CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

January 15, 2009

May 27, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean




A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Celebrating New and Renovated Facilities

Our college has had many opportunities to celebrate the opening of buildings on campus that have been constructed or renovated for our use. Last week, the Department of Environmental Design hosted one of the most eagerly anticipated celebrations in recent college history—the opening of the newly remodeled first floor of Hunt Hall, which will accommodate the Landscape Architecture Program and the Center for Regional Change.

With the completed renovation of Hunt Hall—originally built in 1948—Landscape Architecture finally has modern facilities that can accommodate the popular program. The program has been a transient occupant of a number of different buildings both on and off campus since its establishment in 1981. Mostly recently, it has been housed in Walker Hall and the temporary “huts” west of Walker Hall. The remodel of the first floor of Hunt Hall has created enticing and functional design studios and workspace for the Department of Environmental Design. I saw lots of smiles during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Next month, we will celebrate the opening of the Contained Research Facility on West Campus, designed for research on invasive agricultural pests. Our college is coming closer to achieving our goal of having each of our departments housed in facilities that reflect their outstanding quality.
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]




Valerie Eviner and Zhongli Pan: Presidential Early Career Awards


Two CA&ES faculty have been presented with Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor for professionals in the early stage of their independent scientific research careers. Valerie Eviner, a rangeland ecology professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, and Zhongli Pan, an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, along with 65 other researchers from throughout the United States, received the awards during special ceremonies held in December in Washington, D.C.


Eviner and Pan, both selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, were among seven University of California researchers to receive these awards. The Presidential Early Career Awards were established in 1996 to honor the most promising researchers in the United States within their individual fields.

Valerie Eviner, 36, joined the plant sciences faculty in 2006. She applies her understanding of plant-soil interactions toward improving management of various ecosystems. She currently leads a USDA-funded project focused on better understanding the role of plant seedling dynamics in rangeland ecosystems. She is the youngest scientist ever nominated by the USDA for this award.


Zhongli Pan, 47, has been a member of the UC Davis faculty since 1995. He also serves as a research engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ARS Western Regional Research Center. His research focuses on enhancing the value of agricultural products—as well as better ensuring food quality and safety—by improving postharvest processing technologies. One of his current research projects is directed at developing infrared radiation heating technology for drying, blanching, disinfecting, and removing pests from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. He also studies rice milling and new uses for the byproducts of rice processing.

Valerie Eviner
(530) 752-8538
[email protected]

Zhongli Pan
(530) 752-4367
[email protected]


James Seiber: Food Science and Technology Chair


Professor Emeritus James Seiber returns to campus as the new chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology. Seiber is a former chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology and a former associate dean for the college. He also served as the first director of the University Center for Environmental Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1992 to 1998. Subsequently, he was director of the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. His research area is chemical contaminant analysis, transport, and environmental fate.

Seiber replaces outgoing department chair, Professor Charlie Bamforth, who holds the Anheuser-Busch Professorship in Brewing Sciences and returns to his research and teaching duties after his service to the department.

James Seiber
(530) 752-1465
[email protected]


Judith Stern and Venkatesan Sundaresan: AAAS Fellows


Two CA&ES faculty are among the six UC Davis faculty members newly named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The rank is conferred on AAAS members for their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

Judith Stern, nutrition and internal medicine professor and a member of the Institute of Medicine, is one of the nation’s leading experts on weight management. She has published extensively on nutrition, obesity, and the effect of exercise on appetite and metabolism. Her efforts to move research findings beyond the laboratory have led to new health policy, particularly in the area of obesity and public awareness of nutrition's importance. Stern was elected a fellow of the AAAS in recognition of her contributions to the field of nutrition, research on obesity and diabetes, and efforts to communicate science to the public.


Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, who has a dual appointment with the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Plant Sciences, was recognized by AAAS for his contributions to the field of plant genomics and plant developmental biology, particularly for his work in floral development and reproduction. Sundaresan and his group explore the function and expression of genes in plant genomes, and have developed a strategy that is advancing large-scale analysis of gene function in cereal crops. Knowledge gained from his lab’s research will help control plant reproduction in agricultural applications.

