Ohio State’s Linda Saif awarded Distinguished University Professor

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WOOSTER, Ohio – For the first time, an Ohio State University researcher not based on the Columbus campus has been recognized as a Distinguished University Professor.

This is the highest honor the university can bestow upon faculty for their accomplishments in research, scholarly or creative work, teaching and service.

Recipient Linda Saif works in food animal health research program of the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” Saif said. “I didn’t expect this. I was told I was coming to listen to a talk on bioterrorism. This was a complete surprise.”

Saif’s background. Saif is known nationally and internationally for her work on enteric animal diseases, mainly rotavirus and calicivirus. Certain strains of the viruses can cause gastrointestinal illnesses in humans, especially children.

“Linda Saif is one of the most distinguished and productive members of our faculty,” said Glen Hoffsis, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“She is an international authority on numerous animal viruses and has contributed enormously to our understanding of disease mechanisms and immunology in both humans and animals.”

Saif has been published extensively in books and journals and has been awarded numerous honors.

Other work. She has participated in professional service and peer review panels and has been awarded over $14 million in research grants throughout her more than 30-year career.

Current research projects include immune response to the rotavirus, DNA vaccines, enteric pathogens in oysters, pathogenesis of human caliciviruses and effects of nutrition and waste management technologies on pathogens in animal manure.

“It’s a real privilege to have Dr. Saif on our staff,” said Bobby Moser, vice president for agricultural administration. “This is the kind of research that the college is trying to promote – people working on the cutting edge who can bridge that gap between applied and basic research. Dr. Saif can do that and that’s unique.”

Making it official. The university board of trustees will officially announce the award on June 7. Along with the title, Saif will be awarded an annual budget of $10,000 over the next three years to be used in support of academic work. She also automatically becomes a member of the president’s and provost’s advisory council.

Award background. Up to three university faculty are given the title of Distinguished University Professor every year. This year’s other recipient is Lonnie Thompson, a professor of geological sciences at Byrd Polar Research Center.

Twenty-four faculty members have received the title since it was first given out in 1987.

Saif’s recognition marks the second time the award has been presented to faculty in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The other honor went to professor emeritus Robert Warmbrod in 1989.

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