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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

January 25, 2022

Alina Akhunova Awarded the College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award

Submitted by Susan Schiff

Dr. Akhunova in her lab

Recognized for her exceptional teaching, advising and mentoring, Dr. Alina Akhunova received the 2021 College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.

A research professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Akhunova serves as director for the Integrated Genomics Facility (IGF), a core lab that supports more than 60 K-State faculty representing four colleges. The IGF also serves clients across the U.S. and internationally.

Although she doesn’t have a formal teaching appointment, Akhunova contributes to graduate training. Each summer, she coordinates a two-credit course called the Geonomics Technologies Workshop and offers supplemental trainings throughout the year to ensure faculty and students are familiar with the rapidly evolving technologies associated with the study of genomics.

Megan Kennelly, department head for Plant Pathology and the person who nominated Akhunova for this award, wrote, “She does not simply run the technical samples and hand people the data. She provides in-depth, high-level mentoring and guidance. She talks to faculty and their graduate students about their projects ahead of time, helps them design appropriate experiments, writes support letters for grants, and contributes sections for the materials and methods for grants and manuscripts. She spends time trouble-shooting and walks people through challenging data analysis.” Kennelly also noted that enthusiastic statements of support and full recommendation letters came from a wide array of KSU faculty, students and alumni from several departments.

Akhunova came to the K-State College of Agriculture’s Department of Plant Pathology in 2007 after completing postdoctoral training in plant genomics and molecular biology at the University of California – Davis. She earned her doctorate degree in animal physiology at St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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