Thursday, October 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

UCD ‘will not shrink’ from food, health challenges

Convocation1w

From left, Jordan Galerkin (in pink), a marketing intern for the UC Davis Farmers Market; Leah Meyerson, a senior majoring in nutrition science; and Jadda Miller, a fourth-year student majoring in sustainable ag and food systems serve up mini caprese salads on at the food and health fair Wednesday. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | September 26, 2013 |

The university that gave the world the tomato harvester and discovered a rice gene that controls tolerance to flooding will play a lead role in solving some of the world’s most vexing problems, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said Wednesday.

“I believe it is our responsibility to use our growing knowledge about the nexus between food production, sustainable agriculture and well-being to create a healthier nation and world,” she said, touting UCD’s newly created World Food Center during the fall convocation at the Mondavi Center.

“This is not something we can shrink from, nor would we want to do so. To feed and nourish a healthier world will need the greatest possible range of expertise in one place and across the disciplines. And that one place is UC Davis.”

Katehi, who led her fifth convocation, was joined by California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross, the event’s keynote speaker, and researchers.

State Sen. Lois Wolk and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, both D-Davis, presented a resolution passed earlier this month by the Legislature recognizing the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science’s No. 1 rank in ag and forestry in the QS World University Rankings.

First announced in March, the World Food Center will link agricultural and environmental science researchers with health researchers, veterinarians, engineers, management experts and others, across disciplines, as well as international experts — with the goal of addressing the need to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050.

UCD hopes to raise $100 million for an endowment to sustain the center.

“A World Food Center on our campus can transform and elevate our outstanding university,” Katehi said. “I believe it can do the same for the world.”

The challenge facing the new center is as big as the world itself:

* Nearly 870 million suffer from chronic undernourishment, according to the United Nations. One-third of all child deaths can be attributed to insufficient nutrition.

* In the United States, Katehi said, one-third of the population is obese and health care costs are set to reach 28 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2017.

UCD has done almost $200 million worth of research at the intersection of food and health during the past five years.

The chancellor ticked off a list of research achievements fitting the theme, including:

* Cancer researcher Paul Davis’ work showing that prostate cancer in mice is slowed by a diet including walnuts;

* Pediatrics professor Carol Chantry’s study that found African women infected with AIDS could breastfeed without transmitting the disease if they flash-heated the milk in boiling water before giving it to their infants; and

* Nutrition professor Kay Dewey’s work with a Gates Foundation team developing new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent malnutrition in children and infants.

Said Ross, “I believe the World Food Center will make as big a difference for people, when they reflect 100 years from now, as the placement of the University Farm School in Davisville did 100 years ago. You have all the ingredients to make it happen.”

She credited UCD with its role in helping the state’s ag industry diversify from wheat, grain and cattle a century ago to more than 400 commodities valued at $43 billion annually.

“What you do matters here,” Ross said. “You have helped contribute to a vital, resilient agricultural sector like none other in the world. That’s great for us here at home, but you also are providing the solutions to help food security be a reality for citizens of the globe.

“What you do is create new knowledge and, more importantly, terrific students who go into the world to make a difference in the lives of people.”

Ulfat Shaikh, an assistant professor of pediatrics, provided a prime example of how UCD brings together an array of experts to make a difference in community health.

“Niños Sanos, Familia Sana” (Healthy Children, Healthy Family), a program in the medically underserved, poor Central Valley towns of Firebaugh and San Joaquin, seeks to decrease obesity in Mexican-American children and their families.

The UCD team includes agricultural economists, education specialists, nutritionists, psychologists, physicians, nurses and artists, with the support of billingual students and stuff, who have provided culturally sensitive education about the benefits of healthy diets and exercise, vouchers for fruits and vegetable and regular weight screenings for kids. Community art projects increase awareness.

Wheat geneticist and the leader of UCD’s wheat breeding program, Jorge Dubcovsky, provided another story of UCD’s impact from his laboratory.

A gene responsible for the greater protein levels in a variety of wild wheat from the Middle East was found to be broken in domestic wheat varieties. Reintroducing the functional gene resulted in protein, zinc and iron levels 5 to 10 percent higher.

“Many places you do the research, you publish and that’s it,” Dubcovsky said, “but here at UC Davis we have active breeding programs. That gave us the opportunity to cross that wild wheat with our breeding lines and to develop varieties that carry that gene.

“Today we have two varieties — one bread wheat and one pasta wheat — that have this gene and have higher levels of proteins and nutrients in the grain. Because we have those seeds, we were able to distribute them to many countries.

“It’s nice to see that today there are many countries that are releasing new varieties that have this functional gene and improved nutritional value. It’s a rewarding story.”

After the convocation, a food and health fair was held for the first time on the Vanderhoef Quad outside the Mondavi Center. It featured about two dozen booths from programs on topics like fitness, health through food, companion animals and the Davis and UCD Farmers Markets.

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davis Innovation Center application gives city options

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Pioneer students meet K-9 Officer Dexter

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Versatile cycling contributor Casale Jr. heads to Hall of Fame

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Leading indicators up 0.8%

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Huge gold nugget going up for sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police warn of IRS phone scam

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Canada stunned by attacks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    High-flying fun at University Airport

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Arboretum plant sale is Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Parents’ Night Out on Friday at Pole Line Baptist

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Military Families seek help to send Hugs from Home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead observance focuses on refugee children

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Mercer Clinic benefits from pooch costume pics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    DPNS has play group, preschool openings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UCD Vet Med hosts animal ‘adoptathon’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Carlton invites community to its Haunted Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fly-casting champion will speak to fishing enthusiasts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Check out classic cars once again

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    A nose for mysteries: ‘Cadaver dog’ work more accepted by cops, courts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Cooperatives meet community needs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Co-op trivia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Author visits Woodland for community book project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    We support Archer, Adams

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We need Sunder on board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    A leader our schools deserve

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Knowledgeable, experienced

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    I support John Garamendi

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We have confidence in Madhavi

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Our view: Two more years for Garamendi

    By Our View | From Page: B4

    Two are especially qualified

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    A force for good on board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    Davis tennis team takes title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Picture-perfect: DHS field hockey finishes 14-0

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devils look for first home victory

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men beat Cal Poly, 1-0; alone at the top

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Giants loss evens World Series at 1-1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil soccer loss sets up important final week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    JV/frosh roundup: DHS underclassmen shine in water polo events

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: Hurricanes handle American River twice in one day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Girl Scouts join effort to keep kids healthy

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Hand sanitizer versus soap and water

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Name Droppers: Foster parent heads to First 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Arts

    If it can go wrong it will go wrong

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A10

     
     
    San Francisco Symphony visits with conductor/pianist Zacharias

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    DMTC plans Halloween karaoke fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    The Rhythm Future Quartet plays at Village Homes Community Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals plan traditional English winter celebration

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Under the Covers’ concert benefits KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Jam with folk musicians on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dorothy Foytik

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, October 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B10