Italian pomologist Dr. Stefano Musacchi will join WSU.

Italian pomologist Dr. Stefano Musacchi will join WSU.

Washington State University has appointed Italian researcher Dr. Stefano Musacchi to a new tree fruit pomologist position based at the university’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee. This is the first of several endowed positions created as a result of a special assessment being paid by Washington apple and pear growers to support research at WSU.

Musacchi, an assistant professor at the University of Bologna in Italy, is an internationally recognized leader in pome fruit physiology and production, according to WSU. He has worked on numerous fruit crops including apple, pear, quince, peach, cherry, and apricot. He has studied propagation and training systems, evaluated rootstocks and cultivars, and done research on the mechanisms of graft incompatibility.

Musacchi earned his a doctorate in pomology from the University of Bologna in 1996. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the university before being appointed assistant professor in 2000.

Dr. Richard Knowles, chair of WSU’s horticulture department, said Musacchi has an impressive record of acquiring competitive extramural support. His research program has attracted almost $4.5 million euros (more than U.S. $5.5 million) in funding over the past eight years. He has extensive working relationships with academics and apple and pear industry personnel throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa.

“Dr. Musacchi has a strong reputation among colleagues for developing programs in tree fruit physiology, management, and variety development that are highly innovative and nationally recognized for outcomes and impacts,” Knowles said.

While the endowed position is focused on research, Musacchi also has experience in teaching and mentoring graduate students. He will bring a student with him to WSU.