CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

September 15, 2011

May 22, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Fall Optimism

One of the most exciting times of the year for everyone associated with a university is the beginning of a new academic year. Students return to campus full of energy, excitement, and optimism that is contagious, and their enthusiasm helps us endure some of the more challenging aspects of the first few weeks of the new quarter.

Perhaps I’m buoyed by the optimism of our students, but I sense the most vexing challenges that our college has been working through are nearing resolution. Implementation of our painful budget plan is progressing well. In response to our plan for maintaining the excellence of our departments during a period of rapid faculty turnover, the provost has authorized the college to release at least 12 faculty positions each year for recruitment for the next four years. We have a few more details to finalize before we begin recruiting this year, but it is wonderful that the campus recognizes our demographic crisis and is willing, in very challenging budget times, to help us maintain excellence. As these new faculty members join our departments, they too will bring new energy to our college.

The provost has also assisted the college in expanding our fundraising activities; three new major gift directors have joined our College Advancement Team. This team was remarkably successful in helping the college lead the campus—by a large margin—in raising philanthropic gifts last year. Our college raised $36 million last year to help our departments and faculty continue their educational, research and extension activities.  Although these are challenging times, our college is doing well.

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] 


Themis Michailides: American Phytopathological Society Fellow


Themis Michailides, a plant pathologist at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, was named a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) at the society’s annual meeting, held last month in Honolulu. The APS honored nine new fellows in recognition of distinguished contributions to plant pathology.

Michailides conducts research on fruit and nut crop diseases. He is a leading authority in fungal fruit tree pathology and is internationally recognized for his innovative ecological, epidemiological, and disease-management studies of devastating diseases of fruit and nut crops. His methods have been adopted by national and international private laboratories to predict disease risks. In addition to his applied research program, Michailides has made major contributions to fundamental plant pathology.

Themis Michailides
(559) 646-6546
[email protected] 

David Neale and Jorge Dubcovsky: USDA Secretary’s Honor Award


Two sustainable agricultural projects led by plant sciences faculty have received a 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honor Award, designed to recognize exceptional leadership in the science, public policy, and management needed to guide a rapidly evolving food and agricultural system. The Secretary’s Honor Award is the most prestigious award given by the U.S. Secretary of the Agriculture.

Professor David Neale and his “Conifer Translational Genomics Network Coordinated Agricultural Project” team, as well as Professor Jorge Dubcovsky and the “Barley, Wheat, Potato, and Tomato Coordinated Agricultural Projects” team, were selected in the category “helping America promote sustainable agricultural production and biotechnology exports as America works to increase food security.”


The “Conifer Translational Genomics Network Coordinated Agricultural Project” is an integrated research, education, and extension project aimed at maintaining or restoring healthy forests and ecosystems by bringing genomic-assisted breeding to applications in the United States. It is a multi-state, multi-institution project, funded by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the USDA Forest Service. The CTGN draws from or delivers to virtually all conifer genomics scientists and tree breeders in the United States.

The “Barley, Wheat, Potato, and Tomato Coordinated Agricultural Projects” (CAP) is essentially three projects in one. The Wheat CAP is led by Dubcovsky. The Barley CAP and the Potato/Tomato, or Solanaceae CAP (SolCAP), is led by David Douches from Michigan State University, a UC Davis graduate. Researchers Allen Van Deynze and Roger Chetelat from the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences are key members of the SolCAP team. 

Neale and Dubcovsky will be honored at a September ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

David Neale
(530) 754-8431
[email protected]

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

Frank Zalom: Entomological Society of America Leadership


Integrated pest management expert Frank Zalom, a professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, is on the path to the presidency of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest organization of entomologists. Zalom will begin a four-year commitment to the organization this fall when he is inducted as vice president-elect at the ESA’s 59th annual meeting, which will be held this November in Reno. He will subsequently move up to vice president and president and then serve a year fulfilling the duties of past president.

