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Johnson receives Borden Award

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 34 - June 27, 1996

For the fourth time, a faculty member in Virginia Tech's department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Human Resources and Education has received the Borden Award, the field's highest recognition for experimental research in foods and nutrition.

Janet Johnson, interim dean of the College of Human Resources and Education, has been selected the 1996 recipient of the Borden Award by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Presentation of the Borden Award will take place at the annual AAFCS meeting this weekend in Nashville, Tenn.

Johnson has established an extensive record of achievement in food research. She has authored a series of publications on the role of plant nutrients on the quality of wheat flour. These include analysis of field production techniques, development of new varieties of wheat that are high-yielding and disease resistant, determination of their feasibility for commercial baking, their potential to support a wholesome and low-cost food supply, and their suitability for use in low-fat baked products.

In her research, she has collaborated with plant geneticists, plant pathologists, soil specialists, agronomists, and agricultural economists. "We must work together to solve the problems surrounding the world food supply," Johnson said. "The research problems of all areas are far too complex to be resolved by a single investigator."

Eleanor Schlenker, department head of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, said Johnson's broad approach underscores the health and economic impacts of her research for consumers as well as producers and distributors. "Her collaborative relationships with researchers in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences has emphasized to the agricultural industry the important knowledge and research base of professionals in Family and Consumer Sciences," Schlenker said. "Her adaptation of methods used by materials-science researchers in engineering also provides visibility for the multi-dimensional nature of research in Family and Consumer Sciences."

Among the organizations with whom Johnson has worked are the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Small Grains Board, the Virginia Cattleman's Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the American Association of Cereal Chemists, and the Southern Agricultural Scientists.

"Janet Johnson is an outstanding research scientist, but her contributions exceed this single realm," said S.J. Ritchey, emeritus professor and former dean of the College of Human Resources. "Publications have documented the range of contributions and a stream of graduates serve as testimony to her teaching, research, and service as a major professor."

Johnson's Borden Award brings to four the number of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise faculty members so honored. They include Ritchey, Janette Taper, and Judy Driskell.