CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

July 14, 2011

May 22, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Budget Update

The resolution of the state's budget has resulted in additional budget decreases for the university for the fiscal year 2011–12, so I’d like to provide an update on our college's budget. I recently received a letter from Provost Hexter providing information on how the administration will work with our college to address our particular challenges. We are still analyzing our budget situation after receiving the letter, and there are some plans that must be submitted to the provost before final approval is given to the budget, but the letter clearly shows that the administration is helping us address our challenges.

The key points are:

  • We have been given authority to recruit a generous number of faculty members each year for the next four years.
  • We have received financial help from the provost both to recruit these faculty members and to bridge a portion of this year’s budget cuts until we can grow again.

The chancellor and provost have sent us a strong message that they will help us retain the very high quality of our programs. It is clear that changes in the funding structure of all colleges, including ours, will be part of the future, but I was pleased to learn from this budget letter that the administration has been listening to our requests for help in maintaining the excellence 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] 



James Carey and Diane Ullman: Entomological Society of America Fellows


Professors James Carey and Diane Ullman of the Department of Entomology are newly elected fellows of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), an honor awarded annually to no more than 10 outstanding entomologists from the 6000-member global society. This year the ESA Governing Board selected 10 fellows—five from the UC system—for their outstanding contributions in one or more of the following categories:  research, teaching, extension, or administration. The new fellows will be inducted at the ESA's 59th Annual Meeting, to be held in November in Reno, Nevada.

Carey, who joined UC Davis in 1980, is considered the world’s foremost authority on arthropod demography. His landmark paper on “slowing of mortality at older ages,” published in “Science” in 1992 and cited more than 350 times, keys in on his seminal discovery that mortality slows at advanced ages. Carey is also considered one of the world’s authorities on the demography and invasion biology of tephritid fruit flies, particularly the Mediterranean fruit fly.


Ullman, who joined UC Davis in 1995, serves as CA&ES associate dean for undergraduate academic programs. She also cofounded and codirects the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. Ullman’s research revolves around insects that transmit plant pathogens, in particular plant viruses. Her research contributions have played a fundamental role in developing novel strategies for management of insects and plant viruses, ranging from use of induced resistance to RNA interference. (Photos by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jim Carey
(530) 752-6217
[email protected]

Diane Ullman
(530) 752-7150
[email protected] 

Zhe Chen: Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science


Professor Zhe Chen, chair of the Department of Human and Community Development, is a newly elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. To become an APS fellow, members must have made sustained outstanding contributions to the science of psychology in the areas of research, teaching, and/or application. Chen does research that focuses on children’s thinking and learning processes, yielding new insights into cognition that can be applied to classroom instruction. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1999.

Zhe Chen
(530) 754-6750
[email protected]

Gitta Coaker: National Science Foundation Early CAREER Development Award


Professor Gitta Coaker of the Department of Plant Pathology was given a five-year $975,305 Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation to support research and science education related to plants’ innate immune responses. The award will fund Coaker’s research on proteins involved in the disease-fighting immune responses of plants, an area of research that is key to increasing global food production. The grant also will contribute to related science education at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.

The CAREER award is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars.

Gitta Coaker
(530) 752-6541
[email protected] 

Jorge Dubcovsky:  Plant Biology Fellowship Award


Plant sciences professor Jorge Dubcovsky is one of two plant biologists at UC Davis among the first-ever class of HHMI-GBMF Investigators, funded jointly by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Wheat geneticist Dubcovsky and Simon Chan, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Biology, are among 15 recipients nationwide of the new awards program, to be supported with $75 million from the two organizations over the next five years.

Like the other fellows, Dubcovsky’s award will cover his salary and benefits for five years plus provide funds for equipment, lab space, and other research needs, freeing him from the time-consuming task of seeking grants. Dubcovsky’s work, as with all the HHMI-GBMR award-winners, is designed to help avert a looming global food crisis. The Dubcovsky lab has been at the forefront in developing genetic resources for improving the yield, disease-resistance, and nutrition of wheat, one of the most widely grown cereal crops on the planet.

Jorge Dubcovsky
(530) 752-5159
[email protected] 

Amanda Guyer: William T. Grant Scholars and Social Sciences Innovation Award


Amanda Guyer, a professor in the Department of Human and Community Development and a research psychologist with the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, was named one of five early-career researchers to receive a William T. Grant Scholars award in 2011. The scholars program of the William T. Grant Foundation supports the professional development of highly promising early-career researchers in the social and behavioral sciences. Guyer will receive a $350,000 grant over a five-year period to support her research using neuroimaging to examine issues related to parenting, peer influences, brain function, and substance use in adolescents.

In addition, Guyer has been named a recipient of the Social Sciences Dean’s Innovation Award for 2011 from the UC Davis College of Letters and Science. The $1,000 research award is for Academic Senate or Academic Federation scholars whose recent work demonstrates exceptional innovation in research and scholarship.

