CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

September 11, 2014

Sep 09, 2014 admin

A Message from Dean Helene Dillard: Marketing campaign helps make our presence known

06 helenedillardThe strength of California agriculture and the role UC Davis has had in helping build and sustain this growth and strength is the focus of a new campuswide marketing campaign, spearheaded by Chancellor Linda Katehi. The unifying theme of this effort is “One California, One UC Davis,” a message that will be told in numerous venues by our faculty researchers, students, farmers, ranchers, and industry leaders. On UC Davis and external websites, in newspapers and magazines, in radio and television ads, and on billboards, Californians will see how UC Davis and its partners supply the state with safe and nutritious food and vibrant economic activity.

“We’re Growing California Agriculture,” says the front page of the main website for the campaign. It invites people to learn more through videos, news stories, and profiles about the relationship between farmers, ranchers, other producers, and UC Davis experts in agriculture, food science, and veterinary medicine. The primary areas targeted in the campaign will include the Sacramento and Napa regions, the Central Valley, and the Central Coast.

One of the first videos developed for this campaign is “Why Peaches Started Tasting Better,” a glimpse into how the postharvest handling work of plant sciences specialist Carlos Crisosto has helped improve the taste of California peaches. Another video, “Research Grows the Confidence of California Tomato Growers,” features Chuck Rivara, director of the California Tomato Research Institute, Tony Turkovich, a processing tomato grower who has collaborated with the university, and plant sciences researcher Ann Powell, who studies the role of enzymes and proteins involved in fruit ripening. This video does a good job of making the point that UC Davis research has improved processing tomato production and quality for growers and ultimately for consumers.

Similar projects involving other commodities are in the works and will be rolled out gradually through March 2015. In addition to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, this marketing campaign will also highlight the work of the School of Veterinary Medicine and the World Food Center.

Be on the lookout for billboards in the region with messages such as “Our sushi rice is used worldwide. Now that’s a California roll” and “Our tomatoes grace tables from here to Italy. Now that’s amore.”

These messages are intended to get the attention of our many partners, and people who may not understand that the safe, nutritious, and affordable food we enjoy benefits from the work of UC Davis, part of the public land-grant system and more than a century in the making. California is the nation’s leading agricultural state, producing more than 400 types of crops and livestock valued at more than $45 billion annually. Our college has been and will continue to be an active partner with California agriculture to ensure its ongoing success.

Helene R. Dillard
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


Linda Bisson: American Society for Enology and Viticulture Merit Award


Linda Bisson, professor and geneticist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, is the 2014 recipient of a Merit Award from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. The award is the society’s highest honor, presented annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of enology and viticulture.

Bisson’s main area of research is on carbon and energy sources in yeast, which has broad applications in both enology and medicine. Her work was recently in the news for research into the role of abnormally shaped proteins called prions in “stuck” fermentations. Read more. She held the Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair in Viticulture from 1997 to 2008 and regularly teaches courses in wine production and genetic analysis. Bisson has received several awards for teaching excellence.

Linda Bisson


Eduardo Blumwald: American Society of Plant Biologists fellow


Eduardo Blumwald, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). The award recognizes distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the society by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service.

ASPB cites Blumwald’s extensive contributions to the understanding of ion transport mechanisms involved in abiotic stress tolerance. His work exemplifies the importance of basic plant biology in developing strategies to improve crop performance. Blumwald has served ASPB on the International Affairs Committee (2008–2010), by organizing international (1989) and western regional (2003, 2013) ASPB conferences, and by chairing the ASPB Western Region Section (2010–2013).

Eduardo Blumwald
Department of Plant Sciences


Aaron Smith: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Quality of Communication Award


Aaron Smith, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, received a Quality of Communication Award from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association at the annual meeting held this summer in Minneapolis.

Along with three co-authors, he received the award for a collection of three papers that address recent events in which futures markets dramatically mispriced agricultural grains and oilseeds. Their research contradicted claims that speculative trading was the underlying cause.

Smith, originally from New Zealand, joined the UC Davis faculty in 2001. His research addresses trading and price dynamics in commodity and financial derivatives markets. Fields of interest include econometrics, commodity markets, finance, and energy.

Aaron Smith
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics



New book on weight, health, and diet

BodyRespect FrontCover

Linda Bacon, an associate nutritionist in the Department of Nutrition, has co-authored a new book about weight, health, and diet.

“Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Get Wrong, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight” is a guide to nutrition and our bodies and to what’s misunderstood about them. Bacon, and her co-author, Lucy Aphramor, cover the latest science on size, weight, and diet in clear language supported by data. Integrating a social justice agenda, the book critiques weight science, explains the fall-out of a health agenda based on thinness as the goal, and offers an alternative path to compassionate and effective health care. Using peer-reviewed evidence, case study scenarios, and an ethical rationale, the authors debunk obesity myths and outline key processes affecting diet and health.

Bacon earned her doctorate in physiology at UC Davis and also holds graduate degrees in psychology (specializing in eating disorders and body image) and exercise science (specializing in metabolism). Her advocacy for “health at every size” has generated a large following and she is frequently interviewed in the media. Aphramor shares a similar approach to health and is recognized for her commitment to social justice.

Linda Bacon
Department of Nutrition


Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment proposals


The Russell L. Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment has put forth a request for proposals (RFP) for University of California personnel to support problem-solving research that will benefit California range cattle producers and provide practical answers to critical issues and challenges facing the industry. One goal is to promote collaboration and strengthen the network among research faculty, Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, and range cattle producers.

Funding opportunities are available for collaborative research, workshops, conferences, and symposia. Three to four research proposals will be awarded with annual budgets not exceeding $60,000 per year. The deadline for submission is Friday, October 17, 2014. See the full RFP here.

Randy Dahlgren
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources


Workshops for improved landscape water management

Two new workshops to help Californians reduce water use in and eliminate water runoff from landscapes will be held in San Jose and at UC Davis. Dates and locations include:

  • September 25, Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • November 8, Giedt Hall, UC Davis

The workshops are designed for master gardeners, retail garden center professionals, and garden enthusiasts. For additional information and to register visit the California Center for Urban Horticulture website.

Dave Fujino
California Center for Urban Horticulture


Arboretum events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • Folk Music Jam Session
    Fridays, September 12 and 26, noon–1 p.m., Wyatt Deck
    Folk musicians are invited to bring their acoustic instruments and play together informally over the lunch hour. All skill levels are welcome, and listeners are invited.
  • Butterfly Ecology Talk and Tour
    Sunday, September 14, 11 a.m., Trellis at the California Native Plant GATEway Garden
    Join naturalist Steve Daubert at the east end of the Arboretum to learn about the ecology and evolution of butterflies. The event is free. Walking or biking to the event is encouraged (the nearby Davis Commons parking lot is for shopping customers only).
  • Convert Your Water-hungry Lawn to a Drought-tolerant Landscape
    Thursday, September 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vanderhoef Studio at the Mondavi Center for Performing Arts
    In partnership with the California Native Grasslands Association (CNGA), the Arboretum is holding a workshop to provide participants with in-depth information for low-water-use landscapes. Fee is $30 or $25 for CNGA members. Learn more and register here.



Seed Central/Food Central networking event at UC Davis: September 11, 2014

Seed Central/Food Central hosts networking events and speakers to bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. The September 11 event will be held in the Buehler Alumni Center at UC Davis. Speakers include Alan Bennett, a distinguished professor of plant sciences, and Cecilia Chi-Ham, director of science and technology for PIPRA, a nonprofit initiative that works to improve developing countries’ access to technologies. They will discuss engineering alfalfa for yield and protein quality.

Networking, with food and beverages, runs between 4:30 and 6 p.m. The featured presentation runs from 6 to 7 p.m. The event is free, but an RSVP is requested. More information is available at

Kathleen Bess-Esparza
Department of Plant Sciences


Bodega Marine Laboratory open house: September 13, 2014


The public is invited to learn about the latest in marine research when the Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts its “Meet the Scientists” open house on Saturday, September 13, from  1 to 5 p.m.

The Bodega Marine Laboratory, managed by UC Davis, is a premier research and teaching facility located on a spectacularly diverse coastal reserve. Research projects focus on understanding complex systems in the coastal environment and include finding solutions to improve degraded marine and terrestrial habitats, monitoring climate change effects of ocean acidification, sustaining local fisheries, saving endangered species, and controlling invasive plants and animals. The tidepool exhibit offers visitors a chance to experience intertidal animals such as sea urchins and hermit crabs, and to observe seaweeds and fishes.

The Bodega Marine Laboratory is located at 2099 Westshore Rd. on Bodega Head in Bodega Bay. Visit the open house website for a list of frequently asked questions.

