Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

National Academy elects geneticist, statistician

By
From page A1 | May 10, 2013 | Leave Comment

Jorge Dubcovsky. Courtesy photo

Jorge Dubcovsky, an internationally acclaimed wheat geneticist at UC Davis, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors bestowed on scientists and engineers in the United States.

Peter Hall, an Australian statistician with a partial appointment at UCD, was elected as a foreign associate of the academy. They join 21 other UCD members of the academy.

Dubcovsky is a professor in the department of plant sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator.

Over the years, Dubcovsky has become a national and international leader in wheat genomics research, and has helped distribute improved wheat seeds to countries around the world.

Born and raised in Argentina, Dubcovsky began his career teaching middle school science and math classes, and earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Buenos Aires in 1984. He continued taking university-level courses to deepen his understanding of the disciplines in which he was teaching.

He then became intrigued by scientific research and enrolled in a doctoral program, studying the genetics and evolution of Patagonian grasses, which have evolved to withstand the windy, arid and cold environment of Argentina’s uplands. He realized that, in order to develop hardier, more productive crops, plant breeders must understand the evolutionary path followed by the crop’s ancestors.

Dubcovsky earned his doctoral degree in biological sciences in 1989 from the University of Buenos Aires. He came to UCD in 1992 for a research fellowship, interested in the techniques that were becoming available in the growing field of molecular biology.

Employing such techniques, he and fellow researchers were able to use molecular markers to mine new information about plant biology and generate the first molecular genetics maps in wheat.

He spent the following two years doing research in Argentina, but returned in 1994 to direct the wheat-breading program at UCD.

During the past two decades, Dubcovsky has conducted pioneering research in mapping, isolating and cloning genes in wheat’s massive genome. He and his laboratory colleagues have identified and cloned genes involved in disease resistance, protein content, flowering and frost tolerance. Identification of these important genes has enabled researchers and breeders to use conventional breeding techniques to develop hardier, more nutritious wheat varieties.

A product of the 1960s and ’70s, Dubcovsky says the social ideals of that generation, combined with his exposure to poverty in his homeland, impressed upon him the importance of working to ensure that science makes tangible, positive impacts on the world.

In 2011, he received a multimillion-dollar U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to lead researchers, plant breeders and educators from 55 universities and 21 states in an investigation of the biological and environmental stresses on wheat that are caused, in part, by alterations in weather patterns associated with global climate change.

That same year, he was named to the first class of Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigators, and received a USDA Honor Award, the most prestigious award given by the agency’s secretary in recognition of exceptional leadership in science, public policy and management vital to guiding the nation’s food and agricultural system.

Hall is a professor at the University of Melbourne and, since 2006, has held a 25 percent appointment at the department of statistics. He spends one quarter a year, typically spring quarter, in Davis and teaches a proportional full load over a two-year cycle.

Hall is known for his work that provides the theoretical basis for an area of statistics called non-parametric statistics, including bootstrap analysis. These methods typically involve a lot of computation and allow scientists to study very large, complex datasets, such as DNA sequence data, financial markets and Internet search results.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Sydney, Hall received his doctorate, or D. Phil., from Oxford University in 1976. He first worked at the University of Melbourne and then, from 1978 to 2006, at the Australian National University in Canberra.

In 2006, he moved back to Melbourne, and also took up the fractional appointment at UCD in the 2005-06 academic year. He had first visited Davis in 1988, and had collaborated over several years with Professors Hans-Georg Müller and Jane-Ling Wang before taking up the fractional appointment.

Earlier this year, Hall was named an Officer of the Order of Australia, among the highest civilian honors given by the Australian government.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to furthering science and technology and their use for the general welfare.

— UC Davis News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Hay bales burn east of Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Woman killed by train ID’d

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Even a safe house needs boundaries

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

 
.

Arts

 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6