Roger Beachy, founding director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis, has been named by President Obama to serve on the National Science Board.

It is the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation, and an adviser to the Congress and the president on science and engineering policy.

“Roger is a world-renowned scientist and innovator,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. "I am certain that the experience and expertise he brings as director of the World Food Center will be invaluable as a member of the National Science Board.”

Obama named Beachy and five other new members in a June 17 announcement; they are due to be sworn in for six-year terms when the board meets in August. The board’s 24 members are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service and records of distinguished service, according to a news release from the National Science Foundation.

Beachy, an acclaimed plant biologist known for his scientific leadership and groundbreaking research related to disease-resistance in crops, took the helm of the World Food Science last October, appointed by Katehi.

She established the center earlier in 2013 to increase the economic benefit from campus research; influence national and international policy; and convene teams of scientists and innovators from industry, academia, government and nongovernmental organizations to tackle food-related challenges in California and around the world.

Beachy brings to the National Science Board a depth of experience in science research and policy. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2001 received the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture.

Obama appointed Beachy in 2009 as the first director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he served until 2011. From 1999 to 2009 he was the founding president and director of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a not-for-profit, plant science research center near St. Louis. 

Before that, he headed the plant biology division at the Scripps Research Institute, 1991-98, where he was a professor and the Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology, as well as co-director of the institute’s International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology. From 1979 to 1991, he was a biology faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, and served as director of the university’s Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology.

The other new appointees to the National Science Board: John Anderson, president, Illinois Institute of Technology; Vicki Chandler, chief science program officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Robert Groves, provost, Georgetown University; James Jackson, director, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; and Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president for knowledge enterprise development, Arizona State University.