May 16, 2013
As you have likely heard, UC Davis was recently ranked No. 1 in the world for teaching and research in the area of agriculture and forestry, according to QS World University Rankings, a British firm that evaluated 2,858 universities and ranked 678 of those institutions in 30 subject areas. The evaluation measures included:
- number of times research publications from the institution were cited by other researchers in professional journals
- opinions of other academics in the field
- opinions of employers in the field
- an H-index, which measures the number of research papers published as well as the number of times those papers have been cited by other researchers, rewarding both quantity and quality of research.
This ranking is due to the dedication and hard work of our faculty, staff, and students, as well as college leadership that continued to make investments to solidify our tradition of excellence. In the increasingly complex agricultural, environmental, and societal landscape in which we operate, our college remains committed to achievement, innovation, and impact. We all share in a piece of this success and should enjoy the affirmation. It comes at a wonderful time as we bring the academic year to a close.
So, as we celebrate our college’s global excellence with yet another top-tier ranking, let’s not forget to celebrate with our new graduates, who will cross the stage at the CA&ES undergraduate commencement ceremonies (9 a.m. and 2 p.m.) to be held June 16 at the ARC Pavilion. The outstanding students that our college attracts are a key component of our success and our impact, and I encourage faculty to attend this hallmark event for students and their families.
Mary E. Delany
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Professor Emeritus Michael Barbour of the Department of Plant Sciences is to receive a Doctor Honoris Causa (honorary Ph. D.)—the highest academic distinction awarded—from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. The official ceremony will take place during convocation at the beginning of the 2013–2014 academic year, and a less formal celebration took place during Picnic Day at Complutense University, held a few days before Picnic Day at UC Davis. Barbour is being honored for collaborative research and teaching that began in the late 1990s with Professor Daniel Sánchez-Mata, an internationally recognized Spanish botanist and plant ecologist at Complutense University. Their partnership stemmed from a cooperative agreement signed between UC Davis and Complutense University that fosters joint projects and programs in research and education.
Five faculty members from the Department of Entomology received the team award from the Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch, for collaborative work specializing in honey bees, wild bees, and pollination issues. As seen in the photo, the “Bee Team” is comprised of (from left) Cooperative Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, and entomology professors Neal Williams, Robbin Thorp (emeritus), Lynn Kimsey, and Brian Johnson.
In his nomination letter, entomology department chair Michael Parrella wrote, “No other university in the country has this one-of-a-kind expertise about managed bees, wild bees, pollination, bee health, bee identification, and bee preservation.” For additional details, visit http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/News/The_Bee_Team_Wins_Pacific_Branch,_ESA,_Team_Award/.
Kathy Keatley Garvey
Department of Entomology
Jorge Dubcovsky, an internationally acclaimed wheat geneticist, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors bestowed on scientists and engineers in the United States. He joins 21 other UC Davis members of the academy.
Dubcovsky is a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator.
During the past two decades at UC Davis, Dubcovsky has conducted pioneering research in mapping, isolating, and cloning genes in wheat’s massive genome. He and his laboratory colleagues have identified and cloned genes involved in disease resistance, protein content, flowering and frost tolerance. Identification of these important genes has enabled researchers and breeders to use conventional breeding techniques to develop hardier, more nutritious wheat varieties.
In 2011, he received a multimillion dollar U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to lead researchers, plant breeders, and educators from 55 universities and 21 states in an investigation of the biological and environmental stresses on wheat that are caused, in part, by alterations in weather patterns associated with global climate change. (photo by Steve Yeater)
Waterfowl expert John Eadie, a professor with appointments in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and in the Department of Animal Science, is one of four 2013 recipients of the UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award.
Eadie, who holds the Dennis G. Raveling Endowed Professorship in Waterfowl Biology, is a service-oriented academic, best illustrated by his role in drafting the North American Waterfowl Management Plan 2012. This plan is an ambitious strategy to restore waterfowl populations through habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement. His contributions to the plan spanned socioeconomic, political, and ecological issues, and helped ensure its implementation within a science framework. He also maintains a heavy department and university service load.
Eadie was honored at a recent campus ceremony honoring 10 recipients of awards from the Academic Senate and two recipients of awards from the Academic Federation.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, a communications specialist with the Department of Entomology, won the Outstanding Professional Skill Award in photography, two gold awards in photography, and a silver award for writing from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE).
