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The University of Wisconsin-Platteville recently awarded five faculty research fellowships to help increase dairy-related research capacity through the Dairy Innovation Hub initiative. Known as the Dairy Industry Impact Innovation Faculty Fellowships, or “DI3 faculty fellowships,” the selected faculty members will tackle research projects in the Hub’s four priority areas; stewarding land and water resources; enriching human health and nutrition; ensuring animal health and welfare; and growing farm business and communities.

Funded through a $7.8 million per year investment by the state of Wisconsin, the Hub harnesses research and development at UW–Madison, UW–Platteville and UW–River Falls campuses to keep Wisconsin’s $45.6 billion dairy community at the global forefront in producing nutritious dairy foods in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable manner. Since its launch in 2019, the Hub has funded more than 160 projects across the three campuses.

A faculty research fellowship is a temporary position for permanent faculty members. The goal is to provide support for a specific research project and any ancillary costs — including ensuring that the faculty member will have time to conduct the research and support for existing teaching responsibilities.

DI3 Faculty Fellowships are intended to leverage existing UW–Platteville expertise to provide timely results supporting the goals of the Dairy Innovation Hub, with an emphasis on addressing recommendations generated by the state’s Dairy Task Force 2.0, which completed its work in 2019.

The following UW–Platteville faculty fellows were selected for funding:

Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman

Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman, Computer Science and Software Engineering

Ashrafuzzaman is an assistant professor of computer science and software engineering in the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science. His research focuses on security analytics in systems such as communication networks and power grids. Ashrafuzzaman’s project “Towards optimized usage of the milking robot using data analytics” is an exploratory endeavor to uncover and better understand the correlations between cow behavior and physiology aspects and robot performance in terms of milk collection and other performance goals. Read the full profile.

Krista Eiseman

Krista Eiseman, Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Eiseman is an assistant professor of animal and dairy science in the School of Agriculture. Her research interests include weaning management strategies and post-weaning, health and performance of beef calves, and supplementation strategies for improved animal health and productivity. Eiseman’s project “Evaluating trends in female to male ratios in dairy science and related programs throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest region and the translation into post-secondary employment” will evaluate trends in female to male ratios in dairy science, animal science, and ag business at UW­–Platteville over the last 10-15 years. Read the full profile.

John Obielodan

John Obielodan, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Obielodan is a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science. His research focuses on novel materials development using additive manufacturing processes. Obielodan’s project “Dairy protein biocomposites development using selective laser sintering 3D printing process”project will investigate the use of casein in a 3D printing process called selective laser sintering (STS), which can make higher-quality products compared to other 3D printing processes, and also further develop research on using effectively using casein in 3D printing. Read the full profile.

Ryan Pralle

Ryan Pralle, Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Pralle is an assistant professor of animal and dairy science in the School of Agriculture. His research is focused on developing data-driven management tools and strategies to optimize the metabolic health of individual cows. Pralle’s position is funded by the Dairy Innovation Hub. His project “Exploring high liver triglyceride content heritability and genetic architecture in early lactation holstein cows” hypothesizes that bovine fatty liver syndrome (bFLS) is a heritable disorder and will investigate the genetics of cows who have been tested by a blood biomarker panel to potentially find genetic traits associated with high liver triglyceride, which may be an indicator of bFLS. Read the full profile.

Zifan Wan

Zifan Wan, Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Wan is an assistant professor of animal and dairy science in the School of Agriculture. Her primary research interest is in the application of non-thermal technologies for enhanced food safety and quality to achieve sustainable manufacturing goals. Wan’s position is funded by the Dairy Innovation Hub. Her project “Enhancing the safety and growth of alfalfa by the utilization of novel non-thermal technology – High voltage atmospheric cold plasma” will investigate the application of plasma-activated water treatment on alfalfa seeds for microbial decontamination and enhancing alfalfa growth. Read the full profile.