Antonio Faciola, assistant professor of animal nutrition, has been named the 2017 Early Career Innovator. Since joining the University of Nevada, Reno as a faculty member in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources in June 2013, his research has focused on cattle, with the goal of improving meat and milk production while minimizing the impact of livestock operations on the environment. Last year, Faciola was named the 2016 CABNR's Outstanding Researcher of the Year and had thirteen articles published in top-ranked scholarly research journals.
The Early Career Innovator Award is supported by the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation and annually presented by Research & Innovation. The award honors a faculty or staff member whose work displays the innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurial spirit embodying the future of local communities.
"I hope this award will attract more industry collaborations and support, which are fundamental to the nature of research that we conduct," Faciola said. "Being part of a land-grant institution, it is my duty and privilege to work with local communities - ranchers, cooperatives, commodity groups - and private and public organizations to have a positive impact on society by educating future college generations, training prospective scientists and improving livestock operations locally and globally."
Faciola has conducted research to display the viability of canola meal, a by-product of canola oil production as a protein supplement. In addition, he is working on enhancing the dual-flow continuous culture system, which mimics cattle's digestive systems and is a powerful tool to test feed ingredients and supplements. The innovative research conducted at the Faciola Lab has created interest among businesses in the agriculture and animal feed industry. It has also been a catalyst for collaboration on campus; Faciola has ongoing projects with colleagues in molecular nutrition, biochemistry, agronomy, microbiology and chemical engineering.
"We have been looking at better sources of protein for dairy cows. We have found that, while soybean meal has long been used in North America as a protein supplement, canola meal is a superior protein source, improving milk production and reducing waste. We have also been studying different plants that are well adapted to Nevada and have the potential to be better used by livestock, including forage kochia, cheatgrass, and camelina. All these projects not only will advance scientific knowledge, but most importantly will benefit Nevada agriculture and contribute to the establishment of Nevada as a model for dryland agriculture around the world," Faciola explained.
"Because of Dr. Faciola's outstanding research record exemplified by his noteworthy publication record, impressive international collaborations, solid teaching and mentoring skills, and great service to the scientific community at such an early stage of his career, I am very confident that he will continue to grow as a scientist and emerge as a leader in the field," said David Shintani, associate dean of academic affairs in CABNR.
"CABNR and the University as a whole have been very supportive in enabling me to develop my research program, and I think this award illustrates that applied research can be rigorous and innovative," Faciola said.
The Early Career Innovator award further drives research by increasing awareness of progressive discoveries, creations and productions that promote the growth and development of society. The recipients are presented the award and given $5,000 at the Honor the Best ceremony in May. The ceremony was first established in 1970 to recognize the outstanding achievements of University faculty, staff and students.
Faciola earned his undergraduate and master's degrees from the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil, and earned his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed post-doctoral work at Cornell University and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.