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LAURELS: Astronomers Honor William M. Jackson Jr.

By Dateline Staff on July 30, 2019 in University

Quick Summary

  • Arthur B.C. Walker Award from Astronomical Society of the Pacific recognizes contributions to astronomy and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM
  • 2 journals pay tribute to theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings on the occasion of his 65th birthday
  • Alison Van Eenennaam is 1st woman to receive Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award in animal science
  • Hydrologist M. Levent Kavvas: a distinguished professor, and now a “distinguished member” of American Society of Civil Engineering
  • Environmental geochemist William H. Casey named a fellow of the American Chemical Society
  • Walter Leal, in award address, to pay tribute to “the father of chemical ecology”
  • American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine honors 4 veterinary hospital residents for their research

William M. Jackson Jr. has been named the recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2019 Arthur B.C. Walker II Award, given annually to an African American for contributions to astronomy and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

William M. Jackson Jr. mugshot

Jackson, a distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Chemistry, boasts a research career spanning nearly 60 years, during which he pioneered the use of certain kinds of lasers to study chemical reactions in comet tails, planetary atmospheres and interstellar space. His experiments have provided fundamental information about the molecular history of our universe.

Throughout his career, Jackson also has dedicated himself to developing opportunities for underrepresented minorities in science. In addition to recruiting and training many students and postdocs of color, he helped launch national programs to improve diversity in science, and testified before Congress in support of more research funding for historically black colleges and universities. He received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Lifetime Mentor Award in 1997.

Earlier this year society paid tribute to Jackson by making him the subject of a special virtual edition of The Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Read the complete article by Becky Oskin, content strategist, College of Letters and Science.

Alan Hastings mugshot

Two journals produced special issues honoring Professor Emeritus Alan Hastings on the occasion of his 65th birthday. A theoretical ecologist in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, he is noted for exceptional contributions to ecology and evolutionary biology.

Theoretical Ecology, a journal Hastings founded and continues to edit, produced one of the special issues, which included an editorial reading, in part: “One of the greatest pleasures in a scientific career is to honor someone who has occupied a special place in one’s life, and someone who has had a major impact on one’s field through his own work, his mentorship and his contributions to the scientific community. Alan Hastings is such a person, and one who has enriched our lives and careers and those of so many others for more than 45 years.”

The Journal of Mathematical Biology, which Hastings co-edited for many years, produced the other special issue.  

— Kat Kerlin, senior public information representative, Office of Strategic Communications

Alison Van Eenennaam mugshot
Van Eenennaam

Alison Van Eenennaam, a Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist in the Department of Animal Science, recently received the Rockefeller Prentice Memorial Award from the American Society of Animal Science. The annual award recognizes individuals who have  contributed and published outstanding research in the field of animal breeding and genetics.

Van Eenennaam, a strong advocate of innovative breeding technologies, conducts lab and field research on topics ranging from genome editing to validation of DNA tests. She might be best known for her gene-editing research that produced hornless dairy cows.

“It is a great honor to receive this prestigious award as previous winners include world renowned animal geneticists, including Dr. Eric Bradford from UC Davis,” Van Eenennaam said. “It is especially gratifying to be the first woman recipient of this award since its establishment in 1962.”

— Amy Quinton, senior public information representative, Office of Strategic Communications

M. Levent Kavvas mugshot

Distinguished Professor M. Levent Kavvas, a hydrologist, recently earned the American Society of Civil Engineering’s highest honor: the title of “distinguished member.” He is among nine engineers to receive the title in 2019, as voted by the society’s Board of Direction.

The board cited Kavvas, in part, for his pioneering contributions to the development of a methodology for estimating maximum precipitation, and to the modeling of a number of hydrologic processes.

Robin A. Kemper, the society’s president, said each distinguished member “has attained a level of excellence that sets the standard for their peers, paving the way for engineers of the future.” The newly approved distinguished members join only 220 other society members to have attained the honor.

Kavvas holds the Gerald T. and Lillian P. Orlob Professorship in Water Resources Engineering, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and serves as director of the Hydrologic Research Laboratory and J. Amorocho Hydraulics Laboratory.

He has served as an advisor to the state of California, the Asia-Pacific Water Forum and UNESCO, on climate change issues.

He is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineering and was the founding editor-in-chief of the society’s Journal of Hydrologic Engineering.

Read more about his achievements.

William H. Casey, an environmental geochemist, has been named a fellow of the American Chemical Society, in recognition of outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and the society.

Casey, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, previously attained fellow status in the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemists.

Earlier this year, the International Mineralogical Association approved the naming of a new mineral for Casey, in recognition of his research on the vanadium and aluminum compounds contained in “caseyite.”

— Becky Oskin, content strategist, College of Letters and Science

Distinguished Professor Walter Leal has been named the recipient of the Entomological Society of America’s Founders Memorial Award, which calls for him to address the society’s annual meeting, giving a lecture in honor of a scientist who made contributions that had a significant impact on the field of entomology.

Leal has chosen to pay tribute to the late Thomas Eisner, known as “the father of chemical ecology,” in a speech set for Nov. 19 in St. Louis.

Leal himself is a chemical ecologist, a member of the faculty of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He is a former chair of the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology).

— Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, Department of Entomology and Nematology

Four residents of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital recently received research awards at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine’s annual conference. The honorees, their residencies and project titles:

  • Suzanne Clergue, large animal medicine (livestock) — “Impact of Conservation Methods on the Quality of Rumen Juice Before Transfaunation in Dairy Cattle”
  • Lisa Edwards, large animal medicine (equine) — “Phosphorylated Neurofilament Heavy Subunits as an Antemortem Biomarker in Equine Neurodegenerative Diseases”
  • Weihow Hsue, cardiology — “Reliability of Measuring of Left Atrial Size in Dogs With Subclinical Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease”
  • Maureen Oldach, cardiology — “Acute Pharmacodynamic Effects of Pimobendan in 22 Client-Owned Cats With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy”

Thanks to donations to the School of Veterinary Medicine’s various research centers, UC Davis residents have the ability to pursue a vast array of research subjects. The Center for Companion Animal Health funded Hsue’s and Oldach’s projects, while the Center for Equine Health funded Edwards’ project.

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s internship and residency program is the largest of its kind in the country. At the present time, 115 residents, interns and fellows are undergoing one to four years of training to become board-certified specialists.

— Rob Warren, communications and marketing officer, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

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Dateline Staff, 530-752-6556,