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December 13, 2012

May 20, 2014 admin

Message from the Dean







A Message from Dean Mary Delany: Holiday Message and Dean’s Search

Well, here it is December already — the end of fall quarter and of 2012. The last three months have been among the quickest that I recall! 

We’ve had several new faculty begin their careers this fall (stay tuned for an upcoming Currents that will feature new faculty hires). We’ve had some retirements, too, and were saddened to hear of the deaths of Professor Fumio Matsumura, Professor Adel Kader, and campus staff member Bill Brooks — longtime community members who built careers of substance and contribution.

I’m reminded daily that it is the people who make the difference — individuals who populate our college and create the variety of unique academic programs that are the basis for our reputation. Thus, at the end of 2012, I just want to take the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for all that each of you do, to make our college what it is. I hope that with family and friends you have a relaxing and fun holiday break and that you return reinvigorated for winter quarter and 2013.

A key activity for 2013 is the search for a new CA&ES dean. The search committee was announced in Dateline by campus news on November 16. The link to the search announcement is For a list of members on the search committee, visit

Please participate when the opportunities arise to attend town halls and to meet the candidates for dean.

Best wishes for 2013.

Mary E. Delany

Interim Dean

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]





Richard Bostock: AAAS Fellow


Plant pathology professor Richard Bostock has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of 17 faculty members from UC Davis to receive the honor this year. Bostock was recognized for his distinguished contributions to basic research in plant-microbe interactions and exemplary leadership in the National Plant Diagnostic Network, a surveillance and diagnostic program designed to protect plants against serious pests and diseases that could be introduced accidentally or through bioterrorism. His research focuses on fungal diseases of orchard crops and on root- and crown-rot diseases caused by the destructive Phytophthora species, using various research plants including tomato, Arabidopsis, peach, walnut and rhododendron.

Bostock is among 702 new fellows, honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Bostock and other new fellows will be formally recognized in February during the association's annual meeting in Boston.

Rick Bostock
(530) 752-0308
[email protected]

Mary Cadenasso: Chancellor’s Fellow


Professor Mary Cadenasso has been selected to be a UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow, one of seven faculty recently added to the newest class in the Chancellor’s Fellowship Program, each of whom will receive a $25,000 award to support research, teaching, and service activities.

A landscape ecologist in the Department of Plant Sciences, Cadenasso conducts research in urban ecology that focuses on the structure of the landscape and how that influences ecological processes and functions. This includes, for example, the way a city is structured and the consequences of that structure for flood risk, excessive urban heat, and food provisioning for urban residents.

The Chancellor’s Fellows Program is supported by funds from the Davis Chancellor’s Club and the Annual Fund of UC Davis. The program was established in 2000 to honor the achievements of outstanding faculty members early in their careers. Cadenasso can officially carry the Chancellor’s Fellow title for the next five years.

Mary Cadenasso
(530) 754-6151
[email protected]



Mary Delany: AAAS Fellow


Animal science professor Mary Delany, a distinguished avian geneticist and interim dean of CA&ES, has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of 17 faculty members from UC Davis to receive the honor this year.

Delany was recognized for her contributions to poultry genetics and genomics, administrative leadership in the agricultural sciences, and service in science policy and conservation of avian research resources. Using chickens as a research model, she studies the biology of telomeres, DNA regions that cap the end of chromosomes and have important implications for aging and disease in humans as well as birds and other animal species.

Delany is among 702 new fellows, honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Delany and other new fellows will be formally recognized in February during the association's annual meeting in Boston.

Mary Delany
(530) 752-1605
[email protected]

Valerie Eviner: Ecological Society of America Officer


Professor Valerie Eviner of the Department of Plant Sciences has been elected to serve as vice president for science at the Ecological Society of America, which has more than 10,000 members. The Ecological Society of America is a nonprofit scientific society founded in 1915 to promote and raise awareness for ecological science by improving communication and resources among scientists. Eviner will begin her responsibilities as vice president in August 2013.

A plant sciences ecologist, Eviner conducts research that focuses on plant-soil interactions and applying this understanding to ecosystem management and restoration within a changing environment.

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

Thomas Famula: Excellence in Teaching Award


Professor Thomas Famula of the Department of Animal Science received an award for teaching excellence from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, two associations dedicated to higher education at public four-year institutions. For more than 20 years, the NIFA and the APLU have partnered to recognize the extraordinary efforts of educators, researchers, and extension specialists.

