Plant Physiologist Carl Sams Is Honored with the AgResearch Impact Award

Photo of Carl Sams with award
Pictured above from left to right, Tim Cross, chancellor of UTIA; Carl Sams, professor, Plant Sciences; Caula Beyl, dean of the Herbert College of Agriculture; and Fred Tompkins, interim dean of AgResearch. Photo by T. Salvador, courtesy UTIA. Download image​

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon held on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 17, 2018. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

Chancellor Tim Cross hosted the award winners and praised them for their work. “The people we recognized at our ceremony exemplify the Institute of Agriculture’s commitment to our mission of providing real life solutions through teaching, discovery and service on campus – throughout Tennessee and across the world,” Cross says. “Their hard work and dedication inspires all of us to be our best.”  

Carl Sams, the Austin Distinguished Professor in Plant Sciences and fellow of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences, is the recipient of the UT AgResearch Impact Award. The honor is presented to a faculty member whose efforts have a profound effect on improving the efficiency, sustainability and economic viability of the food and fiber industry of rural Tennessee.

Sams has been with UTIA almost from the time he was an undergrad until today, with research focusing on disease resistance in plants, hydroponics, and mineral nutrition. His work also includes amazing detail work grafting plant varieties – as well as environmental factors important to human nutrition and pest resistance and greenhouse production.

Other projects include the use of LED lighting to optimize the nutritional value of produce. He also researches the use of botanical oils as pesticides and growth regulators, work that has become a commercial success. He is a success in the classroom as well, guiding undergrads and graduate students, as well as advising high school students who are science fair winners. Also Sams has been an invited speaker in England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia. 

“I am honored to receive the 2018 AgResearch Impact Award,” Sams says. “It is gratifying to be recognized for the impact of my research on the people of our state and region. I chose a career in research and teaching with the hope that I could contribute to supporting the growers and agriculture infrastructures that feed our children and grandchildren. It is truly rewarding to be recognized for this effort. However, I humbly must point out that any success is attributable to the large group of hard working and talented colleagues, students and research associates that it has been my privilege to work alongside during my career. Any impact of our program on the community is largely due to these cooperative efforts over the years”. 
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. Through teaching, discovery and service.



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058,

Carl Sams, 865-974-8818,