Dr. Linda Bisson retired on September 1, 2017. She was a professor and geneticist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, where she taught wine production, the biology of yeast, and graduate courses in genetics, since 1985.
Bisson, a native San Franciscan, holds a Masters degree in Microbiology (1976) from San Francisco State University and a BA in biology (1973) from the same institution. She obtained her PhD in Microbiology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. She then moved to Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral researcher and held a research associate position before moving to the University of California, Davis, as an Assistant Professor in 1985. She was made a full professor in 1991, and served as Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology from 1991 to 1996. She mentored 50 MS and 21 PhD students as their dissertation advisor and was a thesis committee member for countless other MS and PhD students in six different graduate groups. She has held several leadership roles on the Davis campus, including Chair of the Academic Senate from 2006-2008 and in 2011-2012. In recognition of her service to the UC Davis Academic Senate she received the Charles Nash Prize for support of shared governance in 2014. She held the prestigious Maynard A. Amerine Chair for 11 years (1997-2008).
In addition to her academic roles, she was the Science Editor for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (AJEV) for 15 years and an editor/associate editor for other scientific journals as well. She was the driving force behind the revival of the Department’s enology extension efforts, making academic knowledge and resources more easily available to the grape and wine industry.
Some of her other notable achievements include the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV) Prize in Oenology as a coauthor for the comprehensive text, Principles and Practices of Winemaking, and in 2000 Bisson was the Honorary Research Lecturer at the American Society for Enology and Viticulture’s (ASEV’s) 50th anniversary. She has won the best paper in enology award from ASEV four times (1989, 1998, 2006, and 2008) and in 2014 she received the ASEV Merit Award, which recognizes outstanding individual achievement in the field of enology or viticulture. Bisson led the launch of a second ASEV journal, Catalyst: Discovery into Practice, which fills an important gap in outlets for publication of extension activities. She has received three excellence in undergraduate teaching awards from student groups at UC Davis and was honored with the James M. Craig Lectureship by Oregon State University in 2011.
Most recently, Dr. Bisson served as the Associate Director for the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant at UC Davis and was co-chair of the Policy and Practices Review Initiative of that group. She represented UC Davis on the SEA Change (STEM Equity Achievement) pilot program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).