CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

August 14, 2008

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean









A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Faculty Recruitments

Last spring, I submitted a request to Provost Horwitz to go forward with a number of recruitments in our college. The campus decision on our request was delayed while the administration dealt with possible approaches to the campus budget shortfall. Most of the concern regarding recruitments has centered on the startup costs for new positions and the campus’ desire to limit financial commitments. While there was initially talk of a recruitment moratorium, the campus has instead decided to provide colleges and schools with a fixed allocation of startup funds and then let each unit decide how to manage recruitments within that budget. We recently received word of our allocation, and although it is not as much as we had hoped for, we at least have permission to proceed and make decisions based on the funding that is being made available to us.

With the help and support of departments, I believe we can go ahead and recruit all of the positions that we had proposed to the provost in the spring. Recruitment is important for the future of our college, but our budget will be sorely challenged to meet the startup needs of so many individuals. For this reason, we will need departments to hold startup requests to the bare minimum needed for success, and to share existing equipment as much as possible. And because the traditional startup funding formula is not being used for the newest positions, departments may need to provide a greater share of matching funds than in past years. For those who have been holding funds in reserve for a rainy day, this would be that day.

We will recruit new faculty positions in animal reproductive biology, landscape architecture, conservation biology, microbiology, population nutrition, physiological ecology/aquatic, environmental chemistry, environmental agriculture, and plant virology. We will also seek to fill the Dorn Endowed Chair in human and community development. Along with these 10 new positions, we are moving ahead with four Cooperative Extension specialist positions (youth development, enology, weed science, and water policy). One ongoing Cooperative Extension search is the federal Sea Grant marine specialist, which has been offered and currently is in negotiation. In addition, a number of faculty positions that were already out to departments at the time of the budget cuts remain in play.

I have asked the departments to begin preparing search plans to recruit these positions. I believe that if the departments and the college work together to make judicious use of reserves available, we can move forward with the recruitments that are so vital to the future of our college.

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
[email protected]

back to top ^


Quirino Paris: European Association of
Agricultural Economists Fellow


The European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) has named Professor Quirino Paris, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, a fellow of the EAAE. Selecting fellows is a new initiative of the association, and Paris was chosen as part of the first group of fellows. EAAE fellows will be named every three years in recognition of significant contributions to the advancement of agricultural economics in Europe. Achievements can be in research, teaching, administration, and service to the profession. There will be an awards ceremony for the new fellows at the EAAE Congress in Ghent, Belgium, in August.

Quirino Paris
(530) 752-1528
[email protected]

back to top ^

Todd Harris: National Institute of Health Fellowship


Postdoctoral researcher Todd Harris, who works in the laboratory of entomology professor Bruce Hammock, has received a National Institute of Health (NIH) fellowship to continue his research on the role of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing heart disease. Harris holds two doctorate degrees from UC Davis, in both biochemistry and molecular biology. Harris was selected for the NIH fellowship based on scholastic achievement, innovation, and interdisciplinary research.

Todd Harris
(530) 752-8465
[email protected]

back to top ^

Susan Cobey: Today Show Appearance


Researcher Susan Cobey, a bee breeder and geneticist, appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” on July 12, 2008, in a feature on the declining bee population. The piece, “Disappearing Bees Sting Food Prices,” also included interviews with a USDA representative, a Haagen-Daz representative, and some of the nation’s beekeepers. Haagen-Dazs recently gifted UC Davis with $100,000 for bee research.

The “Today Show” is online at

Susan Cobey
(530) 754-9390
[email protected]

back to top ^



Animal Biotechnology Video


A 30-minute educational video titled "Animal Biotechnology," premiered August 5 on UCTV. It also can be viewed on the UC Davis Animal Biotechnology website at The video, narrated and co-authored by Cooperative Extension specialist Alison Van Eenennaam and animal biology graduate student William Pohlmeier, begins with a brief historical description of the development of various animal biotechnologies. The video places the most controversial animal biotechnologies — cloning and genetic engineering — within a historical framework and also highlights biomedical and agricultural applications of animal biotechnology.

