July 12, 2007
Message from the Dean
A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Center for Produce Safety
Lucia Kaiser and Marylynn Yates: ANR Leadership Appointments
Robert Thayer: Academy of Fellows
Chester Price: NIH Grant
Zhongli Pan: Early Career Scientist of the Year Award
Shermain Hardesty: Small Farm Program Director
James Gorny: Executive Directorship, Postharvest RIC
“Road Trip with Huell Howser” Features UC Davis
KQED “Quest” Segments Feature UC Davis
GPS and GIS Summer Workshops in Berkeley
Department of Pesticide Regulation Grant
Seeking Reusable Inter-office Delivery Envelopes
Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology
Kearney Foundation of Soil Science: Call for Proposals
National AgrAbility Workshop
Call for Travel Grants
Viticulture Research Conference: July 18–20, 2007
Castle Lake Reunion: July 20–22, 2007
Dry Bean Field Production Meeting: August 16, 2007
A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Center for Produce Safety
Planning for the new campus Center for Produce Safety continues among industry leaders and stakeholders, policymakers, and our campus personnel. We met here in June with nearly 40 of our internal and external partners to help define the vision and determine initial projects for the center. We will appoint an advisory board for the Center for Produce Safety by the end of this month and select an executive director by fall. We also are planning to hold a symposium later this year that will provide industry and others with a platform to share the latest research information on leafy greens.
The Center for Produce Safety, co-located with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, was created in April as the result of an industry-wide response to recent E. coli outbreaks. The new center will:
- Serve as a central repository for research on produce safety
- Fund new studies aimed at reducing risks associated with produce
- Augment field-level training and outreach programs on good agricultural practices
The center was established with private donations of $2 million from the Produce Marketing Association and $2 million from Taylor Farms of Salinas. The California Department of Food and Agriculture contributed $500,000, and UC’s Agriculture and Natural Resources division gave $150,000 to fund educational outreach programs for fresh produce.
We are excited that the produce industry and associated agencies have chosen to work closely with UC Davis to develop this center. This partnership will leverage our combined strengths of industry expertise, scientific research, and regulatory oversight to ensure a safe and secure food supply.
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
Lucia Kaiser, UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist in nutrition, has been appointed to a three-year term as ANR’s Program Leader for Human Resources. The UC ANR Human Resources Program serves California by working with families and individuals within communities across the state to communicate knowledge in the areas of human and youth development, human health and nutrition, and community development.
Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) operates with four program leaders: human resources, agricultural policy and pest management, agricultural productivity, and natural resources and animal agriculture. Program leaders provide leadership and advocacy for integrated research and extension programs that address high priority needs for Californians.
Along with the appointment of Lucia Kaiser, ANR announced the appointment of Professor Marylynn Yates, an environmental microbiologist from UC Riverside, to a three-year term as Program Leader for Natural Resources and Animal Agriculture.
Robert Thayer, professor emeritus in landscape architecture, has been elected to the 2007 class of the Academy of Fellows of the Council for Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA). The award is to honor a faculty member’s lifetime accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, creative activity, and service. The accomplishments must add up to inspiring and significant endeavor sustained over an extended period of time. Nominees are senior members of the academy and must have been a full-time faculty at a member school for a minimum of fifteen years.
When Thayer joined the department at UC Davis in 1973 as an assistant professor, the landscape architecture curriculum was published in the General Catalog for the first time since 1950. As additional landscape architects joined the faculty, Thayer founded the first accredited program in landscape architecture at the university in 1978. Thayer taught landscape architecture at UC Davis until his retirement in 2002. He is currently a visiting professor teaching graduate courses in landscape architecture and environmental planning in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley.
Chester Price, professor of food science and technology, has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to extend his studies of signaling pathways conserved among bacterial pathogens that impact food safety and security. This investigator-initiated grant will extend NIH funding to Professor Price for an additional four years.
Price’s laboratory group will expand into new areas that capitalize on long-standing efforts to establish the fundamental properties of a signaling mechanism known to be important for both survival and virulence in many bacteria. The work will focus on the genetic, biochemical, and structural analysis of a stress-signaling pathway in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which serves as a model for related human pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis, B. cereus, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. The research is applicable to a wide variety of pathogens that are transmitted via food or that pose a particular security threat.
