Professor Pamela Ronald

Prof. Pamela Ronald

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 18:00 at the Print Media Academy, Kurfürsten-Anlage 52-60, Heidelberg

Kindly supported by Manfred Lautenschläger Stiftung

Prof. Pamela Ronald, Genome Center, University of California

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic farming, genetics and the future of food


In their book, Tomorrow's Table, Pamela Ronald, a geneticist, and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, argue that a judicious blend of two important strands of agriculture--genetic engineering and organic farming--is key to helping feed the world's growing population in an ecologically balanced manner. Ronald will describe the challenges that farmers face, as they try to feed the world without further destroying the environment.

The lecture is for technologists, entrepreneurs, consumers, farmers, and policy decision makers who want to make food choices or create policy and businesses that will support ecologically responsible farming practices. It is also for anyone who wants accurate information about organic farming, genetic engineering, and their potential impacts on human health and the environment.


Pamela Ronald is Professor at the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at UC Davis and also serves as Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute in Emeryville, California and Faculty Director of the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy.

Ronald’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of resistance to disease and tolerance to stress in rice. Together with her collaborators, she has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa. For example, Ronald and collaborators discovered the rice XA21 immune receptor and the rice Sub1A submergence tolerance transcription factor. In 2013, more than 4 million farmers planted Sub1 rice varieties developed by breeders at the International Rice Research Institute. In 1996, she established the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund, a mechanism to recognize intellectual property contributions from less developed countries.

She and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice submergence tolerance. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair and the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011, she was selected as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company Magazine. In 2012, Ronald was awarded the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food and the Tech Award for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity.

Pamela Ronald has written opinion pieces for the Boston Globe, The Economist, The Boston Review and the New York Times and is a blogger for Scientific American’s “Food Matters” blog and a cofounder of Biology Fortified Inc. an independent educational non-profit organization. She is coauthor with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of  ”Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetic and the Future of Food“. Bill Gates calls the book a “fantastic piece of work“ and “important for anyone that wants to learn about the science of seeds and challenges faced by farmers“.