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UW Assistant Professor Dies in Motorcycle Crash

August 4, 2017
head portrait of a man
Gustavo Sbatella

Colleagues and friends at the University of Wyoming are reacting to the death Wednesday evening of a fellow scientist killed in a motorcycle accident in Nevada.

Gustavo Sbatella, of Powell, died in the crash near Valley of Fire State Park in southeastern Nevada, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol, which said heavy rain contributed to the crash.

Sbatella, 52, was an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and was based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

“We lost an indispensable faculty member,” says Jim Heitholt, head of the department. “He had a savvy for conducting research in weed science, and we, as his colleagues, became better scientists because of him.”

Sbatella was the extension irrigated crop and weed specialist and conducted research in the Big Horn Basin.

Sbatella also taught courses and mentored graduate students. He cared deeply about his students and making sure they were successful, Heitholt says.

Sbatella, a native of Argentina, received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy at the Universidad de Nacional de Buenos Aires in 1990, and his master’s degree in 2004 and Ph.D. in 2006 in agronomy, both at UW. He was a postdoctoral research associate in Scottsbluff, Neb., with the University of Nebraska from 2007-2011 and an assistant professor with Oregon State University-Madras from 2011-14.

Sbatella joined the UW faculty in 2014.

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