Griffin Campus

New UGA facility in Griffin will help launch new food products

Posted on
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
University leadership, state and local officials prepare to cut ribbon in front of FoodPIC building

University of Georgia scientists are now better equipped to help businesses launch new food products with the opening of the Food Technology Center, locally known as the FoodPIC building, on the UGA Griffin campus. The facility houses the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization, or FoodPIC, Center.

The $7.4 million project was funded through $3.5 million from the state of Georgia and additional funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the University of Georgia.

The state-of-the-art 14,500-square-foot facility was dedicated on Jan. 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Speakers at the ceremony included Board of Regents Chairman Dr. C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., state Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), Chairman of the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority Board Charles Copeland, Dean and Director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Sam Pardue, and Pike County STEM Academy student Nikki Dodson, along with UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“The Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center is an outstanding example of the University of Georgia using its resources to help strengthen our state’s economy,” Morehead said. “We are grateful for the support we have received for the new Food Technology Center, and we are excited to expand the reach of FoodPIC within the global food industry.”

Unmanned drone cameras help UGA scientists document research results

Posted on
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Clay Bennett “pilots” an aerial drone over turfgrass research plots

Georgia House Resolution 744 created a committee to study the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in the state. Created as a result of public concern, the committee will look at the uses of these remote-controlled, airplane-like devices, equipped with cameras and used by law enforcement agencies and other government authorities, to determine whether they invade privacy.

University of Georgia scientist Clint Waltz in Griffin, Georgia, has been using an aerial drone to reduce the amount of time he and his technician spend documenting data in fields. They also use the drone to gather supplemental data through bird’s-eye-view photographs of research plots.

Waltz is uncovering how his research benefits from the use of his drone, or what looks like a miniature helicopter with a camera mounted underneath it.

“Photo documentation is essential to our research, and the drone can take aerial photos of the effects of different fertilizer and pesticide treatments on various grasses,” said Waltz, UGA Extension’s turfgrass specialist. “It can go up 50 or 60 feet and take a photo, which helps us measure treatment effects.”

The drone Waltz uses on the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campus in Griffin is lightweight, weighing under 5 pounds.

Visiting scientist conducts research on peanut pathogen at UGA Griffin

Posted on
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Maxwell Lamptey with his experiment on solar drying peanuts

Maxwell Lamptey is visiting America, specifically Griffin, Georgia, in the hopes of learning new methods to fight aflatoxin — a carcinogen produced by soil fungus that can grow on peanuts — in his home country of Ghana. Lamptey is participating in a short-term training program, from March to September, supported by the Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL), housed at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

A senior technical officer studying legumes at the Crops Research Institute, Lamptey has been working on the university’s campus in Griffin, Georgia, alongside food scientist and PMIL collaborator Jinru Chen.

Research is nothing new to Lamptey, but his work normally focuses on ways to increase yields.

“In Ghana, I am involved in conducting a lot of trials, evaluations and cross hybridizations of all kinds of legumes, but mainly cowpeas and groundnuts (peanuts),” he said.

On the UGA Griffin Campus, he is studying the use of solar drying to control aflatoxin contamination in peanuts. He is comparing solar drying to normal drying.

Normal drying involves exposing the peanuts directly to sunlight on the ground or on concrete. Solar drying does not expose the peanuts directly to sunlight or rain. Instead, a dryer captures the heat from the sun and an enclosed structure around the nuts conducts the heat, Lamptey said.

UGA graduate research on display at south Georgia event

Posted on
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Kiran Gadhave speaks about his research with Joe West

The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Graduate School jointly hosted a graduate research event, focusing specifically on research conducted in south Georgia.

The reception, held Thursday, March 17, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, recognized 11 current graduate students who represented UGA’s campuses in Athens, Griffin and Tifton, Georgia, as well as the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation's Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. All of the student-scientists presented their research projects and spoke with invited guests about their work.

Among them was Shannon Parrish, who is pursuing a master’s degree in crop and soil sciences from CAES. Her research focuses on cotton’s sustainability in Georgia.

“As a graduate student, being able to present research (that) you have worked on is always exciting. With each presentation, I look forward to educating others on the importance of determining cotton’s sustainability in Georgia,” Parrish said. “I hope everyone I spoke to comes away from our encounter with an understanding of how vital cotton is to the state and the need for documenting the crop’s environmental footprint.”

Other UGA graduate students at the event and their areas of study include:

–Kiran Gadhave (CAES), studying plant-vector-virus interactions.

