Dunham, Muntifering merit prestigious 2019 Faculty Awards at Auburn

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By Jamie Creamer

Veteran College of Agriculture faculty members Rex Dunham and Russ Muntifering have been announced as 2019 recipients of two of Auburn University’s highest faculty awards.

Dunham, Alumni Professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, has merited the 2019 Advancement of Research and Scholarship Achievement Award from Auburn’s Research and Economic Development Advisory Board. The award recognizes Dunham for his nearly four decades of collaborative international research in the field of fish genetics and genomics and provides him a $25,000 grant to further his research.

The advisory board consists of 40-plus industry professionals across the U.S. who actively support Auburn’s research efforts. The board established the achievement award in 2014.

Dunham is known internationally for his pioneering research to genetically improve catfish, with the premium hybrid catfish he developed now dominating and revitalizing the nation’s catfish industry. In addition to his catfish-related scientific work, he’s conducted population genetics research on native sportfish populations and continues to advance the field of genetic reproductive control of fish, with the goal of using traditional and molecular gene technologies to improve environmentally sound aquaculture and fisheries management strategies.

Dunham joined the Auburn fisheries faculty in 1981. Over the course of his career, he has obtained more than $21 million in research grant funding, mentored 77 M.S. and Ph.D. students from 19 countries and published almost 400 scholarly works, including more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and two books.

Muntifering, professor of ruminant nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences, is the recipient of the 2019-20 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship Award. Co-sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Graduate School, the award recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to graduate education at Auburn.

Over the course of his 30 years on the Auburn faculty and seven as a University of Kentucky associate professor, Muntifering has served as major professor for seven doctoral and 20 master’s students and as an advisory committee member for another 16 doctoral and 39 master’s students completed. He serves as the animal sciences department’s graduate program officer.

He will present the lecture during spring semester 2020 and likely will discuss his research on the impact that air pollution has on the productive and nutritive quality of herbaceous vegetation for ruminant livestock and wildlife.

Muntifering is the 45th lecturer in Auburn’s Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecture series and the third consecutive College of Agriculture faculty member to receive the award. Agricultural economics professor Henry Kinnucan was the 2017-18 recipient and Dunham the 2018-19 honoree.

Dunham and Muntifering will be among the outstanding Auburn faculty members who will be recognized for their contributions to the university’s instruction, research and outreach mission during the 2019 Faculty Awards program Nov. 5.

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