College of Agriculture opens six new labs

By Joan Kite

Nashville, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover and Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, joined Ag Dean Chandra Reddy at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday to open six new Ag laboratories.

TSU President Glenda Glover (center), Ag Dean Chandra Reddy (right), and Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, participate in ribbon-cutting ceremony. (submitted photo

The ceremony, which was held on National Ag Day, included the re-opening of five newly remodeled labs, bringing the total number of state-of-the art laboratories at the College to 35.

“In these labs, graduate and undergraduate students along with post-doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and our principal scientists conduct research in national challenge areas such as food security and safety, environmental sustainability, human health and nutrition, and renewable energy,” said Reddy. “The knowledge generated from these labs is shared with the stakeholders and the public to improve agricultural productivity, human health, and community development.”

Open now for active research are the new labs for Plant Nutrition, Wildlife Ecology, Water Resources, Urban Forestry, Entomology, Organic Agriculture and Modeling and Data Analysis. USDA Capacity Building Grants helped fund the creation of the new labs, which were carved from Dr. Reddy’s former office space in the Farrell-Westbrook building.

Before the official tour of the labs, students Kristen Stigger, Taylor Ribeiro, and Durga Khandekar, dressed in crisp, white lab coats, presented Glover with freshly cut flowers. The flowers were grown in the greenhouses at TSU College of Agriculture’s Research and Education Center.

During the tour, the president and McReynolds talked with many of the students who are actively engaged in research projects. The students’ studies range from determining Tennessee’s salamander population through DNA sampling of local streams to research and discovering the best practices for using integrated pest management and biological control to prevent plant and crop destruction.

“I can move forward with my environmental DNA research much more quickly with access to state-of-the-art machines,” said Nicole Witzel, a research assistant in the Wildlife Ecology Lab. “The new lab is allowing us to conduct quality research efficiently, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”

To learn more about the College of Agriculture, visit

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