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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jack Payne, the University of Florida’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, has announced Jacqueline Burns’ appointment as director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
“Jackie Burns is a tremendous leader and a pre-eminent researcher in her own right. I believe very strongly in her leadership abilities and her vision for the Citrus REC,” Payne said. “She knows what the state’s citrus growers need and want and works tirelessly to ensure that our scientists get the most pertinent, valuable information to them.”
Burns has served as the CREC’s interim director since early 2009, following the departure of Harold Browning, who had held the director position since 1997.
Burns said she welcomes the challenge of leading the center’s faculty and staff as they work to support virtually every aspect of the state’s citrus industry. She will also oversee UF’s citrus research and extension efforts statewide as IFAS citrus programs coordinator.
“I intend to work hard to be sure our scientists have no obstacles as they work to solve citrus issues and help keep Florida’s citrus industry the strongest in the world,” she said.
Burns received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture from the University of Arkansas in 1978 and 1981 and a doctorate in horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University in 1985. She has been with the center since 1987.
Her research focuses on the physiological processes related to abscission and harvesting, and maintaining fresh citrus fruit quality during handling, shipping and storage.
The Citrus REC, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has more than 30 faculty members and more than 200 technical and support staff positions. It’s among the world’s largest public research facilities devoted to a single commodity.
Scientists and engineers at the center have made key scientific discoveries and technological advancements pivotal to the industry’s success, and played a role in developing the technology for making frozen concentrate orange juice, which was patented in 1948.
Citrus REC scientists have worked to thwart citrus diseases from yellow spot at the beginning of the 20th century, to greening today. Its scientists have led the way toward high-tech agriculture, such as the use of satellite and computer technology to help growers manage groves.
Last year, the Citrus REC introduced Sugar Belle, the first University of Florida-created citrus variety intended for commercial production.
And earlier this year, a UF-led team of international scientists announced the genome sequences for two citrus varieties—sweet orange and Clementine mandarin—a first for citrus. Both are expected to help scientists unravel the secrets behind citrus diseases, as well as aiding those working to improve fruit flavor and quality.
Writer: Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
Sources: Jack Payne, 352-392-1971, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Burns, 863-956-1151, email@example.com