URSP Faculty Mentors

Find a faculty mentor

The following College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences faculty members are available to guide students through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Prior to applying, you should have a discussion with at least one of the mentors from this list whose research interests correspond with your long-term goals and career interests.

Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics and Agriscience Education

Contact Information:
Dr. Anthony Yeboah
Department Chair and Professor
Carver Hall, 145
Phone: 336-285-4827
Fax: 336-334-7793
Email: yeboaha@ncat.edu 

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, Iowa State University
M.S., Agricultural Economics, Iowa State University
B.S., Agricultural Economics, University of Science and Technology

Description of  Research:  
Research interest focuses on finding ways to improve the economic viability of small-holdings in North Carolina. Recent research identified enterprise diversification, love of farming, and risk management strategies as the driving forces behind success and survival of small scale farms in the state. Specifically, the adoption of value added processing, niche marketing and enterprises that generate incomes can significantly impact economic viability of small farms. Diversifying farm operations creates a greater opportunity for year-round income and can contribute to the success of the farm business.

Contact Information:
Dr. Terrence Thomas
Professor
CH Moore Research Station, A36
Phone: 336-285-4733
Fax: 336-334-7658
Email: twthomas@ncat.edu 

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Vocational Education, Louisiana State University
M.S., Continuing and Vocational Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., Agriculture, University of West Indies

Description of Research:
Consumer food shopping behavior and preferences, consumer eating habits and choices in food deserts, role of community-based organizations in community development, complexity collaboration and problem solving in communities and novel organization structures for supporting community development and entrepreneurship.

Contact Information:
Dr. Osei-Agyeman Yeboah
Associate Professor and Director for the International Trade Center
CH Moore Research Station, A25
Phone: 336-285-4727
Fax: 336-334-7658
E-mail: oyeboah@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.S., Production Economics, North Carolina A&T State University 
B.S., Agricultural Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of  Science & Technology, Ghana

Description of Research:
Environmental economics and nonmarket valuation; international trade economics and international marketing; agricultural marketing and cooperatives. Applied econometrics, general equilibrium modeling and policy, production economics.

Department of Animal Science

Contact Information:
Dr. Radiah A. Minor
Associate Professor
Webb Hall, 107h
Phone: 336-285-4787
Fax: 336-334-7288
Email: rcminor@ncat.edu

Educational Background: 
Ph.D., Immunology, Meharry Medical College
B.S., Biology, Florida A&M University

Description of Research:
Use of cell and molecular biology, in vitro, and in vivo models to investigate mammalian immune regulation. How dietary supplements affect the immune response in mammals, specifically the role of beta-glucan on the immune response to inhaled chitin, an abundant polysaccharide that is associated with allergic asthma.  The focus of this research is to apply the knowledge gained from the mouse model to benefit the health and well-being of domestic animals as well as humans.

Contact Information:
Dr. Mulumebet (Millie) Worku
Professor, Biotechnologist
Webb Hall, Room 229b
Phone: 336-285-4816
Fax: 336-334-7688
Email: worku@ncat.edu  

Educational Background:
Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
M.S., University of Maryland, College Park
B.S., Addis Ababa University, Alemaya College of Agriculture, Ethiopia 

Department of Research:
Use of cutting-edge tools of biotechnology to: 1) Decipher gene expression patterns in defense against inflammatory diseases, including bovine mastitis, at the molecular and cellular levels; 2) characterize the role of inflammatory mediators; 3) conduct small ruminant research; 4) inform new strategies to modulate the inflammatory response; 5) reduce antibiotic contamination, and improve milk quality for animal health and welfare and public health; 6) and work to establish a center of excellence for studies in genomic diversity.

Contact Information:
Dr. Jenora T. Waterman
Associate Professor
Webb Hall, 229c
Phone: 336-285-4815
Fax: 336-334-7288
Email address: jdwatem@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Post-doctoral Fellow, NCSU-College of Veterinary Medicine
Ph.D., Functional Genomics, North Carolina State University
M.S., Biology, North Carolina A&T State University
B.S., Biology, Bennett College for Women

Description of Research:
Research efforts focus on elucidating the extent of environmental and functional genomic/proteomic influences on the pathophysiology of respiratory diseases.  Her lab employs comparative genomics and reverse translational medicine approaches to study NF-kB-mediated inflammation, oxidant stress and hyperreactivity in the airways of laboratory and farm animals, and humans.  Ongoing projects evaluate the effect of agricultural dusts on respiratory function in pigs with public health implications.  Model systems include fully differentiated primary airway epithelial cells and cell lines (from mice, pigs, cows and humans) maintained in a unique air-liquid interface.  Cells grown in this manner are essentially identical to cells in the body with regard to structure and function.