Also named as AAAS Fellows from UC Davis were Shirley Chiang (College of Letters and Science), Paul Luciw (School of Medicine), George Roussas (College of Letters and Science), and David Glenn Smith (College of Letters and Science). The 486 newly elected AAAS fellows will be honored in February at a ceremony in Chicago.

Judith Stern
(530) 752-6575
[email protected]

Venkatesan Sundaresan
(530) 754-9677
[email protected]


Ruihong Zhang and Zhongli Pan: Honored by Chinese Consulate General


The Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco celebrated the 30th anniversary of normalized relations between China and the United States on December 5, 2008. Professor Ruihong Zhang, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Zhongli Pan, an adjunct professor in the same department, were among the more than 100 Chinese scientists and scholars invited to the event.

Ruihong Zhang
(530) 754-9530
[email protected]

Zhongli Pan
(530) 752-4367
[email protected]




Special Issue: Agricultural and Resource Economics Update

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has issued a special edition of ARE Update titled “Causes and Consequences of the Food Price Crisis.” The 24-page November/December 2008 issue includes six articles based on faculty research presented at a symposium at UC Berkeley last October that was convened by the Giannini Foundation and the UC Agricultural Issues Center. The special edition examines several food price issues, and should be of interest to anyone involved in agriculture, trade, international development, and policymaking.

The issue is available in pdf format for downloading at:

Richard Sexton
ARE Update Editor
(530) 752-4428
[email protected] 


August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory


Since the ceremonial groundbreaking on October 10, 2008, the facility formerly known as the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory has already undergone a name change. The campus has approved a new name for the building—the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory. The Anheuser-Busch Foundation, which committed $5 million to the project, requested the change in an effort to recognize August A. Busch III’s long-time contributions to the art of brewing.

The new laboratory will be part of the five-building Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science complex under development on the south edge of campus off Old Davis Road. Three academic buildings opened in the fall of 2008, and two laboratory buildings will open in fall 2010. The August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory will house a food processing pilot plant, a dairy processing facility, and a pilot brewery to be used by the Department of Food Science and Technology for teaching, research, and outreach.

Melissa Haworth
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 754-8562
[email protected]


Environmental Speaker Series

As part of the campus centennial celebration, the departments of Land, Air and Water Resources and Environmental Science and Policy host a winter speaker series titled “UC Davis—Global Leader in Environmental Sciences: Integrating Biophysical Sciences with Ecology and Policy.” The speaker series will showcase the impact of campus environmental research programs and include presentations by successful alumni of the two departments. The series will also highlight the recently-approved new major—Environmental Science and Management—a joint major between the two departments.

Seminars meet on Wednesdays from 4:10 to 5:30 p.m. in 3005 PES from January through early April. Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • January 14, 2009: Dan Dooley, UCOP, “Science in the Real World of Water and Agriculture”
  • January 21, 2009: Dennis Baldocchi, UC Berkeley, “Physics Wins, Biology Is How It’s Done: Biometeorology in the 21st Century”
  • January 28, 2009: Gerard Kluitenberg, Kansas State University, “Groundwater Consumption by Phreatophytes in a Mid-Continent Stream-aquifer System”
  • February 4, 2009: Tom Stohlgren, Colorado State University, “Species Invasions Coast to Coast”
  • February 11, 2009: Jim Elser, Arizona State University, “Biological Stoichiometry: The Ecology and Evolution of Elements on a Changing Earth”
  • February 18, 2009: Jonathan Lynch, Penn State University, “Roots of the Second Green Revolution”
  • February 25, 2009: Tom Dietz, Michigan State University, TBA
  • March 4, 2009: Emilio Bruna, University of Florida, “Plant Demography in Brazil’s Cerrado: Disentangling the Effects of Leaf-cutter Ants, Small Mammals, and Nitrogen Deposition on a Biodiversity Hotspot”
  • March 11, 2009: Juha Siikamäki, Resources for the Future, “Incorporating Economics into Biological Conservation Decisions”
  • March 18, 2009: Wilfried Brutsaert, Cornell University, “Has Global Dimming Caused a Slowdown of the Hydrologic Cycle?”
  • April 1, 2009: Pasquale Steduto, Food and Agriculture Organization, TBA

