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K-State Today

April 1, 2013

K-State Olathe graduate horticulture program readies to launch with first faculty hire

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University Olathe is launching a graduate-level program in horticulture and has hired the program's first faculty member.

Eleni Pliakoni will be an assistant professor of urban food production and postharvest handling in the department of horticulture, forestry and recreation resources and will work on the Olathe campus, said Dan Richardson, K-State Olathe CEO.

Pliakoni comes to K-State Olathe from the University of Florida, where she has been a postdoctoral research assistant in the department of horticultural sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Her research has included organizing and leading different projects, including conducting fresh fruit and vegetable shelf life extension research and determining the best controlled atmosphere conditions for different commodities such as broccoli, lettuce and tomato, as well as modified atmosphere packaging film requirements for each crop.

Her education in Greece includes a doctorate from the University of Thessaly; a master's in plant molecular biology and biotechnology from the University of Crete; and a bachelor's in agriculture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Pliakoni has previous teaching and research experience from schools in Greece and Spain and at Texas A&M prior to her work at the University of Florida.

"We are very fortunate and pleased to have Dr. Pliakoni join our team at K-State Olathe," Richardson said. "Her international skills and experience in teaching and research bring excitement to the launch of our horticulture program on the campus."

Applications for admission to the new Master of Science in horticulture program, which has an emphasis in urban food systems, are now being accepted. The program will begin in the fall semester on the Olathe campus. For more information, contact Matt Maciel, program coordinator, at 913-307-7349 or maciel@k-state.edu. More information is also available on the K-State Olathe website.

Kansas State University Olathe advances the mission of Kansas State University by integrating education, research and entrepreneurship, focused on animal health, food safety and security, to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.