TRANSITIONS: Alum Is Biotech Program Director

Denneal Jamison-McClung, environmental portrait
Denneal Jamison-McClung is an alumna of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and went on to serve as the associate director, and now she is the director.

Quick Summary

  • George “Ron” Mangun returns as director of Center for Mind and Brain
  • Allen Van Deynze moves up to director of Seed Biotechnology Center
  • Senior Campus Counsel Kirsten Stevenson takes 6-month assignment as deputy chief HR officer at UC Davis Health
  • Regents appoint Carrie L. Byington as executive vice president of UC Health
  • One Health Institute’s Jonna Mazet is new co-chair of UC Global Health Institute
  • Brett McFarlane stepping down as campuswide leader of academic advising

Denneal Jamison-McClung has been appointed director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, as announced by the Office of Research. An alumna of the program, she had served as the interim director since last summer, taking over when Judith Kjelstrom retired, and before that as the associate director since 2006.

The program is a hub for biotechnology efforts on campus and provides a critical bridge between academia and the biotech industry as well as government entities involved in bioscience.

Jamison-McClung holds two UC Davis degrees: a bachelor’s in biological sciences with a minor in women’s studies, and a Ph.D. in genetics with a “Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology,” or DEB, a key offering of the Biotechnology Program.

She has taught biotech graduate courses, and workshops in science communication, science policy and social entrepreneurship at UC Davis. She’s also served as a program coordinator.

— Lisa Howard, communications specialist, Office of Research

The Center for Mind and Brain, and the Seed Biotechnology Center have new directors:

  • Center for Mind and Brain — George “Ron” Mangun, distinguished professor of psychology and neurology, is back as director of the center he helped launch 17 years ago. He served as founding director from 2002 to 2009, and, in returning as director, succeeds Steven Luck, distinguished professor of psychology, who replaced Mangun in 2009. During the past 10 years, Mangun has served in leadership roles in the College of Letters and Science — as dean of social sciences (2008-15) and interim chair of the Department of Psychology (2016-17).
  • Seed Biotechnology Center — Allen Van Deynze has moved up to director, succeeding Kent Bradford, who retired. Van Deynze has served as the center’s research director since 2002. According to the center’s June e-newsletter, Van Deynze will continue to run his research program and other activities while also directing the center’s other efforts.

Kirsten Stevenson mugshot

Kirsten Stevenson, a senior campus counsel, has been named deputy chief human resources officer for a six-month appointment as HR lead at UC Davis Health starting Aug. 19. She has previously provided legal advice to Employee and Labor Relations and other HR efforts.

“(Kirsten’s) knowledge of the UC Davis Health campus and her relationship with senior leadership will be critical to adjusting the way HR engages with UC Davis Health in planning and preparing for significant events,” Chief Human Resources Officer Christine Lovely wrote in a message to HR staff and partners.

While leadership conducts a national search for a permanent deputy chief human resources officer, Stevenson will report to Lovely and Brad Simmons, interim chief executive officer of the UC Davis Medical Center.

Carrie Byington mugshot

The UC Board of Regents recently approved Carrie L. Byington’s appointment as executive vice president of UC Health, comprising UC’s five academic medical centers, 18 health professional schools and UC Riverside’s community-based health system.

She is due to take up her new position Oct. 31, succeeding John D. Stobo, who is retiring after 11 years with the university and more than four decades in the clinical and academic health science fields.

“Dr. Byington is an impressive leader and the ideal candidate, with extensive experience in both the business and academic arenas of a large health system,” said UC President Janet Napolitano, who served on the search committee. Other members included UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May.

Byington is coming to UC from Texas A&M, where she has served concurrently as a vice chancellor, senior vice president, dean and professor since 2017. Prior to joining Texas A&M,, she spent more than 20 years in teaching and leadership positions with the University of Utah.

She is an alumna of Texas A&M and Baylor College of Medicine, and trained in pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital and in pediatric infectious diseases at UC San Francisco.

Read the complete news release from the UC Office of the President.

Jonna Mazet mugshot

Jonna Mazet of the School of Veterinary Medicine is one of two new co-vice chairs of the UC Global Health Institute board of directors.

A professor of epidemiology and disease ecology, she serves as the executive director of the One Health Institute and global director of PREDICT (Project of USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program), which works in more than 30 countries to discover and mitigate the risks from emerging infectious agents.

The other newly named co-vice chair is Lara Stemple, director of the  Health and Human Rights Law Project at the UCLA School of Law, where she also serves as assistant dean of graduate studies and international student programs.

Read more about the new co-vice chairs.

Carolyn Thomas, vice provost and dean, Undergraduate Education, recently announced Brett McFarlane will step down Aug. 2 as executive director of academic advising, to become associate director for external and institutional partnerships for NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.

“While it is difficult to say goodbye, this is a tremendous opportunity for Brett and the advising profession,” Thomas said.

Brett McFarlane mugshot

McFarlane joined UC Davis in May 2014 as the first campuswide advising director. “Since then, Brett has, through strong partnerships with advising leadership in the colleges, with our Student Affairs partners, and with allied units across campus, led us to make a number of important enhancements to academic advising on campus,” Thomas said.

Among the improvements: a network for advisors that offers a professional development series, mentorship, an annual conference and increased engagement with NACADA; more robust training for peer advisors; a strong network of first-year advisors; innovations in international advising; and preorientation modules that students use as part of orientation.

“Brett was also instrumental in spreading technology innovations across colleges such as OASIS and MyDegree, which help students have easier access to information to make informed decisions and help our campus community better connect to meet students’ needs.

“Brett has, in general, been a strong advocate for students, advisors and the advising profession, and we’ve been fortunate to learn from his expertise and skills at collaboration and partnership.”

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