CHAMPAIGN, IL, May 12, 2015— The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) has announced that Dr. Rhonda Miller, Professor of Meat Science in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, is the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Research Award. The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Inc. Dr. Miller will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 68th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Lincoln, NE.
Dr. Rhonda Miller grew up in the small northeastern town of Holyoke, CO. She earned her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Colorado State University where she conducted her doctorate research in cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Clay Center, Nebraska. Before joining the faculty at Texas A&M University, Rhonda was Director of Research and Development at Monfort, Inc., where she developed more than 300 new meat products for its further processed division. In her current position as a Professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University, Dr. Miller teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Meat and Sensory Science and is Director of the Sensory Testing Facility in the Department of Animal Science. She also leads an expert‐trained descriptive attribute sensory panel that provides support for eight meat scientists and faculty and scientists from other institutions and industry cooperators where a variety of meat and food products are evaluated for flavor and palatability. Her work includes helping to establish sensory lexicons for numerous different meat products, not to mention other food products like aromatic rice and coffee.
Her current research focuses on the antemortem and postmortem factors affecting the composition, palatability and quality of red meat; development of automated grading technology to determine quality in beef and pork; and the use of nonmeat ingredients to improve the shelf life and/or safety of red meat with emphasis on development of value added red meat products. Most recently she has concentrated on determining the consumer attitudes of beef flavor and the flavor drivers of consumer acceptance. This research has been widely recognized due to its relevance to beef demand and takes into account heavy and light beef eaters and also attitudes of millennial consumers. This has led her to the utilization of complex multivariate statistical analyses that develops clusters of meat quality drivers around consumers’ attitudes. Dr. Miller’s research includes 118 refereed journal articles, three dozen invited papers, 60 Texas Agricultural Extension Service publications, 144 abstracts, 7 books or book chapters, numerous invited talks and nearly $9 million in research grant dollars. She has also mentored more than 55 graduate students during her career.
Rhonda has established longtime collaborative efforts with faculty in engineering, agronomy and crop science, and food science, and has working relationships with faculty from all over the United States and abroad. Her outgoing, upbeat personality and willingness to work with almost anyone makes her a favorite collaborator of faculty and industry partners across a wide range of disciplines and geographic regions. Dr. Miller has presented her research findings in Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, and Brazil to name a few. This recognition has bled over to her graduate student program where she has mentored students from many of these countries as well as Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Columbia, and more. Her contributions to the industry and recognition by both academic and industry groups show her strong focus on sound scientific philosophy and scholarly principles.
Dr. Rhonda Miller was nominated by Dr. Chris Kerth, who stated that “can think of no other person more deserving than Dr. Miller and believe that she is extraordinarily qualified to receive this award. Her accomplishments as a researcher have made her nationally and internationally renowned as the go-to expert in the area of Meat Sensory Analysis.”
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AMSA fosters community and professional development among individuals who create and apply science to efficiently provide safe and high quality meat defined as red meat (beef, pork and lamb), poultry, fish/seafood and meat from other managed species.