CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

February 11, 2016

Feb 09, 2016 samanning

A message from Associate Dean Dave Campbell: Planning ahead to meet the challenges of 21st Century global change

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell
The great Japanese baseball player, Sadaharu Oh, was asked his secret of hitting. He said, “I look at the opposing pitcher as my partner who, with every pitch, is serving up an opportunity for me to hit a home run.”

What Oh had discovered was the power of a simple change in perspective to improve performance. Rather than focusing on the difficulties facing him as a hitter — the pitcher’s speed, the umpire’s strike zone, his own flaws — he translated his situation into a focused opportunity to excel.

Operating from a similar mindset, 18 members of the CA&ES faculty spent fall quarter envisioning priority themes for the college’s future work. Their question: What broad strategic priorities can unite, energize, and propel the college forward in the years ahead? Rather than being overwhelmed by resource constraints, the diverse nature of our faculty, or the long list of public problems waiting to be solved, the committee looked for the sweet spots where existing college strengths can meet the world’s pressing needs — where we are poised to hit it out of the park.

The committee’s Academic and Strategic Planning report, “Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Global Change,” was submitted to Dean Dillard in December 2015. It can be viewed at and is now being reviewed and discussed by the entire faculty and various representative committees. Under a broad mission umbrella of promoting agricultural, environmental, and social sustainability, the report envisions four deeply intertwined priority themes:

  • Sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Equitable, healthy communities
  • Ecosystem viability and functionality
  • Meeting the challenges of climate change

Co-chaired by John Eadie, Anita Oberbauer, and Francene Steinberg, the planning committee was deliberately constituted to include representatives of all college departments and many early career faculty. Engaging in robust and wide-ranging discussions, they drew on a 2015 survey of college faculty and on previous college planning documents, particularly the 2013 College Visioning Committee report. Thinking ahead, they saw how our strengths in the social, physical, and biological sciences, and in related technical fields, can be integrated to address pressing global challenges. Many of these challenges lie at the nexus where food, health, agriculture, environment, and human communities meet.

All of us in the college are grateful to the committee for their time and dedication. As a roadmap to our future, the strategic plan will inform our priorities and resource allocations. We soon will be convening follow-up workgroups to craft the actions needed to make sure the strategic plan is linked to specific implementation measures.

This is an exciting time for our college given our high-impact programs and the diverse strengths of our faculty, staff, and students. We won’t always hit a home run, but having a plan in place and the right attitude toward our common work should help us connect more frequently, with results the world needs and values.

Dave Campbell, associate dean
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]




Kent Bradford and Gurdev Khush among the “Top 100” founders of seed industry

Kent Bradford
Seed Biotechnology Center director Kent Bradford and plant sciences adjunct professor Gurdev Khush are included in a list of the “Top 100” founders of the seed industry during the last 100 years. The list, compiled by SeedWorld magazine, includes men and women who have “provided leadership during trying times, insight to complex issues, and a commitment to something larger than self.”

Bradford was selected for his role in launching the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis. Through its workshops and courses, the center has kept more than 2,000 professionals connected to the latest scientific advances that affect the seed industry. One of the most prominent is the Plant Breeding Academy, which hosts workshops in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Africa, training seed industry personnel to become plant breeders and filling a shortfall in the profession.

Gurdev Khush
Khush was head of plant breeding at the International Rice Research Institute and developed IR36, one of the most widely planted food crops in the world. Since its creation, rice production increased from 257 million tons to 686 million tons per year. Khush is one of the principal leaders of the Green Revolution. Read more.

Kent Bradford
Seed Biotechnology Center
[email protected]

Gurdev Khush
Department of Plant Sciences
[email protected]




CA&ES Award of Distinction nominations due by March 18, 2016

Nominations for outstanding individuals to be considered for the college's Award of Distinction are due by March 18. These annual awards recognize the accomplishments of a small number of outstanding alumni, young alumni, friends, faculty, and staff to be honored at College Celebration next October 14.

One or more individuals who meet the criteria can be nominated. The nomination packet can be found at Nominations should be kept confidential. CA&ES Dean Helene Dillard will personally contact the recipients chosen by the selection committee. Nominators and supporters will also be notified.