The video was designed for college and high school students, as well as members of the general public. The script and visuals underwent anonymous scientific peer-review prior to release. The project was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Research Initiative. DVD copies of the video can be obtained by contacting Van Eenennaam at [email protected].

Alison Van Eenennaam
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-7942
[email protected]

back to top ^

Journal Spotlights Health and Safety Research

Six campus research projects that focus on reducing illnesses and injuries in agriculture are featured in the July issue of the “Journal for Agricultural Safety and Health.” The projects, conducted by researchers affiliated with the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, reflect the goal of translating research into practice.

Issues addressed include:

  • providing teenage agricultural workers with health and safety information
  • agricultural dust and pulmonary health
  • concentrated animal-feeding operations
  • stooped labor and back disorders
  • community participation in health and safety research
  • health survey of California agricultural workers

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety was founded in 1990 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It is one of nine agricultural health and safety centers established in the United States to improve the health and safety of the nation's farmers, farmworkers, and farm family members.

Marc Schenker
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-5676
[email protected]

back to top ^

Jared Diamond to Deliver Keynote at Symposium

Noted evolutionary biologist and author Jared Diamond will deliver the opening keynote address at an international symposium on agricultural biodiversity to be held on campus September 14–18. Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA and author of the books "Collapse" and "Guns, Germs, and Steel." He will discuss the role that chance or destiny play in the local origins of agriculture. The symposium is open to the public, but preregistration is required.

Also presenting a keynote speech to the international gathering of scientists will be Gary Nabhan, an ecologist and expert on how different cultures use plants, as well as a pioneer in the local food movement. Nabhan, a professor at the University of Arizona's Southwest Center, will speak about the origins of food diversity on September 16.

The symposium is coordinated by the departments of Animal Science, Plant Sciences, Anthropology, and Human and Community Development, as well as the UC Genetic Resources Conservation Program, with guidance from an international advisory committee. More information and registration is available online at

Pat Bailey
News Service
(530) 752-9843
[email protected]

back to top ^

Plant Breeding Academy

The Plant Breeding Academy, sponsored by the Seed Biotechnology Center, is accepting applications for Class II, which will begin in September 2008. The Plant Breeding Academy is a two-year program designed to meet the needs of working professionals, giving them the tools to manage a breeding program. Meeting for six one-week sessions over two years, the academy’s schedule allows participants to maintain their current working positions. Students from Class I completed instruction in June.

The academy is taught by internationally recognized plant breeders and is limited in size to give students personal attention. Visit the Plant Breeding Academy website for more information and to apply for the 2008-2010 Academy.

Cathy Glaeser
Seed Biotechnology Center
(530) 752-4414
[email protected]

back to top ^

Media Training Workshops: 2008-2009 schedule

University Communications has announced its media training schedule for the 2008–09 academic year, with dates for both regular and advanced media training.

Media Training I
This workshop is recommended for any faculty, administrator, or staff member likely to be called upon to do media interviews. The provost often asks new administrators to attend, and some deans require new department chairs to attend the workshop. Faculty and staff with expertise on hot media topics, and even graduate students and undergraduate student leaders are welcome to enroll.

The full-day interactive session covers the benefits and risks of working with the news media, including strategies for accommodating the differing methods of print and broadcast journalists. Enrollment in Media Training I is limited to eight participants per session. All workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the University Club Conference Center Lounge, unless otherwise noted. The class will be taught by Paul Pfotenhauer, UC Davis News Service broadcast specialist, and Lisa Lapin, assistant vice chancellor for University Communications.

Dates offered include October 9, November 12, January 15, February 11, and May 14.

Advanced Media Training
This three-hour program is for those who have completed the primary media training workshop and are seeking more practice with media interviews and public speaking situations. Topics covered through on-camera exercises will include message development, speaking to a group, and aggressive interviews. The class will be taught by Paul Pfotenhauer, UC Davis News Service broadcast specialist, and Mitchel Benson, News Service director.

