USDA Fellows

Current USDA National Needs Fellowship Programs

The Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants Program (NNF) is designated for graduate degree training of the next generation of policy makers, researchers and educators in the food and agricultural sciences. Functioning collaboratively with eligible higher education institutions, this competitive grants program develops intellectual capital to ensure the preeminence of U.S. food and agricultural systems.  There are currently two active USDA NNF training programs at Ohio State focused on food and health.

student worker at Waterman Farm at Ohio State
Metabolomics Across the Food System

A major challenge of the 21st century will be to adequately support the growing population.  As the number of inhabitants of our planet is expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100, new and innovative solutions are needed not only to feed, but to sufficiently nourish these individuals.  This requires researchers in agriculture to think about ways to improve the productivity, resiliency and quality of our food system, while training future leaders to do the same.  Metabolomics, the newest of the omics technologies, can be used to analyze hundreds to thousands of metabolites at once, and can be applied to plants, foods, and mammalian systems.  The data produced can act as a functional readout of a system – to better characterize overall metabolism and discover new ways to alter these systems to create more favorable outcomes.  This biochemical information can be used to complement other omics data, and when integrated with statistical and bioinformatic modeling, allows one to generate new hypotheses and approach our agricultural problems from a different vantage point.