Garvey received the gold award for best feature photo, a praying mantis lunging at a honey bee. She also received a gold award for best photo series, depicting a gulf fritillary butterfly laying an egg. She captured the image of the praying mantis and honey bee in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, and the butterfly photo in her backyard.
Garvey also received a second place award for her news story on UC Davis doctoral candidate Matan Shelomi, who won a “Shorty Award” for his answer on Quora: “If you injure a bug, should you kill it or let it live?”
The awards will be presented at the June ACE conference in Indianapolis.
Kathy Keatley Garvey
Professor Thomas Gordon of the Department of Plant Pathology is one of four 2013 recipients of the UC Davis Academic Senate Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Passionate about teaching, Gordon is known as a remarkable storyteller who artfully uses humor and analogy to grab the interest of his students. While juggling a productive research program and demanding administrative duties as chair of the plant pathology department for more than seven years, he continues to take on more than his share of teaching responsibilities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Perhaps his “signature” course is “Mushrooms, Molds and Society,” an undergraduate Science and Society course that he initiated in1997. As one of the most highly enrolled classes on campus, it now attracts more than 500 students annually and is one of the top five classes recommended to incoming freshmen.
Gordon was honored at a recent campus ceremony honoring 10 recipients of awards from the Academic Senate and two recipients of awards from the Academic Federation.
Recent Ph.D. graduate David Dallas has been awarded the John E. Kinsella Memorial Prize for outstanding research on his doctoral dissertation.
The Kinsella Memorial Prize was established in 1994 by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to honor the late John Kinsella, former CA&ES dean and a professor of food science and technology. Graduate groups can nominate one dissertation each year for the quality and originality of an individual’s work, its multidisciplinary impact, and its importance to the college’s mission. The prize recipient is awarded $3,000.
Dallas, who completed his Ph.D. in nutritional biology under Professor Bruce German in the Department of Food Science and Technology, was named the Kinsella recipient for his dissertation, “Digestomics of Human Milk: Towards Improved Feeding of Premature Infants.” Dallas is currently a UC Davis postdoctoral fellow supported by the USDA, continuing his research on human milk protein digestion under the mentorship of food science and technology professors Daniela Barile and Bruce German, as well as chemistry professor Carlito Lebrilla.
Honey bee specialist Eric Mussen has been named the recipient of the 2013 Alexander Hodson Graduate Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota. A UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, the apiculturist has been a member of the UC Davis faculty since 1976. The Hodson Graduate Alumni Award was established in 1998 to recognize and honor outstanding alumni of the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology, where Mussen earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. Mussen will be honored at a ceremony later this month by his alma mater.
Diane Nelson, senior writer for CA&ES, has received a Gold Award for promotional writing from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE). Her winning article, “Hope Dawns for UC Davis Feed Mill,” explores the effort to replace the aging UC Davis feed mill, and why that matters to the people of California, the nation, and the world. For a copy of the article as it ran in “Feed & Grain,” see: http://www.feedandgrain.com/article/10837266/hope-dawns-for-aging-uc-davis-feed-mill
The awards will be presented at the June ACE conference in Indianapolis.
CA&ES Dean’s Office
Ann Powell, a researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences, is the 2013 recipient of the UC Davis Academic Federation Excellence in Research award. Powell is an internationally recognized expert on how genes and biological mechanisms and pathways interact to affect fruit ripening and disease resistance in tomatoes.
Last year, Powell and her colleagues announced a discovery that caught the attention of scientists, agriculturists, and consumers around the world. The researchers reported discovering a gene mutation that tomato breeders have for decades been selecting as they bred commercial tomato varieties because it caused the tomatoes to be uniformly light green before they ripened and suitable for harvesting all at the same time. Powell and fellow researchers demonstrated that this desirable trait was accompanied by an unintended reduction in sugars that compromises the flavor of the fresh tomatoes and their desirability for processing. This work promises to open the door to developing tomatoes with heirloom-quality flavors, as well as hardiness for harvest and processing.
Powell was honored at a recent campus ceremony honoring 10 recipients of awards from the Academic Senate and two recipients of awards from the Academic Federation.
