Two experts – one with a background in nutrition research; the other in pest management – have joined the Almond Board of California’s Research and Innovation team.
As the associate director of nutrition research, Elena Hemler has been working on a new process to prioritize which research projects the Almond Board funds based on the marketing potential and the nutrition relevance of the topics.
As a senior pest management specialist, Lauren Fann has been busy familiarizing herself on the research that has been conducted in the almond industry and looking beyond almonds for solutions to emerging problems such as plant bugs.
Hemler is based in Boston. She comes to the Almond Board after having worked in healthcare technology and conducting nutrition research at the Harvard School of Public Health. She was attracted to the Almond Board because of its long track record of investing in nutrition research studies in areas such as heart health, weight management, immunity and skin care.
“I’ve always been very interested in the large body of research on the health benefits of almonds,” Hemler said. “I was familiar with ABC when I worked in academia and was always impressed with ABC’s reputation for funding high-quality research.”
Hemler grew up in the Boston area. In her spare time, she and her partner Jacob enjoy hiking, biking and camping in the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Fann works out of the Almond Board’s Modesto office. Prior to the ABC, she was a graduate research assistant at the University of Kentucky, where she completed her PhD in Entomology. Her research was focused on integrated pest management strategies of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, in small acreage and organic vegetable systems.
One of Fann’s goals at the Almond Board is to help develop effective new tactics that growers can use to expand their sustainable pest management options. She embraces the opportunity to help growers, PCAs and researchers meet the changing needs of the industry.
“In a similar way that insects are often misunderstood or underappreciated, I want to help growers find the tools that work and change the narrative, highlighting the positive impacts of the almond industry.”
Fann is a native of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. When she’s not at work, she enjoys traveling and hiking, often with her dog Dylan. — By the Almond Board of California