Publication by the Office of Global Programs, 
Auburn University College of Agriculture.
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Auburn University AAES + Cuba Partnership 2016 Newsletter Header

Background and History of Engagement with Cuba by Auburn Faculty

Auburn University has a long history of partnering with Cuban universities beginning more than thirty years ago in the areas of plant science, nematology and plant pathology. With the recent leadership changes in Cuba, Auburn saw the opportunity to establish close cooperation in research, instruction and outreach with Cuban universities and agencies. In the last five years, several meetings were held between Auburn College of Agriculture faculty and Cuban scientists within and outside Cuba. This long-term relationship resulted in the signing of a formal broad trilateral treaty for cooperation between the Auburn University College of Agriculture, the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH), and the Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (CENSA) during a visit to Cuba in May 2015 by a delegation from Auburn’s College of Agriculture.

This landmark agreement has enjoyed remarkable attention and support nationally in the U.S. and in Cuba, including several press releases, such as Auburn University NewsMiami Herald and Alabama Local News. During a follow-up visit to Cuba by some Auburn faculty members and administrators in October 2015, a strategic planning meeting conducted with Cuban partners led to the identification of key academic priorities, including the development of research projects and short courses in the areas of plant / animal health and food systems.

In addition to UNAH and CENSA, Auburn faculty have also developed academic relationships with other Cuban institutes, including the Pasture and Forage Research Institute – Indio Hatuey, the Soil Institute of Cuba, the Instituto de Investigaciones de Sanidad Vegetal (INISAV) and the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture.

To facilitate this partnership, a Cuba Working Group was established at Auburn comprised primarily of faculty and staff from two colleges of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES): the College of Agriculture and the College of Human Sciences. With interest and encouragement from the Offices of the Provost and President of Auburn University, new programs have been established to support student and faculty engagement with Cuba.

These include:

  1. Cuba Study Abroad Program

    With the help of our Cuban partners, Auburn University has developed a study abroad to Cuba to facilitate student engagement with Cuba. The focus of the study abroad is on food security in Cuba.

  2. AAES-Cuba Grants Program

    The goal of this program is to stimulate and strengthen academic collaborations between Auburn University and partners in Cuba by providing seed funding for mutually-beneficial research, outreach and teaching activities in Cuba. Specific objectives of proposals should be to develop, facilitate or expand research collaborations between Auburn faculty and scientists in partnering institutions in Cuba.

Visit Global Programs Website


Meet the current members of the Auburn /AAES Cuba Working Group

William Daniels

William Daniels has extensive experience in international development, specifically aquaculture. His research interests include production systems, including catfish, hybrid striped bass, crayfish, freshwater prawns and others. Currently, he is looking at utilization of low salinity water in west Alabama for hybrid striped bass and other marine species, monosex culture of the freshwater prawn and use of probiotics for pond culture of channel catfish. For more information, visit Daniel's website or email

Beth Guertal

Beth Guertal specializes in turfgrass management and the environmental consequences of applied fertilizer. Other research areas include turfgrass cultivar evaluation, fertilizer response trials and sports turf management evaluations. Guertal is also helping to coordinate instructional programs with Cuba. For more information, visit Guertal's website or email

Rod Rodriguez-Kabana
(Emeritus Professor)

Rodriguez-Kabana brings expertise in pest management and sustainable agricultural practices. His research has focused on the study and development of cropping systems that allow for sustainable production with sound economic and ecological bases.For more information, visit Rodriguez-Kabana's website or email

Onikia Brown

Onika Brown uses community-based participatory research to examine the nutritional determinants, consequences and prevention of diet-related health disparities in underserved populations. She also has interest in developing interventions and tools to assess and prevent unwanted and unhealthy weight gain in underserved populations. For more information, see Brown's résumé or email

Martin O’Neill

Martin O’Neil’s research interests include services marketing and management, customer relationship management, service quality, disconfirmation modeling, total quality management and internal service, complaining behavior, trust and service recovery. For more information, see O'Neill's résumé or email

Art Appel

Art Appel currently serves as interim dean and director of the College of Agriculture and AAES. A world renowned urban entomologist, Appel brings a wealth of experience in biology, physiology and control of urban insects, as well as insect physiological ecology. For more information, visit Appel's website or email

Joseph Giambrone

Joseph J. Giambrone is a professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn University. He has been involved in teaching, research and extension in the area of poultry health. Dr. Giambrone teaches undergraduate, on-line, and graduate courses in poultry health. His current research is with avian influenza and infectious laryngotracheitis viruses. For more information, visit Giambrone's website or email