Bodega Marine Laboratory
(707) 875-2211


Great chefs series: September 13, 2014

great chef

The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science holds its inaugural event in a new series of lectures and demonstrations from world-class chefs on September 13. The “Great Chefs Series” brings Chef Daniel Olivella for a full day of private kitchen instruction, cooking, great food, fine wines, and lectures. Olivella’s career began in Spain and includes restaurants in San Francisco, Barcelona, Austin, and Palm Springs. In the morning, 24 participants will step into RMI’s Food Innovation Kitchen to cook alongside Olivella. Lunch follows. A paella-making demonstration with Spanish wines takes place in the afternoon. Olivella concludes the day with a lecture in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater.

Registration for the full day is $250; the afternoon lecture and demonstration only is $50.

Stephanie Shimada
Robert Mondavi Institute


Advanced sensory evaluation of olive oil: September 16–18, 2014


The UC Davis Olive Center is holding an advanced course in the sensory evaluation of olive oil September 16–18 in the Silverado Vineyard Sensory Theater at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. The three-day course is designed for producers, buyers, importers, category managers, and anyone wanting to know more about assessing the quality of extra virgin olive oil. It will address official methods of the International Olive Council, as well as protocols used by major food and beverage companies.

Registration is $895. More information is available here.

Dan Flynn
UC Davis Olive Center


Program management for plant breeders: September 16–18, 2014

“Program Management for Plant Breeders” will be held September 16-18 in the Bowley Plant Sciences building at UC Davis. The course is designed to enhance the management skills of professional scientists who are leading and directing plant breeding and laboratory programs in modern agricultural research and development programs of agribusiness companies and the public sector.

Registration is $850. The fee includes course materials and lunch. More information is available from the Seed Biotechnology Center.

Sue DiTomaso
Seed Biotechnology Center


Aquatic weed school: September 23–24, 2014

3421 Cover(aquatic weeds)

The Aquatic Weed School will be held at the Bowley Plant Sciences Center at UC Davis September 23–24, 2014. The school is designed for those involved in consulting, research, and management of aquatic weed systems throughout the western United States.

The course covers the impacts of aquatic weeds; physical and chemical characteristics related to flowing and nonflowing aquatic systems; identification, biology, and ecology of aquatic weeds; interaction with other organisms; and strategies to prevent aquatic weed infestations. It also examines the mode of action of herbicides registered for use in aquatic systems and control options for large lakes and reservoirs, small ponds and aquascapes, flowing systems, special circumstances, and riparian areas. Other topics include regulatory issues concerned with water rights, permits, and management impacts on fish and wildlife. Lecture notes will be provided in a comprehensive notebook.

The registration fee is $550 and includes all course materials and lunch each day. A limited number of discounts are available for students and UC farm advisors. For additional information and to register, contact the UC Weed Research and Information Center.

Gale Perez
Weed Research and Information Center


Fresh-cut products workshop: September 23–25, 2014

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center presents a workshop, September 23–25, on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables at the Buehler Alumni Center. The 19th annual workshop will include lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and research updates.

This workshop is designed for food scientists, food engineers, quality assurance personnel, and new-product development staff, as well as for representatives of research institutions, the restaurant and institutional food industries, and equipment, packaging, and ingredient suppliers. Fresh-cut products (cleaned, washed, cut, packaged, and refrigerated fruits and vegetables) are an important and expanding food category.

The enrollment fee is $1,150 and includes all instruction, course materials, lunches, and morning and afternoon snacks, in addition to an evening networking reception. For more information, visit

Penny Stockdale
Postharvest Technology Center


Seed Central/Food Central networking event in Salinas: September 25, 2014

Seed Central/Food Central hosts networking events and speakers to bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. The September 25 event will be held in Steinbeck Hall at Hartnell College, Salinas. The featured speaker is Stavros Vougioukas, a biological and agricultural engineering professor from UC Davis, who will discuss advanced mechanization and automation for specialty crop production.

Networking takes place during a catered lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  Vougioukas will deliver his talk at 12:30 p.m. The event is free, but an RSVP is requested. More information is available at

Kathleen Bess-Esparza
Department of Plant Sciences


Bohart Museum open house—How to be an entomologist: September 27, 2014


The Department of Entomology and Nematology will hold its first public open house of the academic year Saturday, September 27, 2014, in the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The event—How to be an entomologist—runs from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Bohart Museum, located in room 1124 of the Academic Surge building off LaRue Road, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. For additional information about upcoming open houses in the Bohart Museum, visit the department’s website.

