Dean for Research Advisory Committee

The UF/IFAS Dean for Research Advisory Committee (DRAC) was established with the objective of meaningfully contributing to the UF/IFAS Dean for Research Office operations that support and promote UF/IFAS faculty. This group meets quarterly to discuss issues that aid in decision-making and to provide feedback on matters affecting the UF/IFAS research environment.

The DRAC held its inaugural meeting on January 2017 with members selected by the UF/IFAS Dean for Research Office, the UF/IFAS Faculty Assembly, and UF/IFAS directors and chairs. Members rotate annually based on staggered term limits.

Examples of discussion topics for meetings may include areas such as: (1) ideas for encouraging faculty engagement, (2) discussion on value of IFAS internal grants programs, (3) ideas for augmenting the next grant-writing workshop, (4) discussion on tools available from, and (5) discussion of IDC, SHARE, and others.

2018 DRAC Members

Fredy Altpeter

Professor, Agronomy Department
Dr. Altpeter’s research program integrates traditional plant breeding, genetic transformation technology, and functional genomics to identify critical heredity units and develop genetically improved biomass grasses. Lignocellulosic materials produced by biomass grasses are a promising feedstock for the production of low-cost ethanol with biotechnological approaches reducing costs associated with biomass conversion to fuel. He received his Sc.D. in plant breeding and biotechnology from the University of Hohenheim in Germany.

Click here to view Dr. Altpeter's website.


Shirley Baker

Associate Professor, SFRC Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Dr. Baker’s research focuses on the physiological ecology of bivalve mollusks. Areas of specialization include functional morphology, feeding ecology, bioenergetics, and effects of perturbations such as salinity, temperature, and eutrophication on productivity. Trained as a marine scientist, she has worked in a variety of systems, both marine and freshwater. Shirley is currently working with hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) aquaculture in Florida. She received her Ph.D. from Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Click here to view Dr. Baker's website.


Matthew DiMaggio

Assistant Professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory
Dr. DiMaggio’s research program focuses on the culture of ornamental fish species in Florida. He has a broad foundation in the field of aquaculture,having conducted research with both marine and freshwater species produced for food, bait, and ornamental purposes. He received his Ph.D. in fisheries and aquatic sciences from the University of Florida.

Click here to view Dr. DiMaggio's website.

Robert Fletcher

Associate Professor, Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Department
Dr. Fletcher’s research program focuses on improving ecological systems and wildlife species by identifying solutions to reduce impacts of man-made landscape changes on wildlife habitats. He was honored as a 2015-2018 UF Research Foundation Professor, a three-year professorship created by the UF Research Foundation to recognize faculty who have established a distinguished record of research and scholarship.

Click here to view Dr. Fletcher's website.

Kelly Grogan

Assistant Professor, Food and Resource Economics Department
Dr. Grogan's research focuses on natural resource economics including bioeconomic modeling, economically optimal pest control, and sustainable agricultural practices. She received her Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis. She also earned the University of Florida Roche Teaching Fellowship and the Council on Food,Agricultural and Resource Economics Early Career Professional Leadership Award.

Click here to view Dr. Grogran's website.


Mathews Paret

Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, North Florida Research and Education Center
The goal of Dr. Paret’s research program is to develop technologies and approaches for sustainable production of vegetable and ornamental crops. His interests include developing plant-disease management strategies, detecting and characterizing plant pathogens, and understanding the etiology and epidemiology of plant diseases. He received his Ph.D. in Tropical Plant Pathology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Click here to view Dr. Paret's website.

Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski

Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, Citrus Research and Education Center
Dr. Pelz-Stelinski’s research program focuses on the biology and microbial ecology of insect vectors of plant diseases. She is investigating transmission of the huanglongbing (HLB) pathogen by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) to further the development of successful ACP management programs. She received her Ph.D. in entomology and ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavior from Michigan State University.

Click here to view Dr. Pelz-Stelinski's website.