YOU NEED TO KNOW: Dr. Henry Fadamiro
INTERVIEW BY Ellen Rankins, Junior/Animal sciences
Henry Fadamiro is a native of Nigeria and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Oxford in England as a Rhodes Scholar. From there, he moved to the U.S. and worked for Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota before joining the Auburn University faculty in 2003. Fadamiro’s research focuses on arthropod behavior, neurobiology, chemical and molecular ecology and integrated pest management (IPM). He was recently named the assistant dean and director of global programs for the College of Agriculture.
What drew you to Auburn University and the College of Agriculture?
Growing up in Africa meant that I saw first-hand the problems created by food insecurity. This experience led me to pursue a career in agriculture, which holds the answers to the issue of food insecurity. Since coming to the United States in 1996, I have worked at land-grant universities because they are a part of a community invested in the solving the challenges of today. I am lucky to be part of the agricultural community here at Auburn University that is tasked with solving the issues facing our world.
What sets Auburn University and the College of Agriculture apart from other schools?
Auburn University is the major land-grant university in Alabama, meaning it was established to promote agriculture and is thus the place for those interested in agriculture. The college has a long history of producing students who are successful in many aspects of the field. The faculty are passionate and involved in significant breakthroughs. The College of Agriculture can offer virtually anything you want. Whether you’re interested in working in the field or in the laboratory, there is a place for you here.
What is your favorite Auburn tradition?
In Africa and England, soccer is the major sport, and in the Midwest, where I lived for six years, football still wasn’t a big sport. When I moved to Auburn, I discovered the craziness that surrounds football in the Southeast. I quickly fell in love with the camaraderie and family atmosphere that surrounds the sport, and it has become one of my favorite aspects of living here.
What makes entomology and plant pathology significant to the world?
Bugs and diseases can absolutely devastate a crop, and growing up I saw the effects of this devastation on the people around me. Without pest management, crop yields are low or even non-existent, leading to more hunger in the world. Pest management pertains to both the plant and animal sides of agriculture, so it is relevant across the field. Also, a new and growing area of entomology most people have not heard of is forensic entomology, which uses insect life-cycles to determine how old a crime scene is and when a crime was committed.
What makes research important?
Research is a vital part of the loop encompassing teaching, extension and research and is a driving force behind the other two. Without research, there would be no innovation, and we wouldn’t have things like computers, microwaves and higher yielding crops. The best teachers are the ones who teach from their research, making research vital to education. How boring would it be if we only taught the same information as we did seventy-five years ago? Research is about discovery, and there is no high that can compare to that of making a discovery.
Ellen Rankins is a junior majoring in the animal sciences equine track and is originally from Cusseta, Alabama. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, knitting and riding horses. She plans to attend graduate school in animal sciences and would like to have a career in equine-assisted activities and therapies.