NORMAN C. ELLSTRAND - DIRECTOR
Norman C. Ellstrand is Professor of Genetics in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences. Dr Ellstrand is currently the Director of the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFE). At age 4 Norm’s parents helped him match a picture of a Scarlet Tanager to a living bird in the yard, starting his lifelong passion in biology. He earned a B.S. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interest in plant evolutionary genetics started with graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D. 1978). He now focuses on applied plant population genetics, specifically on the evolution of invasiveness in plants as well as the role of gene flow in the escape of engineered genes. He secretly wants to write a novel but has had fun doing science. Ellstrand’s publication list is approaching 200, including the book, Dangerous Liaisons? When Cultivated Plants Mate with Their Wild Relatives. Ellstrand has presented his research to various audiences ranging from U. S. Congressional staff to Cuban biotechnologists. He and his family lived in Sweden on a Fulbright Fellowship. He has participated in numerous National Research Council activities, notably, the studies on (i) the environmental impacts associated with the commercialization of transgenic plants and (ii) biological confinement of transgenes. In recent decades, his primary undergraduate teaching effort has been non-majors courses because he believes that non-scientists should learn that science is important, interesting, and intuitive (and fun!). The 21 students who received a graduate degree under his guidance have science-based careers in industry, the public sector, or academia. Norm’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as the Botanical Society of America's 2008 Merit Award.
Norm has created interdisciplinary units on his campus: the Center for Conservation Biology, the Biotechnology Impacts Center, and most recently UCR’s research center, the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFE). The mission of the latter is to address some of the large and complex issues in broad-sense agriculture, which necessarily require interdisciplinary teams for the betterment of the planet and its people. Bird-watching remains a passion as Norm’s “life list” inches beyond the 900 milestone.
DEBORAH PAGLIACCIA - MANAGING DIRECTOR
Dr. Pagliaccia is a professional researcher in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences and an academic coordinator at the Dean’s office of the College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Pagliaccia is the managing Director of the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFÉ) at UC Riverside. Dr. Pagliaccia strongly believes that public engagement in science and education is critical for our society and that is particularly important to explore, invest and engage the public in novel sustainable horticultural practices as well as plant growth systems that emphasize biodiversity and have reduced environmental footprints, especially in water usage.
Dr. Pagliaccia grew up and worked all her childhood years in the vegetable fields, olive groves, vineyards, and small dairy farm of her family in central Italy. This life forming experience pushed her to pursue agriculture studies. She earned her B.S. in Agricultural Science and M.Sc. in Plant Production & Protection from the University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy where she researched sustainable agri-food production systems. During this period she also worked as an Erasmus scholar in France at Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier (E.N.S.A.M.) and Syndicat du Centre Régional d'Application et de Démonstration Horticole (SCRADH), Hyeres where she studied on soilless recirculating ag production systems.
Dr. Pagliaccia completed her Ph.D. studies in 2007 in a joint program between the University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy and the Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology at the University of California, Riverside. Her graduate studies were focused on integrated approach to managing diseases and promoting plant growth in soilless agriculture. Dr. Pagliaccia, has worked with the iconic California crops of citrus and avocado as well as cacti, vegetables and ornamental plants. She has also worked with all the major classes of plant pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms including viroids, viruses, oomycetes/fungal-like, fungi, bacteria and bacteria-like as well as insects.
Dr. Pagliaccia is currently working on improving environmental and economic sustainability for small and medium farming operations. Major focus areas include but are not limited to reducing carbon footprint through cleaner local agri-food production systems, better water management and clean waste transformation and improvement of access to high quality food and mitigation to urban food insecurity.
QUINN MCFREDERICK - CAFÉ EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR
Quinn McFrederick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. He is currently the chair of the CAFE executive committee and one of the founding members of the California Institute for Pollination Studies (CIPS). In between his undergraduate and graduate studies, McFrederick worked in environmental education at a zoo, an aquarium, and a museum. He is therefore heavily invested in science communication and led the Department of Entomology's outreach program for 5 years.
The McFrederick laboratory studies the microbes that associate with wild and managed bees, with the goal of leveraging these microbes to protect our valuable pollinators. As bees are responsible for about a third of global food production, sustainable and secure food systems require sustainable and secure bee populations and communities. As this research fits firmly under CAFE's mission, McFrederick's participation in CAFE is a natural fit.