Carolina Torres

Carolina Torres

Carolina Torres has been named Washington State University’s first endowed chair in tree fruit postharvest systems. Her position, based at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, will begin Feb. 1.

Torres, a horticulturist and WSU alumna, was selected to lead an internationally renowned research program focused on Washington apples, cherries, pears and stone fruit. Her role is supported by a $2 million endowment from the state’s tree fruit growers.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Torres back to Washington state and look forward to the discoveries and partnerships that this newest endowed chair will bring to our programs and to the Washington tree fruit industry,” said Rich Koenig, interim chair of the department of horticulture in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. “None of this would be possible without the financial support and involvement of our partners in the tree fruit industry, whose investment is vital to WSU research and Extension.”

Torres will lead research on stresses that harm fruit quality, handling technologies, fruit physiology and traits, sensory attributes and postharvest cultural practices that will help Washington’s $8 billion tree fruit industry solve challenges from bloom to table. And by sharing her research with partners in industry, her work will help growers, packers and shippers find and use new technology to improve their practices, prevent disease and improve and protect their crops.

Torres earned a doctorate in horticulture from WSU in 2005 and is currently a professor, researcher and director of international relations at the University of Talca, Chile.

“Washington tree fruit is a world leading industry, and it’s an honor for me to work alongside innovative growers who’ve served as an example to other fruit producers, like those here in Chile,” Torres said.

—by Jonelle Mejica