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LAURELS: Prizes for Britt in chemistry, Pines in physics

By Dave Jones on October 27, 2015 in University

The Royal Society of Chemistry has recognized Professor R. David Britt for major contributions to electron spin resonance, or ESR, spectroscopy in chemical or biological systems — naming him the recipient of the society’s 2016 Bruker Prize.

The chemistry professor uses ESR and other techniques to study enzymes that can split water to release hydrogen.

He is scheduled to give the annual Bruker Prize lecture at the 2016 meeting of the society in Colchester, England.


David Pines, distinguished professor of physics, has been named the recipient of the American Physical Society’s 2016 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize.

It recognizes outstanding contributions to physics by a single individual who also has exceptional skills in lecturing to diverse audiences. As the prize recipient, the society calls on Pines top deliver three lectures: at a society meeting, a research university, and a predominantly undergraduate institution.

He receives $10,000 as the prize winner, plus expenses to deliver the three lectures.


James Carey, distinguished professor of entomology, has been selected to receive the Entomological Society of America’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award.

With his selection, the 7,000-member, worldwide society has now honored a UC Davis entomologist as top teacher two years in a row, after Professor Diane Ullman’s selection last year.

During the past five years, Carey has developed a technology-savvy instructional program, which makes use of short, concise videos. He has produced 125 minivideos, and he teaches faculty, staff and students how to create their own succinct videos and to record seminars.

In keeping with advancing technology, he makes use of paperless exams and each week provides his students with access to new scientists via Skype.

During the past several years, he also has taught video instruction methods throughout the country and for the nine-university Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa.

Read more about Carey’s teaching.


JoAnne Engebrecht, professor and vice chair, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has been elected to the Genetics Society of America’s board of directors for 2016-18.

Engebrecht, who received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers in 2014, said she looks forward to helping the society in its mentorship efforts with young scientists, to ensure that genetics continues to attract a diverse and vibrant group of researchers and educators.


The American Society for Horticultural Science recently honored Louise Fergsuon for her work on a paper that the society judged as the outstanding extension publication of 2014.

Ferguson, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, was a co-author on the paper, “Transformation of an Ancient Crop: Preparing California ‘Manazanillo’ Table Olives for Mechanical Harvesting,” published in HortTechnology.

She wrote the paper with Sergio Castro Garcia, of the University of Cordoba, Spain. Key partners in the project were John A. Miles, a retired UC Davis agricultural engineer who was the engineer on the project for the last five years, and Burt Vanucci, a fabricating engineer in Teaching Research and Animal Care Services.

The project spanned eight years and partners from Spain, Portugal and Florida; the UC Davis departments of Food Science and Technology, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering; and Cooperative Extension farm advisers from three counties.


The Emeriti Association has presented four Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorships worth a total of $20,000 for 2015-16.

The awards support emeriti in their continued research, teaching and-or public service. Edward A. Dickson, a member of the Board of Regents from 1913 to 1946 — the longest tenure of any regent — provided the endowment that funds the professorships, which are available on all UC campuses.

Here are UC Davis’ newest recipients, followed by their projects and grant awards:

  • Roy Bellhorn, professor emeritus of ophthalmology, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine — “Vascular Permeability of the Snake’s Spectacle During Ecdysis” ($6,000)
  • Nicole Woolsey Biggart, professor emeritus of management, Graduate School of Management — “Energy: How Energy Organizes Social Life” ($6,500)
  • John “Jack” Meeks, research professor emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics — “Microscopic Documentation of Protein Localization and Motility Behavior in Filaments of the Symbiotic Cyanobacterium N. punctiforme” ($3,500)
  • Dennis Wilson, professor emeritus of pathology, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine — “Translational Application of Quantitative Digital Microscopy to Patients in Veterinary Medicine” ($4,000)

The Emeriti Association’s Dickson award webpage includes more information about the award, along with a list of past recipients.


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

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,