Contact Information:
Dr. Yewande Fasina
Assistant Professor
Webb Hall, 252a
Phone: 336-285-4805
Fax: 336-334-7288
Email address: yfasina@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
M.S., Animal Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
B.S., Animal Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Description of Research:
Research interests include: 1) Using non-antibiotic strategies to reduce intestinal colonization by foodborne and disease-causing pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., and Clostridium perfringens in poultry; 2) Elucidating mucosal immune responses to infection by zoonotic and disease pathogens of poultry with the goal to obtain novel information that can be used to formulate superior mucosal vaccines for enhancing disease resistance and immunocompetence in poultry; 3) identifying shifts in microbial diversity

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Contact Information:
Dr. Salam A. Ibrahim
Professor
Carver Hall, 171-B
Phone: 336-285-4860
Fax: 336-334-7239
Email: ibrah001@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Post-doctoral Associate, University of Minnesota, Rush University Medical Center 
Ph.D., Food Science, University of Kentucky
M.S., Dairy Science, University of Georgia 
B.S., Food Technology, University of Mosul, Iraq

Description of Research:
Functional foods with emphasis on probiotic cultures and plant extracts; viability and functionality of probiotic cultures in food products; use of Lactic acid bacteria as protective and starter cultures in foods; quality and consumer acceptability of dairy foods; food safety.

Contact Information:
Dr. Hye Won Kang
Assistant Research Professor 
Carver Hall, 171-D
Phone: 336-285-4858
Fax: 336-334-7239
Email: hkang@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences (Molecular Nutrition), University of Connecticut, Storrs
M.S., Food Sciences and Technology, Korea University
B.S., Food and Nutrition, Dongduk Women’s University, Korea

Description of Research:
Novel ways to prevent obesity by activating brown fat using mice and mammalian cell models at molecular biological and physiological levels. This includes: 1) identification of dietary compounds which activate brown fat; 2) finding a mechanism by which dietary compounds activate brown fat; 3) understanding a relationship between brown fat and other oxidative tissues to prevent obesity.

Contact Information:
Dr. Jianmei Yu
Research Scientist
Carver Hall, 171-B
Phone: 336-285-4861
Fax: 336-334-7239
E-mail: jyu@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Food Science, Louisiana State University
M.S., Food Engineering (Sugar Engineering), South China University of   Technology
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Kunming University of Technology (former Yunnan Institute of Technology), China

Description of Research:
Research interests in food processing & food chemistry include: 1) food component stability, food ingredient interaction and their effects on food product development; 2) improvement of food quality and safety by postharvest technology; 3) functional foods and nutraceuticals with emphasis on the mechanism study of functional food ingredients on the prevention of obesity.

Contact Information:
Dr. Reza Tahergorabi
Assistant Professor
Carver Hall, 171-B
Phone: 336-285-4865
Fax: 336-334-7239
E-mail: rtahergo@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph D: Animal and Food Science, West Virginia University
Other: Food Science, Purdue University
Other: Seafood Sciences, Oregon State University, Seafood Research and Education Center
Other: Natural Resources Engineering (Fisheries), Tehran Azad University
Other: Fisheries Engineering, University of Sistan and Baluchestan

Description of Research:
Research interests include two major areas: 1) Recovery of proteins and lipids from seafood processing by-products and development of functional food products; and 2) fabrication and characterization of biodegradable films, edible coatings, and nanocomposites for food packaging.

Contact Information:
Dr. Devona Dixon
Assistant Professor
Benbow Hall, 208A
Phone: 336-285-3631
Fax: 336-334-7265
E-mail: dldixon@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Human Ecology, Louisiana State University
M.S., Design, Merchandising, and Consumer Sciences, Colorado State University
B.S., Apparel, Textiles, and Related Arts, Southern University and A&M College

Description of Research:
Research interests include the dress, fashion history, and consumer behavior of African-Americans. Another area of her expertise is body image. She recently published an article related to body perception and dissatisfaction. Dixon has recently begun to investigate innovate teaching and the use of technology in traditional applied fashion courses through the development of online and hybrid courses to enhance student learning. She has worked collaboratively on a community project with colleagues in Nutrition and Family Studies to develop and deliver parenting, nutrition and appearance developed curriculum for special populations.

Contact Information:
Dr. Heather Colleran
Assistant Professor
Benbow Hall, 205A
Phone: 336-285-3627
Fax: 336-334-7265
E-mail: hcolleran@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
B.S., Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts Boston
B.S., Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Description of Research:
Research interest is with nutrition and exercise interventions aimed at health and wellness promotion for children, students, athletes and families.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design

Contact Information:
Dr. Omon S. Isikhuemhen
Professor
Carver Hall, 207
Phone: 336-285-4841
Fax: 336-334-7844
Email: omon@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Institute of Microbiology, Czechoslovakia
M.S., University of Benin, Nigeria
B.S., University of Benin, Nigeria

Description of Research:
Fungi and their application in food, agriculture, and environmental problems; mushroom domestication, breeding and industrial production technologies; biotechnological approaches to truffle detection and inoculation on seedlings; white rot fungi mediated biodegradation/modification; lignocellulosics from plant biomass; development of mushroom products for use in animal production.