Dates offered include December 11, March 12, and April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. For registration, contact Ada McAdow.

Ada McAdow
University Communications
(530) 752-3683
[email protected]

back to top ^

Retirement Readiness

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 in August and September. All sessions are in the Memorial Union, Garrison Room. Topics include:

  • Enrolling in Your UC Retirement Savings Program
  • Determining Your Investment Strategy
  • NetBenefits
  • 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.

Bill Brooks
Benefits Office
(530) 754-5875
[email protected]

back to top ^

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

“Folk Music Jam Session”; Friday, August 22, 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.

“Roses for Central Valley Gardens”; Sunday, August 24, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
Growing roses in the Central Valley doesn’t have to require lots of time or chemical sprays.  Learn about roses that thrive in our climate and discuss the best ways to grow roses in this area during a public tour of the arboretum rose collection.

“Color and Foliage in the Garden”; Sunday, August 31, 10 a.m., Arboretum Terrace Garden, Davis Commons, First Street.
The combination and arrangement of color, form and texture make a significant difference to visual appeal in a garden. Learn about the use of color and foliage to create a garden with year-round interest during a tour of the Terrace Garden.

back to top ^


Centennial Celebration at State Fair: August 15–September 1, 2008

The campus kicks off its centennial celebration at a California State Fair exhibit called “Dream Big.” The exhibit, which fills a 6,000-square-foot pavilion, showcases the development of the campus from a farm school to a dynamic university for the arts and sciences, recognized worldwide for education and research in agriculture, health care, the environment, alternative energy, and global understanding. The state fair runs at Cal Expo in Sacramento from August 15 through Labor Day, September 1.

Mitchel Benson
UC Davis News Service
(530) 752-9844
[email protected]

back to top ^

Dry Bean Field Production Meeting: August 21, 2008

The annual Dry Bean Field Day will be held on Thursday, August 21, 2008, from 9 a.m. to noon in the fields across from the Bee Biology Center on Olive Lane, visible from the ANR Building. Several speakers will cover topics that include IPM dry bean guidelines, common bean breeding, and initiation of legume-intensive, reduced-till systems. A barbecue lunch sponsored by the Dry Bean Advisory Board, the Department of Plant Sciences, and Tarke and Colusa Produce will conclude the meeting.

For more information, visit

Janice Corner
Agronomy Research and Information Center
(530) 752-7091
[email protected]

back to top ^

John Harris Reception: August 27, 2008


UC Davis alumni and friends are invited to a California State Fair reception honoring distinguished alumnus John Harris, ’65. Harris is owner of the famous Harris Ranch Restaurant and Inn located on Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to running one of California’s largest beef feeding and processing plants, he oversees a thoroughbred breeding and training farm.

The reception honoring Harris, hosted by the Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) and the California State Fair board of directors, will be held Wednesday, August 27, 2008, at the Cal Expo Racing Clubhouse from 4 to 6 p.m. The cost is $15 for CAAA members and $20 for non-members. Prices include a ticket to the California State Fair. R.S.V.P. for this event at

Jennifer Thayer
Cal Aggie Alumni Association
(530) 754-9098
[email protected]

back to top ^

Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology: September 8–11, 2008

The 2008 Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology (SITT) offers opportunities for faculty to explore new approaches and try out new tools for teaching in computer classrooms. For more information or to sign up for SITT, please visit

Andy Jones
Teaching Resources Center
(530) 752-6050
[email protected]

back to top ^

Aquatic Weed School: September 16–17, 2008

Professionals involved in consulting, research, and management of aquatic weed systems throughout the western United States are invited to attend the Aquatic Weed School 2008. The intensive two-day course will meet September 16–17 on campus at the Bowley Plant Sciences Teaching Center.

The weed school will focus on issues associated with developing weed management strategies in a variety of aquatic ecosystems. The course covers ecological classification, biology and impacts of aquatic weeds, physical and mechanical control methods, biological and chemical controls, and surfactants. Water management, and restoration and sustainable ecosystem management are also covered.

