AFS’s Legako receives Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award
By: Norman Martin
Texas Tech University System Chancellor Ted Mitchell recognized Jerrad Legako, an associate professor of meat science and graduate student coordinator with the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, today (Mar. 26) as the recipient of the 2021 Chancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award. The award is the most prestigious honor given to faculty members throughout the Texas Tech University System.
"I am very excited to receive this award. I love Texas Tech and I am honored to be recognized by the Chancellor's Council," Legako said. "This award is the result of many people's efforts. I am thankful for the many mentors, colleagues, and students who have been a part of my research program."
Legako received $5,000 and a medallion for his excellence, funded by annual membership gifts to the Chancellor's Council — a giving society that supports the chancellor's priorities by impacting student lives through scholarships, recognizing faculty achievement and encouraging excellence across all four system universities. Since the teaching and research awards were established by the council in 2001, more than 190 faculty have received awards totaling over $1.1 million.
"This is a great honor for Dr. Legako, and he is highly deserving of this honor in recognition of his exceptional research accomplishments," said Christy Bratcher, Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Associate Dean for Research. "We are so proud of his accomplishments and honored to have him as a CASNR alumni and faculty member."
Legako's research and teaching specialization is in the area of meat science, and his research program primarily focuses upon pre- and post-harvest factors which influence beef quality. His program is differentiated from others based on his usage of analytical chemistry to explore beef flavor character and beef flavor development. Some of the specific factors being explored in Legako's research group include how animal diet, management, genetics, post-mortem aging, packaging and cooking influence beef flavor.
"Dr. Legako has been a great addition to our faculty," said Michael Orth, chairman of Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences. "His research interests blend well with other faculty, further establishing that the department has one of the strongest meat science programs in the country."
Thus far in his academic career, Legako has served as an investigator on research projects totaling more than $4.9 million. Results from these research efforts have been presented in 53 peer-reviewed journal articles, 113 refereed abstracts, 11 proceedings papers, one invited white paper, and one co-authored book chapter. Legako also has been invited to speak for a number of academic, extension and industry audiences.
Legako was a faculty member at Utah State University prior to joining the Texas Tech faculty in 2016. During his time as a faculty member, Legako has been charged with instructing courses, such as experimental techniques in meat chemistry and muscle biology, food analysis, food chemistry, and meat technology and processing. He has mentored eight graduate students through successful defenses as their major adviser and four graduate students as co-adviser.
Currently, Legako serves as the major adviser for five graduate students. Outside of his own students, Legako has served as a graduate committee member for 35 graduate students. In addition to graduate students, Legako has mentored over 30 undergraduate students working within his research group. Legako previously advised the Utah State University Meat Quiz Bowl Team and the Texas Tech Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon team. He serves as the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Superintendent of the FFA Food Science Career Development Event State Contest, and Chair of the Institute of Food Technologists Muscle Foods Division.
Legako received his bachelor's degree in biology from Texas Tech and master's degree in food science from Oklahoma State University. His doctorate degree in animal science is from Texas Tech. He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Society of Animal Science, and the American Meat Science Association.
In 2018, Legako received the Institute of Food Technologists Muscle Foods Division Member of the Year Award. Additionally, Legako was awarded the American Meat Science Association's 2019 Distinguished Achievement Award. Established in 1992, the award is designed to recognize and foster the development of young AMSA members who have demonstrated significant scientific skills in muscle foods research and technology, contributing to the animal products industry and the AMSA. The award is sponsored by the Burke Corporation.
The Chancellor's Council was originally created in 1967 as the President's Council to recognize donors who helped Texas Tech University accomplish its highest goals. The program was renamed and expanded in 1996 with the establishment of the Texas Tech University System. Today, the Chancellor's Council plays a vital role in creating opportunities for all four universities. The council supports student scholarships, faculty awards and top scholar recruitment.
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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