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Two UCCE Specialists Joining ANR, Based at UC Merced

October 9, 2014

The University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has hired two UC Cooperative Extension specialists who will be based at UC Merced.

Karina Diaz-Rios, specialist for nutrition, family and consumer sciences, joined ANR on Sept. 2. Tapan Pathak, specialist for climate adaptation in agriculture, will start Feb. 2, 2015.

Diaz-Rios and Pathak will be located at UC Merced to take advantage of its Central Valley location and proximity to local UCCE offices. They will help connect UC Merced researchers with local CE academics and local farmers and residents. These two experienced academics will build on research related to climate, food security and nutrition, said Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of ANR.

These positions come with a focus on interacting with the community, conducting applied research, and translating UC research to help the ag economy and local residents,” UC Merced Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson said. “We are pleased that UC Merced can partner with UC ANR on these important issues.”

Diaz-Rios will be housed in UC Merced’s Health Sciences Research Institute and focus on nutrition research and education and food security. She will connect with a larger team of nutrition researchers and educators throughout the UC system addressing issues related to healthy food and human health. In August, Karina completed a postdoctoral research associate appointment at Texas Tech University. Before earning her doctorate, she had a private practice as a dietitian in Mexico. 

Pathak, who will be housed in the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced, will help farmers and ranchers adapt to new conditions created by variable and changing climate. He will collaborate with UC colleagues and state and federal agencies in statewide efforts to address climate variability and climate change adaptation and mitigation. He is currently an extension educator in climate variability at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Serving California agriculture with UC science-based solutions is what ANR does on an everyday basis, Allen-Diaz said.

“California agriculture is a world-recognized marvel, and we’d like to think the university, through ANR’s research and outreach, is a big reason why,” she said. “Adding UC Merced to our existing, thriving partnerships with UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside will only strengthen UC efforts in helping California and the world to sustainably feed itself.”