Award of Distinction recipients will be honored at the 28th annual College Celebration on Friday evening, October 14, at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center Pavilion.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Arboretum and Public Garden events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

Walking in the Woods with Chemistry
Now through March 31, Ruth Risdon Storer Garden, Mediterranean Collection, Conifer Collection, Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants

Explore this temporary exhibit to discover how a plant can cure cancer, what plant molecules create the smell in soap and perfume, and how a plant defends itself chemically. Spread across several collections in the arboretum, this exhibit shows some of the research of chemistry professor Dean Tantillo, plant biology professor Philipp Zerbe, and chemistry Ph.D. candidate Nhu Nguyen. Learn more about the exhibit. See a map of the arboretum for location of exhibits.

Folk Music Jam Session
Fridays, February 12 and 26; March 11, noon to 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.

Biodiversity Museum Day
Saturday, February 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., multiple locations (See entry under the “When” section for more detail.)

Go behind the scenes to explore displays from nine biology-focused campus museums. Talk to scientists and students, and participate in family-friendly activities. Those visiting the arboretum will be invited to tour collections, learn about flower pressing, heirloom herbs, and more.

Relaxation Day in the Arboretum
Saturday, February 20, 1 to 3 p.m., lawn west of the Arboretum Gazebo

The arboretum is partnering with the campus “Mind Spa” to help in a day of relaxation before midterms. Participate in a yoga class, coloring workshop, and more. All ages are welcome to this free event.

Amazing Acacias
Saturday, February 27, 2 p.m., Putah Creek Lodge

The late winter display of yellow blossoms in the Eric E. Conn Acacia Grove is spectacular. The grove features more than 50 different acacias from throughout the world.

Native California Elderberry Flute-making Workshop
Sunday, February 28, 1 to 3 p.m., Environmental Horticulture 146

Learn how to make and play a native California elderberry flute. East Bay Regional Parks docent Antonio Flores will talk about the culture of flute making and also about the endangered elderberry beetle. Materials will be supplied. Bring a sharpened pocket knife. The event is sponsored by the Arboretum Ambassadors. All ages are welcome.

Walk with Warren
Wednesday, March 9, noon to 1 p.m., Arboretum Gazebo

Join Warren Roberts, the arboretum’s superintendent emeritus, storyteller, and punster, for an engaging noontime exploration of winter in the arboretum’s gardens and collection.

Member Appreciation Plant Sale
Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery

Support the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden at the Member Appreciation Plant Sale. All members receive 10 percent off their purchases and an additional $10 off as an appreciation gift. The plant sale will have a great selection of gorgeous Arboretum All-Stars, California natives, and other drought-tolerant plants.



Seed Central networking event: February 11, 2016

Seed Central hosts speakers and networking events that bring together seed and food industry professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. The February 11 event will be held in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Networking takes place from 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by featured speaker Paul Gepts, professor of plant sciences. His topic is Grain Legume Breeding in California and East Africa — Contrasting Endeavors. The February Seed Central event will feature a showcase of cutting-edge technologies from Afingen, Trace Genomics, and Pacific Biosciences of California.

Future speakers include:

  • March 10 — Phyllis Himmel, director, Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI)
  • April 14 — Michael Gumina, global CEO, RiceTec AG
  • April 28 (Salinas) — Steven Knapp, professor of plant sciences and director of the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program
  • May 12 — Diane Barrett, UC Davis Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology

Kathleen Bess-Esparza
Department of Plant Sciences
[email protected]


Biodiversity Museum Day: February 13, 2016

UC Davis will celebrate its fifth annual Biodiversity Museum Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, with a campuswide open house showcasing 11 specialized research and teaching collections (five more than last year).

New to Biodiversity Day are the Nematode Collection, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, California Raptor Center, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. They will join the Center for Plant Diversity, Botanical Conservatory, Paleontology Collections, Anthropology Collection, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, and the Bohart Museum of Entomology for a day of science exploration.

Biodiversity Museum Day is billed as a special day for the public to go behind the scenes to learn how scientists conduct research, to gain first-hand educational experience, and to see some of the curators' favorite pieces. The event is free and open to the public. To learn more, read a blog post by entomology writer Kathy Garvey.

