Tomberlin Receives Presidential Impact Fellow

Dr. Jeff Tomberlin at a microscope

Dr. Jeff Tomberlin. Photo by Rob Williams

Congratulations to Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Research Fellow Dr. Jeff Tomberlin as he received the Presidential Impact Fellow award on November 5.

Tomberlin was among 20 faculty members from the University who were honored at the ceremony for the recognition.

Tomberlin has become a national and international leader in the science and applications of decomposition ecology where his work has made highly significant impacts in animal and food waste systems and forensic science.

One of Tomberlin’s latest discoveries is utilizing the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) to help recycle food waste and produce protein for use as livestock, poultry or aquaculture feed. This research has gained both national and global recognition and was in part responsible for US regulators of animal feed to approve the species for use as feed for salmon fisheries. The policy shift has resulted in creating legislation to prevent food waste from entering landfills and has allowed for the bioconversion industry to grow.

Tomberlin is currently leading a National Science Foundation initiative to develop a National Center on the production of insects for use as human food and livestock feed. Human food and animal feed companies are joining academic communities in the US and EU countries to enhance global recognition and growth of insects human and animal nutrition.

Tomberlin’s forensic entomology research program related to decomposition ecology also has been successful in that he has seen an increase in number of highly qualified visiting researchers, which included seven Fulbright recipients, that have conducted research in his lab.

Tomberlin also has been selected to several key leadership roles within the major forensic associations, including the American Academy of Forensic Science, where he has been elected fellow in of the Pathology/Biology section of the American Academy of Forensic Science.

In addition, Tomberlin’s research program has generated almost half of the current individuals being nationally certified by the American Board of Forensic Entomology and one that is a full-time forensic entomologist in a crime laboratory in the United States. His research efforts have resulted in acquiring several grants, including the National Institute of Justice, and the National Science Foundation.

“I am flattered by receiving such recognition at the university level,” Tomberlin said.

Tomberlin will receive an annual cash stipend for the next three years to help support his research, teaching and service effort. The honorarium helps foster opportunities to collaborate with other leading scholars and create new partnerships and confers the lifetime title of Presidential Impact Fellow.

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