Tabatha Yang
Department of Entomology and Nematology


CA&ES College Celebration: October 10, 2014

College Celebration 2013 276

The 26th annual CA&ES College Celebration will be held on Friday, October 10, in the UC Davis ARC Pavilion. The event honors seven people who will receive an Award of Distinction, the highest recognition presented by the college. After the awards ceremony, guests will be served hors d’oeuvres, wines, beers, and other refreshments. The evening culminates with the dismantling of the farmers market display, where attendees are invited to take home a bag of fresh California produce and grains.

The 2014 CA&ES Award of Distinction honorees include:

  • Alumni: Frank Muller, Chris Zanobini
  • Friends of the College: François Korn, Steve Leveroni, TJ Rodgers
  • Outstanding staff: Corwyn Lovin
  • Outstanding faculty: Christine Bruhn

Online registration is open. Tickets are $15. Visit the College Celebration website to learn more about the event. Please note that College Celebration is being held in a new location this year, not Freeborn Hall. Click here for a location map of the UC Davis ARC Pavilion. Parking is in the adjacent visitor parking lot #25.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office


Harvest—a gathering for food, wine, beer, and the arts: October 12, 2014

“Harvest—a gathering for food, wine, beer, and the arts” takes place Sunday, October 12, 2014, at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and nearby campus locations. Family friendly activities are planned from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Vanderhoef Quad. Discussions on global and regional agriculture will take place between 2 and 4 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theater. The Nelson Gallery will be open to the public 2 to 7 p.m. A highlight of this festival features food, wine, and live music in the Good Life Garden at the Robert Mondavi Institute from 4 to 6 p.m. Festivities conclude with an evening performance by Ray LaMontagne at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

With sponsorship from the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the festival is presented by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the World Food Center, and the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. To see the full schedule of activities and to obtain tickets, please visit the event website. Tickets for the Good Life Garden event are $20 in advance ($25 if purchased onsite), for those 21 and over, $10 for patrons 12 to 20 years old, and free for those under the age of 12. A portion of the proceeds from the harvest festival will be donated to a UC Davis scholarship fund related to food, wine, beer, and/or the arts. Tickets for the Ray LaMontagne performance can be obtained from the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Stephanie Shimada
Robert Mondavi Institute


Horse Day—a hands-on approach to equine topics: October 25, 2014


The Department of Animal Science trots out a new approach to Horse Day on October 25, 2014. Held at the historic animal science Horse Barn, the day will be filled with hands-on workshops for horse owners and enthusiasts. Attendees will be able to interact with the animals, talk to the experts, and be more involved in the day’s activities. In addition to a tour of the Horse Barn, some of the topics include equine appraisals, understanding forage and the horse diet, and getting your horse to work with your farrier.

Registration is $30 until October 11; $40 thereafter. Discounts are available for groups and children under 14. A barbecue lunch is available for $8. For additional information and to register, visit the department’s Horse Day website.

Valerie Ozella
Department of Animal Science


Bugs and Beer—why crickets and kölsch might be matches made in heaven: November 1, 2014


The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, in collaboration with the Department of Entomology and Nematology, is sponsoring “Bugs and Beer—why crickets and kölsch might be matches made in heaven” on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at the Robert Mondavi Institute Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater. Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Science, and culinary bug enthusiast and chef David George Gordon, will lead a joint tasting. Participants will experience eight different hand-picked combinations.

Registration is $50 (general) and $25 for UC Davis students 21 and over. Visit the “Bugs and Beer” website to learn more and register.

Stephanie Shimada
Robert Mondavi Institute


Produce safety—a science-based framework workshop: November 4–6, 2014

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center is offering a workshop on developing a scientific framework for produce microbial safety systems and preventive controls. The course is designed primarily for entering and junior-level produce safety professionals and others with an interest in produce safety education.

Course content will provide participants with a basis for decision making on topics common to industry guidance standards, as well as federal regulatory compliance. The curriculum is a blend of fundamental, applied, and practical information. The course includes formal lectures, group assessments, and break-out groups. The curriculum includes the scientific basis for audit standards and preparing for using audits and targeted microbiological testing to improve performance.

The course will be held in the ballroom at the UC Davis Conference Center. Enrollment is $950 and includes all instruction, course material, a networking reception and two lunches. For additional information and to enroll, visit the course website. Enrollment is requested no later than October 24, 2014.

Penny Stockdale
Postharvest Technology Center

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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, .

Editor: John Stumbos
Writing: John Stumbos, Helene Dillard, Robin DeRieux
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Julie Fritz-Rubert, Thomas Kaiser, Christine Schmidt

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