Zhongli Pan, adjunct professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Research Engineer with USDA, received the 2007 Pacific West Area Early Career Scientist of the Year Award for "innovative, high-impact engineering solutions to value-added processing of agricultural commodities.” The early career award is given each year by the Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency, to eight research scientists who have been with the USDA for seven years or less.
Professor Pan’s current research focuses on:
- Improving the values of agricultural products and their components through new and improved postharvest and processing technologies
- Characterizing the physical, chemical, and rheological properties of agricultural and food products
- Modeling and optimizing food processing for improved food quality and ensured food safety
Shermain Hardesty has been appointed to a five-year term as director of ANR’s Small Farm Program. Hardesty is currently a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and is also the director of the department’s Rural Cooperatives Center.
Hardesty does research and outreach related to cooperatives and food marketing systems, and has authored numerous publications related to these topics. (Condensed from ANR Report, June 2007)
Food safety expert James Gorny has been named the first full-time executive director of the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center. The center is made up of 20 specialists who run courses designed to keep industry professionals up-to-date on the latest research on produce and ornamental handling and quality control.
For the past two years, Gorny has served as the chief food safety officer for the United Fresh Produce Association, a leading industry group. He earned his Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Davis in 1995 and has been an adjunct faculty member here since 2000.
The Thursday, July 12 episode of Sacramento’s KVIE (channel 6) “Road Trip with Huell Howser” focused on UC Davis, the first time the program has been dedicated solely to one of the state’s universities. Huell Howser originally planned to do one of his 60-minute shows about the city of Davis, but the shoot at UC Davis went so well that he devoted the entire hour to the university. CA&ES got ample airtime, with a look at the Arboretum, the Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Horse Barn, and the Meat Lab. Other topics featured included “Bicycle Capital of the U.S.”, Segundo Dining Commons, the Coffeehouse, C.N. Gorman Museum, Unitrans, and the California Raptor Center.
Road Trip also runs on public television stations in the Bay Area and Southern California. At least four other PBS stations in the state are due to present the program later this year.
Public television station KQED will feature the work of three UC Davis professors during the month of July.
The Tuesday, July 17 edition of “Quest,” a science program produced by KQED in San Francisco (channel 9 and KQED HD on Comcast 709), will feature the work of accomplished bee breeder and geneticist Susan Cobey. Cobey is the new manager of the UC Davis Harry Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. She will be included in a segment entitled, "Where Are the Bees?" that is scheduled to air at 7:30 p.m.
Ruihong Zhang, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering, was featured in the July 10 broadcast of “Quest” in a segment entitled “From Waste to Watts.” Zhang is the leader of the UC Davis Biogas Energy Project, a five-year-long research effort to convert food leftovers and other biomass to biofuels.
Murray Fowler, professor emeritus in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, was featured in the July 3 episode of “Quest” in a segment entitled, “Please Touch the Animals: Environmental Enrichment at Zoos.”
After broadcast, each program will be posted on the “Quest” Web site at http://www.kqed.org/quest.
UC Davis News Service
UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Imaging and Informatics Facility in the College of Natural Resources will offer GPS and GIS workshops this summer for UC Cooperative Extension personnel. The course covers topics such as introduction to global positioning systems and introduction to geographic information systems. The remaining workshops include:
- Introductory GPS/GIS: Tuesday, July 17, 2007
- Advanced GIS: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
- Advanced GIS: Thursday, August 2, 2007
- Advanced GIS: Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The free workshops will meet in 124 Mulford Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Parking will be provided, but travel support is unavailable. For more information, visit http://giif.cnr.berkeley.edu. Space is limited, and registration is required.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently announced sponsorship of research to investigate a natural fungus fighter for "white rot," a fungus that affects the state’s onion and garlic industry. UC Cooperative Extension and the California Garlic and Onion Research Advisory Board were awarded a two-year $40,000 grant by DPR to commercially field test a naturally based fungus-fighting compound found in onions and garlic as an alternative to soil fumigants.
