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Posts Tagged: Themis Michailides

Names in the News

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Amer Fayad
Fayad named Western IPM Center director

Amer Fayad joined ANR on July 8, 2019 as director of the Western Integrated Pest Management Center. He is a plant pathologist focused on the identification, epidemiology, biological and molecular diversity of viruses, virus movement, interactions between viruses and plant virus resistance genes. and management of virus diseases. Fayad will provide overall leadership of the Western IPM Center, collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to identify regional IPM needs and formulate strategies to address the issues. He will represent the Western IPM Center to other agencies at the state, regional and national levels to identify opportunities for collaboration.

From 2011 to 2019, Fayad served in several capacities at Virginia Tech. From 2016-2019, he was the associate director and the Africa program manager of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, an $18 million program that advances IPM science and education and develops IPM technologies. He coordinated projects in East Africa and South Asia that identified and developed environmentally sound IPM strategies, prepared action plans, assessments, reports and publications.

Prior to that, Fayad, who is fluent in Arabic and French, taught biology at Notre Dame University in Lebanon. At the Citrus Research and Education Center at the University of Florida, Fayad conducted postdoctoral research.

He earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology, physiology, and weed science from Virginia Tech, a M.S. in crop protection and a B.S. in agriculture and a diploma of “Ingenieur Agricole” from the American University of Beirut.

Fayad is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1271 and afayad@ucanr.edu.

Read a Q&A with Fayad at http://ipmwest.blogspot.com/2019/07/a-q-with-new-western-ipm-center.html.

Otto joins Master Food Preserver Program

Anna Otto

Anna Otto is the new program coordinator in the statewide office for the Master Food Preserver (MFP) Program.

As UC Master Food Preserver coordinator, she will provide statewide support to the UC MFP Program, which operates in 17 counties with more than 400 certified volunteers. Her responsibilities include project management in office administration, event planning and meeting coordination, communications, marketing, training and fund development.

Before joining UC MFP on May 6, 2019, she spent the past 17 years as an adjunct professor of family and consumer science at Sacramento City College, where her courses focused on child and lifespan development.

Prior to teaching, Otto was a research associate for the 4-H Center for Youth Development in Davis. She is excited to be back working for UC Cooperative Extension.

Otto first learned about UC MFP Program this past fall, during a visit to the Arcata Farmer's Market. Since that time, she has attended their demonstrations and classes in Sacramento, Humboldt and El Dorado counties and learned about pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting and making salsa.

Otto earned an M.S. in child development and a B.S. in dependent care management, both from UC Davis.

Otto is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1382 and amotto@ucanr.edu.

Michailides receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Themis Michailides

The Pacific Division of the American Phytopathological Society recently honored Themis Michailides with their Lifetime Achievement Award. They presented him with the award on June 26 at their annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colo.

Michailides, a UC Davis plant pathologist based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, is a leading authority in fungal fruit tree pathology and is nationally and internationally recognized for his innovative ecological, epidemiological, and disease management studies of devastating diseases of fruit and nut crops.

After intensive and multifaceted research on the panicle and shoot blight of pistachio caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea, a major disease that became an epidemic in 1995 to 1998 and threatening California's pistachio industry, he developed tools for successfully controlling the disease. For this outstanding research, the California pistachio industry awarded him a plaque engraved “Honoring 20 years of research excellence.”

Based on what they learned from the Bot of pistachio, Michailides and his colleagues expanded their research to Bot (or band) canker of almond and the Botryosphaeria/Phomopsis canker dieback and blight of walnut.

Michailides, who has been working at Kearney REC for 31 years, has also been doing pioneering research in understanding and managing aflatoxin contamination of pistachio and almond and has published more than 235 refereed articles.