Jan Hopmans
Chair, Land, Air and Water Resources
(530) 752-3060
[email protected]

Landscape Architecture Seminar Series

The Landscape Architecture Program winter quarter lecture series, entitled "Design as Activism," meets Fridays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 100 Hunt Hall. The series is open to the public.

Dates and topics include:

  • January 16, 2009: “Habits of the Proactive Practitioner”
  • January 23, 2009: “See Me After Class: Commitment Beyond the Classroom”
  • January 30, 2009: “Designing with Humanity: Using Design to Advocate for Change”
  • February 6, 2009: “Engaging Community: Lessons From the Field”
  • February 13, 2009: “Architecture and Social Change”
  • February 20, 2009: “Designing in Partnership with Community”
  • February 27, 2009: “The Pusher: Selling Vision to Communities”
  • March 6, 2009: “Liberatory Urbanism: Approaches to a Practice”
  • March 13, 2009: “Drop City Revisited”

Shannon Tanguay
Department of Environmental Design
(530) 752-1127
[email protected]

WCAHS Monthly Seminar Series

The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety hosts monthly seminars on topics related to agricultural health. The presentations are held from 4 to 5 p.m. in 3201 Hart Hall. Refreshments are provided.

Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • February 2, 2009: “Environmental Exposures Among Farmworkers”
  • March 2, 2009: “Immigration”
  • April 6, 2009: “CHAMACOS: A Community/University Partnership to Assess Environmental Exposures and Their Health Effects on Young Children”

Sandra Freeland
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-5253
[email protected]

Entomology Seminar Series

The Department of Entomology hosts a series of noon seminars that meet every Wednesday through March 11 from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in Briggs Hall. The talks are open to the public.

Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • January 21, 2009: “The Role of Fungi in Bark Beetle-Fungus Symbioses: A Challenge to the Classic Paradigm”
  • January 28, 2009: “Farmscape Ecology and Insect Pest Management”
  • February 4, 2009: “The Ants of Fiji: Systematics, Biogeography and Conservation of a Fragmented Island Arc Fauna”
  • February 11, 2009: “The Combined Effects of Mutualism and Predation on Community Structure”
  • February 18, 2009: “Patterns of Diversity in Southern California Beetles”
  • February 25, 2009: “Midge Madness! Quantifying Linkages Between Lake and Land”
  • March 4, 2009: “But Do We Shoot the Driver? Meeting New Challenges in Detecting Agents of Harm by Using Old Entomological Knowledge”
  • March 11, 2009: TBA

Kathy Keatley Garvey
Department of Entomology
(530) 754-6894
[email protected]

Call for Nominations: Student Prizes and Awards

Nominations are being accepted by the CA&ES Dean’s Office for the Charles Hess Community Service Awards and the Mary Regan Meyer Prize. Eligible to be nominated are outstanding graduating seniors from the September ’08, December ’08, March ’09, and June ’09 degree lists. The deadline for nominations is January 20, 2009.

The Charles Hess Community Service Awards are intended to recognize and encourage more students to become involved in public/community service activities while in college. Nomination criteria include 1) a graduating senior with the most noteworthy record of public/community service while at UC Davis, 2) demonstrated expertise and an interest in serving humanity, and 3) volunteering in the university and/or community. A plaque and $2,500 will be awarded to an outstanding male and female recipient.

The Mary Regan Meyer Prize goes to an outstanding graduate in the college who best meets the following criteria: 1) a graduating senior with an outstanding record, 2) demonstrated expertise and an interest in serving humanity, 3) interest and intention to embark on post-baccalaureate graduate or professional level education, and 4) broad intellectual interest as indicated in both course work and activities. One to three awards of $1,000 to $1,500 will be presented.

