Jean Beagle Ristaino, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology, has been named a 2012 Jefferson Science Fellow. Ristaino will spend the next year working as a science adviser to the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. and traveling to U. S. embassies and missions overseas. She will then serve in a consulting capacity to the State Department for an additional five years.
Ristaino conducts research on the oomycete plant pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, that caused the Irish potato famine and is still a global threat to food security. She has done international agriculture research in developing countries in Latin America and Asia and is interested in global food security, biotechnology, global climate change and plant disease, ecosystem services and gender equity for women in agriculture.
The Jefferson Science Fellows program is administered by the National Academies through partnerships with U.S. academic institutions, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The aim of the Jefferson Science Fellows program is to apply accurate state-of-the-art science and technology solutions in the implementation of foreign policy.