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ARS Offers Sabbatical Research Opportunities to 1890 Land-grant University Scientists

Posted by Scott Elliott, ARS Office of Communications in Research and Science
Feb 27, 2023
Korsi Dumenyo, 2022 Faculty Research Sabbatical Program awardee

1890 Land-grant Universities (LGUs) are 19 historically black universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. These institutions strengthen research, extension, and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Institutions.

As part of the 1890 Faculty Research Sabbatical Program (FRSP), selected LGU faculty members have the opportunity to leave their campuses for up to a year and continue their research in USDA labs. Korsi Dumenyo, associate professor of plant-microbe biology from Tennessee State University, was among those selected in 2022. Dumenyo will join Yiqun Weng and Dennis Halterman, geneticists with USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Vegetable Crops Research unit in Madison, WI. The three will continue Dumenyo’s work to study host-pathogen interaction in bacterial wilt disease in gourd plants and bacterial soft rot in vegetables.

Dumenyo’s goals include identifying genes and using quantitative statistical methods to understand and fight bacterial wilt disease in cucumber, and developing molecular tools for the identification and manipulation of key players in the development of the wilting disease.

According to Dumenyo, the best part of the program is the access to the facilities and resources of both ARS and the University of Wisconsin.

“Being away from campus gives me the chance to put a major focus on research without the other responsibilities in my home institution,” Dumenyo said.

ARS invests, on average, $500,000 annually in the 1890 FRSP, awarding between four and six proposals each spring. Applications are due March 1. Selected awardees will be notified no later than April 3.

“The 1890 FRSP is exciting because it has the potential to generate some really important research outcomes and partnerships,” said Rachel Steele, ARS agricultural science advisor. “With the help of our 1890 LGU research partners, we can start to answer some of the really tough questions facing society, like, ‘How can we keep our poultry products free of diseases so we can all stay safe and healthy?’”

FRSP was established in 2015 in honor of the 125th anniversary of the 1890 LGUs. To date, 31 research collaborations from 16 1890 LGUs have received the award.

Want to learn more? Visit the 1890 FRSP website.

Category/Topic: Research and Science