At a national awards ceremony held in Denver in November, Famula was honored with a Regional Teaching Award for the Western Region. The award recognizes university faculty for engaging and preparing students for the future. Famula, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1981, has taught a general education course called “Domestic Animals and People” since 1990. The course is aimed at freshmen and is known for hands-on work with livestock. Over the years, the class has helped hundreds of urban and suburban students appreciate the livestock industry and the critical role domestic animals play in our economy and culture.

Tom Famula
(530) 752-7018
[email protected] 


David Mackill and Pamela Ronald: Humanitarian Awards

Two CA&ES plant scientists have received honors for the humanitarian impact of their rice research by The Tech Museum in San Jose. David Mackill, an associate geneticist in the Department of Plant Sciences, and Pam Ronald, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, were named laureates of The Tech Awards 2012. They are two of 12 people from around the world celebrated by the museum this year for using technology to benefit humanity and spark global change.

Nearly half of the world’s seven billion people eat rice every day. About 50 million acres of rice is grown in flood-prone regions of the world, and rice plants die if they’re completely submerged for more than three days. Mackill and Ronald helped develop a submergence-tolerant variety of rice that produces yields up to five times greater than conventional varieties, improving life for rice growers around the world.

Mackill and Ronald were honored at an event at the Santa Clara Convention Center in November, along with Ronald’s former postdoctoral fellow Kenong Xu—who contributed to the research and development of submergence-tolerant rice variety “Sub 1 rice.”


David Mackill
(530) 752-4940
[email protected]

Pam Ronald
(530) 752-1654
[email protected]

Frank Mitloehner: President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Report Contributor


Professor and Cooperative Extension specialist Frank Mitloehner of the Department of Animal Science served as a member of the PCAST agricultural preparedness working group that helped prepare the “Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise,” published in December, 2012. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by President Obama to augment the science and technology advice available to him.

The report addresses the scientific challenges facing the nation’s agricultural research enterprise, including water issues, pests and pathogens, food safety, food security, growing food in a changing climate, etc. The report makes recommendations on how to refocus and rebalance the federal government’s support of agricultural research to enable U.S. farmers to meet the challenges facing agriculture in the 21st century. A copy of the report is available at

Frank Mitloehner
(530) 752-3936
[email protected]



Cooperative Extension Dialogue Sessions

The Partnership to Advance Cooperative Extension (PACE), formed by the statewide UC ANR (Agriculture and Natural Resources) network, will host a series of dialogue sessions to seek input on serving stakeholders and other issues, with sessions to be held at various locations in January and February.

UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station faculty, Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, and academic coordinators and academic administrators are invited to join a PACE dialogue session to be held February 20 at UC Davis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Areas of discussion include:

  • Is campus research finding its way through county channels to address applied issues of our stakeholders?
  • As advisors take on growing responsibilities within larger geographic areas, are we creating a hybrid position that may be more like regional specialists than a traditional advisor?
  • What are the potential benefits and risks associated with locating some specialist positions in county offices or in the RECs?
  • How might we develop academic coordinator and/or administrator positions to strategically support this statewide network of advisors and specialists?

These and other key questions will be discussed by the larger UC ANR academic community with the purpose of strengthening the network within the state and providing input to UC ANR leaders regarding potential strategies for the future. In addition to the UC Davis dialogue session, dates and locations for others include:

January 8, Redding
January 16, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
January 30, UC Berkeley
February 6, UC Riverside
To register for a PACE dialogue session, visit

Frank Mitloehner
PACE Co-chair
(530) 752-3936
[email protected]

Audio Interviews with Plant Breeding Experts

A UC Davis graduate student is among those featured in audio interviews with plant breeders from industry and academia who discuss the challenges facing the American seed industry, posted at SeedWorld magazine conducted the interviews with experts at the annual meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders, held last August in Indianapolis.

SeedWorld interviewed eight industry professionals and five graduate students, including UC Davis student William (Zeb) Rehrig, who is pursuing a doctorate in plant breeding under researcher Allen Van Deynze of the Department of Plant Sciences and the Seed Biotechnology Center. Rehrig’s research focuses on breeding for disease resistance in jalapeño peppers.

Allen Van Deynze
(530) 754-6444
[email protected]

Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award: Call for Nominations


Nominations for the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award are due January 2, 2013. The award was established in memory of Eric Bradford, professor emeritus of animal science, and Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation farmer and well-known advocate of farmland preservation and wildlife habitat restoration. The award seeks to recognize and honor individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic, and integrity epitomized by Bradford and Rominger.

