New faculty join Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Vet Sciences

Amilton de Mello

Amilton de Mello’s passion for meat science and academia has allowed him to travel great distances from his hometown of Bauru, Sao Paulo, Brazil, to UNR. de Mello received his degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2001 from the University of Marilia in Brazil and later completed his M.S. in Food Safety and Inspection/Products of Animals Origin at Sao Paulo State University in 2005.
Being raised on a ranch, de Mello initially became interested in veterinary medicine and meat science at a young age.

“I had a lot of experiences with friends working on the ranch,” de Mello said. “When I wasn’t at school, I had the opportunity to work with a couple of professors working with technology and that’s when I decided to work on the meat science side.”

While working on his Ph.D. in Brazil, de Mello was awarded a full-ride scholarship to complete his Ph.D. in Meat Science and Muscle Biology at the University of Nebraska. 

After his Ph.D., de Mello worked for JBS, the leading beef, pork and lamb processor in the United States, as a food safety superintendent.

After several years with JBS, de Mello decided to pursue his passion of research and teaching. At UNR, de Mello will be able to continue his love of academia, by teaching Meat Industry and Quality Systems to undergraduate and graduate students. He also hopes to further his current research in animal science.

“I will be exploring improvements in beef quality as well as food safety concerns that are occurring in the industry right now, with some of my time looking to improve animal welfare,” de Mello said.

de Mello is excited to start working at the University and teaching. “I look forward to working with great people and improving the beef industry in Nevada,” de Mello said.

de Mello is also serving as Academic Chair for the Nevada Food Safety Task Force (, where he produces the monthly newsletter for the organization. 

Felipe Barrios Masias, Ph.D., Horticulturist

Felipe Barrios Masias, Ph.D., has recently joined ANVS as an assistant professor with an interest in sustainable horticulture and agricultural science. Barrios was raised in Peru where he earned his B.S. in agricultural science. Barrios later moved to California in 2001 to pursue his Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy from the University of California, Davis. 

Barrios became passionate about agriculture as a child growing up on his grandfather’s fruit tree farm in Peru. Barrios is now interested in plant development and their adaptations to environmental stress.

“I want to be able to use my research at UNR as baseline information for Nevada growers looking for best management practices,” Barrios said.

Barrios also plans on contributing to the local farmer and community grower movements by developing outreach programs that meet their specific needs. “I want to help the growers to address some of their challenges that they face and I would like to see that as a part of UNR,” Barrios said.

Teaching the principles of horticulture, Barrios aims for his students to become more interested in learning about plants and conducting their own research. Focusing on Nevada’s potential horticultural industries, Barrios simply wants students to understand the realities and risks associated with the industry.

The expansion in academics and research at UNR is motivating Barrios to conduct his best research. Barrios is happy to be in Reno and is excited to be a part of a growing, vibrant, community, and plans to explore the surrounding areas.

“The landscape of Reno is very interesting, you have many different options, and I’m looking forward to exploring all those landscapes,” Barrios said. 

Story by Kate Dunlap