To nominate an outstanding student for any of these awards, please send your nominee’s full name, name of major, and student identification number to Lorraine Bowlin. All nominees will be contacted by the CA&ES Dean’s Office and asked to provide a biographical statement and two letters of recommendation.

Lorraine Bowlin
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-4491
[email protected]

Distinguished Teaching Award: Call for Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the 2008–09 Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. All nominations must be submitted electronically to the Academic Senate office by 5 p.m., Friday, January 16, 2009. There are two separate categories:

  • Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching
  • Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching

Nominations must clearly designate the appropriate category and are sought from any member of the academic community: students, faculty, staff, alumni. Successful nominations provide the perspective of both students and faculty.

The nomination form and information regarding the required contents of nomination packets is available at

Nancy Kilpatrick
Academic Senate Office
(530) 752-2220
[email protected]

Charles P. Nash Prize: Call for Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the Charles P. Nash Prize, awarded annually to a member of the UC Davis Academic Senate, the Davis Faculty Association, or the Academic Federation, whose actions demonstrate an exceptional and extended commitment to shared governance and/or promoting faculty interests by ensuring equitable treatment of faculty. In the spirit of Charlie Nash, such activity must be above and beyond normal committee assignments or academic obligations. Any member of the campus community can submit a nomination.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. on Friday, February 6, 2009. All nominations must be submitted electronically to Nancy Kilpatrick in the Academic Senate office at [email protected]. Information on the nomination process is available at

Nancy Kilpatrick
Academic Senate Office
(530) 752-2220
[email protected]


Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

“Folk Music Jam Session”; Friday, January 23, 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.

“Simple Secrets for Great Container Gardening”; Saturday, January 31, 11 a.m., Arboretum Terrace Garden, Davis Commons, First Street.
Learn about container gardening during a tour of the Arboretum Terrace Garden, which is next to Borders Books and Music. The tour guide will discuss planting in multiple layers and grouping a variety of containers of different types and sizes to create depth and density.



Environmental Justice Seminar: January 21, 2009

An environmental justice seminar titled “Mapped Out of Local Democracy: Exclusion and Environmental Justice at the Urban Fringe” will be presented from noon to 2 p.m. in the De Carli Room of the Memorial Union on Wednesday, January 21. The free talk, open to the public, will be given by Professor Michelle Wilde Anderson of the UC Berkeley School of Law. The seminar is sponsored by the UC Davis Environmental Justice Project, the Center for Regional Change, and the School of Law. For more information, visit

Sharon Ruth
John Muir Institute of the Environment
[email protected] 

Plant Sciences Combined Continuing Conference: January 28, 2009

“Enhancing the Connection between Research and Extension” will be the theme of the 2009 Plant Sciences Combined Continuing Conference to be held Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at Freeborn Hall. The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m.

For registration information, visit

Sue DiTomaso
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 752-9799
[email protected]

“The California Gold Rush: What We Ate”: January 31, 2009


A dinner event that blends food and history in celebration of the 160th anniversary of the California Gold Rush of 1849 will be held on Saturday, January 31, at 6 p.m. in the Roundhouse of the California State Railroad Museum. Coordinated by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the California State Parks, the event is open to the public, with tickets costing $75 per person.

The speakers include local Gold Rush historian James Henley, who will speak about James Marshall's discovery of gold at the American River in Coloma, and nationally recognized food historian Ann Chandonnet, author of "Gold Rush Grub: From Turpentine Stew to Hoochinoo."

