up really tall,” Carper said. He recognized the leadership of Baker and other farmers who created an enviable model for the nation to follow.

“It is incredible what you put into it,” Carper said. “It is amazing what we accomplish when we work together.”

Article by Michele Walfred, also viewable on UDaily

Share

Practice makes perfect at Allen Lab

August 1, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Conferring outside Allen Laboratory are (from left) Jack Gelb, chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences; Krista Murray, biosafety officer in Environmental Health and Safety; Marvin Clark, sergeant in Public Safety; and Joseph Miller, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety.

When Bob Alphin discovered two coworkers injured and unconscious on the floor in one of the labs of the C.C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory, it set in motion a process that soon involved emergency personnel from the campus and state agencies and other institutions.

In this case, the two victims — Brian Ladman and Erin Bernberg — were only pretending to be unconscious, but the pretense had a serious purpose: Testing the University’s emergency response protocols.

The scenario for the full-scale exercise was created by Michael Gladle, director of Environmental Health and Safety, Marcia Nickle, emergency preparedness manager in Campus and Public Safety, and Ladman, who is an associate scientist at Allen Lab, to give participants a chance to see how they might react in a true crisis.

The exercise, which took place Wednesday afternoon, July 27, at Allen Lab, involved not only staff from the lab and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), but also participants from UD Police, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities and the Office of Communications and Marketing, as well as Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Fire Company, the New Castle County Hazmat/DECON team, the Delaware departments of Agriculture, Public Health and Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Christiana Care Health System at Christiana Hospital. University Media Services taped the exercise for use in future training.

To read the full article please click here to go to UDaily. 

Share