Writer: Kay Ledbetter

Dr. Qingwu Xue, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist in Amarillo, was honored with the Texas A&M Regents Fellow Service Award recently in College Station.

The Texas A&M University System established the Regents Fellow Service Awards to honor service, extension and research professional who have provided exemplary professional service to society that has created large and lasting benefits to Texas and beyond.

“It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award,” Xue said. “I would like to thank all my collaborators, technical staff, postdocs and students for making this happening.”

With research focused on crop physiology, abiotic stress, drought tolerance and water management strategies for corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, potato and, more recently, vegetables, his primary objective is to improve yield, water use, water-use efficiency and stress resistance/tolerance in major crops in the Texas High Plains.

Xue strives to understand physiological mechanisms for improved abiotic stress tolerance, to identify plant traits conferring stress tolerance, to develop phenotyping tools for screening stress tolerance, all with water-use efficiency in mind, his nomination stated. He utilizes new and improved cultivars/species, best management practices and cropping systems to reach these goals.

two men and a woman posing for photo
Dr. Qingwu Xue (center), Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop stress physiologist in Amarillo, was honored with the Texas A&M Regents Fellow Service Award. Charles Schwartz, Texas A&M Board of Regents chair, left, and Elaine Mendoza, vice chair, right, made the presentation. (Texas A&M photo)

His recent research on high throughput field phenotyping has been highly significant for researchers and producers. He and his students have been evaluating remote-sensing tools at both ground and aerial levels to characterize wheat and corn genotypes for drought tolerance.

Xue has demonstrated that infrared thermometers, thermal imaging and spectral reflectance data can be used to characterize genotypic variation in wheat and corn, the nomination stated. These remote-sensing tools have the ability to screen a large number of field plots and provide phenotypic information to breeders, which will result in tremendous labor savings.

In addition, these tools can provide management information for producers within a short period of time and significantly increase field management efficiency and reduce production costs.

Xue has written or assisted in the development of many successful proposals and contracts from various agencies and sources. Since 2010, these proposals and contracts have garnered $13.6 million, of which $1.9 million went to his research programs.

Since he joined AgriLife Research, he has authored 63 refereed journal articles, four book chapters, over 100 abstracts, 37 media articles and numerous technical publications. In the last five years, his publications have been cited 1,017 times by other researchers and scholars, according to Google Scholar.

“Qingwu is an exceptionally productive scientist, and his program has a global footprint,” said Dr. Brent Auvermann, center director at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo. “He is a tremendous research ambassador for the Texas Panhandle and the A&M system. We are proud to have him on our faculty.”

Xue has been a key team player in research collaborations and his collaborators include scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service at Bushland and Lubbock, West Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and Kansas State University.

According to his nomination, Xue also has been successful with professional training. He has supervised four post-doctorate students, and two of them have become university faculty members. He also supervised four visiting scientists.

His graduate student training is outstanding as an off-campus faculty advisor, the nomination said. In the last nine years, he has chaired/co-chaired two doctoral and six master’s students and served on the committee for 14 other students. He also supervised two other doctoral students who conducted research in his laboratory and one master’s student from China Agriculture University.

Xue was invited to participate with a Texas A&M team on a U.S.-Tunisia linkage program: “Partnership in Higher Education, Research for Development (R4D) and Transfer of Technology in the Field of Sustainable Soil Management.” This prestigious program is supported by the U.S. State Department, and Texas A&M was among the teams from MIT and Columbia University chosen to conduct the program.

He is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America. He served as a member of the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Committee, chair and member of the Tengtou Agricultural Science Award Committee, and vice-leader and leader of the U.S.-Sino Agricultural Research Forum Community.

Xue is a graduate of the AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program Cohort IV. He has received the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow Award and the department of soil and crop sciences Research Faculty Award.

He also served on teams receiving the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award – Interdisciplinary Research Team from the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and The Blue Legacy Award in Agriculture from the Texas Water Conservation Advisory Council.