No? Ever watched scientists prepare a bobcat specimen for display? Or taken a selfie with a red-tailed hawk? Or petted a stick insect or a pine cone? How about kombucha tea--ever tasted it?
You can do that and more at the eighth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16. The free, family friendly event will feature 13 museums or collections. All are within walking distance except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road and the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road. The hours vary from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m.
The science-based event, exploring the diversity of life, drew more than 4000 visitors to the campus last year, according to Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
New this year is the Marine Invertebrate Collection in the Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive. “Visitors can expect to see specimens collected from Oahu and Baja California, and live corals,” said spokesperson Ivani Li. “There will be a touch tank. At some point there will be a brief presentation about squids where we will be showing off our Humboldt Squid or jumbo squid.”
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, always held the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend, is billed as a “free, educational event for the community where visitors get to meet and talk with UC Davis scientists from undergraduate students to staff to emeritus professors and see amazing objects and organisms from the world around us.” Parking is also free. Maps are available on the Biodiversity Museum Day website at http://biodiversitymuseumday.ucdavis.edu/.
These seven collections will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- Arboretum and Public Garden, Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- California Raptor Center, 340 Equine Lane, off Old Davis Road
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Room 1394, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- Paleontology Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
The following will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:
- Anthropology Museum, 328 Young Hall and grounds
- Botanical Conservatory, Greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road (take West Hutchison Drive to Hopkins)
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
- Marine Invertebrate Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, Yang said, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, and also online at http://biodiversitymuseumday.edu, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.
Capsule information on each:
Arboretum and Public Garden
The Arboretum and Public Garden will present “investigation stations” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus. Visitors will learn about the importance of bees, hummingbirds and moths as pollinators. They can play fun games, and color and craft their own pollinator pets.
Bohart Museum of Entomology
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will be open from 9 a.m. to noon, The Bohart is the home of a world-class collection of nearly 8 million insect specimens. Insect scientists will meet with the public to help them explore insects and spiders (arachnids). Highlights will include the 500,000-specimen butterfly/moth collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith. The Bohart maintains a live “petting zoo,” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas.
California Raptor Center
The California Raptor Center, located at 1340 Equine Lane, Davis, just off Old Davis Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will see a living collection of non-releasable raptors, including hawks, owls and a golden eagle. The center's educational ambassador birds will be out "on the fist", so visitors can get a close look and talk to the volunteers about the birds of prey that live in this area.
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane (off LaRue Road) will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We're planning an action packed morning with displays highlighting carnivores, bats, reptiles and fish,” said director Andrew Engilis Jr. “There will be specimen preparation demos (bobcat and raptors) as well as a kid crafts table.”
The Paleontology Collection, located in the Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors can view fossil specimens dating from as old as 550 million years ago to more recent animal skeletons. Paleontology graduate students in invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology will answer questions and provide interesting factoids.
Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection
These collections will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Robert Mondavi Institute,392 Old Davis Road, on campus. Visitors can learn about the importance of microbes in research, biotechnology, and food and beverages, and about the proud history of two of the world's prominent microbe collections.
- Tour the UC Davis teaching winery and brewery
- See and smell dozens of yeast species
- Use microscopes to look at yeast cultures
- Learn how yeasts and bacteria are important for making fermented foods and beverages
- Taste vegemite, marmite, and kombucha tea
- Hear how to make clothes from yeast and bacteria
- Hear about cutting edge research using these microbe collections and
- Listen to yeast jokes
The Department of Anthropology Museum, located in 328 Young Hall, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. The Anthropology Museum curates collections of archaeological, ethnographic, biological and archival materials. Visitors will:
- See how different peoples around the world incorporate biodiversity into personal adornment
- Learn about how the native peoples of the Central Valley made use of the area's biodiversity
- Find out what our hominin ancestors looked like
- Explore the anatomical diversity of our primate relatives
- Learn to throw a spear with an atlatl or use a Peruvian sling shot to hit your target
- Learn how to make stone tools by flintknapping
- Explore how archaeologists identify the various animals people used for food, tools, and clothing
The Botanical Conservatory
The greenhouses in the Botanical Conservatory on Kleiber Hall Drive will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors can expect to see carnivorous plants; a chocolate tree loaded with fruit; succulents and other desert plants including the Madagascan spine forest plants that lemurs climb on; the giant leaves of the Titan arum plant, and Mimosa pudica aka sensitive plant whose leaves fold up when touched, said collections manager Ernesto Sandoval. “And, weather permitting, we'll encourage visitors to stroll the paths of the Biological Orchard and Gardens--an outdoor extension of Botanical Conservatory's role in undergraduate education at UC Davis.”
Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium
The Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium, located in Room 1026 of the Sciences Laboratory Building, central campus (off Kleiber Hall Drive), will be open from noon to 4 p.m.. Curator Ellen Dean said visitors can tour the collection area, see plant pressing and mounting demonstrations, “pet our plant zoo” (a table showcasing the diversity of plants, including mosses, pine cones, ferns and flowering plants); look and plants under a microscope, and view oak exhibit. The children's activity? Making herbarium specimens.
