The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association presented its prestigious Ranelius Award to Dr. Mohamed El Hawalani of the University of Minnesota, at its annual meeting on March 18 in St. Paul, Minn., according to a press release by the association.

“The Ranelius Award is the most prestigious honor given by the MTGA,” said Kim Gorans, outgoing 2008-09 MTGA President. “It signifies leadership and dedication to the industry based on contributions made to enhance Minnesota’s turkey industry, and Dr. El Halawani is well deserved of this special honor.”

Dr. El Halawani’s research at the University of Minnesota has had an impact not only on Minnesota’s turkey industry but also throughout the U.S.


He has dedicated his career to studying avian reproductive neuroendocrinology, specifically low egg production in turkeys and effects of photorefractoriness on egg production. 

One of his studies, funded in part by the Minnesota Turkey Research & Promotion Council, discovered the role of vasoactive intestinal peptide in releasing prolactin from the pituitary gland, which in turn led him to the development of a vaccine against VIP.