AMHERST, Mass. – Jody L. Jellison, a plant biologist and pathologist and longtime leader of agricultural research and Extension programs, has been named director of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In this position, Jellison will also hold the titles of assistant vice chancellor for agricultural research and engagement, director of UMass Extension and director of the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. She will begin her duties Jan. 4, 2016.
Most recently Jellison served as associate director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station at Virginia Tech, where she shared operational and programmatic oversight of 11 agricultural research and extension centers. She also chaired the Plant Germplasm Release programs, was actively involved in variety development and patenting and in many multistate initiatives, and has shared responsibility for more than 200 federally funded agricultural, animal health and forestry research projects. Prior to that she directed the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine, where she was a professor for 25 years. Jellison also served as director of the Maine Agricultural Center and interim associate director of the Maine Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
“Jody Jellison has longtime experience in working with New England agriculture and forestry and we are delighted that she will be bringing those skills to UMass Amherst and to the Commonwealth,” said Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, which oversees the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. “Her extensive knowledge and background in agriculture and plant botany, along with her leadership in these areas, make her the ideal director for the center, UMass Extension and the experiment station.”
“The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment provides crucial services to the agricultural, horticultural, and environmental communities in Massachusetts,” said Jellison. “I am thrilled to be returning to my New England roots and look forward to interacting with the multiple stakeholder communities and to leading the center toward a vital future. I am proud to have been selected for this position and eagerly anticipate becoming a part of the CAFE team.”
The center, which is the contemporary standard bearer of the university’s 19th century land-grant origins, integrates research and outreach education in agriculture, food systems and the environment. The center provides linkages between the university and vibrant business, policy and public interest sectors in the state, including agriculture, the horticultural green industries, environmental decision-makers and food system interests. UMass Extension, the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Water Resources Research Center are all units within the center.
“I am very pleased to welcome Jody Jellison to campus,” said Michael Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “With her strong research and administrative experience, she will be able to effectively link our substantial agricultural enterprise with other campus research initiatives. I am also confident that the university’s many external constituents, including our food and agricultural industry partners, will be delighted to work with her.” In the newly created position of assistant vice chancellor for agricultural research, Jellison will represent the concerns of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the highest levels of university leadership.
A noted research scientist, Jellison has published over 100 reviewed scholarly publications and four patents. Jellison has worked internationally, most notably in Japan, Sweden, Chile and Germany. She did postdoctoral work in immunology, molecular plant biology and economic botany at Harvard University, and holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from Oregon State University in plant pathology and a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in botany and plant pathology.