Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski will become director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) in Apopka on Aug. 1. She is currently an entomology professor and associate center director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred.
Pelz-Stelinski will lead faculty, staff and students at the MREC. The center, currently known for its support to the ornamental horticulture industry, has potential to expand its research focus to serve the urban growth in the area. Future research projects may include controlled environment agriculture.
“I look forward to working with the MREC faculty, staff and students to promote a vision for the center that will maximize its full potential,” Pelz-Stelinski said. “I’m excited to visit with nursery, greenhouse and controlled environment industry members throughout Florida to build relationships and ensure that their viewpoints continue to inform the strategic priorities for MREC into the future.”
In her role as associate center director at CREC, she has revitalized the graduate student experience and successfully managed customer service operations and facilities.
“Her ability to effect positive change at CREC makes her an excellent candidate to lead MREC through the center’s next chapter,” said Scott Angle, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of UF/IFAS. “In addition to supporting center faculty and staff, Pelz-Stelinski understands the importance of engaging the local community and industry, a critical component to bringing industry collaboration and visibility to the center.”
In late 2022, she coauthored a Citrus Industry magazine article, Changing Psyllids to Make Them Incapable of Spreading HLB. The article noted that if such Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) are developed, they would be mass-reared for release in commercial citrus groves to replace local ACP populations.
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