LAURELS: Desert Tortoise Council Honors Brian Todd

Man in field, holding small desert tortoise
In photo from 2018, Professor Brian Todd inspects a baby desert tortoise given a head start on life as part of a research project on the Mojave National Preserve. (Joe Proudman/UC Davis)


  • Brian Todd, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Susan M. Kauzlarich, College of Letters and Science
  • Carlito B. Lebrilla, College of Letters and Science
  • Philip P. Power, College of Letters and Science
  • Ashlee Hauble, College of Letters and Science
  • Geoffrey Attardo, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Erin “Taylor” Kelly, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Gwendolyn “Gwen” Erdosh, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Fernanda S. Valdovinos, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Emilie Roncali, School of Medicine and College of Engineering
  • Kathy Keatley Garvey, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Russ Hovey, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Victor Preciado, College of Biological Sciences
  • Rosaiela Rodriguez, School of Education
  • Lauren Worrell, College of Engineering

The Desert Tortoise Council recently honored Professor Brian Todd and two other researchers for giving threatened tortoise species a head start in life — that is, raising them in captivity until they are large enough to survive in the wild.

Todd, of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, shares the Robert C. Stebbins Research Award with Tracey Tuberville, a senior research scientist, and Kurt Buhlmann, senior research associate, at Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Todd is an alumnus of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and the Savannah River lab.

Ken McDonald, chair of the Desert Tortoise Council’s board of directors, commended the trio for “exemplary research and contributions to the conservation of desert tortoises.”

“Specifically, he wrote in a letter to the researchers, your collaborative efforts have provided new and valuable information on options for raising hatchling tortoises to sizes likely to be less susceptible to predators, methods of growing them quickly, potentially effective places (microhabitats) for release to the wild, survival under different conditions post-release, and several other topics.

“Without your leadership and efforts, the science of head-starting would not have reached the level it has achieved today.”

Stebbins (1915-2013), for whom the award is named, was a renowned herpetologist, a UC Berkeley professor and curator of the university’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. He “played a big role in lobbying California Sens. Alan Cranston and Dianne Feinstein to set aside the Mojave Desert as a preserve,” according to the obituary prepared by Berkeley’s media relations team.

Susan Kauzlarich, Carlito Lebrilla and Philip Power headshots
From left: Susan Kauzlarich, Carlito Lebrilla and Philip Power.


Three chemistry professors and a graduate student are among the recipients of 2022 awards presented recently by the American Chemical Society, or ACS:

  • Distinguished Professor Susan M. Kauzlarich — ACS National Award in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Distinguished Professor Carlito B. Lebrilla — Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry
  • Distinguished Professor Philip P. Power — M. Frederick Hawthorne Award in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry
  • Ashlee Hauble of the Kauzlarich Lab —Winner of the graduate student poster prize for solid state chemistry in the ACS Inorganic Chemistry Division

Geoffrey Attardo headshot
Geoffrey Attardo

Assistant Professor Geoffrey Attardo and two students from the Department of Entomology and Nematology recently received awards from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America.

  • Attardo, a medical entomologist-geneticist — Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Award
  • Doctoral student Erin “Taylor” Kelly of the Attardo lab — Student Leadership Award
  • Undergraduate Gwendolyn “Gwen” Erdosh of the Louie Yang lab — inaugural Dr. Stephen Garczynski Undergraduate Research Scholarship

Read more in this article in Entomology and Nematology News.

Fernanda S. Valdovinos headshot
Fernanda S. Valdovinos

The Ecological Society of America, or ESA, has elected Fernanda S. Valdovinos as an early career fellow. The assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy will hold the title for five years.

Valdovinos was selected for major contributions to the ecological theory of food webs and the study of networks in ecology. She has also made major contributions in promoting underrepresented groups in ecology.

The ESA’s early career fellows are members within eight years of completing their doctoral training who have advanced ecological knowledge and applications and who show promise of continuing to make outstanding contribution to a range of fields.

Emilie Roncali headshot
Emilie Roncali

Emilie Roncali has been named the recipient of the Tracy Lynn Faber Memorial Award, given annually by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging to support advancement of women in medical imaging sciences.

An assistant professor with appointments in the Department of Radiology at UC Davis Health, and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Roncali works on two fronts: basic research on imaging technology to improve image quality, and translational research with the clinical goal of determining the optimal effective dose of radiation for patients treated with radionuclide therapy.

Faber (1960-2012) was a medical imaging scientist and biomedical engineer who contributed significantly and broadly to the development of processes, techniques, algorithms, software and protocols for quantitative modeling, display and analysis in research and clinical nuclear cardiology.

The award is given either to someone for their significant promotion of the advancement of women in medical imaging sciences, or, as in the case of Roncali, a woman in early or mid-career who has made one or more significant contributions to medical imaging sciences.

Bumblebee in flight, around yellow flower
Bumblebee in flight, one of an award-winning series by Kathy Keatley Garvey.


Communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology is a winner once again in the Association for Communication Excellence, or ACE, international awards program.

She earned a gold award (first place) in the “writing for newspapers” category, for a feature story on Rebecca Jean “RJ” Millena, published in March 2021, a few months before Millena graduated with a bachelor’s degree in entomology.

The story, “An Amazing Doctoral Opportunity Few Receive,” centered on Millena’s four-year, full-ride doctoral fellowship from the American Museum of Natural History.

Garvey earned a second-place award for her photo story titled “The Flight of the Bumble Bee,” posted June 14, 2021, on her daily (Monday-Friday) Bug Squad blog on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.

Read more about the awards.

Region 9 of NACADA, “the global community for academic advising,” recently presented four awards to UC Davis faculty and staff. Region 9 takes in California, Nevada, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

The UC Davis award recipients:

  • Russ Hovey, professor, Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — Excellence in Advising award in the faculty advisor category
  • Victor Preciado, academic advisor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Biology Academic Success Center, College of Biological Sciences — Excellence in Advising award in the new advisor category
  • Rosaiela Rodriguez, associate director, Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership, or CANDEL, School of Education — Certificate of Merit in the advising administrator category
  • Lauren Worrell, graduate program coordinator, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering — Excellence in Advising award in the category of advisor primary role

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards for publication in Laurels. Send information to


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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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