Carl Winter, a Cooperative Extension food toxicologist in the Department of Food Science and Technology, delivered the third annual Hayes and Phillips Lecture at the University of Minnesota in early May. Winter’s talk was titled “Stayin’ Alive: A Musical Look at Contemporary Food Safety Issues.”
Winter, director of the UC Davis FoodSafe Program, conducts research and does outreach on pesticide residues and naturally-occurring toxins in foods, on risk assessment, and on risk communication. For the lay audience, Winter substitutes his food safety messages for lyrics in contemporary music, like the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.”
Winter has authored two books and more than 150 publications in the scientific and lay literature, has given more than 1,000 news media interviews, and has testified on several occasions for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. He currently is a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee.
Professor Glenn Young of the Department of Food Science and Technology has been named a U.S. Faculty Scholar by the Vietnamese Education Foundation (VEF), an American agency established by Congress to foster educational exchanges between Vietnam and the U.S. in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. The one-year grant, much like a Fulbright Scholarship, begins in July. Young is part of the sixth cohort of American professors selected to teach at Vietnamese universities as a U.S. Faculty Scholar.
Young’s co-grantee is Cary Trexler, a professor of agricultural education in the UC Davis School of Education. Trexler has been working with Vietnamese agricultural universities for several years, serving as an intermediary for faculty interested in transforming agricultural education in Vietnam.
The VEF grant will support the establishment of a participatory research class for Vietnamese undergraduate students, who will be guided through projects related to preharvest, postharvest, food science, crop science, and food safety. The research projects will connect students from Hanoi Agriculture University and Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Mihn City to small farms and farmer groups at research sites already established by Trexler, Young, and others through an ongoing project supported by USAID.
“Breeding Technologies for Improving Global Crop Production” was the theme for a plant breeding symposium hosted in April by UC Davis graduate students and sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and UC Davis. More than 200 students, faculty, and industry professionals attended this year’s symposium, with an additional 100 participants viewing via webinar.
Speakers addressed ways in which new technologies are being used to meet the challenges of global crop production and the hurdles still ahead. The symposium showcased speakers from academia, industry, and nonprofit organizations including the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A recurring theme was devising how vegetables and other crops will be able to utilize technologies that have been developed for grain agriculture. There was also emphasis on preparing a new generation of plant breeders equipped to deal with the challenges of plant breeding.
More information on the students, speakers and the event can be found on the symposium website at http://plantmolbreeding.ucdavis.edu.
Graduate student, horticulture and agronomy
The City of Davis and the UC Davis Arboretum are seeking to collect 400 used spades, gardening trowels, and shovels of all kinds for use in an outdoor art sculpture scheduled for completion this fall. Shovel collection will occur weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the city offices at 1818 Fifth Street, as well as at the arboretum’s spring plant sales through the end of May.
Artist Christopher Fennell will take recycling to new heights at the east end of the arboretum when he builds a 16-foot-tall, vine-inspired gateway out of twisted steel pipes and 400 used shovel heads. Funded by the City of Davis Municipal Arts Fund, this landmark sculpture will mark the transition between downtown Davis and the arboretum and serve as a symbol of town and gown collaboration.
Last year a committee of campus, city, and community representatives selected Christopher Fennell from an applicant pool of 66 artists from around the nation to design and build the sculpture. Fennell—a sculptor from Alabama with an engineering background—specializes in the creation of large-scale public art from dramatic collections of cast-off materials.
The Department of Animal Science hosts a series of noon seminars to meet Mondays at 12:10 p.m. in 2154 Meyer Hall through June 10. Dates and topics for remaining seminars include:
- May 20: Wild horse and burro program: debunking the “myth” information
- May 27: Holiday
- June 3: Utilization of reproductive biotechnologies in commercial dairy herds
- June 10: Early pregnancy success and loss: tails from different species
Department of Animal Science
Throughout May, the UC Davis Arboretum is accepting reservations for summer session spots in Camp Shakespeare for children and teens. Join the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble for theater games, acting workshops, and a special camp production of “As You Like It.”
- Session I (Ages 13–17): July 8–July 12
- Session II (Ages 7–12): July 15–July 26
- Session III (Ages 7–12): July 29–August 9
Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with options for early drop-off and late pickup. For more information and to enroll online, visit www.shakespearedavis.com.
UC Davis Arboretum
For more information, visit the arboretum website: http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu.
