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Recognitions, January 29

Some big news to celebrate this week! A microbiologist has received a portion of a $3.1 million grant from the DOE; two Herbert College of Agriculture students won first place in their respective categories at the at the 2020 Beltwide Cotton Conference; Rigoberto “Gobet” Advincula has been named the newest joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair.

Report: Driverless Cars will Reshape Tennessee Economy, Everyday Life

Big changes are in store for Tennesseans over the next decade, according to a new report. It finds that the rise of driverless cars and transition to electric vehicles will not only open new opportunities in the state but also transform jobs, companies, and potentially industries—completely reshaping Tennessee’s economy, tax revenue, and everyday life in the process.

The report, written by Bill Fox, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, outlines the changes expected in the coming years. Boyd Center research associates Alex Norwood and Vickie Cunningham are co-authors on the paper.

UT Herbert College of Agriculture Students Win at Beltwide Cotton Conference

Dawson Kerns, left, and Shelly Pate, right.

Dawson Kerns, left, and Shelly Pate, right.

Two University of Tennessee Herbert College of Agriculture students took home top honors at the 2020 Beltwide Cotton Conference in Austin, Texas.

Dawson Kerns and Shelly Pate, both graduate students in UT’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, won first place in the student oral paper competition in the categories of Cotton Insect Research and Control and Cotton Disease, respectively.

Kern’s presentation was titled, “Evaluation of Bt Resistance in Helicoverpa zea Populations Using Various Bt Cotton Plant Tissues.” Helicoverpa zea, commonly known as cotton bollworm, is a major pest of Bt cotton that has steadily developed resistance to many Bt proteins. While current monitoring methods can adequately determine if a population has developed resistance to a particular Bt protein, they fail to evaluate how that may impact performance in the field. Kerns concluded an assay utilizing Bt cotton plant tissue diet overlays may be used to evaluate field performance of a resistant bollworm population.

Pate earned first place with her presentation titled, “An Assessment of Seed Treatment Efficacy and Cotton Seedling Disease Presence Using Innovative Techniques.” For more than 20 years the National Cottonseed Treatment program has used the same protocol for detection of several fungal pathogens. Pate looked at updating the protocol to include pathogen specific media, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, weather risk assessment and pathogenicity screening, with a goal of making seed treatment data more reliable.

Advincula Named Newest UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair