August 16, 2007
Message from the Dean
A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Construction Progress
Melvin George: James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award
Jorge Dubcovsky: National Research Initiative Discovery Award
Louise Ferguson: American Society for Horticulture Sciences Committee Chair
Chris van Kessel: Fellow of AAAS and CSSA
Benjamin Houlton: Best Paper Award
Theodore Hsiao: American Society of Agronomy Honorary Membership Award
Brittany Smith: 2007 – 08 Howard Walton Clark Prize
Robert Hutmacher: Distinguished Service Award
Joseph DiTomaso: Journal Editor
AAAS Fellows: Gilbertson, Ronald, van Kessel
Good Housekeeping Features Food Safety Music
Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
Plant Breeding Academy
Kearney Foundation of Soil Science: Call for Proposals
Mondavi Center Discount for Faculty and Staff
Call for Travel Grants
Community Blood Drive: August 22 – 23, 2007
Rice Field Day: August 29, 2007
Plant Sciences Symposium: September 17 – 20, 2007
Woody Biomass and Small Log Workshop: September 19 – 20, 2007
Weed Science School: September 24 – 26, 2007
Fall Convocation: September 26, 2007
CA&ES College Celebration: October 12, 2007
National AgrAbility Conference: October 29 – November 1, 2007
California Small Farm Conference: February 24 – 26, 2008
A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Construction Progress
Construction on the new academic buildings on the south entrance to campus that will house the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI) has reached the point where the dimensions of the first three buildings of the complex are clearly evident. These buildings will also house the Department of Viticulture and Enology, and the Department of Food Science and Technology. It is exciting to see the progress that is being made, and to envision how these buildings will serve as a focal point when visitors enter the campus.
The next two buildings in this complex are in the design phase, and we plan to break ground for them in about a year. These buildings will house the new teaching and research winery and the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory.
We have two other major construction projects in the final stages of planning within the college: the renovation of the first floor of Hunt Hall for the Department of Environmental Design has been sent to bid, and the remodeling of Robbins Hall is in various phases of construction and planning. Robbins Hall is being remodeled in stages to house faculty from the Department of Plant Sciences and Department of Plant Pathology who are involved in plant genomics. Although we still have a number of buildings that house our departments in need of significant renovation, the projects that are currently nearing completion will provide a significant boost in the quality of our college’s facilities.
As always, I value your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Neal K. Van Alfen
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Mel George, a crop and ecosystems specialist in Cooperative Extension, has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. The Meyer Award is one of the most prestigious awards granted by the Academic Federation on the Davis campus. A public dinner reception will be held on Thursday, November 1, 2007.
Director of California Rangelands, George is an expert in range and pasture improvement, grazing management, rangeland water quality, rangeland management practices, and ranch planning.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will present the third annual National Research Initiative (NRI) Discovery Award to Professor Jorge Dubcovsky of the Department of Plant Sciences for his research on wheat applied genomics. Only one award per year is made. The presentation will be made here on campus at College Celebration on October 12, 2007.
The NRI Discovery Award recognizes outstanding researchers in agriculture who have supported the mission of Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. The Discovery Award highlights the exceptional scientific and economic impacts of NRI-funded projects. A delegation of the USDA will present the award to Dubcovsky, who is an expert in wheat breeding and wheat genetics.
Louise Ferguson has been elected Publications Committee Chair for the American Society for Horticulture Sciences. Ferguson, an extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, is director of the Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center. An ASHS member since 1978, she is the author of over 120 articles in trade and professional journals, as well as book reviews and editorials.
Professor Chris van Kessel, chair of the Department of Plant Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America. Agronomist van Kessel was previously named a Fellow of the American Society of Soil Science, which means he has received recognition from all the groups within the ASA-SSSA-CSSA organization. Van Kessel is an expert in agronomy, soil fertility, nutrient cycling, cropping systems, and international agriculture.