Contact Information:
Dr. Louis Jackai
Professor
Carver Hall, 238
Phone: 336-285-4837
Fax: 336-334-7844
Email: lejackai@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., Zoology and Botany, University of Wisconsin-Superior
B.S., Zoology and Botany (major) Education (minor) University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Description of Research: 
Study of insect-plant interactions; insect nutritional ecology; Integrated Pest Management in crop and urban/household systems; post-harvest resource management and protection, food and environmental safety from a pesticide use perspective; alternatives to pesticides.

Contact Information:
Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi
Professor
Carver Hall, 238
Phone: 336-285-3830
Fax: 336-334-7270
Email: ash@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Agriculture Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Agriculture Engineering, University of California, Davis
B.S., Agriculture Engineering, University of Tabiz, Iran

Description of Research:
Shahbazi has over 25 years of experience with bioenergy and bioprocess engineering research. This includes production of biofuels such as ethanol through fermentation of various food processing wastes, and advanced biofuels from woody biomass. He is also involved in the development of value added products such as organic acids and biodegradable plastics.

Contact Information:
Dr. Lijun Wang, P.E., C.E.M.
Professor
Sockwell Hall, 121
Phone: 336-285-3833 
Fax: 336-334-7270
E-mail: lwang@ncat.edu

Educational Background: 
Ph.D., Agricultural and Food Engineering, National University of Ireland, Dublin
M.S., Chemical Engineering, South China University of Technology
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Zhengzhou University, China

Description of Research:
Bioenergy technologies, bio-based products, and energy efficiency and management in processing facilities. As a licensed professional engineer in chemical engineering and certified energy manager, Dr. Wang has a broad array of expertise and experience in cellulosic ethanol fermentation, biomass gasification, extrusion of biodegradable plastics, extraction of nutraceuticals from plant materials, unit operations of food processing, value-added processing of food and agricultural wastes, energy efficiency technologies, and energy management.

Contact Information:
Dr. Guochen Yang
Professor
Carver Hall, 224-B
Phone: 336-285-4853
Fax: 334-336-7844
E-mail: yangg@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Horticulture & Forestry (plant biotechnology), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
M.S., Horticulture (plant biotechnology), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
B.S., Horticulture (vegetable crops), Jilin Agricultural University, China

Description of Research:
Area of expertise is plant biotechnology (tissue culture/micropropagation). Research interests include genetic transformation and using applied plant biotechnology techniques for economic development including rescue of endangered species, mass-propagation of rare species, and rapid multiplication of those plant species with high economic value, and using tissue culture techniques to produce bioactive compounds and plant-based medicines and nutraceuticals, and genetic transformation for bio-fuel production and value-added crops.

Dr.-Beatrice-Dingha-copy---Resized-for-CMS.jpg

Contact Information:
Dr. Beatrice Dingha
Research Scientist
Carver Hall, 117
Phone: 336-285-4864
Fax: 336-334-7844
Email: bndingha@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Auburn University
M.S., University of Ghana,
B.S., Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria

Description of Research:
Areas of expertise are Integrated Pest Management (IPM), food safety, insect physiology and behavior, and urban entomology. Research interests deal with different aspect of integrated pest management as an ecological approach to manage insect pests in agricultural and urban settings with the goal of minimizing pesticide use. Her residential IPM program focused primarily on the control of the German cockroach. Research projects were designed to address the needs of residents and daycare center directors, and included evaluations of insecticides and baits for integration into cockroach IPM programs. The long term goals of this research are to reduce pesticide use in urban environments, to identify non-chemical strategies for use in urban IPM, and to improve current IPM techniques. Dingha’s current research is focused on the bio-ecology and management of the brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive insect which is a severe agricultural pest and a residential nuisance in the U.S. The overall goal is to develop and evaluate ecologically based management practices for insect pests, and to communicate these to growers.

Contact Information:
Dr. William Randle
Professor
Carver Hall, 235A
Phone: 336-285-4850
Fax: 336-334-7844
Email: wrandle@ncat.edu

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Horticulture, University of Minnesota
M.S., Horticulture, Michigan State University
B.S., Horticulture, University of Arizona

Description of Research:
Randle’s research includes breeding and genetics secondary metabolites in plants, genetics and environmental effects on flavor, and sustainable production systems hydroponics. He is an active plant breeder whose work contributed to improving sweet potato cultivar “Beauregard.” He has published several manuscripts on the genetic control of selenium in Brassica sppl, improved flower longevity in Petunia spp. as well as the influence of mineral nutrition on flavor and plant performance of Allium and Brassica spp.