LAURELS: Jodi Nunnari Receives Feodor Lynen Medal

Screen shot: Jodi Nunnari on video, pointing to mitochondria.
Professor Jodi Nunnari discusses mitochonidia in iBiology video. <a href="">Watch it here.</a>


  • Jodi Nunnari delivers the Feodor Lynen Lecture at meeting of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Luca Comai wins innovation prize from American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Dan Kleibenstein and J. Clark Lagarias are new fellows in the plant biologists society
  • Another new fellow: Zhaojun Bai, professor of computer science, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Dean and Professor Emeritus Charley Hess will ride in style in the Picnic Day Parade — as UC Davis’ Outstanding Retiree for 2017
  • Seven years in a row: UC Davis Medical Center a Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality

Jodi Nunnari, professor of molecular and cellular biology and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, recently received the Feodor Lynen Medal from the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The presentation took place March 30 during the society’s 68th Mosbacher Colloquium, held in Mosbach, Germany, where Nunnari delivered the Feodor Lynen Lecture.

“The Feodor Lynen Lecture and Medal is a wonderful recognition of Professor Nunnari’s outstanding research on mitochondria,” said Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences. “She joins a select and stellar group of biologists who have been recognized with this award.”

The lecture and medal are named after the German biochemist who, after World War II, studied the chemical details of metabolic processes in living cells.

Nunnari’s research addresses the physiological functions and mechanisms of mitochondrial division and fusion, which are important determinants of overall mitochondrial shape and distribution. For the Lynen lecture, she spoke on “The Behavior of Mitochondria.”

She earned the Lynen honors “for her groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of mitochondrial behavior in intact cells, including how the structure of mitochondria is established and maintained, and how the mitochondrial genome is properly inherited,” according to a statement from the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The American Society of Plant Biologists announced awards for three UC Davis professors:

  • Luca Comai, Department of Plant Biology — He has been named the recipient of a 2017 ASPB Innovation Prize for Agricultural Technology, recognizing outstanding work in translating discovery research into real-world outcomes that benefit agriculture.
  • Dan Kleibenstein, Department of Plant Sciences, and J. Clark Lagarias, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology — They have been named new fellows of the society. The society presents its Fellow of ASPB Award to members in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the society in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service. 

The awards are due to be presented in July during the society’s annual meeting, to be held this year in Honolulu.

Zhaojun Bai, professor of computer science, has been named a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Members earn fellow status in recognition of exemplary research and outstanding service to the community.

Charley hess with University Medal
Hess, upon receiving the UC Davis Medal in 2014.

The Retirees Association has named Charley Hess as Outstanding Retiree for 2017 and as such he receives the honor of riding in a horse-drawn carriage in the Picnic Day Parade, April 22.

Hess is a professor emeritus of plant sciences and a former dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and held various other administrative positions before and after his “official” retirement in 1994.

As you can tell, he has never really retired — continuing to work on behalf of his academic discipline, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the university community.

He’s been particularly active as an advocate for the welfare of retirees — emeriti and staff. He led the Retiree Health Work Team for the UC Post-Employment Benefits Task Force (2009-10), and chaired the Emeriti Association’s Welfare Committee.

He was the first chair of the Retiree Center Advisory Committee, and, on the occasion of the center’s 10th anniversary, in 2016, the Emeriti and Retirees associations established the Charles E. Hess Founder’s Award — and gave the first one to him. The award in the future will be presented to others who, like Hess, support active engagement by emeriti and staff retirees in university life.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has named the UC Davis Medical Center a Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality for the seventh year in a row.

The foundation is the nation’s largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. Each year it produces the Healthcare Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool that evaluates health-care facilities’ policies and practices on equity and inclusion of LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

The medical center earned the designation by achieving a perfect score of 100 on the foundation’s core criteria for leadership excellence. These measures include having nondiscrimination policies for patients and employees, equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, cultural competency training on LGBT patient-centered care and a demonstrated public commitment to the LGBTQ community.

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