Pamela Ronald is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. She is Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute in Emeryville and Biologist Scientist Faculty, Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She serves as founding Director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at UC Davis.
Ronald received a B.A. from Reed College, an M.A. from Stanford University, an M.S. from Uppsala University, Sweden and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1990. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University from 1990–1992 in the Plant Breeding Department. In 1992, Prof. Ronald joined UC Davis as a faculty member where she served as Faculty Assistant to the Provost from 2004–2007. In 1996, Ronald founded the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund, a UC Davis program to share benefits of biotechnology with less developed countries. From 2003–2007 Ronald chaired the UC Davis Distinguished Women in Science seminar series, an event designed to support women’s professional advancement in the sciences. From 2008-2011 she served as Vice President, Feedstocks Division, Joint Bioenergy Institute.
Ronald and collaborators were instrumental in identifying genes of rice that control the rice response to infection and tolerance to stress. Her research has been published in Science, Science Advances, Nature and other leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, and has also been featured in The New York Times, Organic Gardening Magazine, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Progressive Farmer, CNN, Discover Magazine, The Scientist, Popular Mechanics, Bill Gates blog, National Public Radio the BBC and National Geographic.
Ronald and colleagues received the 2008 USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their research on rice submergence tolerance. Ronald is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is the recipient of the 2012 Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award, and the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair Award. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011, Prof. Ronald was selected to be the Charles Valentine Riley lecturer, an annual event cosponsored by the AAAS and the World Food Prize Foundation. In 2011, Ronald was selected as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company Magazine. Ronald and colleagues received the Tech Award 2012 for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. In 2014 she was named one of the world’s most influential scientific minds by Thomson Reuters. In 2015 she was selected by Scientific American as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology. In 2016 she was named by Grist magazine as one of the 50 innovators and visionaries who will lead us toward a more sustainable future.
Ronald is widely recognized for her innovative and effective public engagement about the science behind organic farming, plant genetics and food production- issues central to the challenge of feeding the growing population without further destroying the environment. Ronald is co-author of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, 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. In 2012, Tomorrow’s Table was selected by The New Earth Archive as one of the 25 most powerful and influential books with the power to inspire college readers to change the world. Prof. Ronald has written about food and farming for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Forbes Magazine, Scientific American, The Harvard International Review, The Economist, the Boston review and MIT technology review. Her 2015 TED talk has been viewed by more than 1.4 million people and translated into 24 languages.