College of Ag Sciences recognizes faculty, staff for research achievements

November 21, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lauded outstanding accomplishments in research during the 2023 Research Awards Ceremony, held Nov. 1 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

$7M grant funds project to develop new ways to protect mushroom crops

November 16, 2023

A new grant for more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will fund an upcoming project led by Penn State researchers, who aim to develop new pest management tools for mushroom crops.

2023 Ag Science Research Award Ceremony

November 2, 2023

VBSC department head, Dr. Sandeep Prabhu with VBSC faculty Dr. Andrew Patterson who received the Black Award for Excellence in Research and Dr. Parisa Kalantari who was awarded the Buck Award for High Impact Publication. Congratulations Andrew and Parisa!

Penn State students attend Doctors in Italy pre-veterinary program

October 30, 2023

A group of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences students recently traveled to Italy as part of the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program’s annual pre-veterinary summer program. 

Dietary Selenium May Help Fight Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Researchers Report

October 24, 2023

Penn State-led research team homes in on mechanism enabling selenium-induced death of leukemia stem cells. A new study conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has revealed how dietary selenium targets leukemia stem cells, potentially paving the way for new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia. Robert Paulson, left, and Sandeep Prabhu with a model of the cyclopentenone prostaglandin, or CyPG, molecule, which initiates a process leading to the death of leukemia stem cells. Credit: Michael Houtz/College of Agricultural Sciences / Penn State.

Dietary selenium may help fight acute myeloid leukemia, researchers report

October 24, 2023

Selenium-enriched diets may help ward off myeloid leukemia, and a new study led by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has described the mechanism by which this occurs.

Grants awarded to Penn State faculty for tropical ecosystems research in Belize

October 16, 2023

A collaboration among scientists from Penn State and the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education is aimed at developing agroforestry systems for Belize and Central America to support sustainable development while conserving the rainforest. As part of the initiative, three teams were awarded seed grants to pursue research on agricultural and ecological sustainability, preservation of tropical rainforest ecosystems and sustainable development in Belize.

"Lab Leak Fight Casts Chill Over Virology Research"

October 16, 2023

Pennsylvania State University, virologist Troy Sutton, said that health officials referred to the public controversy over the lab leak theory in advising him to pursue different experiments.

College of Ag Sciences Team Receives $1.9 Million Grant for Dairy Cattle Study

October 12, 2023

Researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and collaborators from the University of Minnesota have received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study parasite issues related to organic dairy cattle.

2023 Grier Graduate Student Scholarship Recipient, Abhinay Gontu

September 14, 2023

Congratulations to Pathobiology Graduate student Abhinay Gontu (PI: Bhushan Jayarao) for being chosen to receive the Grier Scholarship for 2023! In order to be considered for the award, students must be a Ph. D. candidate in Pathobiology and must have passed the qualifying examination for the Ph.D. no later than July 1 of the current award year. The committee would also like to recognize the tremendous work by the other candidates, Nicole Froelich in Dr. Cantorna’s lab and Arshiya Dewan in Dr. Kirimanjeswara’s lab.

Proposals now open for equity, respect and belonging initiatives at Penn State

September 13, 2023

Faculty and staff can apply for funding for projects that help create and support a climate of equity

Sarah Trimidal among "Best Poster" award winners

September 8, 2023

BMB graduate student Sara Trimidal in Robert Paulson's lab (VBSC) was one of five "Best Poster" award winners at the 2023 Red Cells Gordon Conference held in June at Salve Regina University. Congratulations to Sara and the other students!!

One Health Microbiome Center's 2023-24 Interdisciplinary Innovation Fellows

August 22, 2023

The One Health Microbiome Center in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State has named five recipients for its 2023-24 Interdisciplinary Innovation Fellowships program, which aims to promote collaborative training opportunities for center members and research development.

Natural compound in white button mushrooms could benefit animal, human health

August 15, 2023

A team of researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has identified a compound in white button mushrooms that could potentially benefit gut health in mammals. They published their findings in the Journal of Functional Foods.

"VBSC's Dr. Jennifer Koehl visit's South Africa to Study Wildlife Medicine"

August 14, 2023

Dr. Jennifer Koehl, assistant teaching professor and Program Coordinator for Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, spent two weeks in South Africa studying wildlife medicine and providing care to both domestic and wild animals. Dr. Koehl is a small animal practitioner interested in One Health education. She is the One Health Minor Coordinator for the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department.

College of Ag Sciences scientist receives grant to study gut homeostasis, diet

August 9, 2023

A research team led by a Penn State faculty member has received a nearly $640,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how produce can improve inflammatory bowel diseases.

Ag Progress Days highlights biodiversity, climate-smart ag, spotted lanternfly

July 25, 2023

Climate-smart agriculture, the importance of biodiversity and the latest news about the spotted lanternfly will be among the displays and presentations at the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theater during Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 8-10.

