LAURELS: 3 elected to American Academy of Microbiology

Three UC Davis scientists are among the newest class of fellows to be elected to the American Academy of Microbiology:

Patricia Conrad — Professor, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Jonathan Eisen — Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, and Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences. He is also affiliated with the Genome Center and the Center for Population Biology.

Wolf Heyer — Professor, departments of Microbiology, and Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences. He is also affiliated with the Cancer Center.

The academy describes itself as the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, the world’s oldest life science organization.

Peer voting determines who gets in to the academy, based on the candidates’ scientific excellence, originality and leadership; high ethical standards; and scholarly and creative achievement.

The academy then calls upon its membership for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology, from responding to congressional inquiries to organizing meetings and workshops.

The new fellows are due to be recognized during a luncheon on the final day of the American Society for Microbiology’s 112th meeting, scheduled from June 16 to 19 in San Francisco.


Professor James Sanchirico, a natural resource economist in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Rosenstiel Award in Oceanographic Science.

Sanchirico, who received his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis, applies quantitative methods to study the design and evaluation of policy instruments aimed at conserving natural resources. His ocean-related research takes in marine population and habitat management, and the design of market-based policies, such as fishing quota systems.

His website lists the following among the projects that he is working on at this time: bioeconomic analysis of stellar sea lion conservation, and coral reef and mangrove management.

He serves the National Research Council as a member of two new committees, one that is reviewing the National Ocean Acidification Research Plan and one that is evaluating the effectiveness of stock rebuilding plans in the 2006 Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act.

The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science administers the award, with support from the Rosenstiel Foundation. A school spokeswoman said the award (including a $10,000 prize) will be presented to Sanchirico during a dinner April 24.

And, while visiting the school, Sanchirico will deliver one or two lectures, the spokeswoman said.


Mathematics professor Naoki Saito has been elected to a two-year term as vice chair of the Activity Group on Imaging Science of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Saito is chair of the Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics.

His own studies take in such topics as harmonic analysis, signal processing, image analysis, data analysis and compression, pattern recognition and human and machine perception.


The American Psychiatric Association’s prestigious Judd Marmor Award is being given this year to Robert E. Hales, who holds the Joe P. Tupin Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine.

The Marmor award is given annually to an individual in science, education, literature or history who has made major contributions in advancing the biological, psychological and social model of psychiatry, and in increasing the understanding of the complex elements involved in mental health and illness.

The award is named after the University of Southern California professor and chair of psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who, more than 50 years ago, advocated for psychiatry to become a more evidence- and medically-based specialty.

Hales’ previous awards include the Hibbard E. Williams Extraordinary Service Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dean’s Outstanding Mentoring Award, from the UC Davis Health System; and Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Academic Psychiatry, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to psychiatric education.

He recently published his 50th book, and is the co-editor of two of the leading textbooks of psychiatry and neuropsychiatry, both now in their fifth editions. He has served as editor-in-chief of American Psychiatric Publishing’s books division since 2001 and has overseen the publication of 430 books.

He is co-founding editor of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.


Pediatricians Ulfat Shaikh, an associate professor, and Mark Underwood, an assistant professor, are co-recipients of this year’s Eli Gold Faculty Achievement Prize, named after the former pediatrics department chair.

The award acknowledges faculty members who, by way of their contributions to Department of Pediatrics, UC Davis Children’s Hospital and the School of Medicine, have achieved prominence in clinical, teaching, research or community service.

Shaikh is a general pediatrician, while Underwood is a neonatologist.

“These two faculty members are wonderful examples of pediatric academicians who are enhancing the futures of our children and educating the clinicians of tomorrow,” said Anthony Philipps, chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Shaikh is director of Health Care Quality Integration whose recent projects have focused on pediatric nutrition, obesity, asthma, preventable readmission and patient satisfaction.

Underwood’s research interests include necrotizing enterocolitis, development of intestinal innate immunity, and mechanisms of probiotics and prebiotics in preterm infants.

Gold, who served as pediatrics chair from 1974 to 1980, died in 2001. Sacramento pediatrician Michael Sugawara, a volunteer clinical faculty member, endowed the award, and it has been presented annually since 2007.

The award comes with $3,500 to support the recipient’s professional advancement. Shaikh and Underwood, who are the first to share the award, will each receive a $3,500 prize.


Heather M. Young is “a visionary leader (who) is transforming the landscape of higher nursing education.”

So said the Association of California Nurse Leaders in February in presenting a best practice award to UC Davis’ associate vice chancellor for nursing and the founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

In describing the best practice award recipient for education, the association noted how Young had created successful graduate studies programs in a short time frame.

“In building these programs, she convened thought leaders from health care and education as well as community leaders, employers and consumers. By starting with graduate studies, the school will establish its research programs while addressing the need for nursing faculty.”

Young’s award was among a number of 2012 recognition awards given by the association during its 34th annual conference, held this year in Rancho Mirage.

The nonprofit association works to develop nurse leaders, advance professional practice, influence health policy, and promote quality and patient safety.


The UC Davis Health System’s Jan A. Nolta has been promoted to editor of STEM CELLS, the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine.

After serving as associate editor since 2008, Nolta takes over as editor as the journal celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Nolta, who conducts groundbreaking research in human stem cells, is the director of the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, a facility supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. And she oversees the university’s Stem Cell Program, with a roster of more than 150 faculty scientists and clinicians on the Davis and Sacramento campuses.

Nolta has published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the field of regenerative medicine and has written 25 book chapters and numerous invited papers. She edited Genetic Engineering of Mesenchymal Stem Cells, and co-wrote a chapter in the book.

She has been an editor and editorial board member for six scientific journals.


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