Registration is $375 for payment received by September 1, $400 for payment received after September 1. The registration fee includes a comprehensive notebook, as well as lunch and light refreshments each day. Class size is limited, so early enrollment is suggested. No walk-in registrations accepted.

For an agenda and more information, visit

Gale Perez
Weed Research and Information Center
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]

back to top ^

Good Life Garden Event: September 27, 2008

The UC Davis Good Life Garden will host its debut event at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 27. It will feature David Howard, who was Prince Charles' former head gardener and is one of the world's foremost experts on organic and sustainable horticulture. Howard will discuss the gardens at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, the private residence of the Prince of Wales. Also featured will be author Ethne Clark, discussing the evolution of the kitchen garden from the late medieval period to the 19th century, as well as local author Georgeanne Brennan, a cooking school owner and "slow food" advocate.

A "Taste of the Region" sampling of local artisanal products will be available, including heirloom tomatoes, caviar, handcrafted cheeses, smoked fish, breads, preserves, and wine. Tickets are $75 per person. For ticket information, contact event coordinator Kira O’Donnell.

The Robert Mondavi Institute's Good Life Garden celebrates the relationship between good food and good health by linking the culinary arts, nutrition, and wine and food sciences in an academic setting. It will offer year-round public events, workshops, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

Kira O'Donnell
Event Coordinator
(916) 705-9621
[email protected]

back to top ^

Centennial Fall Festival: October 10–15, 2008

Save the date for Fall Festival activities. On Friday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science will hold its grand opening. The ceremonial groundbreaking of the Teaching and Research Winery and the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory will take place at the corner of Beau Vine Lane and Old Davis Road near the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. On Friday, October 10, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., CA&ES will hold the annual College Celebration, which celebrates the accomplishments of our college and honors the contributions of selected individuals with the Award of Distinction. Find updates and information about other Fall Festival activities on the centennial website at

back to top ^


Foods for Health Centennial Symposium: November 16–18, 2008

Save the date for “Foods for Health in the 21st Century: A Roadmap for the Future,” a centennial conference to be held November 16–18, 2008, at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The UC Davis Foods for Health Institute is organizing the event, in collaboration with Innovation Center Denmark/Silicon Valley, the Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation, and scientists from the Centre for Advanced Food Studies, a Danish research consortium. The international conference will highlight research at the UC Davis campus and develop a scientific roadmap for the next decade and beyond, including an analysis of how the evolving global economy will affect the future directions of nutrition and human health. 

Additional conference details will follow in coming weeks.

Melanie Funes
Foods for Health Institute
(530) 752-9211
[email protected]

back to top ^

Local Food Systems Symposium: December 2–3, 2008

Save the date for a two-day symposium on local food systems sponsored by multiple campus affiliates. The symposium will meet at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center at 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 2, and conclude at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 3. It is sponsored by the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP), the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI), and UC ANR North Coast and Mountain Region.

Cooperative Extension personnel, researchers, administrators, government agencies, nonprofits, farmers, and community participants are invited to learn about new county and regional food systems activities. A preliminary program and registration form will be available on the symposium website in late September (

Gail Feenstra
(530) 752-8408
[email protected]

back to top ^



*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Visit CA&ES Currents online at

CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published the second Thursday of each month.

News deadline is noon Monday preceding Thursday publication. Send news items to editor, [email protected].

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Elisabeth Kauffman, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

To be added to or deleted from this electronic newsletter list, please send an e-mail to: [email protected].

The University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures, or practices.
The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.


Student News

Helping hands

Apr 16, 2018 Student volunteers serve the community in Monterey County

Student News - More Student News…
Research News

UC Davis Receives Unique, $1.5 Million Gift from Aggie Couple

Jul 07, 2016 Michael and Joelle Hurlston have pledged $1.5 million to endow a first-of-its-kind chair position.

Research News - More Research News…
Outreach News

Summer Internships

Jul 28, 2015 CA&ES students and Salinas Valley employers find common ground.

Outreach News - More Outreach News…