Bugtopia 2.0: Discover Everyday Insects
Sunday, May 19, 1 to 3 p.m., Gazebo.
Learn about the hidden insect wonders of the arboretum from student ambassadors. Tour the collections and learn insect names, trapping methods, and ecology.
Folk Music Jam Session
Friday, May 24, 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.
Poetry in the Garden: Zach Watkins
Thursday, May 30, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
Zach ‘OmegaZ’ Watkins is a composer and poet living in Sacramento.
The UC Davis student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will host a dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, that brings together students, faculty, professionals, and anyone interested in landscape architecture. The event will be held at Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Davis. It includes a showcase of student work, networking, and a lecture from Daniel Solomon, an architect and urban designer from the Bay Area.
Tickets can be purchased at http://asla.ucdavis.edu/. Student tickets are $20, and all others are $35.
UC Davis ASLA, Student Chapter
The final spring plant sale of the season is also the arboretum’s clearance sale, to be held Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive. Customers will find the area’s largest selection of attractive low-maintenance plants, including 30 “Durable Delights,” which demand little time but give a big return in form, color, flower, and durability.
Become a member of the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum at the door and receive 10 percent off all purchases. New members also receive an additional $10 off.
The annual Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award Ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 22, at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center at 4:30 p.m.
Craig McNamara, an organic farmer and president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, as well as founder and president of the Center for Land-Based Learning, will give speak on “Changing the Way We Think about Food.” The 2013 winner of the Bradford Rominger Award will also be named. The award recognizes and honors an individual who exhibits the leadership, work ethic, and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.
The event is free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to attend.
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
Scientists and industry leaders will share the latest research on agricultural technology at the 2013 Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Field Day. The field day will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility west of campus.
The field day brings together farmers, students, NGOs, researchers, and UC Cooperative farm advisors and specialists to discuss sustainable agriculture. The theme this year is technological innovations in agriculture that can change the way agriculture addresses irrigation and nutrient management. Morning sessions will feature presentations on nitrate leaching and irrigation management in agriculture, a look at long-term results for Russell Ranch, tools for irrigation management, remote sensing for soil monitoring, and technological solutions for nitrogen and irrigation control.
Register online by May 24. Farmers enter for free. General admission is $10, and students pay $5. (Students and farmers should e-mail Emma Torbert at [email protected] for a coupon code.) Admission includes lunch, refreshments, and hay bale tours. Find directions to Russell Ranch at http://russellranch.ucdavis.edu/directions.
Visit http://ltras.ucdavis.edu/education-and-outreach/russell-ranch-sustainable-agriculture-field-day-2013 for registration and more information.
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
Faculty, remember the annual spring CA&ES faculty meeting, to be held Thursday, May 30, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the AGR Room of the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.
CA&ES Dean’s Office
“Sustainability: Linking Theory to Practice” will be the topic for a webinar given by Professor Neil McRoberts of the Department of Plant Pathology, to be offered online on Friday, May 31, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is presented by UC ANR and by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis. Online registration is required at http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=10668.
Agricultural Sustainability Institute
The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science will host a benefit luncheon for the Honey and Pollination Center on Sunday, June 2, from noon to 3 p.m. Each course of the five-course meal will feature honeys from around the globe. Food and drink will be provided by chefs, apiaries, wineries and meaderies, and the farmers of California. Reservations close Friday, May 24. Tickets are $125 per person. Register online at https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/79.
Robert Mondavi Institute
The 35th annual Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course will meet June 17–28 at UC Davis. The two-week course provides an intensive study of the biology and current technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamentals in California. It is designed for research and extension workers, quality control personnel in the produce industry, and business, government, or academic professionals interested in current advances in the postharvest technology of horticultural crops.
The first week (Monday through Friday) is spent on intensive lectures and discussions, as well as hands-on laboratory sessions on campus. The optional second week is a field tour covering selected packinghouses, cooling and storage facilities, produce distribution centers, field harvest, packing, and transportation facilities in California.
Enrollment in the lecture-only option is limited to 25 participants. The lecture-plus-field-trip option is limited to 55 participants.
For more information, see http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Education/PTShortCourse/.
UC Davis Postharvest Technology
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Visit CA&ES Currents online at http://caes.ucdavis.edu/NewsEvents/currents.
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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