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One of the greatest challenges of our time is to feed the growing population without further destroying the environment. Because most of the world’s farmland is already under cultivation and fresh water is scarce, increased food production must largely take place more efficiently. To produce a successful crop each year, farmers must employ strategies to combat pests, diseases and environmental stresses, which reduce global yields by 30-60% each year.

The Ronald lab studies genes that control resistance to disease and tolerance of environmental stress with the goal of improving food security for the world’s poorest farmers. Ronald also directs the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy which cultivates a community of researchers dedicated to making scientific research accessible, relevant, and interesting to everyone.

(Photo credits: Gene Hettel, IRRI)