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CALS faculty and staff honored for outstanding achievements in their fields 2011

A pioneer in grape disease resistance breeding; two of the nation's top authorities in microbiology; a leading entomologist who's shaped the way fruit growers ward off pests; and a respected world leader in food aid economics were honored Nov. 7 for outstanding achievements in their fields.

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, presented awards to five faculty members at a ceremony at the Biotechnology Building as part of the College of Agriculture and Life Science's (CALS) eighth annual Research and Extension Awards.

The recipients of the Research and Extension Awards were:

  • Bruce Reisch, a professor of horticulture, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Applied Research. Since joining the CALS faculty in 1980, Reisch has garnered widespread recognition for his pioneering work in grape development, including developing biolistic transformation technology, a novel technique that injects plants with new genetic information.
  • Steve Zinder, professor of microbiology, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research. Zinder is considered a top authority in microbiology, best known for his work identifying a microbial respiratory process that removes chlorine atoms from industrial solvents and groundwater pollutants. This discovery has helped advance pollution-control technologies and, ultimately, helped to clean up contaminated environments.
  • Arthur Agnello, a professor of entomology, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach. Agnello's work over the past 26 years has impacted how tree fruit growers control insect and mite pests. He is the editor of an essential reference manual for tree fruit growers throughout the Northeast, and founder of Scaffolds, a weekly newsletter that provides timely information on pest management and fruit production.
  • Chris Barrett, the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Agriculture in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy. Barrett is a respected world leader in the economics of food aid programs, helping governments better understand how markets actually function in low-income countries. He also generated policy contributions to the U.S. Farm Bill and agriculture in Africa.
  • Ruth Ley, assistant professor of microbiology, received the Early Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have shown extraordinary leadership and scholarship during their initial years at Cornell. Ley's work has provided insights about the microorganisms that live inside mammals, including how they are passed down from a mother to her offspring, and how diet, evolution and digestive physiology affect their structure.

"These awards honor a range of accomplishments that support the college's land-grant mission of creating knowledge with a public purpose, and its vision to be the preeminent college for research, teaching and extension of agriculture and life sciences," Boor said.

She also recognized Sarah Gould, administrative manager for the Department of Natural Resources, and Bruce Berggren-Thomas, a teaching support specialist in the Department of Animal Science, with the college's Core Value Staff Awards, which honor those who show exceptional respect, honor and integrity, promote a collegial and supportive work environment, positively influence others, and show true commitment to the college and its advancement as a world-class educational institution.

"These recipients continuously surpassed expectations and have made significant and unique contributions to the college," Boor said.

Boor commended Gould for being a model leader who has helped her department recruit new talent and secure research grants.

Berggren-Thomas was praised for being an impeccable technician and dedicated team player who is continually willing to go above and beyond to help others.

Sheri Hall is a freelance writer in Ithaca, N.Y.

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