Texas scientist receives international recognition
Ron Randel, Ph.D., an East Texas scientist with Texas AgriLife Research, has received one of most prestigious awards given for animal science research.
Randel, who is based at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, was presented the L.E. Casida Award in recognition of his outstanding research and graduate education program animal reproductive physiology. The award was presented at the Triennial Symposium on Reproduction at the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Science, which was held mid-July in Phoenix.
The L.E. Casida Award recognizes excellence in the education of graduate and postdoctoral students to conduct research in the area of reproductive physiology and endocrinology. According to the Journal of Animal Science, "To be eligible for nomination, candidates must demonstrate quality education of graduate and postdoctoral students as evidenced by publication, with students as senior authors, of basic or applied research, or both."
The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more that 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world, according to Madeline McCurry-Schmidt, American Society of Animal Science Communications.
Charles Long, resident director of the Overton Center, has worked with Randel for decades, and said his work fulfills and goes beyond the award's stipulations. Long said Randel has worked for many years with graduate students on research on the physiology and endocrinology of ovarian and pituitary functions in Brahman cattle.
"Worldwide, Randel has long been renowned for his groundbreaking work with Brahman and other tropically adapted cattle," Long said. "His work on the fundamental reproductive biology of Brahman cattle has had widespread impact on beef cattle production in the U.S. as well as abroad."
Under Randel's guidance, his students have also researched and published articles about the effects of nutrition on reproductive physiology, said Tom Welsh, AgriLife Research reproductive physiologist, College Station. One discovery that became very useful to the beef industry was the development of ionophores for use in beef cattle nutritional and reproductive management.
"(They) found they could enhance the reproductive development and function of heifers and bulls because ruminal fatty acids affect the hypothalamus, pituitary and gonads," Welsh said. "His investigations and explanations of the fundamental interaction of nutrition and reproduction led, in part, to FDA approval of ionophores."
Randel's academic record is also impressive, Long said. Randel and his graduate students have published hundreds of refereed journal articles, technical reports and abstracts. He has served as major adviser to dozens of graduate students, professor to numerous undergraduates and mentor to postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists from the U.S. and abroad.
Randel has also established a national and international reputation for mentoring the next generation of animal scientists, Welsh said.
"Dr. Randel's roles as a physiologist and endocrinologist extend well beyond the research laboratories at Overton and College Station," Welsh said. "This award is in part recognition of the national impact of Dr. Randel's graduate education program as evidenced by contributions of his students. Specifically, he has served as major adviser to 68 graduate students and 33 undergraduate interns."
The award documentation also noted that during the last 10 years, Randel has published 34 refereed journal articles, 84 technical reports, 144 abstracts and 22 invited presentations, "representing a broad spectrum of both basic and applied sciences."
During his professional lifetime, Randel has had more than 900 publications published, with about 200 of those refereed journal articles, which by academic standards is a "herculean" achievement in itself, Long said.
The constant theme of Randel's research career has been his dedication to solving practical problems in beef cattle reproductive management, Long said.
Welsh said, "In the past decade, Dr. Randel and collaborators have researched the influence of stress-responsiveness and temperament on immunity and growth performance of calves. His current graduate students are investigating the effect of prenatal stress on postnatal endocrine, immune and growth functions of calves. These studies aim to improve animal health and well-being plus improve the efficiency of beef production."