Jeri Barak appointed associate director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station

Jeri Barak, a professor in the department of plant pathology, recently accepted a two-year appointment from Dean Kate VandenBosch as the associate director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES). WAES is the official designation of the college as the state of Wisconsin’s federally-funded, university-based agricultural research program. Each state in the U.S. has at least one agricultural program that receives this designation, which allows CALS to receive federal Hatch Act multi-state agricultural research funding.

This appointment is for a two-year term, reporting to Dean VandenBosch, the director of WAES. VandenBosch created this new administrative position following the retirement announcement of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Bill Barker.

“The associate director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station position is an opportunity for a talented professor, such as Jeri, to serve the college while learning more about university and administrative operations” says VandenBosch. “As chair of the Research Advisory Committee Jeri has been eager for the committee to advise WAES about priorities, and we can expect her to continue to advocate for researchers in this role. Additionally, she has successfully competed for extramural funding and has been recognized with Vilas Mid-Career and Young Investigator awards, making her well-qualified for this leadership position.”

Barak joined the UW–Madison faculty in 2008 and was promoted to professor in 2019. Her research aims to reduce foodborne illness by understanding the basic biology that allows harmful bacteria, including Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli, to survive on plants. She is a faculty affiliate in the Food Research Institute and has been recognized for excellence in instruction and contributions to the First-year Interest Group program. Barak’s lab has received funding from USDA NIFA and WARF.

“I’m honored to be chosen as the associate director,” says Barak, “I look forward to contributing to the success of CALS via the WAES and serving the college’s research community.”

Barak will assume the associate director role on June 1, 2021.