LAURELS: Fellowships, Association, Council, Hall of Fame

Group photo of five people in lab.
From left: Celina Juliano, Ben Cox, Gant Luxton, Rebecca McGillivary and Dan Starr. (Sasha Bakhter/UC Davis)

In this Laurels column, two early-career researchers receive fellowships, a faculty member is named to a prestigious agricultural economics association, a historian is named to a New York University council and a professor is inducted to a hall of fame.

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Fellowships will fund research into tissue regeneration, dystonia

Ben Cox and Rebecca McGillivary, postdoctoral researchers in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, are among 10 early career scientists selected to receive 2022 Hartwell Biomedical Research Fellowships, announced in August.

Ben Cox
Ben Cox

Cox will use his fellowship funds to study the mechanisms underlying the regenerative abilities of Hydra vulgaris, a small freshwater animal that is related to jellyfish. Hydra can regenerate their entire bodies—head, mouth, and tentacles—from small tissue fragments within only days.

It’s unclear how exactly Hydra achieve this, but it seems to rely on cellular migration through the extracellular matrix, a network of proteins, sugars and other molecules that exists between the cells of multicellular organisms.

Rebecca McGillivary
Rebecca McGillivary

McGillivary will use her Hartwell fellowship funds to study proteins involved in the development of dystonia, a neurological disease associated with uncontrolled and painful muscle contractions.

The form of dystonia that McGillivary is focusing on, DYT1 dystonia, is heritable, and symptoms usually begin to develop during childhood or early adolescence. However, individuals carrying the associated genetic mutation don’t always develop the disease.

Liana Wait

Goodhue named to ag economics association

 Rachael Goodhue
Rachael Goodhue

The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, or AAEA, selected Rachael Goodhue, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, a 2024 fellow.

Becoming a fellow is the highest honor to be bestowed by the association and recognizes significant contributions in the field. Goodhue was one of six selected.

“I am extremely honored to be part of this group,” she said. “This recognition by professional colleagues has really inspired me to move forward expanding the frontiers of my research and the mentorship of students. Mentoring students is incredibly important to me.”

—  Emily C. Dooley

Downs named to NYU Historians Council

Gregory Downs
Gregory Downs

To help change the national legal conversation on history and the Constitution, the Brennan Center at New York University has selected Gregory Downs, UC Davis historian, among 18 expert historians nationwide to serve on its Historians Council on the Constitution. The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works with NYU School of Law and experts from legal, nonprofit and corporate sectors.

The council, appointed in January, will advise the Brennan Center’s experts on the historical dimensions of major legal issues, encourage accurate understandings of the United States’ past, and foster more responsible approaches to history in the courts as judges increasingly grapple with whether and how the past should inform their rulings. The council’s members have diverse views on how history matters to the law.

Their expertise spans from early American history through the 20th century and covers the gamut of topics relevant to today’s biggest constitutional questions.

Downs, chair of the UC Davis Department of History, particularly investigates the impact of the Civil War, the end of slavery and Reconstruction. As a public historian, Downs co-wrote the National Park Service’s Theme Study on Reconstruction and helped edit the Park Service’s handbook on Reconstruction.

The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works with NYU Law School of Law and experts from legal, nonprofit and corporate sectors.

— Karen Nikos-Rose

Bishop inducted to Cyber Security Hall of Fame

Matt Bishop
Matt Bishop

In recognition of his research in the safety of computer systems, University of California, Davis, Computer Science Professor Matt Bishop was inducted into the 2023 class of the Cyber Security Hall of Fame this past fall.

Since 2012, the Cyber Security Hall of Fame has honored individuals who have demonstrated leadership in the fast-growing cybersecurity industry in fields such as technology, education, business, policy and public awareness. 

Bishop’s research focuses on analyzing vulnerabilities in computer systems, and he has worked extensively on countermeasures to threats on these systems to make them as safe as possible. He is well-known for his work in elections and e-voting systems, helping election officials in California and across the country vet their electronic voting systems and processes to find and fix security issues since 2003.   

Jessica Heath

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Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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