Chris van Kessel
The Ecological Society of America has given Benjamin Houlton, professor of terrestrial biogeochemistry in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, the ESA Biogeosciences Junior Scientist Best Paper Award. Houlton was honored in August at the annual Ecological Society of America meeting, held this year in San Jose, California. Houlton’s paper, titled "Isotopic Evidence for Large Gaseous Nitrogen Losses from Tropical Rainforests," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ted Hsiao, professor emeritus of hydrologic sciences in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, has been selected to receive the 2007 American Society of Agronomy Honorary Membership award. The honor, given to two nonmembers of the ASA each year, is awarded for outstanding service to agronomy, crops, and soil sciences. Hsiao was recognized for his accomplishments on plant physiological response to environmental stresses.
Hsiao, who retired in 2004, was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 2005 by the University of Lerida, Spain, on the 150th anniversary of the agrarian engineering profession for his contributions to the sciences underlying agriculture.
Brittany Smith, an undergraduate student assistant in Professor Louise Jackson’s lab, received the 2007–08 Howard Walton Clark Prize in Plant Breeding and Soil Building. Given to a CA&ES graduating senior who exhibits high scholastic achievement, a talent for independent research, and great promise in plant breeding or soil building, the Howard Walton Clark Prize comes with a $2,500 award.
As an undergraduate, Smith assisted in the Soil and Root Ecology lab of Louise Jackson, a professor in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources and a specialist in Cooperative Extension. The Jackson lab focuses on the study of soil and root ecology in agricultural and grassland ecosystems.
Robert Hutmacher, a specialist in Cooperative Extension and director of the West Side Research and Extension Center, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the California Cotton Growers Association. Hutmacher is a leader in statewide cotton production and quality issues, plant water stress, and microirrigation.
Joe DiTomaso, director of the UC Davis Weed Research and Information Center, has been named the first editor of a new journal entitled Invasive Plant Science and Management. The journal will be launched in early 2008 and is published through the Weed Science Society of America.
A belated congratulations to Robert Gilbertson, Pamela Ronald, and Chris van Kessel, who were named earlier this year as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Plant pathology professor Robert Gilbertson is an authority on plant diseases caused by seedborne viruses, bacteria, and fungi. His research program currently focuses on molecular genetic analysis of two groups of viruses known as geminiviruses and potyviruses.
Plant pathology professor Pamela Ronald was honored for "distinguished service to the field of plant innate immunity, and for establishing creative methods for sharing benefits of biotechnology with less developed countries." Ronald heads the Plant Genomics Program and studies the role that genes play in plants’ response to their environment.
Agronomist Chris van Kessel is professor and chair of the Department of Plant Sciences. His lab conducts research focused on the basic concepts and principles behind agricultural ecosystems, in order to understand how food can be produced more efficiently and sustainably.
Also named as AAAS Fellows from UC Davis were Susan Williams (Bodega Marine Laboratory), John Harada (College of Biological Sciences), and Hans-Georg Mueller (Department of Statistics).
UC Davis News Service
The Good Housekeeping “Site of the Day” featured Carl Winter’s Food Safety Music Web site (http://foodsafe.ucdavis.edu) on July 9, 2007. Winter, director of the UC Davis FoodSafe Program, is a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology. The food toxicologist is also an amateur musician who writes food safety parodies of popular music, and his Web site features downloads of songs and lyrics. Visit the Good Housekeeping site at http://www.gh-siteoftheday.com/.
Nominations for the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement are being accepted until September 15, 2007. The Tyler Prize is the premier award for recognizing outstanding contributions in the fields of environmental science, protection, energy, and medicine. The award consists of a gold medallion and a $200,000 cash award.
For more information on the Tyler Prize, visit http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/tylerprize/. The requirements for nominations can be found at http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/tylerprize/nominate.html.
Tyler Prize office
The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is accepting applications for its second class, which will begin in September 2008. The Plant Breeding Academy (PBA) is a two-year professional development course teaching the principles of plant breeding. It is targeted toward people who are currently involved in plant breeding or wish to become plant breeders, and desire a greater knowledge of genetics, statistics, and breeding methodology. The program allows participants to maintain their current working positions.
The Academy’s inaugural class, currently in progress, consists of 15 students from the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong. The Plant Breeding Academy is taught by internationally recognized plant breeders, and is limited in size to give students personal attention. For more information, visit http://www.pba.ucdavis.edu/.