He has also been active in the American Phytopathological Society, serving as a member or chair of various committees. Additionally, he has served as associate editor (1991–1993) and senior editor (1995—1997) of Plant Disease and senior editor (2006–2008) of Phytopathology. In 2011, he was named an APS Fellow. He has collaborated with international scientists in more than 10 countries. He served as APS Pacific Division president in 2012-2013.

Kern County Entomology Team wins WEDA Award of Excellence

From left, Wendy Powers, David Haviland, who accepted the WEDA award on behalf of the team, Glenda Humiston and Jean-Marie Peltier, who represents California for Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET)

For more than 15 years, the Kern County Entomology Team has helped growers respond to invasive insect pests that threaten California agriculture. Their efforts have been recognized with the Western Extension Director Association's Award of Excellence for 2019.

The Kern County Entomology Team is composed of David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and pest management farm advisor for Kern County; Jhalendra Rijal, UC IPM advisor for the Northern San Joaquin Valley; Emily Symmes, UC IPM advisor for Sacramento Valley; Robert Beede, UCCE farm advisor emeritus in Kings County; Stephanie Rill, UC Cooperative Extension staff research associate in Kern County; Robert Curtis, research director for the Almond Board of California, and Judy Zaninovich, director of the Consolidated Central Valley Table Grape Pest and Disease Control District.

The Kern County Entomology Team has implemented more than a dozen applied research and extension programs with documented impacts on top California commodities such as almonds, table grapes, pistachios, cherries and blueberries. Team members have organized Extension meetings, workshops, presentations, publications and media articles. The collaboration team consists of university professionals and agricultural producers. These collaborations led to reduced pesticide use, increased reliance on biological control, improved worker safety and increased farmer profitability on the more than $15 billion in agricultural commodities grown in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Haviland accepted the award on behalf of the team on July 9 at the Western States Joint Summer Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. Haviland also gave a short presentation to the joint meeting of Western state extension directors, research station directors, agriculture and extension deans and CARET members.

Van Eenaannaam honored for animal breeding and genetics research 

Alison Van Eenennaam

The American Society of Animal Science presented its Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics to Alison Van Eenennaam, UCCE specialist in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science.

Van Eenennaam has developed an internationally recognized research program in animal breeding and genetics, with an emphasis on beef cattle. She conducts both basic lab and applied field research on subjects ranging from genome editing to validation of DNA tests, along with work to ensure regulatory policy allows access to innovative breeding technologies. She has delivered more than 600 presentations, translating her research to stakeholder groups with skill and passion.

She received the award July 10 at the 2019 American Society of Animal Science and Canadian Society of Animal Science annual meeting held in Austin, Texas.

Vidalakis named to prestigious, endowed citrus research position 

Georgios Vidalakis

Georgios Vidalakis, professor and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Microbiology and Plant Pathology Department at UC Riverside, has been named Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection. The position will enable Vidalakis, a plant pathologist, to continue doing research that improves citrus production and quality in California.

A $1 million endowment fund for this work was established by the state's Citrus Research Board with funds matched by the UC President. It will support Vidalakis for the next five years as he helps develop diagnostic tools and therapies for citrus pathogens.

Vidalakis is director of the UC Citrus Clonal Protection Program, or CCPP, which is a collaborative program between the UCR Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, the CA Department of Food and Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and California's citrus industry.

The Citrus Research Board provides the CCPP with assessment funds from the $3.4 billion California citrus industry. The CCPP maintains more than 450 varieties free from diseases. – Jules Bernstein

 

ANR develops innovation incubation strategy

Fred Mendez (center), of Union Bank, was among the 40 people who met on Aug. 30 to develop a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources.

“If UC ANR isn't an incubator, I don't know what is. Furthermore, I would argue that the partnership of our land-grant university system with Cooperative Extension is the original and most productive incubator that the world has ever seen,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in the October-December 2015 issue of California Agriculture.  

Since joining ANR, Humiston has been working to expand UC ANR's incubation activities by joining with diverse partners to develop a much broader innovation infrastructure specifically designed to support intellectual property, innovation, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, startups and commercialization aimed at agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. 