White rot, which can lie dormant in the soil for up to 40 years, already has disrupted production on more than 13,000 acres of prime farm land in the San Joaquin Valley counties of Kern, Kings, and Fresno. In the Santa Clara and Gilroy area—known as the "Garlic Capital of the World"—less than 500 acres remain under cultivation due to white rot.
Robert Ehn, Technical Manager
California Garlic and Onion Research Advisory Board
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.
If you have a surplus of large, inter-office delivery envelopes (brown, approximately 10” x 13” with red ties) the CA&ES Dean’s Office could use them. Please send them through inter-campus mail to Deb Fredrickson.
CA&ES Dean’s Office
The Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology (SITT) will be held July 16–20, 2007, to provide opportunities for campus faculty to share innovative and thoughtful approaches to effective teaching.
To find out more about SITT 2007 or to register, please visit http://trc.ucdavis.edu/trc/sitt/.
University Writing Program
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.
Mark your calendars for the annual National AgrAbility Workshop to be held in Sacramento from October 29 to November 1, 2007. This three-day educational and training workshop is intended to provide technical assistance and resources to professionals interacting with people who farm or ranch despite disabilities and permanent injuries.
The workshop 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 farm workers with disabilities. Find out more at http://www.agrabilityproject.org/events/workshop2007/#4.
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.
“Folk Music Jam Session”; Fridays, July 13 and July 27, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
The arboretum’s folk music jams are held outside on the Wyatt Deck next to the redwood grove. Campus and community folk musicians are invited to play together informally during this acoustic jam session. Bring your fiddles, guitars, mandolins, penny whistles, pipes, flutes, and squeezeboxes, and join fellow musicians for bluegrass, old-time, blues, Celtic, klezmer, and world music. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.
“Summer in the Redwoods”;Sunday, July 15, 10 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
California’s state tree, the coast redwood, will grow in the Central Valley if planted in the right place and given special care. Docent Alice Gruenwedel will lead a free guided tour of the arboretum’s Redwood Grove on Sunday, July 15.
“Summer Garden Survival Techniques”; Sunday, July 22, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
Learn the best watering approaches and plant choices for summer in Central Valley gardens during a free public tour on Sunday, July 22, at the Ruth Risdon Storer Garden. See demonstrations of different sprinkler and drip irrigation options and some arboretum All-Star plants that thrive in our hot, dry summers. Docent Carol Kind will lead the tour.
“What Grows Under Redwoods?”; Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m., Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
During a free, guided tour on Saturday, July 28, learn about gardening under redwood trees and which plants grow best in a moist, shady microclimate. Docent Dorothy Brandon will lead a tour of the arboretum’s Redwood Grove, one of the largest groves of coast redwoods outside their natural habitat.
The first annual National Viticulture Research Conference will meet July 18–20 at UC Davis to highlight current research in fields related to grape growing.
The conference will offer an opportunity to public and private researchers, post-docs, scientific staff, and students to present technical work to their colleagues during an intensive three-day program.
CA&ES is sponsoring the inaugural conference, which has been coordinated by representatives of UC Davis’ departments of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Viticulture and Enology, along with the Foundation Plant Services unit and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, as well as the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources division and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Organizers envision that the National Viticulture Research Conference will be offered annually, with the location rotating among different academic centers of viticulture research. For more information, visit http://groups.ucanr.org/nvrc/.
Foundation Plant Services
The Castle Lake Limnological Research Station is celebrating a new era of research at Castle Lake with a three-day reunion of everyone who has visited or worked at Castle Lake over the last five decades. Part of the environmental science and policy department, the Castle Lake Limnological Research Station has been in operation since 1959. It has produced about 50 graduate degrees and many postdoctoral associates. Approximately 1,800 people are alumni of the DES 151 limnology course.
Families are welcome to attend, and there will be a small tent city at the Methodist Camp about one mile below the lake lab. Check the Castle Lake Web site for details, suggested attire, places to stay, and RSVP information: http://castlelake.ucdavis.edu/.
The UC Davis Dry Bean Field Production Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 16, from 8:45 a.m. to noon at the field plots east of the ANR building near the intersection of Hopkins and Bee Biology Roads. Meet at 8:30 a.m. in the shade of the olive trees to sign in for the meeting and complete CE credit paperwork.