Distinguished scientists provide guidance for UEP Certified

October 21, 2021

Meet Dr. Paul Thompson, Dr. Tina Widowski, and Dr. Hongwei Xin, of the UEP Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). All are internationally recognized scientists who bring diverse expertise to the UEP Certified program.

Dr. Paul Thompson

Dr. Paul Thompson is the K.W. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food, and Community Ethics at Michigan State University. He participated in the inaugural meeting of the SAC in 1999 and became a formal member in 2005. Dr. Thompson serves as the expert for social ethics on the committee.

Dr. Thompson's research and teaching focus on ethical and philosophical topics in food and agriculture. His honors include fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hastings Center, and Yale University. Dr. Thompson is the author or co-author of over two hundred published peer-reviewed articles and books. His book From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone (2015) won a prestigious award from the North American Society for Social Philosophy.

In 2017, Thompson received the William J. Beal Award for Outstanding Faculty from Michigan State University. He has lectured in more than 20 foreign countries and was the first American to receive the European Society for Agriculture and Food Ethics Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year. He also serves as an advisor for several national boards and numerous academic journals, including Environmental Ethics and Agriculture and Human Values.

Dr. Tina Widowski

Dr. Tina Widowski, a long-time member of UEP’s Scientific Advisory Committee, is an animal welfare scientist with a distinguished career in swine and poultry ethology. Having studied both behavior and physiology at the University of Illinois-Urbana, she focuses on the housing and management of farm animals, balancing health and welfare with the economic sustainability of farms.

Dr. Widowski has researched such diverse topics as motivation for dust bathing and nesting in laying hens and euthanasia methods for poultry. She currently is researching how early life environment (maternal effects and rearing) influences laying hen life-long behavior and welfare outcomes. She served as Director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph from 2009-2020 and has held the Egg Farmers of Canada Research Chair in Poultry Welfare since 2011.

During her free time, Dr. Widowski enjoys long walks in the forest with her two yellow Labradors.

Dr. Hongwei Xin

Dr. Hongwei Xin has advised UEP on animal welfare for over 20 years. He is the long-time liaison for environmental issues for the Scientific Advisory Committee for Animal Welfare and recently joined the committee.

Since April 2019, Dr. Xin has been the Dean for AgResearch at the University of Tennessee. In that role, he is responsible for the research programs of approximately 145 faculty and 450 staff in eight academic departments and ten AgResearch and Education Centers across the state of Tennessee, with an annual budget of approximately $68M.  Previously, Dr. Xin was Assistant Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University and the Director of the Egg Industry Center. He was instrumental in fundraising for the $6.4M state-of-the-art poultry research and teaching facility at ISU. He has served as the principal or co-principal investigator of nearly $24 million in competitive grants and research contracts; mentored 72 graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scholars; and authored/co-authored 207 peer-reviewed journal articles. His work has had a major impact on  U.S. and global animal agriculture.

Hongwei was an avid volleyball player and a passionate coach. He and his wife Toni, a professor in Food Science Department at UT, have two adult children, daughter Frances and son Chris.