Grain science professor appointed to endowed professorship
Kansas State University professor of grain science, Subramanyam "Subi" Bhadriraju, has been appointed the first Donald A. Wilbur Endowed Professor in Stored-Product Protection at K-State.
Bhadriraju will begin the three-year appointment on Jan. 1, 2012.
He joined the K-State faculty as an associate professor in 1996 and was named full professor in 2003. Prior to 1993, he was on faculty at the University of Minnesota.
Bhadriraju is recognized internationally for his expertise in managing insects in grain and grain products throughout the supply chain. His research focuses on alternatives to pesticides for managing stored-product insects, such as the use of reduced-risk products in stored grains and use of elevated temperatures for managing insects in food-processing facilities, among others. The endowed professorship was created by Don and Eunice Wilbur of Paola, Kan., to honor Donald A. Wilbur, former professor in K-State's Department of Entomology, and to provide financial assistance to an outstanding faculty member in stored-product protection in K-State's College of Agriculture.
Eunice Wilbur is from Sabetha, Kan., and graduated from K-State in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Don, a Manhattan, Kan. native, attended K-State from 1954 to 1959, and is the founder of the Industrial Fumigant Company, Olathe, Kan., a pest management service provider for the grain and food industry.
Don's father, Donald A. Wilbur, was a faculty member in K-State's Department of Entomology for 43 years. He retired in 1970, but continued working on several research projects until 1975.
Wilbur recognized that commercial grain handlers and farmers died every year because of improper use of pesticides used in grain storage. He started a safety program focused on the proper use of pesticides and safe grain handling procedures in Kansas. The program was so successful, it was adopted nationwide. While at K-State, Wilbur also developed a special course on "Milling Entomology" for milling students, to help them recognize and control insects in flour mills.
Bhadriraju plans to use the annual $10,000 support associated with the professorship to encourage and recruit undergraduate students at K-State to conduct research in the area of stored-product protection.
"In the last three decades I have seen a decrease in the number of stored-product protection specialists in the United States. Unless we encourage young minds, we may not meet the future educational and research needs in this important area, that is not only a national need but an international need," Bhadriraju said.