A Message From the Dean - September 2023

Welcome to fall quarter! It is always a joy to witness the campus come alive when the students come back to Davis. The quiet productivity of summer is replaced with the busy hum of bikes and scooters, colleagues catching up and the quick upswell of our community. Dorm move-in weekend was busy, and our college gave its usual warm welcome to thousands of incoming first-year and transfer students during College Welcome and at our ice cream social. I really enjoy this time of year, and the reminder of why we are committed to this work.


We have a plethora of research to highlight and many examples of our community doing great work that we have saved up to share from summer. This month’s Highlights features new science on the importance of nest boxes for cavity nesting birds, studying the personalities and behavior of gray wolves, and research on the link between nitrogen, soil and wildfires.

We also have a study that highlights the importance of consistent, positive messaging for teens, and sound reasoning for why you should keep your bananas separate from your berries when blending the optimal smoothie. Professor Ned Spang was appointed as our new director for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and in the spirit of wine and food science, saw an inside look on what it takes to be trained for a honey sensory panel. We also published a story and video package about researchers studying a parasitic weed that is threatening the state’s $1.5 billion tomato processing industry.

Here in the college, we have expertise spanning every discipline relevant to food. Earlier this month, our faculty hosted the Alternative Protein Summit. In our cultivated meat consortium, we have leaders in animal science, human health, fermentation, bioprocessing, consumer and sensory science, sustainability, muscle development, biomedical engineering and economics—the list goes on and on. All this expertise on food is centered right here at UC Davis.

We also welcomed several representatives from the 1890 land-grant universities on behalf of the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS). We have more than 30 faculty researchers engaged in advancing the use of AI and bioinformatics to increase our efficiencies in the food system.

Celebrating 1890 Day serves as a reminder for how important it is for us to shape the trajectory of research and innovation in the vital fields of agriculture and the environment. And this recognition highlights a commitment to inclusive research and knowledge, which is critical in meeting the diverse needs of our communities and affirming our dedication to inclusive and equitable research.

I am pleased to recognize the significance of 1890 Day and the enduring legacy and contributions of these land-grant universities in advancing agricultural and environmental sciences.

Wishing everyone a fulfilling and successful school year,


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