“A lot of people have ideas, but they don't know how to be business leaders. An incubator connects them with the things they need to be successful as new entrepreneurs,” said Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

"We're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure,” Humiston said.

To kick off development of such a system, Humiston brought together 40 people on Aug. 30 with a wide range of expertise and representing a variety of sectors: agriculture, banking, business, government, technology and higher education – including leaders of several successful incubators. The purpose of the meeting, held at the ANR building in Davis, was to engage the group in developing a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources. 

“We're not looking to reinvent the wheel or duplicate existing efforts,” Humiston said, explaining that she hopes to support and leverage the strengths and efforts of partners.

Christine Gulbranson, UC senior vice president of research innovation and entrepreneurship, and Reg Kelly of UC San Francisco, who created QB3, – one of UC's best performing incubators – participated in the session. The quantitative biologists at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz who comprise QB3 take on challenges in biology using physics, chemistry, and computer science. QB3's Startup in a Box provides legal and grant-writing help for biotech startups.

“We want to take the QB3 model and modify it for ANR,” Humiston said. “But we don't have the resources to build a statewide system by ourselves so we're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure.”

Such an innovation system could benefit a wide array of entrepreneurs in rural areas and help to commercialize ideas generated by UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors.

“Over the past eight years, ANR researchers have filed 148 patents,” Humiston said. “However, it is unclear if many of those had the support they needed to go the next step.”

Participants identified resources available and gaps around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement.

At the meeting, the group divided into five tables of eight people. Each table had representatives of UC ANR, various UC campuses, state and federal government, funding institutions, incubators, and different industries. They discussed issues around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement, answering the following questions:

  • What exists now?
  • Where are the gaps that need to be filled?
  • Which of these gaps could UC ANR help catalyze and fill, either with partners or on its own?
  • How could this work to fill the gaps be funded?
  • How do we measure success?

Conversations were lively and many ideas were brought forth for specific projects and other implementation. “It's really exciting,” said Humiston. “People were jazzed. Virtually all of the participants said they want to work with us on next steps.”

In addition to Humiston and Youtsey, AVP Wendy Powers and UCCE advisors David Doll and Andre Biscaro participated for ANR. Consultant Meg Arnold is writing up a report, which is expected to be released in early October. 

Names in the News

Konrad Mathesius
Mathesius named UCCE agronomy advisor in Capitol Corridor

Konrad Mathesius (pronounced “Muh-tay-zee-us”) is the new UCCE agronomy advisor for Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties.

Mathesius, who joined ANR on June 27, will be working with growers and pest control advisers in the Capitol Corridor area to address issues related to soils, pests, diseases and production efficiency. In addition to collaborating on a few projects with UCCE advisor Rachael Long in alfalfa, dry beans and sunflowers, he will work on a wide range of agronomic crops including corn, wheat, barley and safflower. 

Mathesius will work with growers and PCAs to mitigate crop losses by addressing pest and disease pressures and to help them comply with nitrogen, pesticide and water regulations. He also plans to develop crop guidelines based on difficulties associated with specific soils in the Capitol Corridor.

The native of Logan, Utah, earned his undergraduate degree at Utah State and his master's degrees in soil science and international agricultural development at UC Davis.

“After graduation, I spent a few years working in the private sector, where I gained a sense of respect for bottom lines and the hustle to make ends meet,” Mathesius said. “I intend to bring the question of cost and efficiency into most, if not all of my work.”

Based in Woodland, Mathesius can be reached at kpmathesius@ucanr.edu and (530) 666-8704.

Kathryn Stein
Stein joins ANR as AVP executive assistant

Kathryn Stein has joined ANR as executive assistant to Wendy Powers, Associate Vice President 

Prior to joining ANR, Stein worked in the College of Engineering Dean's office at UC Berkeley for three and a half years. She earned a B.S. in environmental horticulture and urban forestry from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. While in Davis, she worked for the Whole Earth Festival, an annual sustainability festival on the UC Davis campus.  

