USDA scientists Heather Allen and Sara Lupton with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Both Allen and Lupton are advancing swine research, according to a USDA ARS release.
The PECASE, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers who in the early stages of their research careers, honors those scientists showing exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.
Allen, a microbiologist and international expert on antibiotic resistance gene ecology and swine gut microbial communities at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, has increased scientific understanding of the effects of agricultural practices on foodborne pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes in food-producing animals. She found that swine gut microbiota harbor diverse antibiotic resistance genes regardless of the antibiotic treatment administered. Her studies also have discovered the effects of antibiotics on the swine gut microbiome in ways that can be applied to humans as well as other hosts.
Lupton, a research chemist at the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center in Fargo, N.D., is internationally recognized for her research about the fate of chemical contaminants in swine, cattle and poultry as well as their byproducts, waste systems and feed sources. Her contributions have informed decision-making by regulatory agencies and promoted consumer confidence in the food supply and domestic milk and meat production practices.
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