Members of the UC Davis community are invited to nominate UC farm advisors and Cooperative Extension specialists, as well as UC Davis graduate students, faculty members, and in special cases, alumni, for their work toward agricultural sustainability. Nominees for the award should demonstrate leadership with a broad understanding of agricultural systems and the environment.

The recipient will receive a cash award, and may be invited to give a lecture sponsored by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis, which manages the award selection process. For nomination forms and more information about the award, visit The award recipient will be announced in spring 2013.

Eve Hightower
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
(530) 752-8664
[email protected]


Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

Crazy about Conifers
Saturday, December 15, 2–3:30 p.m., Arboretum Headquarters.
Take a guided tour of the arboretum evergreens—pines, cedars, firs, junipers, and cypresses—in the Conifer Collection.

Folk Music Jam Session
Friday, December 21, 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. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.



Seed Central/Food Central Networking Event: December 13, 2012

Seed Central/Food Central hosts an afternoon of speakers and networking once a month to bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. Professor Bruce German, Foods for Health Institute and Department of Food Science and Technology, will speak on “Foods for Health: Bringing Health Benefits to Genetic Traits” on December 13 at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), Ballroom B. The forum begins at 4:30 p.m., featuring 90 minutes of networking time followed by the speech.

The catered event is free of charge, and anyone in food, plant, and seed is welcome. The event attracts a large contingent of students interested in talking to industry scientists and managers. To attend, please register at The calendar of events is at

Upcoming speakers for Seed Central/Food Central include:

  • January 10, Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, “Evolutionary Genomics of Maize and its Wild Relatives”
  • February 14, Henk Hilhorst, “Systems Biology of Seed Quality”

Kathleen Bess
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 754-2162
[email protected]

Farm Video Event: January 24, 2013

Save the date for a free viewing of “9 Billion Mouths to Feed: The Future of Farming,” a series of four 10-minute videos produced by UCTV Prime. The viewing event, along with refreshments and speakers, will be held at the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Theater from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. The videos feature interviews with UC Davis faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The series examines the challenges of feeding a global population expected to hit 9 million by 2050, and demonstrates how UC Davis is developing innovative ways to boost production and protect resources while training the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Carrie Cloud at [email protected]

The farming videos are available for viewing on UCTV Prime’s channel on YouTube:

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 204-7500
[email protected]

Rangeland Science and Conservation Symposium: January 24–25, 2013

The second Rangeland Science Symposium and the eighth annual California Rangeland Conservation Coalition Summit will be presented together on January 24–25 in Freeborn Hall. “Today’s Rangeland Management: Integrating Science, Practices, Partnerships, and Policy” offers continuing education credits for certified rangeland managers. For more information, visit For registration pricing, visit

Tracy Schohr
California Rangeland
(530) 868-6626
[email protected]


Youth Impact on California’s Electorate: January 24, 2013

Join experts for a talk on “Unpacking California Voter Registration and Turnout Trends: The Youth Impact on California’s Electorate,” to be held January 24 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K Street, Room LL3 in the UC Sacramento Center in Sacramento. Speakers will be Jonathan Fox, professor and chair of the Latin American and Latino Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz and Mindy Romero, project director of the California Civic Engagement Project, housed within the UC Davis Center for Regional Change.

For more information, visit    

Hilary Mroczka
Institute of Governmental Affairs
(530) 752-2635
[email protected]

Climate Change and California Agriculture: February 21, 2013

The California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) hosts “Farming for the Future: Climate Change and California Agriculture,” to be held February 21 at the UC Davis Conference Center. The summit will explore the science, policy, and politics of climate change and sustainable agriculture issues in California. Participants will include farmers and ranchers, agency staff, technical service providers, policymakers and advocates concerned with issues of climate change challenges and opportunities for California agriculture.

Renata Brillinger
(707) 823-8278
[email protected]

Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling Workshop: March 18–19, 2013

Carlos Crisosto, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, will coordinate the March 18–19, 2013 “Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling” workshop to be held on the UC Davis campus. The course will focus on how to increase profits by reducing losses at the receiving end, and delivering ready-to-eat, delicious fruits and vegetables to the consumer.

The cost of the workshop is $775, and registration includes all instruction, breakout sessions, demonstrations, course materials, coffee break, lunches, and an evening networking reception. Sensory, quality measurements, and environmental equipment demonstrations will be held, and lectures will include topics such as maturity and quality relationships, retail temperature storage conditions, tools to control ripening and senescence, physiological disorders and other losses, and ripening facilities and equipment.

To learn more about this workshop, or to register, visit

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology
(530) 752-7672
[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 monthly. Send news items to editor, [email protected]

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Mary E. Delany
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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