Zalom has been heavily involved in research and leadership in integrated pest management (IPM) activities at the state, national, and international levels. He directed the UC Statewide IPM Program for 16 years and is currently experiment station co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities National IPM Committee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Frank Zalom
(530) 752-3687
[email protected] 


UC Davis Ranks in Top Ten Colleges for Contribution to Public Good

UC Davis made the top 10 in Washington Monthly’s rankings for schools based on their contribution to the public good. Schools are rated in three categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

  1. UC San Diego
  2. UCLA
  3. UC Berkeley
  4. Stanford University
  5. UC Riverside
  6. Harvard University
  7. Case Western Reserve University
  8. UC Davis
  9. Jackson State University
  10. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

View the complete listing here.  

Plant Sciences Fall Seminar Series

The Department of Plant Sciences hosts a series of noon seminars that meet on Wednesdays through November 30 from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 3001, Plant and Environmental Sciences Building. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • September 21: Plant populations in changing environments—Exploring ecological and evolutionary responses
  • September 28: Breeding non-dormant alfalfa—Applications of pollinator behavior and gene flow to isolation and commercial seed production
  • October 5: Investigating fruit aroma—From the biosynthesis and regulation of volatiles to their contribution to flavor quality
  • October 12: Modifications of source-sink relationships leads to enhanced crop stress tolerance
  • October 19: Causes and consequences of plant spatial patterns in natural and experimental semi-arid plant communities
  • October 26: What X-rays are telling us about xylem structure and function
  • November 2: Fruit quality from several perspectives
  • November 9: Gene flow and co-existence in agriculture
  • November 16: A new phytohormone and they still do it in the dark
  • November 23: Endomembrane trafficking and polysaccharide deposition
  • November 30: Genome evolution in the grass family as seen from the perspective of the large and complex genomes in the tribe Triticeae

Diane Nelson
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 752-1969
[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 will be held Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. in a new location, the Center for Health and the Environment on Old Davis Road.

Dates and topics for upcoming seminars include:

  • October 3: Work Related Health Among Veterinarians
  • November 7: Life After In Vitro UC Statewide IPM Program Percuataneous Penetration: A 15-Step Ag Chemicals Complex Membrane
  • December 5: Recent Agricultural Ergonomic Research at UC Davis

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


Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare
    Thursdays–Sundays, September 15–October 2, 8 p.m. as well as 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, Gazebo.
    Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble present William Shakespeare’s beloved comedy “A Midsummer’ Night’s Dream,” performed outdoors at the Gazebo. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students, and $5 for children 12 and under. To reserve tickets or for more information, e-mail [email protected] or visit
  • “Folk Music Jam Session”
    Fridays, September 16 and 30, 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.
  • “Plant Faire Preview”
    Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m., Arboretum Teaching Nursery.
    Local gardeners will have an opportunity to learn about successful plants for Central Valley gardens and plan for the fall planting season. The tour will feature uncommon garden plants from California and other parts of the world chosen for their ability to thrive in the Central Valley climate. The featured plants will be available for sale at the annual Plant Faire on September 24.
  • “It’s Oaktober!”
    Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m., Gazebo.
    Learn more about the stages in the life of an oak tree and check out the great diversity of oak tree shapes, sizes, leaves, and acorns during a guided tour of Shields Oak Grove.
  • “Turtle Talk and Tour”
    Sunday, October 2, 1–3 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Professor Brad Shaffer of the Department of Evolution and Ecology and his students have studied the arboretum pond turtle population for over a decade. Join Shaffer for a talk about research on the interactions of native and introduced turtles, followed by a tour of favorite turtle basking spots. All ages are welcome.
  • “Poetry in the Garden: Vanessa Niño-Tapia and Francisco Dominguez”
    Wednesday, October 5, 12–1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    The arboretum invites fans of good writing and beautiful gardens to enjoy a reading by two outstanding local poets.
  • “Opening Night: Readings by Creative Writing Faculty”
    Thursday, October 6, 7 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    Award-winning fiction writers and poets from the UC Davis Creative Writing Program will read from their work. The evening program includes readings by professors Joshua Clover, Lucy Corin, Greg Glazner, Pam Houston, Joe Wenderoth, and Alan Williamson.



Woody Tasch Speech: September 20, 2011

Woody Tasch, the founder of Slow Money, will speak on “Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Matter” on Tuesday, September 20, in Davis, at an event organized by the UC Small Farm Program. The talk, along with introductions, Q&A, and light refreshments, will be from 4–6 p.m. at the Rominger West Winery, 4602 Second St. in Davis. Slow Money is a national network dedicated to investing in local food and agricultural enterprises.

