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Poultry Researcher Named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

National Honor Recognizes Outstanding Scientific Contributions

By Jonathan Stephanoff

The M on campus

Distinguished University Professor Tom Porter (below) of the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences was one of 501 researchers elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Photo by John T. Consoli

A globally known expert in the field of poultry endocrinology has been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s most prominent scientific societies.

Tom Porter headshot

Tom Porter, Distinguished University of Maryland Professor and interim chair of the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, joins 501 scientists and engineers announced in April as 2023 fellows for their achievements—from research, teaching and technology to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

“Dr. Porter’s widely respected work in the area of poultry growth has resulted in a healthier, more economical food supply for our nation and for the world,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “We’re proud his research on our campus is making the world a better place.”

Porter’s research focuses on improving global food security by boosting poultry production. He specializes in molecular and cellular endocrinology, specifically on regulating growth in broiler chickens, controlling reproduction in turkey hens and alleviating heat stress in broiler chickens. He and colleagues sequenced and identified half of the chicken genes before the full genome was sequenced, and he is known for his work on pituitary gland function.

Porter has been funded for 33 consecutive years across all three areas, garnering over $28 million in external awards. He’s also a very highly cited researcher with more than 3,800 references to his research; 93 of his manuscripts have been cited more than 10 different times. Throughout his career, he has published 113 peer-reviewed manuscripts, almost all of which include findings on the pituitary gland.

He earned his undergraduate biology degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth and Ph.D. in animal physiology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Porter was an assistant professor at Texas A&M University before arriving at UMD in 1997, and he was promoted to full professor in 2004. Among his honors, he is editor-in-chief of World’s Poultry Science Journal and past editor-in-chief of Poultry Science, and a fellow of the Poultry Science Association and served as its 2022-23 president. He called being named an AAAS fellow “a huge honor and a big deal.”

“It raises the notoriety and prestige of animal and avian sciences as a department,” Porter added.

“We are so incredibly proud of Tom and all that he has accomplished throughout his decorated career,” said College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Dean Craig Beyrouty. “He is truly a pioneer in advancing food security through enhanced poultry production and one of the reasons why our animal and avian sciences department is in such high demand for UMD students.”

Founded in 1848, AAAS publishes the Science family of journals and serves as a leading voice in advocating for scientific research, education and policy development.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows Program, AAAS is proud to recognize the newly elected individuals. This year’s class embodies scientific excellence, fosters trust in science throughout the communities they serve, and leads the next generation of scientists while advancing scientific achievements,” said Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of Science.



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