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Faculty and Staff

5 CALS Faculty Named 2021-22 Goodnight Early Career Innovators

NC State's Memorial Belltower with the sun peeking through the trees

Five assistant professors from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were named to the 2021-2022 class of Goodnight Early Career Innovators. The program recognizes and rewards promising NC State early-career faculty whose scholarship is in STEM or STEM education. Recipients of the award will receive $22,000 ­for each of the next three years to support their scholarship and research endeavors.

Eligible faculty must be tenure-track assistant professors at the time of nomination and their scholarship must contribute to innovations and advancement in STEM or STEM education. Nominees, who were recommended by their colleges, were evaluated based on evidence of early productivity in research and innovation, which may include a strong early record of scholarly publication or dissemination appropriate to their discipline, external funding or recognition as an early career leader in their field.

This year’s class of Goodnight Early Career Innovators includes five from CALS:

  • Kevin Garcia, assistant professor of crop and soil sciences, whose research focuses on investigating the molecular basis of bi-directional nutrient fluxes between plant roots and soil microbes, with a particular emphasis on arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal associations.
  • Arion Kennedy, assistant professor of molecular and structural biochemistry, whose research aims to determine the impact of the innate and adaptive immune system on obesity-associated metabolic disorders. Specifically, identification of antigens that drive T cell activation in obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. 
  • William Sagues, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering, whose research takes an integrated approach to innovating technologies that utilize and sequester biogenic carbon. The aim of his lab’s work is to leverage the bioeconomy for carbon drawdown.
  • Mahmoud Sharara, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering, whose research focuses on investigating pathways for the sustainable management of agricultural waste and byproducts to generate value-added products and reduce agriculture-related impacts on ecosystems.  
  • Xiaoqiu Wang, assistant professor of animal science, whose research interests include reproductive and developmental biology, nutritional biochemistry and physiology, and animal models of human diseases, to name a few. 

“We are very proud of the CALS faculty who were selected as Goodnight Early Career Innovators,” said John Dole, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “They have already made a major impact and we look forward to seeing what they will do as Innovators in the future.”

See NC State’s news release for more information about the Goodnight Early Innovators Award program and other winners.