Global thought leaders advise center's vision

New World Food Center advisory board

The World Food Center has appointmented its first external Advisory Board, which includes an impressive range of leaders on the global scale, including sustainable agriculture pioneer Sir Gordon Conway, former Under Secretary Elisabeth Hagen and produce executive Bruce Taylor.

The eight-member board is convening for in-depth discussions on major initiatives at the center.

Under the leadership of biotechnology visionary Roger Beachy, the World Food Center is the leading academic center for connecting food and health research to society and the marketplace, serving as the focal point for deepening and broadening the university’s collaboration with partners.

Advisory Board members:

Linda Katehi chairs WFC board

LINDA KATEHI, WFC Advisory Board Chair, became the sixth chancellor of UC Davis in 2009. As a Chancellor’s Initiative, it was Katehi’s vision that first brought the World Food Center to life.

As chief executive officer, she oversees all aspects of the university’s teaching, research and public service mission, including the UC Davis Health System and its acute-care teaching hospital in Sacramento, one of the nation’s leading medical schools, a new school of nursing and a multi-specialty physician group that serves 33 counties and six million residents.

In addition to her role as chancellor, Katehi holds UC Davis faculty appointments in electrical and computer engineering and in women and gender studies. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, she chaired until 2010 the President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science and the Secretary of Commerce’s committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of many other national boards, and committees and local nonprofits.


Sir Gordon Conway is a WFC board member

SIR GORDON CONWAY is a professor of International Development at Imperial College, London, and director of Agriculture for Impact, which focuses on European support for agricultural development in Africa.

Conway was previously chief scientific advisor to the Department for International Development, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex. He was educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad) and is a UC Davis Ecology alumnus. His discipline is agricultural ecology. In the early 1960's, working in Sabah, North Borneo, he became one of the pioneers of sustainable agriculture. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007. He was made a knight commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2005. He was recently president of the Royal Geographical Society.


Elisabeth Hagen is a WFC board member

ELISABETH HAGEN was the under secretary for Food Safety at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2010- 2013. She now works with organizations to understand the changing food safety landscape, and is a senior advisor to Deloitte.

As under secretary, Hagen oversaw food safety policy for the U.S. meat and poultry industries, and advanced major reforms and consumer protections. She was also a principal in the White House Food Safety Working Group. Prior to her appointment as under secretary, Hagen led epidemiology and science programs in the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Currently, she advises private sector and non-profit clients on food safety strategy, consumer trends, and regulatory impact. Hagen earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and is specialty trained in internal medicine and infectious disease.


Mauricio Lopes is a WFC board member

MAURÍCIO LOPES is president of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).

Lopes is an agronomist, with a MSc. in Plant Genetics, a PhD. in Molecular Biology and a post-doc in Sustainable Genetic Resources Use (FAO Headquarters, Rome). Lopes has been a researcher at Embrapa since 1989. He is the former deputy head for R&D at Embrapa Maize and Sorghum and at Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology and the former head of Embrapa’s R&D Department. More recently, he was a member of the Scientific Council of the Agropolis Foundation (Montpellier, France), the coordinator of Embrapa’s Labex, in South Korea, and the Embrapa executive-director for R&D.


Karen Ros is a WFC board member

KAREN ROSS was appointed secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown.

Secretary Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Prior to joining CDFA, Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Before her time at the USDA, Secretary Ross served more than 13 years as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), based in Sacramento. During that same period she served as the executive director of Winegrape Growers of America, a coalition of state winegrower organizations. From 2001 to 2009, Ross served on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. She was vice president of Government Affairs for the Agricultural Council of California, representing farmer owned cooperatives from 1989-96.


Barbara Scheeman is a WFC board member

BARBARA SCHNEEMAN has served as the director of the Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements at the Food and Drug Administration from 2004- 13.

She is a professor emeritus at UC Davis, where she was a member of the Nutrition faculty and served in several administrative roles, including as chair of the Department of Nutrition and dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Her B.S. degree in Food Science is from UC Davis and her Ph.D. in Nutrition is from UC Berkeley. She participated in Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Science (NAS), committees for the National Academy of Sciences, the USDA, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization. She’s received awards from the Institute of Food Technologists and fellowships from the American Society of Nutrition and AAAS. She is recognized for her work on dietary fiber, gastro-intestinal function, development and the use of food-based dietary guidelines, and for policy development in the area of food and nutrition.


Bruce Taylor is a WFC board member

BRUCE TAYLOR is a third generation produce grower/marketer in the Salinas Valley.

After attending UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, he joined the family business and led the development of Fresh Express. In 1995, Bruce and several partners founded Taylor Farms, and have since expanded this national fresh salad leader to nine manufacturing facilities in North America. Bruce serves as chairman of the executive committee of the Produce Marketing Association, director of the Harden Foundation and a board member of Mission Produce. In 2008, Bruce served as chairman of the Produce Marketing Association, and is past chairman of the board of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. Bruce was elected to the board in 1999, and is currently serving as senior vice chairman.


Helene Dillard is a WFC board member

HELENE DILLARD (Ex-Officio Member) became Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in January 2014.

Dillard also has programmatic responsibilities for the college’s Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. Prior to UC Davis, Dillard was on the faculty at Cornell University since 1984 as a plant pathology professor and she served as chair of the Department of Plant Pathology and as both associate director and director of Cornell Cooperative Extension.


Top Photo: Roger Beachy and Chancellor Katehi address an audience at an earlier conference.