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Iowa State University conducted a nationwide search for the next director of the Leopold Center, Mark Rasmussen, who will begin work June 1, 2012 (or sooner). Rasmussen will be the fourth full-time director to lead the center since its founding in 1987. Two interim directors have served since July 2010, when Jerry DeWitt retired after 38 years of service at Iowa State University.
Mark Rasmussen is supervisory microbiologist and director of the Division of Animal and Food Microbiology in the Office of Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine in Laurel, Md. He provides technical guidance and research support for regulatory decisions on drugs, feed additives and contaminants in animal feeds. For 20 years, he worked as a scientist and research leader at the USDA National Animal Disease Center in Ames, including serving as a collaborating faculty member in Iowa State’s animal science and biomedical sciences departments. Rasmussen has both a B.S. (agriculture) and an M.S. (animal science) from the University of Nebraska, a Ph.D. in dairy science from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from Iowa State University.
Each candidate had a two-day visit to campus and presented a public seminar on their vision for the future of the Leopold Center and how their experiences contribution to the vision.
Abdullah Jaradat is research leader, supervisory research agronomist and location coordinator of the North Central Soil Conservation Research Lab, a facility of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Morris, Minn. He also is an adjunct professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct professor of science at Southwest Minnesota State University. He conducts and manages research on conventional and organic production agriculture, with emphasis on modeling yield variation of crops under diverse management practices. Jaradat has a B.S. in dryland agriculture from the University of Damascus, an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Jordan and a Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from Washington State University.
Thanos Papanicolaou is professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa as well as Donald E. Bently Faculty Fellow of Engineering and research engineer with the Iowa Institute of Hydroscience and Engineering. His research interests include best management practices to lessen the impact of soil erosion and nutrient transport on water quality; soil carbon sequestration; and use of sensor technology in agricultural landscapes. He serves on the advisory board for the Iowa Water Center at Iowa State University. Papanicolaou has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Aristotle University in Greece and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Virginia Tech.