Patil named Foreign Fellow, keynote speaker by Indian Horticulture Society

COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, has been named a Foreign Fellow by the Horticultural Society of India.

Patil was selected for “his innovative research and global collaborations to develop consumer-to-farm approaches that link produce and health with food and nutritional security,” according to the society. He was conferred the prestigious fellowship during the 8th Indian Horticulture Congress  held at the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India by Dr. K.L. Chadha, president of the Horticultural Society of India before more than 850 delegates including students, faculty and researchers assembled from across India and abroad.  

Dr. Bhimu Patil, head of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

The Horticultural Society of India was established in 1942 and is one of the oldest international professional societies in the horticulture profession. Patil was recognized for his outstanding research contributions on deciphering the roll of health promoting factors, isolation and characterization of health promoting compounds, breeding nutra-rich vegetable varieties and standardization of post-harvest handling protocol of horticulture crops considered by the jury.

The Foreign Fellow honor is given to scientists working abroad and who have contributed significantly to the research and development of horticulture and allied areas. Patil was named keynote speaker and guest of honor.

Patil led his keynote address by discussing the key roles of research and education in efforts to improve human health.

“To address the global triple-burden of diseases, hunger and obesity, it is crucial to develop partnerships across the globe and establish system-wide, transdisciplinary approaches,” he said.

His focus on consumer-driven approaches to horticulture led to approval of a National Center of Excellence for melons and $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop healthy, flavorful and safe melons. The project encompasses work in seven states and will be conducted in partnership with transdisciplinary scientists, industry stakeholders and seed companies.

In addition to his work on melons, Patil has been internationally recognized for his research on the health-promoting effects of multiple horticultural crops, from grapefruit to kale. Patil was recently elected Division Chair for Horticulture for Human Health in the International Society for Horticultural Sciences.

Patil has received 19 national and international awards including the Healthy Living Lifetime Achievement award from the Texas International Produce Association, the Distinguished Service Award from the Division of Agriculture and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, and the Outstanding Graduate Education Award from the American Horticulture Society.

Patil has provided leadership in professional societies such as the International Society for Horticultural Sciences, the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, and the American Chemical Society. He has been named a Fellow by four professional societies.

He has chaired or co-chaired 25 symposia/colloquia and served as chair of the Division of Agriculture and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society in 2007. Patil has authored or co-authored more than 195 scientific research publications. He has secured $16.5 million from federal and state and commodity grants to conduct research and educational activities.

Along with his leadership and research work, Patil has placed a substantial emphasis on education throughout his career. He strongly believes research related to healthy foods needs to reach the consumer, and this is possible only through strategic education.

He has developed three unique multidisciplinary, multistate courses: “The Nexus of Food & Nutritional Security, Hunger and Sustainability,” “Science of Foods for Health” and “Phytochemicals in Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Human Health,” which are offered at several U.S. universities.

During the Indian Horticulture Congress, at the end of his keynote presentation, Patil showed the impact of the late Dr. Leonard Pike’s global research, including India, and paid tribute to by a moment of silence.

Media contact: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

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