In support of the Retirement Readiness Program, the UC Davis benefits office is offering several workshops presented by the campus representative from FITSCo (Fidelity Investments Tax-Exempt Services Company). The workshops are designed for all employees and will be offered at various times and dates until late August. Topics include:
- Enrolling in Your UC Retirement Savings Program
- Finding the Right Investment Strategy
- Achieving a Sound Retirement
If you wish to attend the workshops in a series, FITSCo recommends following the order listed above. Reservations are required for all workshops. The FITSCo Reservation Line is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time at (800) 642-7131.
The Kearney Foundation of Soil Science is soliciting two-year proposals from faculty on understanding and managing soil-ecosystem functions across spatial and temporal scales. The Kearney Foundation of Soil Science is an endowment-supported program that funds research in the University of California system. The due date for proposals is August 31, 2007, at 10 p.m.
Funding is available to support two-year research projects beginning in January 2008. The scope of the mission is large, and because of its interdisciplinary nature, multi-investigator proposals are encouraged. Many traditional soil-ecosystem research topics are well suited for this mission, but funded research topics will be unique in that they will:
- Address multiple spatial and/or temporal scales
- Provide information that is clearly relevant to land management decisions and policies
Standard proposals have a maximum funding limit of $45,000 per year. Multidisciplinary projects have a maximum funding limit of $120,000 per year for a minimum of 3 PIs.
Details are available at http://kearney.ucdavis.edu.
For the first time, the Mondavi Center is offering faculty and staff a 10 percent discount on ticket purchases. For those who wish to order a series subscription, the faculty/staff discount is applied in addition to the subscription discount, so faculty/staff subscribers can receive up to 30 percent off the regular ticket price. Those who don’t subscribe may still take advantage of the discount and receive 10 percent off the regular price when single tickets go on sale on September 8.
Online ordering is available at www.MondaviArts.org., or call (530) 754-ARTS (2787). The ticket office is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and Saturday noon to 6 p.m. You will be asked to provide your UC Davis e-mail address when you order.
The Academic Senate Committee on Research is now accepting applications from members of the Academic Senate for expenses to participate in research meetings. Travel must be undertaken between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. Recipients can be reimbursed for up to $800 for all meetings, domestic or international, although awards cannot exceed the cost of travel and allowable expenses. Funding will be awarded only for a faculty member’s personal presentation of her/his original work.
Academic Senate Office
For more information, visit the arboretum Web site: http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
“The World of the Coast Redwood”;Saturday, August 18, 10 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
Enjoy the shade of the redwood grove and learn about the complex and fascinating ecosystem of the redwood forest. Led by docent Bev Watros, this walk will provide a brief introduction to the ecology and history of the coast redwood, the most common animals and plants found with the redwoods, and the redwoods’ long lives.
“The Amazing Coastal Redwoods”; Sunday, August 26, 10 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
California’s state tree, the coast redwood, is native to an area with lots of rainfall and year-round fog. Enjoy a cool stroll through the redwood grove and learn some little-known facts about these trees, including their evolution, life cycle, geographic variations, and Chinese relatives. Docent Ann Johnson will lead the free tour.
“Walking Class in the Arboretum”; August 27–December 19, Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:40 to 10 a.m., Sacramento City College, Davis Center.
Fitness 401–Walking is a new one-unit class offered through Sacramento City College designed to improve a student’s level of fitness, physical appearance, and well being. This course will concentrate on proper walking techniques, cardiovascular endurance, muscle strengthening, and flexibility. The class will offer walking routes in the UC Davis arboretum for workouts. The fee for the class is $20. Enroll online at www.scc.losrios.edu, or call the Sacramento City College, Davis Center, at (530) 747-5200.
You can donate blood during the blood drive on Wednesday, August 22 or Thursday, August 23, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the quad. All UC Davis staff, faculty, students, and alumni are members of the ASUCD-Davis community blood program, which provides members and their families with 100 percent coverage for blood and blood costs.
Departmental release time is appropriate for staff wishing to donate blood. To help alleviate waiting times, there will be a special section for faculty and staff. Everyone who donates will receive a coupon for a free pint of Baskin-Robbins ice cream and will be entered into a drawing to win one of five $500 gas cards.
To donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in generally good health. Do not donate blood if you have had cold or flu symptoms within 48 hours prior to donating.
