Mower, Irmak honored for research excellence

Jeffrey Mower of the Center for Plant Science Innovation and Agronomy and Horticulture Department, and Ayse Irmak of the School of Natural Resources, Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies and Department of Civil Engineering, have been
named as recipients of the Junior Faculty for Excellence in Research Award provided by the Branham Endowment Fund for 2012-2013. The award is given annually by the Agricultural Research Division
to up to two tenure-track assistant professors with an ARD appointment with five or fewer years
of professional service at UNL and is based upon publication record, evidence of external funding
activity and peer recognition.

Jeffrey Mower received a BS in molecular biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. He worked for a year in the Human Genetics Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston before moving on to graduate school at Indiana University Bloomington, where he received a MS in bioinformatics in 2004 and a PhD in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology in 2005. After graduation, he spent two years as a postdoc at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Center for Plant Science Innovation and Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. He has published 17 research papers in journals including Nature and Science and two book chapters. His research aims to address fundamental questions on the evolution of genome structure, function and content in plants using a combination of experimental and computational approaches which has applications to understanding disease resistance in crop plants and developing algae for biofuels. Mower takes an active role within his department, university-wide affiliations, teaching and mentoring, professional outreach activities and the Lincoln community. His nominators stated that he is a highly valued colleague who has demonstrated great potential for making major advances in genomics research as well as innovations in the classroom.

Ayse Kilic is an Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources and in the Department of Civil Engineering. She joined these departments in 2007. She has a Master and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida in Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Dr. Kilic’s research is at the national forefront in developing and applying satellite-based determination of evapotranspiration from agricultural and natural vegetation and in developing hydrologic information system and geographical information system applications. Her research is being applied by Nebraska Natural Resources Districts to improve management of ground-water and surface water systems. Several of her software tools are used to support satellite-based remote sensing of water consumption throughout the American west. Dr. Kilic has published 45 refereed journal publications and published the book Evapotranspiration -- Remote Sensing and Modeling in January 2012. Dr. Kilic was recently awarded funding and appointed to the national Landsat Science Team of the United States Geological Survey and to the NASA Energy and Water Cycle Science Team.

A reception to honor both Jeffrey Mower and Ayse Irmak will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. in the Nebraska East Campus Sunflower Room.