They are experts in everything from linguistics to law, from the economics of climate change to the reliability of software. These nine faculty members — eight associate professors and one professor — are UC Davis’ newest class of Chancellor’s Fellows, a title given to early career academics doing exemplary work.
“These outstanding faculty members are some of our brightest and most promising scholars,” Chancellor Gary S. May said. “I know they will continue to impress and shine a light on the groundbreaking work happening here at UC Davis. I expect this recognition and support will help propel them to even greater heights.”
The Chancellor’s Fellows program was created in 2000, and this year’s class brings the total number of recipients to an even 200. Recipients carry the title for five years and are awarded $25,000 in unrestricted philanthropic support for research or other scholarly work.
“We’re all celebrating reaching 200 Chancellor’s Fellows,” said Shaun B. Keister, vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations. “Our dedicated donors have helped launch some of the most impactful research of the past two decades, supporting early-career experts across all disciplines. This is a true testament to how philanthropy is changing the world.”
This year’s fellows are:
Her research focuses on understanding diversity within neurodegenerative diseases and the development of innovative tools for deeper analysis of the human brain. Her works bridge the fields of machine learning and computer engineering, data science and social determinants of health. She is the foremost expert in digital neuropathology. Her laboratory’s research, in collaboration with institutions across the country, sparked a new wave of science, leading to advancements on a national level. She has produced high-impact publications that contribute to our understanding of neuropathologies. In addition to running her laboratory, Dugger leads neuropathology programs for numerous National Institutes of Health-funded studies and centers at UC Davis.
“Dr. Dugger is a triple talent: outstanding in research, teaching, and service on local, national, and international levels,” wrote Kim E. Barrett, distinguished professor and vice dean for research in the School of Medicine. “She is a highly valued faculty member with a superb record of achievement in neurodegenerative diseases research. I am positive Dr. Dugger will continue to make her mark both as a leader in her field and as a leader at UC Davis.”
She explores electronic textiles and wearable technologies, including new material and digital fabrication possibilities to facilitate design for a variety of underserved populations such as people suffering from chronic diseases, the elderly and children. Recently, she was named a Dean’s Faculty Fellow for her research developing and testing an electronic, textile-based, real-time bladder monitoring device that can be worn as an unobtrusive undergarment.
“[She] is an exemplary citizen of the university and highly deserving of this honor,” wrote Susan Taber Avila, professor of design. “She not only excels in the three pillars of academic life — research, teaching and service — but she exudes a generosity of spirit and humanity that elevates everyone around her.”
Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe
She is a former New Orleans public defender whose research focuses on how the design of the criminal process affects the ability of institutional attorneys to manage overwhelming caseloads and comply with ethical requirements.
One of the nation’s leading scholars on topics pertaining to public defenders, Joe is also an expert on voir dire, or jury selection. Her voir dire class is one of the law school’s most popular. A UC Davis Law faculty member since 2016, Joe has been selected twice by students to be commencement faculty speaker.
“A rising star, Professor Joe is poised to be one of the leading criminal justice scholars in legal education,” wrote School of Law Dean Kevin Johnson.
He is an observational astronomer and expert on the formation and evolution of galaxies. His research harnesses gravitational lensing, which magnifies the apparent size and brightness of distant galaxies seen in the early universe, allowing sensitive measurements that are otherwise impossible with current technology.
“Tucker is an internationally recognized expert in his field of study, has had great success obtaining both funding and observing time on cutting edge astronomical facilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope, and has technical expertise that is rare for people in his field,” wrote Christopher Fassnacht, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Having known several previous Chancellor’s Fellows from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, I can confidently say that Tucker is of the same caliber as those impressive scientists.”
She uses the freshwater invertebrate Hydra vulgaris, which has astonishing regenerative capabilities, as an animal model to study stem cell biology, aging and regeneration. Her current research investigates the cellular mechanisms of whole-body regeneration with the long-term goal of translating findings from regenerative animals like Hydra to humans.
“Dr. Juliano is a tireless and generous organizer of growing and vibrant Hydra research communities, as well as an effective trainer of the next generation of developmental biologists,” wrote Frédéric Chédin, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. “She is a fantastic and supportive instructor at undergraduate and graduate levels, and is contributing to the success of diverse cohorts of students and scientists.”
She works at the intersection of environmental economics and climate science. Her research seeks to advance our understanding of the economic costs of climate change. This includes investigations into natural capital, climate adaptation costs, human behavior and the social cost of carbon. Between 2022 and 2023, Moore served a rotating term as a senior economist with the Council of Economic Advisers, which provides economic policy recommendations to the president of the United States.
“Dr. Moore’s research has made major contributions to the prediction of damages from climate change – a critical element in how aggressively society should work to mitigate emissions,” wrote Helene Dillard, dean of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Susan Harrison, department chair of Environmental Science and Policy, in a joint nomination letter.
Cindy Rubio González
She researches software accuracy and performance to design and build tools that help software developers write reliable and efficient programs. With projects like BugSwarm, an ever-growing dataset of reproducible real-world software failures and fixes, she is also passionate about the automated creation of large-scale datasets to evaluate software tools and facilitate the use of machine learning to solve software engineering tasks. Rubio is the recipient of several notable awards, including the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Early Career Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Facebook Testing and Verification Research Award.
“Professor Rubio González’s service to the university, especially in terms of scholarly community service, intramural service, and promoting diversity, has been exceptional,” wrote Professor Dipak Ghosal, the Prem Chand Jain Family Presidential Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and chair of the Department of Computer Science.
She leads research to discover solutions for personalizing diet and lifestyle to improve health and prevent disease. Zivkovic has made a significant impact in the field by developing new analytical tools to determine the compositions of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, and is currently focused on the functional biology of HDL, which is leading to the development of a new series of biomarkers to indicate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Angela has proven to be highly motivated, capable, quick to learn, understand and apply both specific mechanisms and broad concepts, and perhaps most importantly, able to think and act decisively and intelligently on information that she acquires through research,” J. Bruce German, distinguished professor with the Department of Food Science and Technology, wrote in a nomination letter. “I look forward to every new stage of her career because I learn new pathways to excellence by her example.”
She conducts innovative research on phonetic variation, speech perception and laboratory phonology. Recently, she’s examined the influence of interactions with voice artificial intelligence on human language. She compares the degree of linguistic alignment of children and adults with voice AI during human-device interaction and examines whether the nature of language alignment occurs along similar social dimensions as it does in human-human interactions.
“Professor Zellou is one of the most productive and original scholars in the Department of Linguistics,” wrote College of Letters and Science Dean Estella Atekwana. “Her research program has the promise to become truly innovative and revolutionary in the field.”
Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.