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Top Onion Breeding Expert Leads Off NMSU Lecture Series

LAS CRUCES - Take two onions and call me in the morning, advises a Wisconsin-based expert in vegetable breeding and genetics who will be the featured speaker for an upcoming special New Mexico State University lecture series.

Irwin Goldman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the featured speaker for New Mexico State University 's agronomy and horticulture department Lowenstein Lecture Series on Sept. 26-27. His talk will be on why medicine needs agriculture. (09/09/2002) (Courtesy Photo from University of Wisconsin-Madison)

It seems that onions have medicinal qualities similar to aspirin, says Irwin Goldman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who will present a public seminar on why medicine needs agriculture as part of the Lowenstein Lecture Series for NMSU's agronomy and horticulture department on Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Room W153 of Chemistry Lecture Hall. He will also conduct a second presentation for students and faculty on Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 200 of Gerald Thomas Hall on horticultural possibilities and limitations of foods beyond their value in nutrition.

"Horticulture and human health have been linked for thousands of years," Goldman said. "A wealth of information on the connection between plants and health has been handed down from generation to generation, dictating at least in part the kinds of plants produced and consumed worldwide. The goal of our work is to study secondary compounds from vegetable crops that may be associated with human health."

For instance, onions have been used for centuries as both medicine and food by cultures throughout the world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to investigate the health-related properties of the tear-jerking vegetable and its close relative, garlic. Most of the health-related properties of these plants are derived from unique compounds that have antiplatelet, antimicrobial, antidiabetic and cancer-preventing properties.

Goldman received his bachelor's degree in agricultural science from the University of Illinois. He earned his master's degree in crop science and plant breeding from North Carolina State University, and his doctorate in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently an associate professor of horticulture at Wisconsin-Madison.

NMSU's Lowenstein Lecture Series is made possible through a gift from the late Bonnie and Bernard Lowenstein of Albuquerque. The presentations are aimed at promoting interest and better understanding of floriculture and recreational horticulture, along with other fields of plant science. In addition, NMSU has offered the Bonnie Lowenstein Memorial endowed scholarship for undergraduates since 1993.