Talks will be followed by a three-course, historically accurate meal, showcasing dishes consumed by the miners and denizens of California's Mother Lode. Included will be a "California Common" beer, an American beer produced in California for the first time during the Gold Rush. The commemorative beer will be freshly brewed by the UC Davis brewing program, in collaboration with Sacramento's Brew It Up. Also served will be Boudin bread from San Francisco's first sourdough bread bakery, established in 1849, and wines by Barton & Guestier, which produced some of the first imported French wines to arrive in California during the Gold Rush.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the UC Davis Good Life Garden, located within the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

To reserve tickets for "The California Gold Rush: What We Ate" and obtain more information about the Good Life Garden, visit

Kira O'Donnell
Good Life Garden
(530) 681-6412
[email protected]


Food and Health Entrepreneurship Academy: February 23–27, 2009


The Food and Health Entrepreneurship Academy, co-sponsored by the UC Davis Foods for Health Institute and the Center for Entrepreneurship, is an intensive one-week program designed for science and engineering Ph.D. students, postdocs, and research faculty in the fields of nutrition, viticulture and enology, plant science, biochemistry, nutritional genomics, and fields relevant to foods for health. The conference will meet at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center from Monday, February 23 through Friday, February 27.

For more information, visit

Nicole Starsinic
Associate Director
Center for Entrepreneurship
(530) 574-6531
[email protected]


Tasting Histories Conference: February 27–March 1, 2009

“Tasting Histories: Food and Drink Cultures Through the Ages” will meet Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1 at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Sponsored by RMI and the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the conference will bring together scholars, research scientists, growers, and farmers in a three-day study of food, wine, and culture.

The program is available at:

Jennifer Langdon
Humanities Institute
(530) 754-0331
[email protected]


California Small Farm Conference: March 1–3, 2009

The state’s annual gathering of small farmers and their supporters will be held Sunday, March 1 through Tuesday, March 3 in Sacramento. The 2009 California Small Farm Conference includes 25 workshops related to farm transitions, production, marketing, equipment, and other topics. Optional tours on the first day of the conference highlight cherry production and risk management, urban agriculture, small-scale livestock, regional marketing, transitioning to organic, and farmers market innovations. Featured speakers include Thaddeus and Moyra Barsotti, Capay Valley farmers; Ann Evans, Davis food and agriculture writer/community leader; and A. G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The UC Small Farm Program is an organizing sponsor of the conference, which will also include speakers from UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension, and UC Berkeley.

The discounted early registration for the three-day conference ends January 16. Scholarships are available for students, farmers, and farmers market managers. The application deadline for scholarships has been extended to January 22.

To register or for more information, visit

Brenda Dawson
UC Small Farm Program
(530) 752-7849
[email protected] 


Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day: March 6–7, 2009

CA&ES hosts the annual Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day on Friday and Saturday, March 6–7. This field day is open to high school students involved in FFA or 4-H from California and surrounding states. Approximately 3,000 high school students come to campus to compete in 26 contests that range from livestock judging to agriculture computer applications. UC Davis students from a variety of majors coordinate the contests. CA&ES faculty and staff serve as advisors for these contests. Volunteers are still needed to serve as judges for several contests (no experience necessary).

Ali Zike
2009 Field Day Coordinator
(530) 752-4939
[email protected]


UC Davis Wine Executive Program: March 8–12, 2009


The ninth annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program, “Blending the Business and Science of Winemaking,” meets March 8–12 in Sacramento. Sponsored by the Graduate
School of Management and the Department of Viticulture and Enology, the conference will present an intensive program on winemaking and management skills for wine industry professionals.

Register by January 26, 2009, for early-bird discount. For more information, visit

Diana Vail
Graduate School of Management
UC Davis Wine Executive Program
(530) 754-6450
[email protected]


Seed Biology, Production and Quality: March 25–26, 2009

A two-day course in “Seed Biology, Production, and Quality” will meet March 25–26 at the Bowley Plant Sciences Teaching Center on Extension Center Drive. Presented by Professor Kent Bradford, director of the Seed Biotechnology Center, the course covers the scientific background for production, handling, storage, and quality control procedures in the seed industry. It provides an opportunity for seed industry professionals, seed control officials, as well as crop growers and consultants, to expand and update their knowledge about seed biology, production, and quality. The class is a partnership between the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center and UC Davis Extension.

For registration and more information, visit

Sue DiTomaso
Seed Biotechnology Center
(530) 754-7333
[email protected]

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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

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