The event will include a brief introduction to current UC Davis research by Shermain Hardesty, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Gail Feenstra of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, on values-based food systems, where relationships between growers, funders, distributors, consumers, and others are based on shared values. This multi-state, USDA-funded project is working to identify bottlenecks in the development of values-based food supply chains—including access to capital.

This event is sponsored by the Giannini Foundation, the Davis Food Co-op, and the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

Tickets are $10. Spaces are limited, so please reserve your space online at

Shermain Hardesty
(530) 752-0467
[email protected]


75th Anniversary Plant Faire and Sale: September 24, 2011


The September 24 Plant Faire and Sale will be a celebration of the UC Davis Arboretum’s 75th anniversary and will include hundreds of varieties of great plants for Central Valley gardens, including the Arboretum All-Stars, plus houseplants and exotics from the Botanical Conservatory. The sale will also highlight 75 favorite plants, as selected by staff and volunteers, as well as members of Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum. Special signs will accompany these plants, with quotes from the dedicated gardeners who selected the plants describing why they grow them and the special uses they have found for them.

The member sale is from 9–11 a.m. Anyone may join or renew at the door for early admission and a 10 percent member discount. The public sale is from 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

The plant sale will take place at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive, across from the School of Veterinary Medicine on the UC Davis campus. Arboretum staff and volunteers will be available to provide expert advice on choosing the best plants for your garden conditions. For more information, directions, and a plant list, visit, or call (530) 752-4880.

Diane Cary
UC Davis Arboretum
(530) 752-7822
[email protected] 

Olive Curing Workshop: September 24, 2011

A workshop on home olive production presented by the California Center for Urban Horticulture will be held Saturday, September 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Experts will walk attendees through a guided olive oil tasting, safe techniques for harvesting olives in your backyard, an olive curing demonstration, and more. The $45 registration includes lunch.

For more information, visit

Missy Borel
California Center for Urban Horticulture
(530) 752-6642
[email protected]   

Olive Oil Milling Short Courses: September 29–October 1, 2011

The UC Davis Olive Center hosts the third annual Master Miller Short Course on September 29–October 1 at the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theatre in the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The class will be led by Boundary Bend's Leandro Ravetti. The short course will be offered as two separate classes, providing information for both beginners and more advanced millers.  Attendees are welcome to sign up for one or both classes. Registration is available online only through Campus Events and Visitor Services

  • Introduction to Olive Oil Milling meets September 29, and registration costs $255 through August 26 and $305 as of August 27. The class will cover olive oil mill layout, economics, and plant purchasing, as well as basic information regarding sanitation, fruit delivery, washing, crushing, malaxing, processing aids, extraction, polishing, storage, bottling, and transport.
  • Advanced Olive Oil Milling meets September 30–October 1, and registration costs $495 through August 26 and $545 as of August 27. This short course will help experienced millers, or those who have taken the introductory course, get the highest efficiency and quality from olive oil processing.

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

College Celebration: October 14, 2011


You are invited to the 23rd annual CA&ES College Celebration, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in 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.

This year’s Award of Distinction recipients are:

  • Faculty: Larry Vanderhoef
  • Friend: A.G. Kawamura
  • Alumni:
    Margaret Lawson
    Barbara Schneeman
    Mahmoud Solh
    William Sullivan
    Dan Evans and Julia Tulley
  • Staff: Dan Flynn
  • Young Alumnus: Shawn Harrison

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.

Tickets are $15, and October 7 is the last day to register online. For more information, visit To register, visit

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

Honey Conference: October 21, 2011


Registration is open for a daylong conference on honey to be held Friday, October 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center. The event costs $75 for the public, $50 for UC Davis faculty, staff and Friends of the RMI, and $25 for UC Davis students.

Speakers include:

  • Cooperative Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, “The Wonder of Honey Bees”
  • Entomology professor Brian Johnson, “How Bees Cooperate to Make Honey and What They Do With It When We Don’t”
  • Nutrition professor emeritus Lou Grivetti, “Historical Uses of Honey as Food”
  • Nutrition lecturer Liz Applegate, “Sweet Success: Honey for Better Health and Performance”

Additional information will be posted as it becomes available on the event webpage:

Kim Bannister
(530) 752-5171
[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, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

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