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Avian scientist named interim dean of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

By Pat Bailey on September 10, 2012 in

Mary Delany, a distinguished avian geneticist who has served as an associate dean of the University of California, Davis, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since 2009, has been named interim dean of the college.

Delany will serve in the post until the university appoints a permanent successor to outgoing dean Neal Van Alfen. A comprehensive international search will begin soon.

“We are delighted that Mary Delany has agreed to serve as interim dean,” said UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter. “As a distinguished researcher, she embodies the excellence and global impact of UC Davis’ work in agricultural and environmental science. As a respected longtime member of the UC Davis community, her appointment ensures stability and continuity.”

Delany first joined UC Davis in 1995 with a joint faculty appointment in the departments of Avian Sciences and Animal Science (the departments merged in 1997). She chaired the Department of Animal Science from 2005 to 2009 and was named to the John and Joan Fiddyment Endowed Chair in Agriculture in 2009.

“I look forward to working with our campus and college leadership and collaborating with faculty, staff and students to support our various missions and engage with our stakeholders," Delany said. "UC Davis and its College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have so many strengths and such forward momentum; it was a pleasure to accept this appointment.”

Delany’s research focuses on avian telomere biology, using the chicken as the primary study organism. Her projects address Marek’s disease virus, a DNA herpesvirus, which induces a lethal T-cell lymphoma in chickens. The disease is of enormous significance in the poultry industry, but also serves as an important model for human herpesvirus infections and associated conditions.

Delany also is involved in gene mapping and genome organization of the chicken and turkey, mapping and gene analysis of limb and craniofacial malformations, and the conservation of poultry and avian genetic resources for researchers.

Delany has served on the board of directors of the Poultry Science Association and serves on editorial boards and review panels. She recently chaired the Federation of Animal Science Societies Science Policy Committee. She also is a past member of the International Chicken Genome Sequencing Consortium.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Montclair State College, New Jersey, and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in animal genetics from Cornell University, New York. 

Delany’s total annual compensation is $215,042.

Media contact(s)

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640,

Mary Delany, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 530-752-0233,