Zoologist Wins Top Research
By Sandy Miller
December 4, 1996
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4--Ronald
Fayer of Ellicott City, Md., a U.S. Department
of Agriculture zoologist and internationally recognized expert on
parasites, has been named "Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of
1996" by USDA's Agricultural Research
Service. It is the top scientific honor given by the research agency.
Fayer is being honored for exceptional research and leadership in major
advances in control of nationally important livestock diseases, particularly
cryptosporidiosis, the disease caused by C. parvum, considered the most
serious pathogen in drinking water in North America. Approximately 400,000
people in Milwaukee, Wis., became ill in early 1993 after the Milwaukee water
supply was contaminated with C. parvum.
Fayer and other ARS scientists will be recognized in an awards ceremony
Dec. 11 at the ARS Beltsville (Md.)
Agricultural Research Center. Each winner will receive a plaque, a cash
award and additional research funding. Fayer works at the ARS Immunology and
Disease Resistance Laboratory at Beltsville.
"Ron Fayer has achieved several firsts in parasitology that stand as
landmark contributions," said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS
administrator. "For example, he was the first to test drugs in cell
culture against coccidiosis, a parasitic disease in poultry that costs poultry
producers approximately $600 million annually in lost production and medical
expenses. As a result of in vitro techniques he developed, pharmaceutical
companies worldwide now screen anticoccidial drugs using in vitro procedures.
"Dr. Fayer also has developed a collaborative research team that
identified a natural compound called interleukin-12 as capable of inhibiting
development of cryptosporidium in otherwise highly susceptible newborn mice.
This groundbreaking discovery holds enormous potential for treatment of
cryptosporidiosis, perhaps the most widespread parasitic infection of livestock
and humans worldwide."
A native of New Jersey, Fayer has a bachelor's degree in biological science
from the University of Alaska, and master's and doctoral degrees in zoology and
parasitology from Utah State University. He joined ARS in 1968 and now works in
the agency's Immunology and Disease Resistance Laboratory at Beltsville. In
addition to his research activities, Fayer has made an instructive video on
cryptosporidiosis that has been distributed to water authorities, universities,
extension agents, public health officials and environmental groups worldwide.
Fayer is past president of the American Association of Veterinary
Parasitologists, past president of the Helminthological Society of Washington,
and a member of the American Society of Parasitologists. He also is a member of
the Society of Protozoologists and is associate editor of that organization's
journal. Fayer has written or co-written more than 200 scientific publications.
ARS also has named William S. Anthony, Carroll P. Vance and Martinus Th.
Van Genuchten "Outstanding Senior Research Scientists of 1996."
Anthony is at the agency's
Research unit at Stoneville, Miss., Vance is at the
Plant Science Research
unit at St. Paul, Minn., and Van Genuchten works at the ARS-U.S. Salinity Laboratory's Soil
Physics and Pesticide Research unit at Riverside, Calif.
Anthony is being honored for developing and transferring to the cotton
industry new technology to standardize and control the cotton ginning process.
Anthony's work has been credited with improving overall U.S. cotton quality as
well as increasing cotton growers' profits. The award recognizes Anthony as the
top senior scientist of the Mid-South Area, which includes Alabama, Kentucky,
Louisiana Mississippi and Tennessee.
Vance is being cited for his outstanding research and leadership activities
in better understanding of how plants interact with microbes in the soil, as
well as plants' ability to "fix" nitrogen--transforming nitrogen from
the atmosphere into a form they can use for growth--and nitrogen assimilation.
Vance is being recognized as the top senior scientist in ARS' Midwest Area,
which includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and
Van Genuchten is being honored for his research and leadership in
description, mathematical simulation and experimental analysis of processes and
properties that affect water flow and chemical transport in soils and
groundwater. The award marks Van Genuchten as the top senior scientist in the
agency's Pacific West Area encompassing Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii,
Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Pina M. Fratamico has been named the ARS "Outstanding Early Career
Scientist of 1996." The early career award is given to scientists who have
been with the research agency less than 7 years and completed their highest
academic degree within the past 10 years. Fratamico works in
Microbial Food Safety
Research at the agency's Eastern Regional
Research Center at Wyndmoor, Penn. The award cites Fratamico's
contributions to understanding the mode of action of the microbial food
pathogen E. coli 0157:H7 and development of rapid tests to isolate and
detect the pathogen.
The agency also named four "Area Senior Research Scientists of
1996." They are:
- Harry B. Pionke of the ARS
Management Research unit at University Park, Pa. Pionke is being honored
for developing methods to identify sensitive areas in agricultural watershed
where nitrogen and phosphorus applied as manure or fertilizer would seriously
degrade groundwater quality. Pionke is the senior winner in the agency's North
Atlantic Area, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode island,
Vermont and West Virginia.
- Dale F. Heermann at the Water Management Research unit at Fort Collins, Co.
Heermann's award is for pioneering research in agricultural center-pivot
irrigation design, evaluation and management to conserve water, reduce labor,
improve agricultural production, reduce energy consumption and protect the
environment. Heerman is the top senior scientist for the agency's Northern
Plains Area, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska,
South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
- Prem S. Chourey, based at ARS' Crop
Genetics and Environmental Research unit in Gainesville, Fla. Chourey
is being honored for developing fundamental new insights into how photosynthesized
sucrose is metabolized in plants. These findings provide opportunities
for specific cellular and molecular manipulations in the plants to increase
crop productivity. Chourey is the top senior scientist for the agency's
South Atlantic Area, which includes Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and the Virgin Islands.
- John J. Burke of the ARS Cropping
Systems Research Lab, Lubbock, Texas. Burke's award is for his research
accomplishments in crop stress physiology. The Southern Plains Area includes
Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
Seven "Area Early Career Scientists" also are being honored by
ARS. They are:
- Hamed K. Abbas, Mid South Area, Weed Science Research,
Southern Weed Science
Laboratory, Stoneville, Miss. Abbas' award is for outstanding research on
microbes and microbial toxins with potential for improved and safer weed
- Brian J. Wienhold, Northern Plains Area, Natural Resource Management
Research, Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, N.D. Wienhold's
award is for achievements pertaining to the effect of agricultural management
practices on plants' utilization of fertilizer and the environmental fate of
- Rodrick D. Lentz, Pacific West Area, Northwest Irrigation and Soils
Research, Kimberly, Idaho. Lentz is being honored for excellence in planning
and conducting research that has led to a solution for soil erosion on
furrow-irrigated agriculture and assured its acceptance by growers.
- David E. Swayne, South Atlantic Area,
Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, Ga. Swayne is being honored
for basic and applied research that has significantly advanced the
understanding of the pathobiology and pathogenesis of avian influenza,
positively influencing the ability to implement controls against the poultry
- Krista C. Shellie, Southern Plains Area,
Crop Quality and Fruit
Insects Research, Subtropical Agricultural
Research Laboratory, Weslaco, Texas. Shellie is being recognized for
outstanding individual and team research in developing methods to evaluate
quality of tropical and subtropical fruits that have been subjected to
quarantine treatment. She also is being recognized for developing basic
research programs in melon ripening and postharvest quality.
Contact: Edward B. Knipling, Acting ARS Administrator, Washington,
DC., phone (202) 720-3656.