2 rice researchers named to LSU AgCenter professorships

Bruce Schultz, Mcclain, William R., Utomo, Herry S.

LSU AgCenter scientists Ray McClain, center, and Herry Utomo, second from right, were honored Nov. 26 with named professorships. McClain is a crawfish researcher at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station. Utomo is a molecular biologist who uses DNA marker technology to identify genetic traits in plant breeding at the Rice Research Station. From left to right are Steve Linscombe, Rice Research Station director; Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension; McClain; Utomo; John Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research. (Photo by Bruce Schultz. Click on photo for downloadable image.)

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Herry Utomo (Click on photo for downloadable image.)

Ray McClain (Click on photo for downloadable image.)

News Release Distributed 12/04/12

CROWLEY, La. – Two scientists at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station were honored Nov. 26 with named professorships.

LSU AgCenter crawfish researcher Ray McClain was named to the Doyle Chambers Distinguished Professorship, and LSU AgCenter molecular biologist Herry Utomo was named to the F. Avalon Daggett Professorship in Rice Research.

John Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research, said all tenure-track faculty members at the station now hold named professorships. “That speaks to the caliber of the scientists here.”

“The Rice Research Station is one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world, and the finest in the Western Hemisphere,” Russin said.

Utomo, originally from Indonesia, works with DNA to identify desirable and undesirable genetic traits in breeding lines of rice.

He started working at the Rice Research Station in 1995 after receiving his doctoral degree from LSU in agronomy and plant biotechnology. In addition to working with rice, Utomo has been in charge of breeding for coastal plant development aimed at revegetation of the state’s eroding coastal marshes.

Utomo’s dedication is obvious, and he works long hours with rice and coastal plants, said Rice Research Station director Steve Linscombe.

“I have to say, ‘Herry, there’s only 24 hours in a day, and seven days in a week,’“ Linscombe said.

Utomo, who worked in agriculture in Indonesia, said he is grateful for his career. “I’m very fortunate to be here, and I’m proud to be part of the LSU AgCenter.”

McClain had been a county agent in Texas and a crawfish farmer before starting his career at LSU in 1990, Russin said.

“Ray has an outstanding reputation in the aquaculture industry,” Russin said.

Crawfish will become even more important for the state’s agricultural economy, said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension. “You need to help us build that future.”

McClain said Chambers was a major inspiration for his work, and he credited his assistant, John Sonnier, for his field work. “Without John, we would have a very thin research program here.”

Linscombe said both men exhibit teamwork. “What makes this station so productive is these scientists work together and cooperate with each other.”

Bruce Schultz
12/5/2012 3:15:38 AM
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