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Department of Animal Science Faculty Member Named Distinguished Professor

Posted: February 14, 2019

Alexander N. Hristov, Ph.D., P.A.S. recognized for his accomplishments in research, teaching and service.

Alexander N. Hristov,  Ph.D., P.A.S., professor of dairy nutrition in the Department of Animal Science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, was named a Distinguished Professor in January. Hristov is an internationally recognized scholar who is highly regarded for his expertise in the areas of livestock greenhouse gas mitigation and production and amino acid nutrition of dairy cows.  

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

Dr. Etherton commented that Hristov's research has had profound influence on the understanding of feed and nutrition and its impact on greenhouse gas emissions both in the United States and throughout the world. 

Dr. Hristov began his career at Penn State in 2008 as an Associate Professor, and was promoted to Professor in 2013. His appointment is 76 percent research and 24 percent teaching.

Etherton noted that Alex is deeply committed to excellence in teaching and has been an outstanding mentor to both undergraduates and graduate students. He has advised 12 graduate students, served on the graduate committees of 14 students and advised nine postdoctoral candidates and visiting scholars.

He 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 March 7, 2016. The MOOC course currently has over 35,000 visitors, 10,000 active learners, and 1,300 course completers with 99% approval ratings. In the fall semester, he will begin to teach an integrative course on Science and Policy of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Management.

Hristov has brought in over $3,500,000 in extramural funding in support of his research since joining the Department in 2008.  The most recent funding includes projects investigating mitigating enteric methane emissions from livestock using seaweeds (funded through USDA-NIFA, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and The Walton Family Foundation).

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

Dr. Hristov is a member of 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, Honor Society of Agriculture. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Dairy Science and the Journal of Agricultural Sciences (Cambridge).

In 2018, he was elected to the Scientific Advisory Board, Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI), 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 United States representative and chair of the Network and Database on Feed and Nutrition in Relation to Greenhouse Gas Emissions (FNN), an activity of the Livestock Research Group (LRG) within the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).

Within the University, he had been 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, Dr. Hristov had been in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Idaho, Moscow, and was a research scientist at Agriculture Canada's Lethbridge Research Center, Lethbridge, Canada. He had also served as visiting scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin, and as Research Scientist at the Institute of Animal Sciences, Kostinbrod, Bulgaria.

A native of Bulgaria, Hristov received his B.Sc. from the Higher Institute of Zooengineering and Veterinary Medicine, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and earned his Ph.D. in animal nutrition from the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The title of Distinguished Professor at Penn State recognizes the academic contributions of current, full-time faculty members who previously held the rank of Professor. Distinguished Professors demonstrate significant leadership in raising the University's standards in teaching, research or creative activity and service, and exhibit excellent teaching skills.