UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 16, 2022. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.
UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Carrie Castille hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I am so excited to recognize excellence as exemplified by the award-winning members of our UTIA faculty and staff,” Castille says. “Their continuing commitment to our land-grant mission ensures that the Institute develops and delivers real-life solutions to improve the health and economy of our state and beyond while also enhancing our environment.”
Hao Gan, assistant professor with the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, is the winner of the T.J. Whatley Distinguished Young Scientist Award. This award is one of the most prestigious given by UTIA every year and was established by Thomas J. Whatley, associate dean emeritus of the Agricultural Experiment Station, now AgResearch. The honor recognizes a young scientist who has less than 12 years of professional experience.
“I am very honored to be selected for this award,” says Gan. “I am also extremely thankful for the support from my colleagues and students. Thank you all for creating such a fantastic work and research environment.”
Gan’s main area of interest is in precision agriculture – crop yield mapping and health monitoring of livestock and poultry. He is the principal investigator for the biosystems engineering smart agriculture laboratory where a group of researchers is working on sensor development, computer vision and agricultural robotics. Gan has received a grant from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) for his work to develop a system of multi-angle and multi-range cameras to monitor commercial broiler flocks and enhance raising practices across the poultry industry. He is also currently leading projects on robotic and camera systems to support cattle, bees and newts.
In 2020 Gan was awarded the prestigious Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize for his dissertation work on specialty crops and yield mapping. The Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize is a biennial international prize that recognizes the best Ph.D. dissertation on agricultural mechanization. Earlier this year he was named the Outstanding Teacher in Biosystems Engineering. Gan serves as the team advisor for senior engineering design students within the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. He also teaches several upper-level courses ranging from electrical and electronic principles to research problems in biosystems engineering.
Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.