Wu earns highly coveted honor: University Distinguished Professor

Dr. Guoyao WuWhen Guoyao Wu, Ph.D., joined the Department of Animal Science in 1991 as an assistant professor, he  simply wanted to develop a strong research and teaching program in protein and amino acid nutrition at Texas A&M University.

Now, almost 21 years later, there’s nothing simple about the comprehensive program he’s established.

Wu, a professor of animal science and nutrition, is known around the world for the seminal contributions his research and teaching program has made to the field of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition and is recognized at Texas A&M University among the top ranking professors. He is a Texas AgriLife Senior Faculty Fellow and a University Faculty Fellow. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Medical Physiology in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

In April, Wu received notice that he will be awarded the highest ranking honor for any professor at Texas A&M University. Effective Sept. 1, 2012, Wu will become a University Distinguished Professor, a much-coveted ranking given to professors whose work has caused a substantial intellectual leap forward in their discipline, are considered pre-eminent in their field and have made major impacts.

At Texas A&M, a maximum of five faculty members are awarded this rank each year. Wu joins a select group of 64 current faculty members who hold this prestigious title including Dr. Fuller Bazer, regents fellow, distinguished professor and O.D. Butler Chair holder in the Department of Animal Science.

“University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty,” said Dr. Karan L. Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Their scholarship will have a lasting impact on their respective fields of study for many generations to come, and it demonstrates to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.”

Wu teaches two graduate courses, Protein Metabolism and Nutritional Biochemistry, and undergraduate courses, Problems in Animal Science and Nutrition and Biochemistry. His research centers on protein and amino acid nutrition and metabolism, a vast field that straddles basic biology, agriculture and medicine. His discoveries relating to the physiological, nutritional and regulatory roles of amino acids have significantly changed the views of professionals in the global animal feed industry, veterinary medicine, human nutrition, and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, Wu’s work on prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes and fetal growth retardation has had major influence well beyond the bounds of normal amino acid metabolism.

Wu has published 348 journal articles and 46 book chapters, and is among the top one percent of the most cited authors in the field of agricultural sciences worldwide. He’s served as chair or co-chair of committees for 27 graduate students, committee member for 44 graduate students and mentor for 26 postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars.

Among Wu’s greatest contributions to the field of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition are the development of the concept of functional amino acids in animal and human nutrition and creation of a paradigm shift in our understanding of the important roles for the traditionally classified “nutritionally nonessential” amino acids in improving animal growth, development, reproduction, lactation and health.

Wu considers his recent appointment to be a recognition of seminal contributions by his fellow faculty members and their students to the field of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition and is pleased to be able to work together to advance the field of animal science and benefit mankind.

“Many of my colleagues at Texas A&M University, in the United States and overseas, as well as their graduate students have made tremendous contributions to our research program in amino acid biochemistry and nutrition. Team work is the key to the success,” Wu said. “Our interdisciplinary research has led to many serendipitous discoveries which have greatly advanced the field of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition and which also have broad important implications for animal production and human health.”

In addition, Wu also credits his program’s success to the support he’s received from the Department of Animal Science leadership, faculty and staff as well as the dedication and contributions made by the undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars and research assistants.

“The Department of Animal Science and Texas A&M University have world-class facilities and equipment for both basic and applied research. The department and the university have outstanding faculty members with both national and international recognition in their fields of research. We also have many outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who make us very proud,” Wu said.

Moving forward, Wu plans to use these world-class resources to continue training undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to be future leaders in animal science and nutrition and to advance his efforts and contributions to help Texas A&M University’s reach its goals.

“Working with colleagues at and outside Texas A&M University, I will aspire to achieve a higher level of excellence in our research and education, and contribute to the University’s goals of becoming a top 10 public university in the United States by 2020,” he said.


For more information on news regarding the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at cacoufal@tamu.edu or call (979) 845-1542.

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