Two UC Davis faculty members have been selected as new fellows of the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco-based research institution and natural history museum.
One of them, Neal Williams, is, well, a natural for a museum like the California Academy of Sciences. He is a professor of pollination ecology and bee biology, Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The other is Emanual Maverakis, one of the few physicians to be selected as an academy fellow. In fact, the associate professor is a physician-scientist in the School of Medicine, with appointments in the Department of Dermatology, and the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.
Williams explores the intricacies of pollinator-floral interactions from animal and plant perspectives, with an eye toward developing integrated strategies for sustainable agriculture.
He has become “a leading voice for pollinator diversity and conservation in the California and the West,” UC Davis’ James Carey, distinguished professor of entomology, said in nominating Williams to be a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.
“One focus of his work has been in understanding the responses of bees to different environmental drivers and developing practical, scientifically grounded actions to support resilient pollinator communities,” Carey said. “These efforts are particularly timely given concern over the global decline in bees and other pollinators.”
Earlier this year, Williams received the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
As a dermatologist, he is the director of autoimmunity, running a clinic that specializes in severe immune-mediated diseases involving the skin. He is a renowned expert in rare diseases such as pyoderma gangrenosum and pemphigus vulgaris.
However, most of his time is spent “pipetting away in the lab,” where he is either developing innovative immunotherapies for cancer or investigating the pathophysiology of autoimmunity.
He is the recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE, presented by President Barack Obama in 2011; early-career awards from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; and a National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award.
He attended Harvard Medical School, where he was one of only 15 students in its 237-year history to graduate with highest honors.
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