New UGA scientist searches for grasses that can survive drought, heat and other environmental stressors

Posted on
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
David Jesperson poses with his turfgrass research plots

Like most college students, David Jespersen was unsure of what he wanted to study. At first, he was intrigued by psychology, but the required biology and science classes drew him to plant sciences. As a result, he's now the newest member of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' turfgrass research team.

"Something about the plant sciences grabbed my interest as being practical and underappreciated," said Jespersen, who now conducts research on the UGA campus in Griffin.

Jespersen earned a doctorate in plant biology with an emphasis in turfgrass physiology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A native of New Jersey, Jespersen is adjusting to life in the South and the relentlessly intense heat of Georgia summers.

"Summers (in New Jersey) are kind of hot. It hits the 90s (degrees Fahrenheit) and there's an occasional heat wave hitting 100 (F)," he said, just a few days after sharing his research results in humid, near-100-degree weather at the outdoor UGA Turfgrass Field Day, a research event held biennially in August.

He is also adjusting to working on a smaller extended university campus.

"Everyone on the Griffin campus is very friendly, but it's not as lively as a large campus," he said. "It's definitely a lot easier not to get distracted and to focus on research."

UGA Griffin students lead science experiment for Griffin High School students

Posted on
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Joshua Hamilton demonstrating an experiment to four high school students

A group of Griffin High School biology students visited the University of Georgia Griffin Campus last week to conduct a science experiment under the direction of college students. The UGA students were fulfilling their service learning component of their “Basic Skills in the Laboratory” class, taught by Margie Paz, a senior lecturer in the microbiology department of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“Participating in this service-learning activity helped the college students meet the requirement of UGA’s new experiential learning initiative, which began this semester. Every UGA undergraduate student must now participate in a hands-on, learning opportunity outside of the classroom.

The GHS students who participated in the experiment are all currently enrolled in biology classes and were selected for the experience by their teachers. The high school students performed a genetic engineering experiment using green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the supervision of the UGA Griffin students. The experiment helped the GHS students understand the scientific process involved in the GFP gene’s expression, Paz said.

UGA Griffin Campus adds bulldog statue, renovates “Big G”

Posted on
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
UGA-Griffin's Uga statue

Lew Hunnicutt hit the ground running 11 months ago when he was named the new assistant provost and campus director of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus. One of his top priorities is to clear up the misconception that the campus is not really a part of UGA. “We ARE the University of Georgia. We just happen to be located in Griffin,” said Hunnicutt.

On one of his first visits to Athens, Hunnicutt noticed the plethora of fiberglass Uga bulldog mascots located around town. He quickly learned that the statues were originally part of a fundraiser for charities led by the Athens-Oconee Junior Women’s Club. More than 35 larger-than-life “Dawgs” adorned the downtown corridor of the Classic City for 10 years before being auctioned off to benefit AIDS research.

Hunnicutt quickly set in motion plans for the Griffin Campus to have its first Uga Bulldog mascot statue. The statue came painted solid white, but Greg Huber, training coordinator in the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture, donated his time to transform it into a traditionally painted Uga.

Southern Crescent Technical College Automotive Collision Instructor Robert Hagen assisted with the first Bulldog statue by adding the final touch — automotive clear coating to help Uga survive the outdoors. “It was great to see how the Southern Crescent students reacted to the statue,” Huber said. “They all gathered around and took each other’s pictures with it. It was already doing its job.”

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UGA turfgrass research highlighted at Griffin Campus field day

Posted on
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Clint Waltz speaks to a group at Turfgrass Research Field Day

More than 800 people braved the hot August temperatures for a firsthand glimpse of the latest research by University of Georgia scientists at the Turfgrass Research Field Day held Thursday, Aug. 4, on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia.

“UGA serves as the research and education arm for the green industry in this state,” said Clint Waltz, UGA Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and one of the organizers of the field day event. “This field day keeps those in the green industry current and provides the continued education they need to remain profitable and able to provide the best quality products for golf courses, commercial lawns, homeowners’ lawns, parks, recreational sports fields and professional sports fields.”

In the morning, green industry professionals rotated through a series of 12-minute talks by scientists from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Topics included the latest research on turfgrass weed management, cultivar development and the application of pesticides while protecting pollinating insects.

Self-guided tours in the afternoon included a demonstration on proper pesticide storage and handling, advice on the best fungicides for turfgrass disease control and sessions led by CAES turfgrass graduate students.