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K-State Today

January 25, 2022

Alina Akhunova awarded College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award

Submitted by Susan Schiff

For her exceptional teaching, advising and mentoring, Alina Akhunova, research professor of plant pathology, has received the 2021 College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.

Akhunova serves as director for the Integrated Genomics Facility, a core lab that supports more than 60 K-State faculty representing four colleges. The lab also serves clients across the U.S. and internationally.

Although she doesn't have a formal teaching appointment, Akhunova contributes to graduate training. Each summer, she coordinates a two-credit course called the Geonomics Technologies Workshop and offers supplemental training throughout the year to ensure faculty and students are familiar with the rapidly evolving technologies associated with the study of genomics.

Megan Kennelly, department head of plant pathology, wrote in her nomination, "She does not simply run the technical samples and hand people the data. She provides in-depth, high-level mentoring and guidance. She talks to faculty and their graduate students about their projects ahead of time, helps them design appropriate experiments, writes support letters for grants, and contributes sections for the materials and methods for grants and manuscripts. She spends time trouble-shooting and walks people through challenging data analysis." 

Akhunova came to K-State in 2007 after completing postdoctoral training in plant genomics and molecular biology at the University of California, Davis. She earned her doctorate in animal physiology at St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia.