Scientists Inducted Into ARS Hall of Fame
By Luis Pons
September 17, 2003
17--Advances in superabsorbent materials and in diagnosing and controlling
bovine leukemia have earned two Agricultural
Research Service scientists places in the agency's Science Hall of Fame.
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Edward B. Bagley and Janice M. Miller will receive plaques citing their
achievements during a ceremony tonight at the
U.S. National Arboretum in Washington.
"These scientists have made enormous contributions to agricultural
research during their careers and have certainly earned their places in the
Hall of Fame," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS acting administrator.
Since 1986, the ARS Hall of Fame program has recognized agency researchers
for outstanding career achievements in agricultural science. Those inducted are
nominated by their peers for making major contributions to agricultural
research. The scientists must be retired, or eligible to retire, to receive the
Bagley, who joined ARS in 1971 when he was already well known in the
international polymer science and engineering community, was involved in three
landmark ARS projects.
He contributed greatly to the development of a starch-based superabsorbent
material capable of holding many times its weight in water to form a gel.
Regarded as ARS' most commercially successful technology, "Super
Slurper" has generated many patents and revolutionized entire industries,
such as those producing disposable diapers and surgical dressings. It also led
to legislation facilitating effective working relationships between private
industry and government research.
Bagley directed a major effort to scale up a "trickle ammonia
process" for salvaging aflatoxin-contaminated corn using equipment readily
available for on-farm operation. The grain-drying process saves energy,
minimizes quality deterioration and can operate over a wide range of weather
In addition, Bagley used his background in rheology--the study of the
movement of material under different conditions--to broaden understanding about
factors that control the flow of various food products during processing. His
methods emphasize the need for reliable contact during processing between food
products and measuring devices, thus providing true flow parameters for
Bagley, who retired in 1995 from ARS' National Center for Agricultural Utilization
Research in Peoria, Ill., has won several other awards. He was named
Inventor of the Year for 1976 by the Association for the Advancement of
Invention and Innovation, and ARS Scientist of the Year for 1987.
Miller, who joined ARS in 1972, is being recognized for pioneering research
in understanding, diagnosing and controlling bovine leukemia, transmissible
spongiform encephalopathies and other chronic infectious or zoonotic diseases
of ruminant animals.
The knowledge and technology her research provided for the diagnosis and
control of bovine leukemia virus infection is internationally recognized as the
scientific basis for control and eradication of the disease and is used in
regulating international trade. That work established ARS as the nation's lead
institution in bovine leukemia research.
Miller discovered the virus that causes bovine leukemia, as well as
practical assays for preclinical diagnosis of the disease. Her tests are used
both to ensure that only leukemia-virus-free cattle are exported by the United
States and to aid in eradication programs in several countries.
Miller also developed diagnostic tests for several diseases that pose major
threats to U.S. livestock production and export markets. Among these are tests
for bovine immunodeficiency disease, bovine tuberculosis, bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, scrapie and chronic wasting disease of deer and elk.
Surveillance and control/eradication programs run by ARS and the USDA's
Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service are based upon Miller's tests.
Miller, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was named 1977 Woman
Veterinarian of the Year by the Women's Veterinary Medical Association, and ARS
Distinguished Scientist of the Year for 1989. She works at ARS'
National Animal Disease Center in
Permanent copies of the plaques presented to the scientists will be on
display at the ARS National Visitor Center
in Beltsville, Md.