Tarek Hewezi Receives the AgResearch Impact Award 

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UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2023 

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 on August 15, 2023. 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 Keith Carver hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I’m excited to celebrate the amazing work of our UTIA faculty and staff,” says Carver. “These awards are well-deserved and represent our employees’ steadfast dedication to their work, the Institute and the people of Tennessee. The impact of their accomplishments and passion will be felt for generations to come.” 

Tarek Hewezi, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, is the recipient of the AgResearch Impact Award. This award is presented to an AgResearch faculty or professional staff member whose efforts have had a profound effect on improving the efficiency, sustainability, and/or economic viability of the food and fiber industry of rural areas of Tennessee. 

Hewezi and his lab have achieved scientific breakthroughs by identifying novel genes that confer extreme resistance to soybean cyst nematode and resistance to southern root-knot nematode. This promises a possible fix to two major agricultural pests, ones affecting Tennessee soybean producers as well as worldwide production of thousands of vegetable and ornamental plants that are harmed by southern root-knot nematode. 

“My most memorable moments with UTIA have been the discovery of major soybean resistance genes to soybean cyst nematode using a novel epigenetic-based approach and signing my first commercial license agreement,” Hewezi says.  

He says he is greatly honored to receive this award. “The honor recognizes the hard work and inspiration of many talented undergraduate and graduate students, research technicians, postdoctoral researchers and visiting scientists with whom I have had the pleasure to work with and mentor,” Hewezi says. 

He and his wife, Noha Holah, have two children, Rana and Omar. In his spare time, Hewezi says he likes to garden and fish. 

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.

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