Penn State researchers examine how environmental chemicals affect gut microbiome

July 19, 2023

Investigating how environmental chemical exposure impacts the gut microbiome to exacerbate inflammatory conditions and chronic diseases is the goal of a new $7 million grant awarded to Andrew Patterson, professor of molecular toxicology and the John T. and Paige S. Smith Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant announces its 2023 fellowship, scholarship winners

July 7, 2023

College of Agricultural Sciences, Pathobiology Grad student Xiaoling Chen receives 2023 NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant fellowship.

Alumnus commits estate gift to Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences research fund

June 28, 2023

Jay Hreiz, owner and veterinarian at the Queen City Animal Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, has committed $100,000 from his future estate to the research fund in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.

Ten Days International Training on Principles and Practice of Epidemiology

June 27, 2023

Dates: July 3rd-12th, 2023 Contact: Bhushan Jayarao at

Troy Ott named acting director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

June 12, 2023

Troy Ott , professor of reproductive physiology and associate director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, has been selected to serve as acting director of the Huck Institutes during the appointment of Andrew Read as interim senior vice president of research at Penn State. Ott’s position will be effective July 1.  

Penn State College of Ag Sciences presents awards for diversity achievements

June 9, 2023

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recently announced the recipients of the 2023 Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award, which recognizes distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the college.

Newly discovered immune system mechanism suppresses parasitic infection

May 5, 2023

Type I interferon, a protein that is important for the body’s defense against viruses, plays a critical role in suppressing inflammation in mice infected with the schistosome parasite, Penn State immunology researchers have found. The discovery may lead to effective therapies for those suffering from schistosomiasis, second only to malaria as the most prevalent parasitic disease globally. Parisa Kalantari, assistant professor of immunology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, and co-authors recently published these findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Newly discovered immune system mechanism suppresses parasitic infection

May 4, 2023

Type I interferon plays a critical role in suppressing inflammation in mice infected with the schistosome parasite, Penn State immunology researchers have found. The discovery may lead to effective therapies for those suffering from schistosomiasis, second only to malaria as the most prevalent parasitic disease globally.  

T-cell vaccine for COVID-19 may last longer than current vaccines

April 13, 2023

The current COVID-19 vaccines are designed to trigger an antibody response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is vulnerable to mutations that could make the vaccine less effective over time. Focusing on the T-cell instead, Penn State researchers partnered with Evaxion Biotech on a study that was the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of an artificial intelligence-generated vaccine in a live viral challenge model. Such a vaccine may provide long-lasting immunity against future emerging variants and could be used as a model for other seasonal viral diseases like the flu.

Broccoli consumption protects gut lining, reduces disease, in mice

April 6, 2023

Broccoli is known to be beneficial to our health. For example, research has shown that increased consumption of the cruciferous vegetable decreases incidences of cancer and type 2 diabetes. In a recent study, researchers at Penn State found that broccoli contains certain molecules that bind to a receptor within mice and help to protect the lining of the small intestine, thereby inhibiting the development of disease. The findings lend support to the idea that broccoli truly is a "superfood."

Agricultural Sciences Major, Jada Spady Nominated for 2023 Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award.

April 5, 2023

Jada Spady an Agricultural Sciences Major was nominated for the 2023 "Celebrating Women in Toxicology Award" at the SOT 62nd Annual Meeting and Tox Expo in Nasville, Tennessee which was held March 19–23, 2023. Jada is a part of a large special interest group of women in the Toxicology field, and was nominated for her research experience and work at Johnson & Johnson as a Consumer Toxicology Co-op.

Vaccination for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)

April 5, 2023

Why vaccinate? As the 2022-2023 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak continues, there is growing concern that "stamping out" programs alone are expensive and labor intensive, and therefore not sustainable. This has led to growing interest in AI vaccines, perhaps allowing vaccines to become an additional "tool in the toolbox" to combat HPAI. The advantages and disadvantages of vaccinating are being closely evaluated by the USDA and other stakeholders here in the US and around the world.

Ellie Abraham (Plant Biology Graduate Student) in Josh Kellogg's Lab has been awarded the NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

March 31, 2023

As the demand for medicinal plants and botanical dietary products increase, so do the incentives to adulterate products for economic gain, at the expense of product efficacy and consumer safety. However, plant-derived products are inherently complex, and also come in many different forms (dried herbs, extracts, tinctures, dried formulations, etc.); this complexity hinders traditional methods of authentication and quality control. Furthermore, identifying the molecules of interest that underpin the desired bioactivity is a long-known challenge of natural product discovery. Ellie’s project aims to employ advanced machine learning models and multi-omics approaches to better classify unknown samples, as well as improve the ability to detect bioactive molecules from botanicals. Using basil (Ocimum spp.) as a model organism, the study will employ molecular and genetic methods to characterize known samples, and then apply that model to unknown commercial samples to test its rigor and applicability in real-world situations. This will improve herbal product authentication, an important task considering misrepresentation of products can result in a loss of medicinal effect, consumer trust, and potentially jeopardize consumer safety. Furthermore, the ability to identify compounds quickly and reliably with multiple medicinal properties will contribute to the discovery of therapeutic compounds from a variety of natural product sources. To address these challenges, Ellie Abraham has been awarded the NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31 predoctoral fellowship) from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Congratulations Ellie!!