Sunday, April 20, 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

A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

 
Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12

Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 4 Comments

 
We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8