BioBriEf Summer 2021 message from our Department Head

Summer greetings to all, from BBE! Talk of the MN State Fair is always a reminder that the fall semester is right around the corner. BBE faculty, staff, and students are anxious to return to a “normal” campus experience this fall. As of this writing, we are expecting to be back in the classrooms and labs with no social distancing requirement, donning masks, with a high vaccination rate within the campus community. We’re collectively crossing our fingers that there are no more disruptions to our academic mission from Covid!

Speaking of our academic mission, our undergraduate students have been away from campus for the summer, but they’ve been busy. The summer months find many of our students gaining valuable real-world experiences through internships and co-ops. This edition’s Student Voices section spotlights the work of several of our students who have been assisting with environmental research. We are always on the lookout for more such opportunities for our students--please let us know if you have an internship or co-op opportunity for an eager undergraduate student! Also, Congratulations to graduate students (and their faculty advisors) who finished up their research this summer--we hope you’ll enjoy reading about the work of three graduate students, which is highlighted herein.

Kudos to all BBE faculty and research staff for continuing to push our research mission forward, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We highlight several recent grant awards in this issue and we will continue to shine a spotlight on our research accomplishments and discovery. We also recognize that our research and discovery build on the work of previous thinkers and their discoveries. BBE has had a long tradition of work in the biomass degradation/preservation area and in this issue we fondly remember the work of Dr. Elmer Schmidt, who passed away last year. 

Last, but certainly not least, a heartfelt thank you for your continued support of our students and programs with your generous donations! This summer’s successful Golf Outing is one such example of strong support by our industry partners for our students. Thank you!

Are you planning to visit the MN State Fair? Stop by the BBE table in the Ag/Hort Building.