David Richard Viglierchio


David Richard Viglierchio was born November 25, 1925 in Madera, California, and graduated from Madera Union High School in 1943.  With his undergraduate training interrupted by military service in France and Germany during 1944-1946, he obtained a BS in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in 1950.  Dr. Viglierchio was awarded his Ph.D. in Bio-organic Chemistry by the same institution in 1955. Prior to obtaining his Ph.D., Dr. Viglierchio’s graduate research on plant wound hormones attracted the attention of Dr. Dewey J. Raski, then chair of the Department of Nematology.  Dr. Raski had obtained grant funding from the Beet Sugar Development Foundation, which was concerned with the heavy losses caused by the sugar-beet nematode, Heterodera schachtii.  Dr. Viglierchio was selected to work on the grant as a Junior Research Nematologist until a faculty position became available from state funds in 1958 when he was appointed Assistant Nematologist.  He rose through the academic ranks to Lecturer and Nematologist before his retirement in 1990. He served as chair of the then Division of Nematology at UC Davis from 1978-1984.

During the course of his career, Dr. Viglierchio fostered and enjoyed close and productive relationships with several graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists.  He conducted research with colleagues in Italy and Switzerland on Fulbright and Guggenheim awards and lectured in nematology in the former USSR and in China.  He accompanied Rev. R.W. Timm on an expedition to Antarctica which was successful in collecting many new nematode species as well as specimens from remote type localities that required more extensive description.

David Viglierchio’s major fields of research interest were the biochemical relationships of plant-parasitic nematodes and their host plants, nematode behavior, and the adaptation of nematodes to nematicides and environmental stressors.  His interests often expanded into complex, non-traditional areas and he proved very resourceful in developing procedures and techniques. His research added significantly to our knowledge of nematode behavioral responses and patterns, hatching factors, host plant resistance, and nematode physiology and biochemistry.  His broad interest in nematodes and nematology is evident in the very readable book that he self published in 1991, The World of Nematodes.

David Viglierchio died September 28, 2005 and was buried in Madera, California.  He is survived by his wife, Rena Sue Crook, and his son, David Richard Viglierchio II.

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