Brenda Ortiz

Brenda Ortiz specializes in grain crops, precision agriculture and agroclimatology. She has particular expertise in crop growth modeling, spatial statistics and remote sensing. She’s also studying the impact of weather and climate on row and forage crops, the use of crop growth modeling to evaluate different management strategies for improving row crop production, the evaluation of different management practices to reduce aflatoxin contamination in corn and the use of remote sensing technologies for variable-rate application of nitrogen. Ortiz is helping to facilitate communications with Cuban partners and coordinate research activities with Cuba. For more information, visit Ortiz's website or email

C. Robert Taylor
(Emeritus Professor)

Robert Taylor’s areas of expertise include market concentration, conservation, buyer power, bioenergy and sustainable agriculture. For more information, visit Taylor's website or email

Paula Hunker

Paula Gray Hunker is the director of Strategy and Policy for the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University. With a background that includes leadership positions at the State Department and United Nations, she focuses on strategy, communication and outreach to advance strategic initiatives in nutrition, global food security and small farmer empowerment. She also serves as operating director for Presidents United to Solve Hunger, a HIS initiative that has united a consortium of more than 80 university presidents around the world in a commitment to work collectively for food and nutrition security. For more information, email

Kate Thornton

Kate Thornton serves as director of Hunger and Sustainability Initiatives at the International Hunger Institute at Auburn University. She has a varied background ranging from business to biochemistry and is interested in utilizing her diverse knowledge base to bring sustainable solutions to help solve the global challenges of the world. For more information, see Thornton's résumé or email

Henry Fadamiro

Henry Fadamiro serves as assistant dean and director of Global Programs for the College of Agriculture. In that capacity, he leads the AAES-Cuba Programs and serves as chair of the Cuba Working Group. In addition, Fadamiro is a professor of entomology. His research interests include biological control, chemical ecology, integrated pest management and sustainable/organic agriculture. For more information, visit Fadamiro's website or email


Meet our Cuban Collaborators

Auburn University/AAES is proud to partner with several Cuban institutions including Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH), Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (CENSA), Pasture and Forage Research Institute – Indio Hatuey, Soil Institute of Cuba and Instituto de Investigaciones de Sanidad Vegetal (INISAV). Below is a listing of key collaborators at these institutions.

Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH)

Institutional Contact*
C. Pedro Pablo del Pozo Rodríguez, Vice Rector (
Mabelin Armenteros Amaya (

Vegetable Production and Protection
Nilda Perez Consuegra (
Orestes Cruz (
Carlos Gonzales (
Ivan Castro Lizaso (
Yanoy Morejon
Tania Perez (
Marlen Robaina (
Heriberto Vargas (

Turfgrass Management
Arturo Martinez

Animal Science
C. Pedro Pablo del Pozo Rodríguez, Vice Rector (
Pavel Herrera (
Miguel Pérez

Land Use/Modeling
Gustavo Alonso (
Orestes Cruz (
Yanara Rodríguez López (
Arturo Martinez
Darielis Martinez
Annia Garcia Pereira (
Tania Perez (
Ernesto Ramos (
Marlen Robaina (
Heriberto Vargas (

Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (CENSA)

Institutional Contacts*
Leopoldo Hidalgo Diaz (
Tania Rivas (

Vegetable Production & Protection
Maria de los Angeles Martines (
Benedicto Martinez (
Yamila Martinez (
Ileana Miranda (
Oriela Pino Perez (
Belkis Peteira (
Madelaine Quinonez (
Mayra Rodriguez (
Moraima Suris (

Turfgrass Management
Leopolgo Hidalgo Diaz (
Madelaine Quiñonez (
Mayra G. Rodriguez (

Urban Pest Management
Oriela Pino Perez (
Mayra G. Rodriguez (

Animal Science
Pastor Alonso (

Land Use/Modeling
Ileana Miranda (

Pasture and Forage Research Institute – Indio Hatuey

Institutional Contact*
Luis Hernandez (

Turfgrass Management
Luis Hernandez (

Land Use/Modeling
Maybe Campo 

Soil Institute of Cuba

Institutional Contacts*
Luis Gómez Jorrín, Director (
Olegario Muñiz Ugarte (

Instituto de Investigaciones de Sanidad Vegetal (INISAV)

Institutional Contacts*
Dr. Berta Lina Muiño Garcia - Subdirector of Development (
Evangelina Roa - International relations (

* Contact for more information about institution and to identify researchers in specific fields

For more information about the
Auburn University/AAES-Cuba Partnership,

Contact Henry Fadamiro
Copyright © 2016 Office of Global Programs, Auburn University College of Agriculture, All rights reserved.

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