Stefano Mussachi, a leading pomologist, was named the endowed chair of tree fruit physiology and management at Washington State University.
The chair position is funded by the state's apple and pear growers, who invested $27 million to expand tree fruit research.
Mussachi and his team at the university's research and extension center in Wenatchee will focus on research and developing solutions to the industry's production problems.
He currently works in Italy as an assistant professor in the University of Bologna's department of fruit tree and woody plant sciences.
In his 20-year career, Mussachi has worked with a variety of fruit crops, run field and lab-based studies and written more than 110 publications.
"I'm excited to be coming to the Pacific Northwest and joining an innovative industry that so strongly supports cutting-edge research," Mussachi said.