Amanda Guyer
(530) 297-4445
[email protected] 


Jonathan London: Natural Resources Research Group Award of Merit


Professor Jonathan London of the Department of Human and Community Development received the 2011 Award of Merit for the Natural Resources Research Group (NRRG) of the Rural Sociological Society. Each year, the NRRG Award of Merit is presented to recognize exceptional contributions to the sociology of natural resources. The award may be given in recognition of a collective body of work, or in recognition of a particularly significant single piece of work. Recipients are honored for outstanding research and scholarship, outstanding applied sociological work, such as work with a natural resources agency, and other contributions to the NRRG or sociology of natural resources. This year, the NRRG commended London for being both a traditional scholar and an active contributor to social justice.

As director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, London conducts research on rural community development and environmental justice (

Jonathan London
(530) 752-2733
[email protected] 

Brenda Nakamoto: "Peach Farmer's Daughter"


Brenda Nakamoto, a longtime staff person in the CA&ES Dean’s Office, has published a book called “Peach Farmer’s Daughter” about her childhood as a sansei (third-generation Japanese-American) growing up on a peach farm in Gridley, California. The engaging essays and poems focus on family, the land, farming, and the ethnic melting pot of the Central Valley. Nakamoto weaves the stories with illustrations, including yellowed color snapshots of life in the orchards.

Nakamoto and her book were featured on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight” in a recent interview with Jeffrey Callison. To view Nakamoto reading a passage from “Peach Farmer’s Daughter” on YouTube, visit Nakamoto also has plans to do a reading from her book in early August at the Davis Food Coop, date and time to be determined.

Brenda Nakamoto
(530) 752-1606
[email protected] 

William Ristenpart: National Science Foundation Early CAREER Development Award


The National Science Foundation has given an Early Career Development (CAREER) award to chemical engineer William Ristenpart, an assistant professor who has appointments in both the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Ristenpart uses high-speed video and electrochemical measurements to answer fundamental questions about electrically charged droplets in liquids. His work could have applications in a number of fields, including petroleum and food-oil processing, meteorology, and the manufacture of microchips. Ristenpart will be awarded $420,000 over five years to support his research.

The CAREER award is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars.

William Ristenpart
(530) 752-8780
[email protected] 

R. Paul Singh and R. Larry Merson: Food Engineering Life Achievement Awards


The International Association of Engineering and Food honored Distinguished Professor R. Paul Singh and Professor Emeritus R. Larry Merson with Life Achievement Awards at the 11th International Congress on Engineering and Food held in Athens, Greece in late May. The IAEF Life Achievement Award recognizes long-serving experts for their lifelong contribution and international impact on the progress of food engineering. The association honored 25 food engineers with the Life Achievement Award for work that has revolutionized the way the food industry approaches the processing, packaging, and assembling of food products.

Food engineer Singh holds a dual appointment in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and in the Department of Food Science and Technology. The IAEF honored Singh for advancing the application of mathematical techniques for quantitative understanding of physical changes important in food processing and for being a world leader in food engineering education.

Merson is retired from the Department of Food Science and Technology and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He was lauded for mentoring young food engineers and for pioneering the development of membrane processing (reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration) in food processing applications, including widespread demonstration of the value of membrane operations in processing and byproduct recovery in the food industry.

R. Paul Singh
(530) 752-0811
[email protected]

R. Larry Merson
(530) 400-1603
[email protected]

James Wilen: Publication of Enduring Quality Award


Professor James Wilen, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, was honored at the recent inaugural meeting of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) in Seattle. Wilen’s publication, co-authored with Frances Homans (University of Minnesota), was selected as AERE’s Publication of Enduring Quality for 2010. The Publication of Enduring Quality award is given annually for a paper judged to have seminal value and a lasting impact on the profession.

Entitled “A Model of Regulated Open Access Resource Use,” the paper appeared in the “Journal of Environmental Economics and Management” in 1997, and it showed how the dynamics of resource exploitation are driven by the interplay between biological mechanisms, economic incentives, and regulatory behavior. Nominees noted that the paper turned “discussion of fisheries policy on its head, directing attention away from biology and toward the main driver of the status of fisheries, economic incentives operating within a regulatory framework.” The award applauded the paper for “surprising conclusions that change the prevailing view, together with an elegant explanation for the mechanisms at work that lead to new views about important policy issues.”

Jim Wilen
(530) 752-6093 
[email protected]





CalAgrAbility Publication Wins Educational Award

A UC Davis California AgrAbility outreach publication will be given a 2011 Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Produced in collaboration with National AgrAbility at Purdue University, the publication is titled “¿Podrá ser la artritis lo que me causa dolor?” (Could Arthritis be Causing my Pain? Information for People Farming with Joint Pain). UC Davis CalAgrAbility director Martha Stiles and Esmeralda Mandujano, a community health program representative in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, are among seven authors on the award-winning publication who will be honored at the annual ASABE meeting, to be held in August in Louisville, Kentucky.

