Five New Faculty Members Join College of Food and Natural Resources at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Five new faculty members joined the College of Food and Natural Resources this fall at the University of Massachusetts. They are: Damon Revelas, hotel, restaurant, and travel administration; Deborah Good, veterinary and animal sciences; J. Scott Ebdon, plant and soil sciences; Adam Porter, entomology; and Steven Sandler, microbiology.

Damon Revelas was an assistant professor and coordinator of hotel, restaurant, and institutional management at Morehead State University, Kentucky, prior to accepting his assistant professorship at UMass. He has also taught at Erie Community College, the State University of New York at Morrisville, and Rochester Institute of Technology, all in New York State.

His particular area of expertise is food service management, a growing field that, he says, extends well beyond restaurants to institutions such as hospitals, hotels, and campus dining services, as well as to "upscale" contract services for business and industry. It is also a field in which Revelas predicts the future will see fierce competition on an international level, especially in China.

Revelas teaches courses in food service management and is advisor to the student food and beverage management association. He also serves as the department’s liaison to the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Revelas says the reputation of the department of hotel, restaurant, and travel administration is one of the factors that drew him to UMass.

Revelas received his doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1995, and both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Rochester Institute of Technology, in 1990 and 1985 respectively.

Deborah Good joined the department of veterinary and animal sciences as an assistant professor of vertebrate molecular genetics. She received her doctorate degree from Northwestern University in 1992 and a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Fredonia in 1987.

Prior to joining the University faculty, Good was a postdoctoral fellow for four years in the Acquired Gene Rearrangement Laboratory, Medicine Branch, of the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Good received a 1997 NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence.

J. Scott Ebdon brings 15 years of experience in the lawn care industry with him to his classes as an assistant professor in the department of plant and soil sciences.

Ebdon received his master’s degree in 1982 from the University of Rhode Island and worked in his field for several years before earning a Ph.D. in horticulture from Cornell University in 1995. While at Cornell, he was acting turfgrass extension specialist from 1995-96 and also received an outstanding teaching assistance award. Upon receiving his doctorate, Ebdon’s intention was to perform academic research, so after working as a turfgrass scientist with O.M. Scott’s in Marysville, Ohio, in 1996-97, he arrived at the University during the fall.

Ebdon’s research interest is turfgrass, with a particular emphasis on studying the effects of drought, as well as cold tolerance. "Water is a limited resource," he says, "and one needs to develop management tools to conserve it, no matter where one is."

Adam Porter, entomology, is a population geneticist whose interests include evolutionary biology and genetics. Much of his work is directed at examining the role of habitat loss and the impact of geographic patterns on genetic diversity.

Porter, an assistant professor, concentrates his studies primarily on butterflies and moths.

He received both his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the University of California at Davis in 1989 and 1986 respectively, and his bachelor’s degree in 1983 from Michigan State University. Porter was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1989-90, and in 1996 he received the Distinguished Young Scientist Award from the Bowling Green State University Chapter of Sigma Xi.

Steven Sandler received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984 and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. Prior to joining the department of at UMass as an assistant professor, he was an associate specialist in the department of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley from 1987-97. He did postdoctoral work in plant molecular biology from 1985-87.

Sandler’s research field is microbial genetics, and he will combine his research with teaching and mentoring graduate students at UMass. He describes the University as "a great place," and says that the excellent reputation of both UMass and the department of microbiology are what attracted him here from the west coast.

Sandler has published numerous articles in professional journals.