Awards and rankings

Ferguson named ASHS Fellow

Louise Ferguson has been named a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science and will be inducted into the organization’s 60th class of fellows at a ceremony Aug. 1. The award recognizes decades of leadership and, more recently, Ferguson’s efforts to build a leadership training program for younger members.

The recognition is “more than well-deserved and should have happened YEARS ago!” wrote ASHS Executive Director Michael Neff. ASHS fellows are elected “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science, profession, or industry of horticulture,” he added.

Retiring faculty honored for 2023

Five retired faculty from the Department of Plant Sciences will be honored for their outstanding scholarship, the global impact of their contributions to their fields, their service, their expansive teaching and their generous mentoring. A dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Department Chair Gail Taylor will host the festivities. Current faculty will introduce the honorees.

John Yoder

Hanson named fellow of Western Society of Weed Science

Folks in Davis know Brad Hanson as the Weed Doctor, always available during the annual UC Davis Picnic Day festivities to answer questions about what’s that growing in the yard. He's equally knowledgeable about solving farmers’ issues, and that commitment was recognized recently when he was named a fellow of the Western Society of Weed Science. The distinction is the society’s highest honor and recognizes people who have made significant contributions to the society and to the discipline of weed science.

Dubcovsky recognized with Meyer medal for advancing wheat breeding

Jorge Dubcovsky and researchers in his lab have been recognized for providing basic genetic information about wheat and improved germplasm that is being used by scientists around the world to improve “the staff of life.” Those efforts are bringing new varieties of wheat to farmers adapting to new conditions. For his leadership in those efforts, Dubcovsky was awarded the Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources, and a $2,000 prize, at the recent annual meeting of the Crop Science Society of America.

Poudel wins AAUW International Fellowship

Isha Poudel has been awarded a fellowship by the American Association of University Women. Poudel is a second-year master’s student in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences majoring in international agricultural development, with a focus on gender equities and disaster resiliency in food systems. She is in Amanda Crump’s research lab group that focuses on agricultural equity and social inclusion.

The AAUW award will support Poudel in her graduate education and further advance her research project in Nepal.

Brummer honored by alfalfa conference

E. Charles Brummer has been honored for bettering alfalfa science and cultivation by the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference. Brummer, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, is the director of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Center and involved in researching a wide range of crops for forage, grain and fiber.

Which trees will keep on shading us?

Trees in our towns give us shade and relief from the heat, but how long can they keep that up as our climate warms and water becomes scarcer? Scientists at UC Davis are figuring that out and hope to create guides for homeowners, landscapers, nursery managers, parklands officials, urban planners and others trying to preserve islands of refuge within our hot-and-hotter urban centers.

Pepper genetics pioneer Paul Smith honored

Plant pathologist Paul G. Smith, the founder of pepper genetics and a retired professor at UC Davis, has been recognized for a lifetime of contributions that continue to shape plant sciences today.

Smith was a professor in the former UC Davis Department of Vegetable Crops, one of four departments that merged to become the current Department of Plant Sciences. His contributions were recognized at the recent 25th International Pepper Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

Multicultural Scholars Program to bring underrepresented students into plant sciences

When UC Davis recruiters visit high schools and community colleges, they have new reasons to encourage students who might not usually think of college. The Department of Plant Sciences Multicultural Scholars Program now offers financial support to California students from under-represented communities to help them pursue a career in the field.

Marino appointed UC Presidential Chair for tree nuts

Giulia Marino is looking at some promising new varieties of pistachio trees to help growers facing warmer winters, reduced water quantity and quality, and rising management costs.  As the new University of California Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics, Marino’s work will help farmers in the state’s $5-billion-and-growing industry become more resilient and more profitable.

Fischer remembered for rice research

Albert Fischer, a professor emeritus of weed ecophysiology in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, was recently named recipient of the Outstanding International Achievement Award by the International Weed Science Society.

Shortly after the award was announced, Fischer passed away on Nov. 22 in Davis, Calif. He was 72. Former student Whitney Brim-DeForest accepted the award on Fischer’s behalf at the society’s quadrennial meeting Dec. 8 in Bangkok.

Brown team seeks pistachios that can thrive amid change

A multi-state team led by Patrick J. Brown has been awarded nearly $3.8 million over the next four years for a project to improve pistachio production as the industry faces warmer winters and scarcer water.

“We are at this unique point in history where we can do this,” said Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.