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Today in Davis, Calif., two pioneers of the cucurbits community were awarded for lifetime achievement at the Cucurbitaceae 2018 conference.

Syngenta’s Xingping Zhang was awarded for work in the private sector. Zhang is known for his expert knowledge and skills in plant genetics, breeding, crop management, IP protection, and teaching. He has made remarkable contributions to watermelon breeding and genetics, including breeding of the standard setting seeded watermelon XiNong No.8, personal size seedless watermelon varieties, super-pollenizer varieties, large seedless Fascination, ultra-firm flesh seedless Crisp Delight, and seeded watermelon Manchester. He also managed the first watermelon genome sequence project with collaborators.

Awarded for work in the public sector was Jack Staub of Utah State University. For 24 years he was a member of the USDA Vegetable Crops Unit and a research horticulturalist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before moving on to a research leader role in Logan, Utah. His research on melon and cucumber has become seminal research in the cucurbits community.

For info on the Cucurbitaceae Lifetime Achievement Award visit cucurbit2018.ucdavis.edu/lifetime-achievement-award/.