Ernesto Sandoval
Botanical Conservatory
[email protected]


Breeding with Genomics: February 16–18, 2016

The Seed Biotechnology Center is hosting its 7th Breeding with Genomics course February 16–18 at the UC Davis Conference Center.

The program is aimed at professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in plant breeding and germplasm improvement. It is an opportunity for breeders to expand their knowledge of new strategies and technologies and for laboratory personnel to appreciate how genetic marker data are applied in breeding programs.

The course covers the basics of DNA markers, quantitative trait loci, association studies, and genomic selection. The instructors are experts in the application of genomics to plant breeding and include Allen Van Deynze, Kent Bradford, Jorge Dubcovsky, Amanda Hulse, Richard Michelmore, Alison Van Eenennaam, Shawn Yarnes, and David Francis.

Registration is $850. To register and learn more.

Sally Mohr
Seed Biotechnology Center
[email protected]


Fruit Ripening and Ethylene Management Workshop: March 1–2, 2016

The Postharvest Technology Center will hold the 22nd annual Fruit Ripening and Ethylene Management Workshop at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) on March 1–2.

The workshop is intended for shippers and fruit handlers (wholesale and retail), and produce managers who are involved in handling and ripening fruits and fruit-vegetables. The program will focus on how to increase profits by reducing losses at the receiving end, and by delivering ready-to-eat fruits and fruit-vegetables to consumers. Key topics include the importance of ripening programs, maturity and quality relationships, biology of ethylene production, tools to control ripening and senescence, designing and controlling a ripening program, physiological disorders, and commodity-specific ripening protocols.

Enrollment is $899 and includes all classroom instruction, lab activities, course materials, coffee breaks, lunches, and an evening mixer. To register and learn more.

Penny Stockdale
Postharvest Technology Center
[email protected]


Economics of Healthier Farm Employees: March 7, 2016

Dan Sumner, director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center, will present a seminar on March 7 from 4 to 5 p.m. for the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. His topic is Economics of Healthier Farm Employees: Framework for Assessing Impacts of Inventions for Berry Workers.

Location of the seminar is the Center for Health and the Environment on Old Davis Road, about one mile south of campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. No parking permit is required.

Suzette Smiley-Jewell
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
[email protected]


CA&ES annual spring faculty meeting: May 26, 2016

The annual spring faculty meeting for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will be held May 26 in the Student Community Center multipurpose room from 4 to 6 p.m. Mark your calendars and plan to attend.

Brenda Nakamoto
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course: June 13–24, 2016

Enrollment is now open for the 38th annual Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course to be held June 13–24 at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) and field locations.

This two-week course is an intensive study of the biology and current technologies used for handling fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals in California. The first week will be held at the ARC and features lectures and demonstrations on a broad spectrum of postharvest topics. The second (optional) week is a field tour visiting a variety of postharvest operations. The enrollment fee is $2,250 for the first week and $3,150 (plus additional lodging fees) for both weeks. To learn more please visit the course website.

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center
[email protected]


International agricultural groundwater conference in San Francisco: June 28–30, 2016

An international conference on agricultural groundwater, organized by UC Davis and the Water Education Foundation, will be held June 28–30 in the Hyatt Regency at the San Francisco Airport.

Toward Sustainable Groundwater in Agriculture 2016: 2nd International Conference Linking Science and Policy will focus on the latest scientific, management, legal, and policy advances for sustaining groundwater resources in agricultural regions throughout the world. The conference will bring together agricultural water managers, regulatory agency personnel, policy and decision makers, scientists, NGOs, agricultural leaders, and consultants working at the nexus of groundwater and agriculture. The conference addresses a wide range of topics: sustainable groundwater management, groundwater quality protection, groundwater and surface water interactions, the groundwater and energy nexus, agricultural BMPs for groundwater management and protection, monitoring, data collection/management/assessment, modeling tools, and agricultural groundwater management, regulation, and economics.

For more information on the 2016 conference and on the topics covered during the first conference in 2010.

Thomas Harter
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
[email protected]


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Writing: Helene Dillard, John Stumbos
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