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LAURELS: Academy cites Sarah Hrdy for scientific reviewing

By Dave Jones on February 18, 2014 in University

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, professor emerita of anthropology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has been selected to receive the academy’s 2014 Award for Scientific Reviewing, this year recognizing achievement in the category of human-biosocial interactions.


The award, to be presented with a $10,000 prize in April at the academy’s 151st annual meeting, “recognizes authors whose reviews have synthesized extensive and difficult material, rendering a significant service to science and influencing the course of scientific thought.”

According to the academy, Hrdy’s work epitomizes “the creativity and insight that can generate important syntheses of contemporary research and set research agendas for the future. At the same time, her writing is marked by a clarity and liveliness that makes path-breaking science accessible to the public.”

Hrdy has published a series of books and scholarly reviews that have drawn together data and concepts from across the social and biological sciences to synthesize a new understanding of the ways in which natural selection has shaped women’s lives, mother-infant interactions, and the foundations of human sociality.

She received the J.I. Staley Prize (often called the Pulitzer Prize of anthropology, given by the School for Advanced Research) and the W.W. Howells Book Prize in Biological Anthropology (given by the Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association) in 2012 for her book Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding, published in 2011.

She joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology in 1984 and took emeritus status in 1996. She has been elected not only to the National Academy of Sciences, but the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the California Academy of Sciences.


The Davis Chamber of Commerce recently recognized UC Davis as Member of the Year. Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor for Technology Management and Corporate Relations, accepted the award on behalf of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, during the chamber’s Installation Gala in Freeborn Hall.

In a news release, the chamber’s executive director, Kemble Pope, said many UC Davis departments and organizations play vital roles in the chamber’s success. In a news release, he cited a number of contributing units: Office of the Chancellor, Government and Community Relations, Office of Research, Seed Central, Office of Admissions, College of Letters and Science, Internship and Career Center, Conference and Event Services, Athletics, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Staff Assembly, UC Davis Stores, arboretum and Unitrans.

Pope also credited students for their support of chamber activities, in particular the students who work as interns in the chamber office, and student groups such as ASUCD, Cal Aggie Marching Band, Dance Team, ROTC, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, and radio station KDVS.


The Department of Physics has been selected to receive an Improving Undergraduate Education Award from the American Physical Society.

According to the citation, the department has created “curriculum opportunities involving specializations and multidisciplinary applied degrees coupled with vibrant research options” that emphasize preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math. With 35 bachelor's degrees awarded in 2012-13, the number of physics majors at UC Davis has doubled in the past decade.

The society will present three such awards at its April meeting in Savannah, Ga.


Honorary doctorates:

Charles Fadley, distinguished professor of physics at UC Davis and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, from Uppsala University, Sweden. “His work, not least his synchrotron-light-based spectroscopic studies of surfaces, magnetic materials and nanostructures, has inspired researchers around the world and at Uppsala,” the citation states.

• Peter Hall, distinguished professor of statistics at UC Davis and the University of Melbourne, Australia, from the University of Cantabria, Spain. Hall is known especially for his work on new methods in statistics, including nonparametric statistics and bootstrap analysis.


Professor Eduardo Blumwald of the Department of Plant Sciences received two prizes on a recent visit to his native Argentina:

Raices Prize, or Roots Prize — Recognized by the Argentine government for scientific contributions as an Argentine living and developing science in another country. “To be recognized by the country where you were born is nice,” Blumwald said. “Although I am a proud U.S. citizen, there is always a little bit of Argentina in me.”

REDBIO International Prize — Given by the Technical Cooperation Network on Plant Biotechnology., or REDBIO (Spanish acronym), serving Latin America and the Caribbean, under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The award ceremony took place at a REDBIO meeting in Mar del Plata.

Blumwald’s research focuses on developing crop plants that can be grown with less irrigation water and on marginal lands, which better equips global agriculture for dealing with limited and variable water supplies.


Today, Elana Peach-Fine works as an analyst on agricultural projects in Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Ecuador, through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ International Programs.

Before that, as a graduate student here, she worked with the Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program, or Horticulture CRSP, doing such a good job that she recently received an award for scientific excellence from the U.S. Agency for International Development. She received the award Jan. 30 in Washington, D.C., from USAID’s chief administrator, Raj Shah.

Her work with Horticulture CRSP included managing its Trellis Fund, which pairs U.S. graduate students with organizations in developing countries to work on fruit and vegetable projects.

Horticulture CRSP has funded 37 Trellis projects in 14 countries, through a process largely run by graduate students.

“Graduate students are not only the project participants, but we are also the project planners and evaluators,” Peach-Fine said upon receiving the USAID award. “These students will carry their experiences into their futures in academia, industry and even international development.”

Since being selected for the award, Peach-Fine received master’s degrees in international agricultural development and plant pathology, before joining CA&ES International Programs.


National Jurist magazine has named law school Dean Kevin R. Johnson among the 25 “Most Influential People in Legal Education” for a second consecutive year.

The latest rankings, for 2013, emerged from a process that started with a call for nominations from U.S. law schools. The magazine narrowed the list, then asked deans and others of influence in the legal community to rate the nominees.

In his 2013 citation, Johnson is credited with being a “known leader in Latino civil rights and diversity among students and faculty in legal education.”

The profile also notes some of the awards he has received, including the Professor of the Year Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association (2006), the Clyde Ferguson Jr. Award for Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Minority Groups Section of the Association of American Law Schools (2004), and, at UC Davis, a Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community (2001).

Johnson is the Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights.


The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University recently awarded a composition commission to Kurt Rohde, professor of music composition and theory, and co-director of UC Davis’ Empyrean Ensemble.

His is one of 12 commissions to U.S. composers in the 2013 award cycle.

The commissions represent one of the principal ways that the Fromm Music Foundation seeks to “strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public.” Besides the commissioning awards, the foundation offers subsidies to the ensembles that premiere the commissioned works.

The Fromm foundation is the legacy of Paul Fromm (1906-87), one of the most significant patrons of contemporary art music in the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

Rohde plays with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (and formerly served as its artistic director) and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.


Honors for entomologists:

• Eric Mussen, apiculturist with Cooperative Extension, also affiliated with the Department of Entomology and Nematology — The honeybee guru, who plans to retire in June, recently received a “smokin’” special recognition award from the California State Beekeepers Association, honoring him for “38 years of work and support.”

The award plaque includes representation of a smoker, a smoke-emitting device used by beekeepers to calm honeybees — allowing the beekeepers to open hives. The smoke masks the smell of the alarm pheromones released by guard bees.

Mussen educates the beekeeping industry and general public with his bimonthly newsletter, “From the UC Apiaries,” which he launched in 1976 — the year he joined UC Davis. His “Bee Briefs” articles also date back to 1976, addressing such issues as diseases, pesticides and swarms. You can find both publications here.

Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and at the Comprehensive Cancer Center — Selected as the recipient of the biennial Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The award presentation is scheduled for April 28 in San Diego, during the joint annual meeting of American society and the Chinese Pharmacological Society. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium and a commemorative medal, and have his work published in the journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition.

Plus, he will deliver a keynote speech at the meeting, which runs from April 26 to 30.

The award recognizes Hammock’s research contributions to the understanding of human drug metabolism and transport, and the continued impact of his research in the area of drug discovery and development.

Hammock, who directs a laboratory of more than 40 scientists and students in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, explores the biochemical basis of human and environment interactions, and their implications for improving both human and environmental health.

He is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the 2001 UC Davis Faculty Research Lecture Award, and the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching. 


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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,