Borca named Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year

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WASHINGTON — For his outstanding contributions to veterinary virology and discovery and development of vaccines against African swine fever, Agricultural Research Service scientist Manuel Borca is the agency’s Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2022. 

Borca, research microbiologist for the service’s Plum Island Animal Disease Control’s Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit in Orient Point, New York, is one of many ARS researchers being honored for their scientific achievements. 

Borca’s research contributed to the vaccine development for diseases that pose threats to U.S. pork industries: Classical swine fever and African swine fever. He conducted research focused on understanding host-viral interactions to inform the development of vaccines specifically designed to control disease outbreaks. 

His research led to successful technology transfers of ARS-patented African swine fever virus vaccine candidates to manufacturing companies in the United States and abroad that are producing vaccines to control and eradicate the current pandemic of African swine fever. 

Heping Zhu, with the service’s Application Technology Research Unit in Wooster, Ohio, was also honored as a 2022 Area Senior Research Scientist of the Year for inventing intelligent spray technology to protect diverse horticultural crops and ecosystems. 

Anna Testen, with the service’s Application Technology Research Unit in Wooster, Ohio, was honored as an Early Career Research Scientist for advancing specialty crop production domestically and abroad through research on plant disease detection and management strategies.

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