New Faculty Members

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AgBioResearch is pleased to welcome five new faculty members with MAES appointments.

Joe MessinaJoe Messina, associate professor of geography, became affiliated with the MAES in August. His research interests include global change science, geospatial methodologies, and the intersection of health and the environment. Messina is involved in many projects throughout the world, including research on sleeping sickness and malaria in Kenya, climate change and rangeland degradation in China, sustainable rural development in Thailand, biodiversity in plantation forestry in Ecuador and human health in Michigan.

Before coming to MSU, Messina worked as a remote sensing scientist on a number of projects, including satellite-based precision agriculture for the SPOT Image Corporation in Chantilly, Va. Messina received his doctorate in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, and his master’s degree in geography and bachelor’s degree in biology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in 1994 and 1992, respectively.

Hye-Jin Paek, associate professor of advertising, became affiliated with the MAES in August. Her research focus is on the influence of media messages on individuals’ health behaviors in conjunction with social perceptions, social interactions and social contexts. Her current research explores the role of food marketing in dietary behavior. Paek has also conducted research on the effects of tobacco and anti-tobacco media messages on adolescent smoking. She will be working with MSU researchers, community health officials and educators to promote food safety and community health and well-being.Hye-Jin Paek

Before joining MSU, Paek taught at the University of Georgia for three years. She also has seven years of professional experience as a broadcasting news reporter, an account executive and a copywriter, a political campaign consultant and an advertising columnist. Paek received her master’s and doctoral degrees in mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 and 2005, respectively, and her bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in 1994.

Kathy Stansbury, associate professor of family and child ecology, became affiliated with the MAES in August. Her research focuses on the mother-infant relationship and how differences in maternal behavior affect the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system—a stress-sensitive system regulated by limbic areas in the brain. Stansbury is currently investigating how genetic variation in infants, maternal behavior and developmental history interact to predict infants’ behavioral and stress responses.

Before coming to MSU, Stansbury served as a National Research Service fellow at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota from 1990 to 1992. She also held academic positions at the University of New Mexico from1993 to 2001 and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., from 2001 to 2004. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Santa Clara University in 1984 and her doctorate in developmental psychology from UCLA in 1990.

Zhiyong XiZhiyong Xi, assistant professor of entomology, became affiliated with the MAES in January. His research focus is on use of Wolbachia, a bacterium known to alter the reproductive capabilities of insects, to control mosquito-transmitted diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. Xi is currently investigating how Wolbachia and dengue virus interact with their mosquito host.

Prior to joining MSU in 2007, Xi served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health from 2005 to 2007. He received his doctorate in entomology from the University of Kentucky in 2005, his master’s degree in pathogenic biology from Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences in China in 1996 and his bachelor’s degree in biological pharmaceutics from China Pharmaceutical University in 1991.

Jinhua Zhao, associate professor of economics and agricultural, food and resource economics, became affiliated with the MAES in August. His research interests include natural resource and environmental economics, energy, technology adoption and decision making under extreme uncertainty. Jinhua is currently conducting research on the design of an international environmental agreement that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol, and the social and economic impacts of biofuels.

Before coming to MSU, Zhao spent 11 years in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. He received his doctorate in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997, his master’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Guelph in 1992, and his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing in 1987.

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