Roger Beachy, the first director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will head a public forum on the role of federal support for agricultural research in feeding the world.

The event, the first in the 2010-11 UC Davis Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series, begins at 4 p.m. in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. It is free and open to the public.

Beachy will open the colloquium with a talk titled “Can Support of Science for Agriculture Prosper Inside the Beltway?" Following his talk, he will lead a roundtable panel discussion with panelists Jonathan London, an assistant professor of human and community development and director of the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis; Elizabeth Mitcham, a cooperative extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Anita Oberbauer, professor and chair of animal science at UC Davis; and Pamela Ronald, a professor of plant pathology. A reception will follow the discussion.

As director of NIFA, Beachy is responsible for awarding extramural funds for research, extension and education for the USDA. 

Beachy is internationally known for his groundbreaking research on developing virus-resistant plants through biotechnology, and has received a number of prestigious honors for his work.

He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and in 2001 received the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. He is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Academy of Microbiology; the National Academy of Science, India; and the Academy of Science of St. Louis, Mo.

Beachy is founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. He also has held academic positions at Washington University in St. Louis and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

He holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.A. in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Ind.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi's Chancellor’s Colloquium is a public forum for creative engagement around pressing issues for the 21st century.

Bringing national policymakers and thought leaders together with faculty, students and community members, the series draws on the expertise and creativity at UC Davis to explore new visions for research and the possibilities for transforming those visions into action.

More on the series at: http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/initiatives/colloquium.