CalAgrAbility, a non-profit collaboration between the UC Davis Farm Safety Project and the California Superior Arthritis Foundation, helps people continue to work in agriculture who have permanent conditions or injuries that hinder their ability to work on farms.

Martha Stiles
(530) 752-2606
[email protected]

Esmeralda Madujano
[email protected]

State Fair honors UC Davis Contributions to Wine Industry

The California State Fair awarded UC Davis a 2011 Wine Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to viticulture and enology at an opening gala held on July 8. UC Davis shared the honor with counterparts Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Fresno in recognition for enduring contributions and advancement of the California wine industry.

In addition, UC Davis was honored in association with To Kalon Vineyards in Oakville, a part of Napa Valley, which was named 2011 Vineyard of the Year. UC Davis is a partial owner of the vineyard, with 20 acres dedicated to viticulture and enology research, along with the Robert Mondavi Winery, which owns 250 acres and Andy Beckstoffer, owner of 89 acres. The Vineyard of the Year Award recognizes a California vineyard that has consistently produced grapes leading to wine of superior quality and marketability within commercial sales systems and among fine wine judging.

David Block
Department of Viticulture and Enology
(530) 754-6046
[email protected] 



Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “Plants of the Redwood Ecosystem”
    Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Learn about California’s iconic redwoods during a free guided tour that introduces the complex and fascinating ecosystem of the redwood forest.
  • “Folk Music Jam Session”
    Friday July 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 of the Storer Garden”
    Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
    Join a guided tour of the Storer Garden, with roses chosen for their suitability to Central Valley conditions.  The tour leader will discuss the history and geography of wild roses leading up to today’s cultivated varieties.




Bamforth Beer Lecture: July 21, 2011

“The Bounty, Beauty, and Benefits of Beer” will be presented by Charlie Bamforth at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences on July 21 at 6 p.m. Bamforth is the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and his talk is presented  by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. A no-host bar and beer tasting begins at 5:30 p.m., and a $10 donation is requested. Attendees must be age 21 or older.

The center is located at 291 Country Club Drive in Incline Village, Nevada. For more information, visit

Charlie Bamforth
(530) 752-9476
[email protected] 


Rosenberg Cheese Lecture: August 11, 2011

“The Science of Cheese” will be presented by Moshe Rosenberg at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences on August 11 at 6 p.m. Rosenberg, a professor and Cooperative Extension dairy engineering specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology, will uncover many of the basic scientific underpinnings of cheesemaking, including the roles of coagulating factors like acid and rennet, the process behind processed cheese, what makes stinky cheeses stinky, and other fun facts. His talk is presented by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. The center is located at 291 Country Club Drive in Incline Village, Nevada.

Moshe Rosenberg
(530) 752-4682
[email protected]



Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation Classes: August 19, 2011

The UC Davis Olive Center, in partnership with the California Olive Oil Council, will offer two olive oil sensory evaluation classes on August 19 in Paso Robles during the Paso Robles Olive Festival.

Nicole Sturzenberger
(530) 754-9301
[email protected]

Weed Science School: August 30–September 1

A weed science short course will be held August 30–September 1 at the Bowley Plant Science Teaching Center. 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. This course is designed for working professionals involved in consulting, research development, or sales of agricultural chemicals. Emphasis is on herbicides registered for use in California and important weeds within the state.

Registration is $650 (if received by August 15) or $750 (after August 15). For more information and registration, visit

Gale Perez
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 752-1748
[email protected]

Fresh-cut Products Workshop: September 13–15, 2011

The 16th annual Fresh-cut Products workshop, “Maintaining Quality and Safety Workshop,” will be held September 13–15 at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The short course will provide an overview of many issues affecting the freshness, nutrition, and safety of fresh-cut products. 

In 2011, along with all the traditional topics, more emphasis will be placed on sensory evaluation of fresh-cut fruit and vegetable products, with sessions on the principles of sensory testing and practical sensory demonstrations. Enrollment costs $1,050, and includes instruction, course materials, lunches, and break refreshments.  For registration or more information, visit

Penny Stockdale
Postharvest Technology Center
[email protected]
(530) 752-7672 

College Celebration: October 14, 2011

Mark your calendars for the CA&ES College Celebration at Freeborn Hall on Friday, October 14. The event is held at harvest time each year to celebrate the accomplishments of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and to honor outstanding individuals with the Award of Distinction. After the awards ceremony, there will be a reception featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres, beer, and California wines. The evening culminates with attendees helping themselves to a bag of produce and grains from the farmers market display.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-2120
[email protected] 

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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, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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