The annual Rice Field Day will be held on Wednesday, August 29, at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, California. Sponsored by the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation, the University of California, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the free event will have registration and poster viewing from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Field tours of the breeding, disease resistance, weed control, and entomology programs will be conducted on the station. The tours will be followed by a luncheon at noon.
The Rice Experiment Station is located 2.5 miles west of Highway 99 on Highway 162 towards Butte City. Further information can be obtained at http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/ricestation/.
The 2007 Plant Sciences Symposium, “Translational Seed Biology: From Model Systems to Crop Improvement Symposium,” will be held September 17–20 at UC Davis. The international symposium will bring together leading scientists across all aspects of seed biology in a format that emphasizes the connections between fundamental discoveries and their applications in agriculture. Crop scientists will be motivated by the progress being made in model systems, and basic scientists will gain an appreciation of the challenges associated with bringing a concept into practice.
For more information go to: http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/seedsymposium2007/index.htm.
Organized by the UC Berkeley Center for Forestry, the Woody Biomass and Small Log Workshop will be held from September 19–20 at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California.
The first day will consist of panel presentations in the areas of feedstocks and fiber supply, biomass conversion technologies (products and energy), policy and environmental considerations, and public funding opportunities. The second day will be a field tour that examines how the forest products industry deals with biomass and small-diameter trees.
Visits are planned to small log mills and biomass power plants in northern California and southern Oregon. The optional third day is organized to provide attendees an opportunity to visit “small-scale” biomass users in the Northern California area.
Registration fee is $40 for each day and an additional $20 for the Wednesday dinner. Early registration ends September 7, 2007. For more information, visit http://forestry.berkeley.edu/biomass.
UC Cooperative Extension
Space is still available in the Weed Science School 2007 to be held September 24–26 at UC Davis. Weed Science School is an intensive course focusing on the mode and mechanism of herbicide activity in plants and the fate of herbicides in the environment. Participants will also tour the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity. The course is designed for those involved in consulting, research, development, or sales of agricultural chemicals in either the private or public sector.
The course fee is $550 (if received by 9/10/07) and $575 (if received after 9/10/07), which covers all course materials and lunch each day. A comprehensive handbook of materials is included. Accommodations are not included.
Class size is limited to 60. An online agenda and registration form can be accessed through the Weed Research and Information Center Web site at http://wric.ucdavis.edu.
The 2007 Fall Convocation will be held on Wednesday, September 26 from 10–11 a.m. in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Jackson Hall. This year’s theme, and the title of the chancellor’s remarks, is “Finding—and Being—the Inspiration." UC Regent Odessa Johnson will serve as master of ceremonies. A reception for the entire campus community and friends of the university will immediately follow the program on the Mondavi patio north of the ticket office in Courin Courtyard and Sconyers Plaza.
Office of Ceremonies and Special Events
On Friday, October 12, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will bestow the Awards of Distinction at the 19th annual College Celebration in Freeborn Hall. The event is held each year at harvest time to celebrate the advancement and accomplishments of our college and its impact on agriculture and the environment.
The Award of Distinction is the highest recognition presented by the college to individuals whose contributions and achievements enrich the image and reputation of the college and enhance its ability to provide public service. Mark your calendars for this fun event. For more information, see http://caes.ucdavis.edu/NewsEvents/Events/Celebration/Default.htm.
The 2007 National AgrAbility Conference will be held at the Sacramento Doubletree Hotel from October 29 to November 1, 2007. This three-day educational and training workshop is intended to provide technical assistance and resources to professionals providing services to farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers with disabilities.
The educational sessions should be of interest to extension educators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, vocational rehabilitation counselors, rural health care providers, students, medical professionals, as well as farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers with disabilities. The conference will include off-site farm tours. Find out more at http://www.agrabilityproject.org/events/workshop2007/
Mark your calendars for the next California Small Farm Conference, “Growing Opportunities,” to be held February 24–26 in Visalia, California. The three-day educational conference will cover new techniques for production, marketing, business management, farmers’ markets, and more. For more information, visit http://www.californiafarmconference.com/joomla/.
Contributors: Robin DeRieux, Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser, John Stumbos, Michelle Immel, Viet Tran, Trish Ang, Neal Van Alfen.
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