CORVALLIS - Steven J. Knapp, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University, has been named the first recipient of the Paul C. Berger Endowed Professorship in Crop and Soil Science at OSU.

The endowed professorship was established to promote and enhance research on the breeding and genetics of grasses and other crops that have an impact on grass seed farmers in the Willamette Valley.

Knapp, who has a Ph.D. in plant breeding from the University of Nebraska and has been on the OSU faculty since 1985, is an internationally recognized expert on genome mapping and oilseed crop breeding and genetics. He has been active in a variety of national and international projects and oversees the Sunflower Genome Mapping Project in the United States.

Since joining the OSU faculty, Knapp has attracted more than $4.2 million in grants and contracts to the university. His research on the genetics of oil seed crops has been supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Procter and Gamble Company, the Soap and Detergent Association, Kraft-General Foods, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, CARTISOL (an international consortium of seed and biotechnology companies) and others.

The professorship will help support the plant breeding research and teaching programs at OSU, with emphasis on forage, grass seed production and new crop development.

The professorship is named after Paul Berger, an OSU alumnus who has worked in the pharmaceutical business. He has two sons involved in Oregon's grass seed industry.

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Pat Hayes, 541-737-6589