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Avian Biosciences Center announced

by 5m Editor
10 June 2006, at 12:00am

DELAWARE - The University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has announced the formation of a new Avian Biosciences Center, which will bring together resources from an array of disciplines to conduct research and communicate information in areas vital to the poultry industry.

Avian Biosciences Center announced - DELAWARE - The University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has announced the formation of a new Avian Biosciences Center, which will bring together resources from an array of disciplines to conduct research and communicate information in areas vital to the poultry industry.

“The University of Delaware has long had a strong presence in avian-related sciences, with outstanding basic research and a commitment to applying that knowledge to assist the region's billion dollar poultry industry,” Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said Friday morning, June 9, in announcing the new center.

“We believe that by bringing together the University's resources under one entity, with a major emphasis on partnerships and educational outreach, we will be able to extend far beyond the areas in which we are already nationally and internationally recognized,” Morgan said.

Robin Morgan, dean of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, announces the formation of a new Avian Biosciences Center.
Morgan said the college is grateful for the support of Delaware's Congressional delegation, which has secured federal funding for the center through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and to the state legislature, which has a long history of support for its poultry research efforts. She praised them for "their understanding of a unique opportunity to move fast-forward with new research areas and their application to agriculture."

At the news conference, UD President David P. Roselle briefly recounted the history of UD's poultry research, adding "UD has a rich history, and we have bold plans."

The Avian Biosciences Center will be directed by Jack Gelb, chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “UD is widely recognized as a center of excellence in poultry health research, and the new center will further strengthen our position in this field,” Gelb said.

The center, which brings together the programs led by many researchers and scientists at several UD facilities, will focus on four general areas, Gelb said, with those being avian health, which he will head; avian genomics, headed by Joan Burnside, professor of animal and food sciences; environmental compatibility, headed by Tom Sims, associate dean of the college and T.A. Baker Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences; and food safety and quality, headed by Dallas Hoover, professor of animal and food sciences.

Avian health research has “historically been a strength at UD,” Gelb said, noting the University's immediate and decisive response to the 2004 avian influenza outbreak in commercial broilers on the Delmarva Peninsula. UD has been a leader in providing diagnostic and surveillance services to ensure poultry health.

Avian genomics is a high research priority for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, he said, with scientists identifying genes that affect the growth and health of poultry. New discoveries are being applied to diagnose and treat disease and to enhance production.

Environmental compatibility is a challenge for agriculture in general, and for the poultry industry in particular, Gelb said. UD has a number of resources that focus on the environment and this effort will be multidisciplinary, involving researchers in animal sciences and soil sciences, among others. Facility engineering also will be considered, as many chicken growers are considering solar-powered houses to make better use of renewable energy sources.

The center also will focus on food safety and food quality, areas in which UD departments are already heavily involved.

At the news conference, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner noted that, despite being the 49th largest state, Delaware is seventh in the nation in broiler production, with more than 500 million pounds of broilers produced in the state each year. This center will help the state "continue to be leader in the poultry industry," she said.

Praising the University for its foresight, she said, "The new center will focus on education, on research and on the future-and that's what this is all about. I look for great things happening at the Avian Biosciences Center."

U.S. Sen. Thomas M. Carper called the new center "exactly what we need and exactly when we need it," noting that the poultry industry is very important in Delaware.

Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, cited the long partnership between the University and the region's growers. "It's been a rich history and a rich partnership that we hope will continue for years to come," he said. "We depend on UD-and we have for decades-to accomplish our mission."

Morgan said a major emphasis of the center would be the development of partnerships and collaborative efforts, which will continue a tradition of cooperation among UD and other universities, government agencies and industry. “We will build local partnerships with our sights set on regional, national and international challenges,” she said.

UD will be working with several institutions of higher education, including Delaware State University, Delaware Technical and Community College, the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

UD assets throughout the state will play key roles in the Avian Biosciences Center, including the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and the leading edge Allen Laboratory, both in Newark, and the Lasher Laboratory and the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center, both in Georgetown. To date, 35 UD faculty and professional scientists are expected to be involved in the work of the center.

The center will provide UD a solid platform for the recruitment and training of new undergraduate and graduate students, and for outreach to young people, teachers and the public. Also, it will serve as a reliable source of science-based information for the poultry industry and policy-makers.

The PoultrySite Newsdesk

5m Editor