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Cornell University names three new Liberty Hyde Bailey Professors in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University's New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has named three new Liberty Hyde Bailey professors. They are: Carl A. Batt, professor food science; Thomas A. Lyson, professor of rural sociology; and Karl J. Niklas, professor of plant biology.

In 1972 CALS proposed that a named professorship be established to honor agriculture researcher Liberty Hyde Bailey, and to recognize distinguished faculty in agriculture and related sciences. Since then, a total of 13 Bailey professors have been named.

Other Bailey professors are Dale Bauman, George Casella, Dennis Gonsalves, Maureen Hanson, Wendell Roelofs, Peter Steponkus and Steven Tanksley. The three Bailey emeritus professors are Martin Alexander, Andre Jagendorf and Daniel Sisler.

Bailey played a key role in American agriculture in elevating the study of horticulture to a science. He came to Cornell in 1888 as a professor of horticulture and soon founded the laboratory that became Bailey Hortorium, one of the country's first centers for observing, classifying and experimenting with cultivated plants. He served as dean of Cornell's agriculture college from 1903 to 1913. Bailey wrote 65 publications and edited more than 100, including textbooks. He devised a system for disseminating practical knowledge about agriculture to farmers -- the precursor to today's cooperative-extension systems throughout the United States.

Carl A. Batt

Batt is director of the Cornell University/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Partnership and co-director of the Nanobiotechnology Center.

His research includes molecular-based assays for detecting and tracking pathogenic bacteria or disease-producing viruses in foods, animals and the environment; tools for modifying the properties of proteins used in the food industry; the genetic improvement of microorganisms used in the production of food products; and of genetic probes for the identification of animals with genetic diseases. His attention recently has been directed toward the microfabrication of devices to explore biological problems.

A native of the Brooklyn, N.Y., Batt earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology from Kansas State University in 1975, and his master's (1979) and doctorate (1981) in food science from Rutgers University. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he joined the Cornell faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor in food science. In 1991 he was promoted to associate professor, and in 1998 he became a professor.

Since 1987, Batt has been the chief editor of the journal Food Microbiology, and since 1996 he has been the editor of the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology. He has served on the editorial board of the journal Food Biotechnology, and he has served as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Pakistan. He is president of the Montessori School of Ithaca.

Thomas Lyson

With no formal extension appointment, Lyson has been an active extension educator and economic development leader as director of Cornell's Farming Alternatives Program. He has researched how race, gender and region can modify how labor markets allocate jobs. He is a proponent of civic agriculture, helping to promote locally produced food.

Raised in Wheeling, W.Va., Lyson earned his bachelor's (1970) and master's (1972) degrees in sociology from West Virginia University. He earned his doctorate in sociology from Michigan State University in 1976. Lyson was a researcher in the department of sociology at Michigan State before joining the faculty at Clemson University in 1977. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1987 and was made a full professor in 1992.

Lyson served as editor of the journal Rural Sociology, from 1995 to 1999, and he has been a senior Fulbright research fellow in sociology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, and he is a researcher for the Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Karl Niklas

With his contributions to understanding the adaptive evolution of plant structures, Niklas has researched branching and root systems, bark, leaf structures and a variety of other plant parts. He is the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Botany and is past associate editor of the journals Evolution, Paleobiology and Organic Geochemistry. In addition to his research, Niklas has authored the books Plant Biomechanics: An Engineering Approach to Plant Form and Function (1992), Plant Allometry: the Scaling of Form and Process (1994) and The Evolutionary Biology of Plants (1997), all published by the University of Chicago Press. He was named a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 1985, and he won the Alexander von Humboldt prize for senior U.S. scientists in 1998.

Born and raised in New York City, Niklas earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the City University of New York in 1970 and master's (1972) and doctoral (1974) degrees in botany from the University of Illinois-Urbana. In 1974-75, he conducted post-doctoral research as a Fulbright-Hayes fellow at the University of London.

Niklas served as curator at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx before joining the Cornell faculty as an assistant professor in 1978. During his tenure as curator at the botanical garden, he held an adjunct professor appointment at Lehman College. He became an associate professor at Cornell in 1981 and a professor in 1988.

He is an adviser to Cornell's College of Engineering on developing biological engineering courses, and he is an award-winning undergraduate teacher who has taught the introductory botany course for many years.

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