ARS Honors New Science Hall of Fame Inductees
(Jan. 1, 2013) Three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have earned places in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Science Hall of Fame for discoveries that provide solutions for infectious animal diseases, improve breeding for beef production and enhance perennial grass breeding and bioenergy production systems.
Veterinarian Donald Knowles, Animal Geneticist Larry Cundiff and Plant Geneticist Kenneth Vogel were honored at a ceremony in College Park, Md., on Dec. 5. ARS established its Science Hall of Fame in 1986 to recognize agency researchers for their outstanding lifelong achievements in agricultural sciences and technology. Nominees must be retired or eligible to retire to receive the award.
When asked about his thoughts about receiving this honor, Knowles says, “It is just an honor to be inducted into the hall of fame. It is a great privilege to have a job like mine and be able to work for the stakeholders of our society. I would like to thank the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) for all the years of partnership and working together. We have been able to work on a number of issues that make a difference for our society.”
Knowles, a veterinary medical officer who heads the ARS Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Wash., is being recognized for his scientific leadership on multiple infectious animal diseases that impact national and global food security. Under his leadership, disease control methods and diagnostic tests, some of which have been licensed and are used worldwide, have been developed for infectious diseases that affect horses, sheep, cattle, goats and bison. He has created critical partnerships with industry, government and universities in the United States and internationally to address lentiviruses, anaplasmosis, malignant catarrhal fever, equine and bovine babesiosis, and prion diseases that cause mad cow disease and scrapie in sheep.
“The induction of Dr. Don Knowles into the ARS Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor. Dr. Knowles is recognized worldwide for his research on infectious diseases and he is well known to the U.S. sheep industry for working with us to resolve critical disease-related issues,” says Margaret Soulen Hinson, ASI president. “He also is leaving a lasting legacy by mentoring and training future veterinarians and researchers. But even more important, Dr. Knowles is a true friend who works tirelessly to improve the lives of those around him. Our deepest congratulations go to Dr. Don Knowles.”
Among his many other awards, Knowles received the ASI Camptender Award, the Secretary of Agriculture’s Award for Professional Excellence for his work in the first practical live-animal test for scrapie and a 2010 USDA Unsung Hero Award.
“The extraordinary contributions of Knowles, Cundiff and Vogel have had a significant impact on food and agriculture worldwide,” said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. “Their outstanding accomplishments demonstrate commitment, knowledge and perseverance. They have paved the way for future research that influences national and international agricultural programs and policies.”