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story.lead_photo.caption Majed El-Dweik

You can erase the "interim" from Majed El-Dweik's job title at Lincoln University.

LU announced Wednesday he's been named the new dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental and Health Sciences, after serving as the interim dean since last January.

El-Dweik earned his bachelor's degree in electrical and computer engineering, and a doctor of philosophy, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

As a researcher, El-Dweik has generated approximately $4.7 million in funding for LU, from agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, according to an LU news release.

Last month, El-Dweik and Mahmoud Almasri, Ph.D., a University of Missouri-Columbia associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received a federal patent for a "High Sensitivity Impedance Sensor," that is considered "state-of-the-art biotechnology (that) significantly reduces the testing time for contaminants from three days to 14 hours."

The new technology — which was developed over 11 years, with the a team of student researchers — means food processing companies now will be able to test their products rapidly, within hours rather than days before shipping the product to consumers.

The sensor is expected to strengthen processors' line of defense against E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria outbreaks, LU announced a month ago, when the patent was issued.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness affects one in six people in the United States per year — resulting in approximately 3,000 deaths.

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And contaminated foods cost more than $15.6 billion in product recalls each year.

The LU news release announcing El-Dweik's promotion notes, since he was named interim dean last January, he has "focused on securing external funding to support research and scholarships."

For example, El-Dweik arranged for a $1.1 million USDA grant, which will be used to build a multipurpose agriculture facility housing both laboratories and learning spaces, according to the news release.

Another $2 million USDA grant will provide scholarships for agriculture students.

El-Dweik came to LU in 2007 as an assistant physics professor, teaching courses in biotechnology and nanotechnology. In 2013, he was named the university's director of the LU Center of Nanotechnology.

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