Stein is based on the 10th floor of UCOP and can be reached at Kathryn.Stein@ucop.edu  and (510) 587-6240.

Martinez and Au receive NIH Career Development Awards

Two researchers at the Nutrition Policy Institute have been awarded K01 Career Development Awards by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lauren Au will research disparities in the relationship between the school nutrition environment and childhood obesity and Suzanna Martinez will study sleep duration and risk for obesity in Mexican-American children.

Martinez will receive $895,620 and Au will receive $840,871. Martinez has also been accepted into the K Scholars Program at UC San Francisco, which will provide her with peer support and mentorship to conduct the study.

Barbara Allen-Diaz
Allen-Diaz honored by APLU

Barbara Allen-Diaz, who retired as ANR vice president in 2015, is among five Land Grant university leaders recognized for Excellence in National Leadership by the Experiment Station Section of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The other individuals honored with Allen-Diaz were:

  • Walter A. Hill, Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University
  • Steve Slack, formerly associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of OARDC, The Ohio State University (recently retired)
  • Daniel Rossi, formerly executive director, Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (recently retired)
  • William (Bill) Brown, dean of research and director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Tennessee

The resolution reads in part: “These leaders have personified the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the Regional Associations and Experiment Station Section in achieving their mission and the Land-grant ideal.”

The awards were announced at the annual Experiment Station Section meeting on Sept. 21 in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM

UC ANR introduces Zoom for online conferencing

UC ANR is ready to roll out Zoom conferencing to all UC ANR staff and academics, announced Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

“Zoom is the easiest to use high-quality video, phone and web conferencing service on the market,” said Youtsey. “After an extensive analysis, the UC has established a systemwide Zoom contract for a very low cost, which UC ANR IT is covering. Our goal is for Zoom to become the common tool for communication within the division, and for collaboration with campus and external teams worldwide.”

Zoom can replace Skype, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting and ReadyTalk. Some of Zoom's features include:

  • Super easy video conferencing on your computer, mobile device, or room system for up to 50 connections
  • Unlimited phone conferencing for up to 50
  • Ability to support large meetings with up to 100 and webinars up to 500 participants (see instructions below)
  • Enabled for PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices
  • Compatible with any existing teleconference phones from Polycom, Tandberg, LifeSize etc.

Everything you need to log in and get started using Zoom is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/zoom. If you have a UC ANR portal account and @ucanr.edu email address, log in at https://ucanr.zoom.us.

Additional Zoom features are available to ANR employees:

  • ANR has a license for a 100-participant meeting (two-way communication), which can be reserved for occasional use at no cost.
  • ANR has a license for 500-participant webinars (one-way communication, which can be reserved for occasional use at no cost.
  • There are a range of large meeting and webinar licenses you can purchase as “add-ons” for your exclusive use if needed. Contact the IT Service Desk for more information.
  • Zoom Rooms is a great way to connect conference rooms to the Zoom service for high-quality video, phone and web conferencing. Contact the IT Service Desk for more information for equipment and pricing information.

For help to get Zoom up and running, contact the ANR IT Service Desk at help@ucanr.edu or call (530) 750-1212.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:44 AM

UC Food Observer launches newsletter

Now it's easier to keep up with the latest food and agriculture news from UC Food Observer. Just sign up for updates delivered to your email inbox twice each month.

It's a convenient and fast way to keep informed on must-read news about food policy, nutrition, agriculture and more, curated by the University of California as part of its UC Global Food Initiative.

Your email is only used for these newsletters. It is never used for spam. To sign up, please visit www.ucfoodobserver.com and enter your email address in the Subscribe box.

If you have any questions, please contact assistant editor Teresa O'Connor at Teresa.OConnor@ucop.edu

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 9:01 AM
 
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