UF Packaging recognized as 6th of 20 best value program

Top 20 Best Packaging Programs, 2017

University of Florida is ranked among the top 15 public universities in the nation by and the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department has been ranked 3rd by U.S. News & World Report. Now, our Packaging Program has been ranked 6th out of 20 packaging programs featured by ValueColleges.com.

Our program focuses on all of the aspects involved in the design and creation of food packaging, from computer design skills to biochemistry and physics. Learn more about UF ABE Packaging program here!


Video Recap: Annual ABE Poster Symposium

The UF ABE Poster Symposium is an annual event designed to give students the opportunity to practice their scientific communication skills. The event also provides an opportunity to highlight the many exciting and diverse research projects taking place in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

2017 Winners:
1st Place –  Geraldine Klarenberg (advisor: Dr. Muñoz-Carpena)
2nd Place – 3 way tie!

Joe Sagues (advisor: Dr. Tong)
Christopher Hwang (advisor: Dr. Correll)
Eduardo Gelcer (advisor: Dr. Fraisse)
1st Year Graduate – Kathleen Vasquez (advisor: Dr. Muñoz-Carpena)

1st Place – John Nemenyi and Zhonglin Lai (advisor: Dr. Tong)

Want to check out the winning posters? Visit: http://abe.ufl.edu/academics/graduate/research-posters.shtml

ABE Senior Leah Potts named Rolex Scholar

UF ABE alumni Leah Potts has been chosen as one of only three 2017 Rolex Scholars in the world.  (Courtesy Photo)

New alumni Leah Potts earned her B.S in Biological Engineering at UF ABE in Spring 2017. An avid scuba diver of seven years, she found her calling by merging her love for water with engineering. As one of the three Rolex Scholars in the world, Potts will receive $25,000 scholarship from Rolex to further her career.

Read more at the press release here: http://news.ufl.edu/articles/2017/04/biological-engineering-senior-dives-into-graduation.php

ABE Recognizes Distinguished Professionals

Left to Right, Robert Horton, Dorota Haman, Adam Skolnik

At this year’s Recognition Luncheon, ABE recognized two distinguished professionals in the field of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Congratulations to Adam Skolnik and Robert Horton!

Adam Skolnik – ABE Distinguished Achievement Award

Adam is currently the CEO of Melni LLC, a startup company that aired on ABC’s Shark Tank series, and is also the founder of Perfect Timing Capital LLC, which has investments in commercial and income producing real estate along with equity positions in various other start-up businesses. His professional experience and skill set comes from over 35 years leading and growing companies such as Senninger Irrigation Inc., and Irrigation Components International Inc., private manufacturing and distribution companies. He also spent several years at an executive level of Valmont Industries Inc., (“VMI”), a publicly-traded global manufacturing company. Adam has been involved in numerous merger and acquisition transactions, including, while CEO of ICII, being acquired by a private equity group and becoming the platform company several mergers were built upon.

Adam also currently serves on the University of Florida Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department advisory board, along with being a member of FAN (Florida Angel Nexus)

Robert Horton  – ABE Distinguished Alumnus Award

Robert serves as vice president of the Environmental Affairs Department at Dallas Fort Worth Airport. He provides strategic and innovative leadership for DFW Airport’s environmental and sustainability programs which have resulted in key domestic and global awards for the airport including:

* 2016 – First Carbon Neutral Airport in North America and largest airport in the world to achieve Carbon Neutrality to date (ACI-NA).

* 2016 and 2017 Climate Leadership Award for Organizational Leadership (EPA, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry)

He has developed one of the leading environmental and sustainability programs for DFW Airport which is the third busiest airport in the world. Prior to working at DFW Airport, Mr. Horton served in various key leadership roles with several engineering consulting firms. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida.

UF ABE Robotics Team competes at ASABE Annual International Meeting


Students from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering were recently awarded 8th place in the ASABE Student Design Competition at the ASABE annual meeting, where they competed against 14 other teams.

The student’s objective was to design and build a fully automated robotic system imitating the transfer of citrus from a harvester to a processing plant. The students built a system consisting of two robots, where one hauls the fruit and transfers it to another that moves the fruit to its final destination.

Students Amanda DeCanio,Brandon Roarke, Stacy Bromlow, Joe Cerillo, Eduardo Carrascal, Hao Gan, Akram Gholami, and Thiago Onofre all contributed to the project, with guidance from  Dr. Wonsuk (Daniel) Lee and Dr. Alireza Pourreza.

Read more about the students’ experience here: http://ufifasirrigator.blogspot.com/2016/10/diverse-humans-create-diverse-robots.html?m=1

ABE professor recognized for climate change research

UF ABE professor Senthold Asseng was published in the journal Nature Climate Change for his researching examining how temperature affects the growth of wheat crops.

Asseng, known for his modeling expertise, led a team of nearly 50 scientists from around the world in using simulations and statistical methods to estimate how rising temperatures will impact global crop production.

Asseng said that increased temperatures can prevent wheat, and other crops such as fruits and vegetables, from producing high yields. With climate change rising temperatures around the world, and the global population increasing to an estimated 9 billion by 2050, research on how temperature affects global crop growth is more important than ever.

Asseng said that accurate predictions of the true effects of climate change must consider models of climate, crop growth, and economic impacts.

This study, which was conducted as part of AgMIP – the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, marks the first time different temperature-impact predictions have been compared globally. Asseng said that the findings will allow himself and other scientists around the world to have confidence in the accuracy of their predictions going forward.

More information on Asseng’s findings can be found here: http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2016/09/ufifas-study-global-food-security-aided-by-combining-different-methods/

UF ABE researchers develop new method for testing low-concentrations of chemicals

Researchers from the UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering department have discovered a better way to assess the impacts of mixtures of man-made chemicals on water bodies and their ecosystems.

The study’s lead authors, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena and Ismael Rodea-Palomares, along with colleagues in Spain, found a way to detect how low doses of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, known as PPCPs, affect aquatic life.

Low concentrations of these chemicals are widely released into freshwater bodies all over the world. Although they are not toxic individually, they collect and dilute over long periods of time in waters downstream from wastewater plans and sewage release points. These combinations of chemicals eventually make their way in low concentrations into other freshwater subsidiaries, including drinking water and soil.

While previous studies have examined PPCPs individually in high concentrations, Muñoz-Carpena and his team wanted to see how these mixtures of chemicals in low-concentrations realistically impact aquatic ecosystems.

Scientists introduced low-concentrations mixtures of common PPCPs, including caffeine, antibiotics, analgesics, psychiatric drugs, into a lab-created freshwater environment. Using blue algae that had been engineered to produce light, the team examined how different combinations of chemicals affected the algae’s metabolism, represented by its ability to emit light.

Muñoz-Carpena and his team found that a number of the PPCPs in the mixtures, particularly antibiotics and other common medicines, affected the algae’s growth, assimilation of nutrients, photosynthesis and reproduction.

This study not only shows the harmful effects of low-doses of PPCPs in complex mixtures, but also provides other scientists with an accurate method of testing how emerging chemicals impact aquatic life, something the field was lacking.

Muñoz-Carpena said the success of this new method has created many opportunities for other biological scientists.

The work was published in the prestigious Science Advances (AAAS) journal. More information on this study can be found here: https://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2016/09/new-ufifas-method-detects-low-dose-impacts-of-man-made-chemicals-in-water/