College of Agricultural Sciences faculty member named distinguished professor

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs has named Alexander Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition in the College of Agricultural Sciences, as a distinguished professor. Hristov is an internationally recognized scholar in livestock greenhouse gas mitigation and production and in amino acid nutrition of dairy cows.

The title of distinguished professor at Penn State recognizes the academic contributions of current, full-time faculty members who hold the rank of professor. Distinguished professors are acknowledged leaders in their fields of research or creative activity; demonstrate significant leadership in raising the University's standards in teaching, research or creative activity, and service; and exhibit excellent teaching skills.

"Alex Hristov is extremely worthy of this distinctive recognition because of his many notable accomplishments in research, teaching and service," said Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science. "He represents the highest levels of excellence, achievement and service and is a valued faculty member."

Etherton noted that Hristov's research has had profound influence on the understanding of feed and nutrition and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions both in the United States and around the world.

Hristov, who began his career at Penn State in 2008 as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 2013, is deeply committed to excellence in teaching and has been an outstanding mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students, according to Etherton. He has advised 12 graduate students, served on the graduate committees of 14 students, and advised nine postdoctoral candidates and visiting scholars.

Hristov teaches three animal science classes on nutrition and was the lead instructor for the highly acclaimed Dairy Production and Management MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which was launched in March 2016. The MOOC currently has more than 35,000 visitors, 10,000 active learners, and 1,300 course completers, with 99 percent approval ratings. In fall 2019, he will begin to teach the integrative course, "Science and Policy of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Management."

Hristov has brought in more than $3.5 million in extramural funding in support of his research since joining the department. The most recent funding includes projects investigating the mitigation of enteric methane emissions from livestock using seaweeds, supported by USDA-NIFA, the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and the Walton Family Foundation.

During his career, Hristov has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers in the scientific literature, as well as book chapters and books. In the past five years, he has given 40 invited presentations, 14 of which have been presented at prestigious international meetings.

Hristov is a member of the American Dairy Science Association, American Society of Animal Science, Federation of Animal Science Societies, the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and Gamma Sigma Delta agricultural honor society. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Dairy Science and the Journal of Agricultural Sciences.

In 2018, Hristov was elected to the Scientific Advisory Board, Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, a 23-country European initiative targeting sustainable agricultural development and food security in the face of climate change. He is the only member from North America on the 14-member board. He also serves as the U.S. representative and chair of the Network and Database on Feed and Nutrition in Relation to Greenhouse Gas Emissions, an activity of the Livestock Research Group within the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

Within the University, he served as a member of the Faculty Senate Committee on Outreach and serves on the College of Agricultural Sciences Diversity Coordinating Council.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Hristov was in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Idaho and was a research scientist at Agriculture Canada's Lethbridge Research Center in Lethbridge, Canada. He also served as a visiting scientist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and as a research scientist at the Institute of Animal Sciences in Kostinbrod, Bulgaria.

A native of Bulgaria, Hristov received his bachelor's degree from the Higher Institute of Zooengineering and Veterinary Medicine in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, and earned his doctorate in animal nutrition from the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Alex Hristov, Distinguished Professor of Dairy Nutrition. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated February 22, 2019