Points of Pride

  • The National Science Foundation ranks MSU 13th nationally for natural resources and conservation research funding and 11th for agricultural research.
  • DAFVM faculty wrote 950 proposals in FY22 resulting in a record total of $116.7 million in grants and contracts awarded to expand research, education, and outreach opportunities.
  • FY 2022 yielded a record number of expenditures totaling more than $227.5 million division wide.
  • The College of Veterinary Medicine increased its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine class size from 95 to 112 and the Veterinary Medical Technology program from 30 to 40 to expand access to veterinary professionals in our state.
  • 97% of Extension Agents throughout the state are trained in Mental Health First Aid to better identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health crises and challenges in the communities they serve.
  • For the past five years, College of Veterinary Medicine graduates have had a national board examination (NAVLE) passage rate of 98% compared to a 95% national average.
  • In 2022, the MSU CVM Shelter Medicine Program surpassed 100,000 surgeries since the acquisition of the first mobile veterinary unit in 2007. This program offers services at no cost to animal shelters.

Faculty Recognition:

Dr. Steve Demarais, Taylor Chair in Applied Big Game Research and Instruction in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is the 2022 Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award winner. This award is presented by the National Deer Association to a person who has dedicated their life and/or career to wildlife management in general, and deer management in particular.

Dr. Derris Devost-Burnett , assistant professor in Animal and Dairy Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist, has joined the 2021 Executive Officer team for the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS). Dr. Burnett will serve as the National Secretary for the 2021-2022 year of service. Devost-Burnett was also recognized with the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning Diversity Award.

Dr. Kristine Evans, assistant professor in the College of Forest Resources/Forest and Wildlife Research Center’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture received the Outstanding Paper award by the Weed Science Society of America. The paper represents the culmination of over a year’s work developing models of distributions of several dozen invasive plants in the region.

Dr. Richard Harkess and Dr. Raja Reddy, both in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and scientists in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, received prestigious teaching awards. Harkess was named a John Grisham Master Teacher and Reddy was named a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor.

The Mississippi Academy of Sciences has awarded the status of Fellow to Dr. K. Raja Reddy, a research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Reddy, is a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, and a research scientist in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He has previously been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.

Dr. Margaret Khaitsa, professor of international veterinary epidemiology at MSU CVM, was recently named to the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), an international panel focused on the ways humans, animals, and the environment interact to impact global health. Dr. Khaitsa is one of 26 selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants worldwide and is now serving to advise key international organizations on the potential emergence and spread of new diseases.

Dr. Stephen Reichley , assistant clinical professor and associate director of the Global Center for Aquatic Food Security and MSU CVM Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, was elected the 2021 president of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA). A global resource for aquatic veterinarians, WAVMA is the largest international aquatic animal health organization and administers the globally recognized Certified Aquatic Veterinarian credentialing program. Dr. Reichley and eight other veterinarians representing countries across the globe comprise the WAVMA Executive Board.

MSU CVM Professor Dr. Mark Lawrence, who serves as director of both the MSU Global Center for Aquatic Food Security and USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, is now serving on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Technical Working Group for the Progressive Management Pathway for Aquaculture Biosecurity. The group is charged with the ongoing development and implementation of a risk management pathway to assist national and international improvement of biosecurity in aquaculture production.

Student Recognition:

The MSU student chapter of the Society of American Foresters in the College of Forest Resources is the outstanding student chapter in the nation. The chapter has been ranked in the top three for the last 25 years.

Grants and Contracts:

Dr. Eric Sparks, director of the MSU Coastal Marine Extension Program, and a team from MSU Extension, MAFES, and other partners received a grant of nearly $6.6 million for shoreline restoration work on the Gulf Coast. The project involves the construction of a 2.5-mile living shoreline.

Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist Dr. Ganesh Karunakaran is leading a study to establish national economic metrics for the U.S. aquaculture industry. Funded by the $1 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Grant College Program, Karunakaran is guiding a team of nearly a dozen university researchers from eight institutions. Karunakaran is in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture and stationed at the Delta Research and Extension Center.

Dr. Jan Chambers and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) at MSU CVM are currently leading a newly NIH-funded $3.3 million project to identify better therapeutic medical countermeasures to protect the brain against chemical threats. Permanent brain damage from seizures is a major concern for chemical attack survivors. Dr. Chambers and her team hope to develop an antidote to help prevent such long-term effects.

MSU CVM is currently the only college of veterinary medicine to lead a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) innovation lab. Under the direction of MSU CVM Professor and Global Center for Aquatic Food Security Director Dr. Mark Lawrence, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, which was established with a $15M award in 2018, continues to allocate funding for projects to improve nutrition, food security and livelihoods in developing countries through reliable provisions of fish. The lab recently announced $1.15 million in grants, supporting six projects spanning aquaculture and fisheries activities along the fish value chain in Bangladesh, Ghana, Malawi and Zambia.

MSU CVM Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Margaret Khaitsa has been named the lead for a new United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA-FAS) grant. The $974K grant is aimed at facilitating scientific exchanges between Mississippi State University and key players in Africa and will assist in establishing and harmonizing sanitary and phytosanitary regulatory measures in Africa for better and safer agricultural trade.


Mississippi State has been named a Bee Campus USA affiliate, a designation of the Xerces Society. The effort was led by faculty, staff and students in the College of Forest Resources and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.