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Dean Kathryn J. Boor

Kathryn Boor, CALS DeanKathryn J. Boor is the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University.  As Cornell CALS’ chief academic and administrative officer, Dr. Boor is responsible for developing and implementing the strategic direction of the college, which has 350 faculty, 3,600 undergraduate students and 980 graduate students. She shares responsibility for leading Cornell Cooperative Extension throughout New York State with the Dean of Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

Since Dr. Boor’s appointment as dean in 2010, Cornell CALS has ranked consistently among the top three global universities in both agricultural sciences and plant and animal sciences. Under her leadership, the college has experienced record growth in prospective undergraduate applications and increasing diversity among faculty and students. She is responsible for hiring more than 115 new faculty in strategic areas including food and energy systems, environmental sciences, life sciences, and economic and community vitality. She drove creation of the CALS School of Integrative Plant Science from five constituent departments, creating an enhanced collaborative environment to enable CALS scientists to tackle the challenge of sustainably feeding a growing global population.

Dr. Boor’s research focuses on identifying biological factors that affect transmission of bacteria in food systems, from farm to table. She established the Food Safety Laboratory at Cornell University; lab members have published more than 170 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Her team identified seminal evidence linking bacterial environmental stress response with virulence gene expression in the foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.  Her group has worked closely with the dairy, smoked seafood and artisan food processing industries in New York State and around the world to identify and apply solutions to improve food quality and safety.  Graduates from her laboratory now hold key food safety positions globally in government, academia and the food industry. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, NYS SeaGrant and the New York State Milk Promotion Advisory Board, among other agencies. 

Dr. Boor serves on various boards and councils including the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors, the Boyce Thompson Institute Board of Directors, the New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy, the International Life Sciences Institute Board of Trustees, the Friends of the New York Youth Institute, the E&J Gallo Winery Agriculture Advisory Committee and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Milk Marketing Advisory Council.

Dr. Boor earned a BS in Food Science from Cornell University, an MS in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis. She joined the Cornell Food Science department in 1994 as assistant professor, the first female faculty member and led as department chair from 2007-2010. Her international agricultural experience includes a two-year assignment in East Africa with Winrock International, working with limited-resource farmers to develop multi-purpose goat production systems (1981-83). 

Dr. Boor received the 2000 USDA Honor Award as a member of the Listeria Outbreak Working Group, the 2000 Foundation Scholar Award and the 2006 DeLaval Award for Dairy Extension programming, both from the American Dairy Science Association, and the 2002 Samuel Cate Prescott award for outstanding research from the Institute of Food Technologists.  Dr. Boor is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She received an honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University in the United Kingdom in 2016.