Beachy, Ronald named most influential in biotech

Pamela Ronald, Roger Beachy among most influential in biotechnology

Pamela Ronald: The case for engineering our food

Pamela Ronald gives a TED talk

In this TED talk, Pamela Ronald describes her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding.

July 15, 2015

Scientific American recently named the 100 most influential people in biotechnology, two of which are affiliated with the World Food Center: Roger Beachy, the founding director, and Pamela Ronald, a faculty director for the Insitute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, initiated by the World Food Center.

Beachy is known for groundbreaking research related to disease-resistance in crops. Ronald, a professor of plant pathology, focuses on rice genetics; her lab has engineered varieties of the grain for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding.

Scientific American announced the WorldVIEW 100 during the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia last month. The list also includes Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and former head of the Human Genome Project; Nina Fedoroff, a molecular biologist and National Medal of Science winner from Pennsylvania State University; and Bill and Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The WorldVIEW 100 emerged from a list of 400 nominations. Leaders in biotechnology and the biosciences did the nominating, choosing people in science as well as industry, academia, public policy, finance and law.

Beachy joined UC Davis in 2014 as the World Food Center’s founding director. He previously served as the first director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 2009-11. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and received the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 2001.

Ronald, besides her appointment in the Department of Plant Pathology, serves as the director of grass genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy research center in Emeryville.

Brad Hooker is the communications specialist for the World Food Center.

A version of this article originally appeared in Dateline.