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LAURELS: Simon Cherry Named to National Academy of Inventors

By Dateline Staff on December 13, 2016 in University

UC Davis Researchers Win Grant that Could Help Fight Cancer

The National Academy of Inventors today (Dec. 13) announced its 2016 class of fellows, including one from UC Davis: Simon Cherry, distinguished professor of biomedical engineering.

 Simon Cherry

The academy accords fellowship status to “academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

The academy recognized Cherry for his work on medical imaging technology, especially positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and computed tomography.

With his selection, UC Davis now has seven fellows in the 5-year-old academy, which now has 757 fellows. Collectively, they hold more than 26,000 patents.

The induction ceremony for the 2016 fellows is scheduled for April 6 in Boston as part of the academy’s annual conference.

This new recognition adds to what has already been a banner year for Cherry. Last month he was among seven UC Davis faculty members to be elected fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in February he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Jiming Jiang of the Department of Statistics has been named a Yangtze River (Changjiang) Scholar — the highest academic honor given by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

 Jiming Jiang

Jiang is among 53 international scholars to be so honored this year and the only one in the field of mathematical statistics. He is particularly well known for his work on mixed effects models, which are used to examine data sets that are strongly linked, such as multiple online purchases made by different customers.

International recipients of this award typically receive visiting appointments at major universities in China, as a way to enhance international exchange. Jiang will hold a professorship at the Jiangxi University of Finance and Economy.

He is a graduate of Peking University (Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, and a Master of Science degree in probability and statistics), and earned his Ph.D. in statistics at UC Berkeley. He is an elected member of the International Statistical Institutes, and a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Statistical Association.

The Society for Ethnomusicology recently awarded its 2016 Bruno Nettl book prize to Professor Henry Spiller for Javaphilia. The award recognizes “an outstanding publication contributing to or dealing with the history of the field of ethnomusicology, broadly defined, or with the general character, problems and methods of ethnomusicology.”

 Henry Spiller

Javaphilia’s main subjects — Canadian-born singer Eva Gauthier (1885-1958), dancer/painter Hubert Stowitts (1892-1953), ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood (1918-2005) and composer Lou Harrison (1917-2003) — all felt marginalized by the mainstream of Western society: Gauthier by her lukewarm reception as an operatic mezzo-soprano in Europe, Stowitts by his homosexuality, Hood by conflicting interests in spirituality and scientific method, and Harrison by his predilection for prettiness in a musical milieu that valued more anxious expressions.

All four parlayed their own direct experiences of Java into a defining essence for their own characters. By identifying aspects of Javanese music and dance that were compatible with their own tendencies, these individuals could literally perform unconventional — yet coherent — identities based in Javanese music and dance. Although they purported to represent Java to their fellow North Americans, they were in fact simply representing themselves.

Government efforts to combat livestock disease in the late 19th-century U.S. proved to be a winner for human health around the world, according to a book co-authored by Alan Olmstead, distinguished research professor of economics at UC Davis.

 Alan Olmstead

Arresting Contagion: Science, Policy and Conflicts Over Animal Disease Control recently became a winner, too. The book, written with Paul Rhode (who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at UC Davis in 1982), received the 2016 Allan Sharlin Memorial Award from the international Social Science History Association.

The award committee called Arresting Contagion a “magisterial work of social science history.” The book combines economic theory with political, social and environmental history and the medical sciences to demonstrate how intervention by the federal Bureau of Animal Industry benefitted the public good — creating the foundation for food safety programs and public health policy today.

“While individuals, industries, states and localities might have strong economic reason to favor little regulation, communicable diseases and pathogens injurious to animals and humans were indifferent to these justifications and to jurisdictional boundaries,” according to the award committee chaired by Brian Gratton, a historian at Arizona State University.

“The bureau — established in 1884 — was among the first federal agencies to exercise more than nominal power in reshaping market activity.”

Olmstead and Rhode received the award during a Nov. 17­-20 meeting of the Social Science History Association in Chicago. Rhode is a professor and chair of economics at the University of Michigan.

Olmstead is the second UC Davis faculty member to win the interdisciplinary Sharlin Prize, given annually for an outstanding book in social science history. Peter Lindert, professor emeritus of economics, won in 2005 for Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the 18th Century.

Two faculty members — M.R.C. Greenwood and Jean VanderGheynst — are among the recipients of Women of the Year Awards from Rep. John Garamendi’s Women’s Initiative Project. Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, honored 44 women in all from his 3rd Congressional District, which stretches from Rio Vista in the south to Orland in the north.

“In every community of this district … there are women making a difference,” through their leadership and dedication to public service, Garamendi said in a news release he issued after the Oct. 13 award ceremony. “The women we recognized today were nominated by their peers, and they come from every walk of life focused on virtually every major issue our diverse district faces.”

Greenwood, a distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and internal medicine, served as vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies at UC Davis before moving on to become the chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, and the provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs for the UC system. She also served as an associate director in the White House Office of Science and Technology, and as the first female president of the University of Hawaii. “She has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our national health and scientific community,” according to the biography prepared by the congressman’s office.

VanderGheynst, a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering, “is determined to share the possibilities of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with as many people as possible,” reads her biography from the congressman’s office. In a fellowship program she founded, engineering graduate students partner with fifth- and sixth-grade teachers to create innovative curriculum and educational tools that promote interest in renewable energy technologies and associated STEM disciplines.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or