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UF/IFAS Office of the Dean for Research

UF/IFAS Office of the Dean for Research

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.

2019 DRAC Members

DRAC Member Shirley Baker

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.

DRAC Member Bryony Bonning

Bryony Bonning

Eminent Scholar and Professor, Entomology and Nematology
Dr. Bonning is the Director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. She oversees cutting edge research on insect physiology and pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management.

Click here to view Dr. Bonning's website.

DRAC Member Robert Fletcher

Robert Fletcher

Associate Professor, Wildlife Ecology & Conservation
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.

DRAC Member Anne Mathews

Anne Mathews

Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
Dr. Mathews’ research interests are in elucidating the relationship between adiposity, lifestyle behaviors, genetics and chronic disease. Modifying disease risk through "improvements" in nutrition and physical activity habits is a powerful treatment. Her research focuses on evaluating the effects of various approaches to enhance the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors and to accurately and objectively assess the physiological outcomes of these behaviors contributes to this body of work. 

Click here to view Dr. Mathews website.

DRAC Member Mathews Paret

Mathews Paret

Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology, North Florida REC
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.

DRAC Member Brian Pearson

Brian Pearson

Assistant Professor, Environmental Horticulture, Mid-Florida REC
Dr. Pearson's research program focuses on the impact of landscape practices on water quality and quantity. He utilizes an interdisciplinary holistic approach to develop landscape management practices that maximize plant establishment, growth, and quality within anthropogenically impacted urban areas while simultaneously minimizing negative environmental impacts. His program also aims to develop management practices necessary for successful cultivation of ornamental nursery and protected agricultural crops.

Click here to view Dr. Pearson's website.

DRAC Member Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski

Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski

Associate Professor, 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.

DRAC Member Marcio Resende

Marcio Resende

Assistant Professor, Horticultural Sciences
Dr. Resende's research program focuses on breeding, genomics, quantitative genetics, and bioinformatics of maize.

Click here to view Dr. Resende's website.