Lab Safety Awards: Grand Prize Goes to Moulé Team

Woman in lab coat and safety equipment, performing work in biosafety cabinet in front of her.
Nolta lab: Whitney Cary, lab manager, feeds brain organoids in the biosafety cabinet.

The data is in! The Moulé lab is the grand prize winner in Safety Services’ second annual Lab Safety Awards Program. 

The awards committee named six winners in all, one for each college and school with labs. The committee based its decisions on a combination of safety inspection information and questionnaires sent to safety professionals. Here are the six winning labs, followed by the name and affiliation or affiliations of the principal investigators:

Lab team poses for picture.
Moulé lab team members, from left, top to bottom: Owen Lee, Xiaolei Chu, Justin Mulvey, ZairaBedolla-Valdez, Goktug Gonel, Alice Fergerson and Tucker Murrey.
  • Heffern lab Marie Heffern, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Letters and Science.
  • Ji labHong Ji, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also affiliated with the California National Primate Research Center.
  • Leal labWalter S. Leal, professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences.
  • Moulé lab Adam Moulé, professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Nolta lab Jan Nolta, professor, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine. She is the director of UC Davis’ Stem Cell Program, Gene Therapy Center and Institute for Regenerative Cures.
  • Vogel lab Chris Vogel, research professor, Department of Environmental Toxicology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He is also affiliated with the Center for Health and the Environment.

Moulé’s Renewable Energy Electronics Lab not only earned the grand prize of $5,000 — funded by Safety Services and the Office of Research — but an additional $1,000 from the dean of the College of Engineering, where the lab is located.

The Moulé lab performs interdisciplinary research in the general area of organic electronics, which are potentially cheaper to produce and are less energy-intensive than silicon, the most comparable material at this time.

Read more about all the winning labs.

Some 50 people, including all the principal investigators of the winning labs, attended the virtual awards ceremony.

“This group is helping to reinforce the strong culture of lab safety and set examples for others to follow,” Chancellor Gary S. May said in his remarks. “Ensuring the safety of our research community is paramount to enabling and supporting UC Davis’ impactful research.

Lab team group selfie
Ji lab: From left: Tao Zhu, postdoc; Anthony Brown, bioinformatics programmer; Julia Mouat, rotation student; and Chi Pham, junior specialist.

“The labs at UC Davis work with everything from COVID-19, to wildlife in the fields, to radioactive materials to planetary forces simulated by our campus MacArthur fellow Dr. Sarah Stewart,” the chancellor continued. “And they have to do all of this safely. So I salute the awardees today; they are running labs where students’ and employees’ safety is important and put first through continuous improvement and good communication.”

Mary Croughan, provost and executive vice chancellor, explained the awards process:

“The UC Davis Lab Safety Review Program conducted inspections in 3,400 laboratories run by 900 principal investigators, and [the awardees] have come out on top in terms of safety. In addition, I’m very glad to learn that since UC Davis formalized a lab safety review process over six years ago, safety findings across this great university have remained low, and even declined year after year. So congratulations on that major accomplishment.

“This year’s winners are being recognized for fostering a culture of safety at UC Davis, one in which all laboratory members share ownership and safety practices and solutions that ensure the well-being of our students and employees.”

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