AMSA has announced that Dr. Dwain Johnson, Professor of Meat Science at the University of Florida, is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Research Award. The award was established in 1965 to recognize members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Inc. Dr. Johnson will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 69th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in San Angelo, Texas.
Dr. Dwain Johnson has more than 35 years of experience in all phases of the meat industry. He obtained his B.S. in animal science at Texas A&M University in 1976 and a M.S. from Oklahoma State University in food science in 1978. While at OSU, Dwain coached the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Team under the guidance of Dr. Lowell Walters. Following the completion of his M.S., he became an instructor in the Animal Science Department at California State University- Chico while concurrently instructing at the USDA meat grading school. Dwain soon returned to Texas A&M University where he earned a Ph.D. in meat science and muscle biology in 1984. That same year he joined the faculty of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida as an assistant professor. Dwain’s research specifically focuses on antemortem and postmortem factors influencing animal composition and meat palatability and he has produced more than 250 publications with more than 90 being in refereed scientific journals.
In 2002, Dwain and his collaborators conducted a series of research projects aimed at identifying undervalued portions of the beef carcass. In the largest study of its kind, he evaluated more than 5,600 muscles for flavor and tenderness. The crown jewel of his research findings has received national notoriety and is named the “Flat-Iron” steak. Today, the Flat-Iron steak is the nation’s fifth best-selling beef item. Recent figures show Flat-Iron steak sales now top 90 million pounds per year, compared to only half that number in 2006. In fact, the Flat-Iron steak outsells T-bone and porterhouse steaks combined in U.S. food service establishments. As a result of his outstanding contributions to the beef industry, Dwain received the Florida Cattlemen’s Association “Researcher of the Year” award in 2003. In 2004, he and his co-workers received the International Meat Secretariat Prize for Meat Science and Technology in Winnipeg, Canada, for their significant contributions to the field of meat science. This marked the first time U.S. researchers had received this recognition since the inception of the award in 2000. More recently, he was selected as the 2009 Advanced Degree Alumnus of Distinction at Oklahoma State University.
“Students chose to study under Dr. Johnson due to his visionary leadership and once they become students, they receive phenomenal mentorship which instills a passion for the meat industry, helping them achieve what they aspired to do,” stated Chad Carr, University of Florida.
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AMSA fosters community and professional development among individuals who create and apply science to efficiently provide safe and high quality meat defined as red meat (beef, pork and lamb), poultry, fish/seafood and meat from other managed species.