Hellman Fellows: Early-Career Faculty Members Get a Boost

Vice Provost Maureen Stanton, who leads Academic Affairs, has named UC Davis’ newest class of Hellman Fellows — early-career faculty members chosen to receive financial support for their research and to assist them in making progress toward tenure.

“Through the generosity of the Hellman Fellows Fund, we are assisting our next generation of faculty in their bold and innovative work, and bolstering our university’s research excellence into the future,” Stanton said.

 Hellman Fellows logo

The one-year Hellman fellowships are going to faculty members in microbiology and molecular genetics, neuroscience, chemistry, mathematics, animal science, plant biology and nutrition, as well as classics, history, American studies and Chicana/o studies. The new fellows (listed below) have the option of starting their fellowships on July 1 or Oct. 1, 2016, or Jan. 1, 2017.

The San Francisco-based Hellman Fellows Fund and before that the Hellman Family Foundation (which has since merged with the Hellman Foundation) have awarded a total of $2.75 million to UC Davis in support of nine years of fellowships, 2008 to 2016.

Frances Hellman said her parents, Warren and Chris Hellman, designed the Hellman Fellows program “to address funding issues based on my personal experiences as a junior faculty member.” A physicist, Hellman began her academic career at UC San Diego and is now a member of the UC Berkeley faculty, where she serves as dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

The Hellman Fellows program, which began in 1994, now serves all 10 campuses of the University of California, three private universities, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Each institution makes its own selections.

UC Davis gives preference to faculty members who show great promise in their scholarly work and have outstanding proposals, but who may have only modest means to support their research and have never received other young investigator awards. 

All full-time assistant professors are eligible, except for those in the School of Law, School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine (unless these assistant professors have partial appointments in other schools or colleges that are qualified for the Hellman fellowship program).

For 2016, UC Davis has awarded a total of $295,000 to 12 assistant professors. Individual awards range from $15,000 to $50,000. Here are the new fellows, their academic units and fellowship subjects:

  • Ryan Lee Cartwright, Department of  American Studies — Peculiar places: a queer/crip history of rural nonconformity
  • Sean Collins, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics — Understanding the origins of autoimmune disease: unraveling the mechanisms of DNA extrusion by neutrophils during immune responses
  • Kyle Crabtree, Department of Chemistry — Experimental measurements of prebiotic chemistry in astrophysical conditions
  • Diasynou Fioravante, Center for Neuroscience/Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior — Cellular and molecular cartography of cerebellar output neurons regulating fear
  • Evgeny Gorskiy, Department of Mathematics — Knot homology theories and their applications
  • Matthias Hess, Department of Animal Science — Studying the microbial response to a feed additive that decreases methane emission during enteric fermentation: towards sustainable methane mitigation strategies for California’s dairy industry
  • Katherine Ralston, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics — New genetic tools to study trogocytosis (cell nibbling)
  • Marian Schlotterbeck, Department of History — Everyday revolutions: grass-roots movements and the making of revolutionary Chile, 1964-73
  • Anna Uhlig, Department of Classics — Script and song in Pindar and Aeschylus
  • Susy Zepeda, Department of Chicana/o Studies — Building an oral history: excavating queer Xicana indigenous knowledges
  • Philipp Zerbe, Department of Plant Biology — Establishing the biochemical networks for environmental stress tolerance in maize (Zea mays)
  • Angela Zivkovic, Department of Nutrition — The functional biology of acute phase HDL

UC Davis’ Hellman Fellows, 2008-15

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