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee demonstration garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Bee Biology Road, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. "At the Honey Bee Haven, visitors can learn about bees and see the plants they use," said manager Christine Casey. "We'll have tips for identifying bees in gardens, and our catch and release bee vacuums will be available so folks can safely catch and observe bees up close. We'll also be doing an almond tasting event to coincide with the start of California's most economically important crop pollination season." A six-foot long sculpture of a worker bee by artist Donna Billick of Davis anchors the haven, which was planted in the fall of 2009.
The nematode collection will open from noon to 4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Building, (off Kleiber Hall Drive. It will feature both live and slide-mounted nematodes, as well as jars of larger parasites. Nematodes, also called worms, are described as “elongated cylindrical worms parasitic in animals or plants or free-living in soil or water. They exist in almost every known environment.”
Marine Invertebrate Collection
The Marine Invertebrate Collection will open from noon to 4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Visitors can view specimens collected from Oahu and Baja California, and live corals. There also will be a touch tank and Humboldt squid presentation.
The award, administered by the UC Davis Emeriti Association, honors outstanding scholarship work or service performed since retirement by a UC Davis emeritus.
Distinguished professor emerita M. R. C. Greenwood, chair of the UC Davis Emeriti Association Awards and Recognition Committee, described him as a “pioneer researcher in the field of behavioral genetics, an internationally recognized scholar, a talented and innovative administrator, and a skilled teacher responsible for mentoring many of today's top bee scientists.”
Page's work on bee behavior “has set the standard nationally and internationally,” Greenwood said, adding “and many people in this room will know how important that research is to health and well being of our bees today.”
Page retired from UC Davis in 2004 after serving as chair of the Entomology Department (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). “Then he was recruited to be the founding director of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University,” she said. “Today Dr. Page continues to work on how reproductive regulatory networks are altered by natural selection for division of labor in honor bees. As the 2019 UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Professor, he does our university proud.”
In accepting the award, Page called it “a great and distinct honor.”
“I have multiple attachments to UC Davis,” he said. “I was a graduate student here (doctorate in entomology in 1980) and my wife was an undergraduate who graduated from here.”
Page said he met and recognized many people at the emeriti luncheon. “I've walked around and my Damaged Facial Recognition Software was just kind of spinning around,” he quipped. “But at any rate, a number of you I definitely remember and recognize and some of you, I almost remember and recognize.”
UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter welcomed the crowd. Chancellor Gary S. May chronicled some of the UC Davis national and international achievements, and thanked the academic retirees for “your dedicated service. And I wish you luck navigating this new chapter in your lives. So go boldly and Go Ags!” (UC Davis' strategic plan, “To Boldly Go,” outlines the aspirations and methods for guiding the university to new heights of distinction over the next 10 years.)
The chancellor introduced Greenwood as having “a highly distinguished career as a researcher and leader in higher education. “She was the first woman to serve in all of her leadership positions, including 14th president of the University of Hawaii, chancellor of UC Santa Cruz; and dean of Graduate Studies at UC Davis. An expert on obesity and diabetes, Dr. Greenwood most recently served as director of Foods for Health Initiative. She is also a distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and a current fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.”
“Our emeriti and retirees are a remarkable group of individuals,” Greenwood said. “A recent survey of the continuing teaching, research, mentoring and service for the entire University of California….showed that the collective continuing contributions of our academic retirees is the equivalent of an 11th campus—an 11th UC campus. So please let me please let me offer my congratulations to all of you who continue to help this magnificent campus. So give yourself a hand.”
“Unfortunately, neither of our rewardees—since they are extremely busy in their retirement doing research—are able to be here today,” Greenwood told the crowd.
In his nomination letter, Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wrote that “Robert Page is arguably the most influential honey bee biologist of the past 30 years,”
Born and reared in Bakersfield, Kern County, Rob received his bachelor's degree in entomology, with a minor in chemistry, from San Jose State University in 1976. After receiving his doctorate from UC Davis in 1980, he served as assistant professor at The Ohio State University before joining the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1989 as an associate professor. He began working closely with Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., (the father of honey bee genetics) for whom the university's bee facility is named. Together they published many significant research papers.
Page chaired the Department of Entomology from 1999 to 2004, when Arizona State University recruited him to be the founding director of the School of Life Sciences of Arizona State University (ASU). His ASU career advanced to dean of Life Sciences; vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and university provost.
Page is known for his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior. One of his most salient contributions to science was to construct the first genomic map of the honey bee, which sparked a variety of pioneering contributions not only to insect biology but to genetics at large.
At UC Davis, he maintained a honey bee-breeding program for 24 years, from 1989 to 2015, managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. They discovered a link between social behavior and maternal traits in bees. Their work was featured in a cover story in the journal Nature. In all, Nature featured his work on four covers from work mostly done at UC Davis.
Page and his lab pioneered the use of modern techniques to study the genetic basis of social behavior evolution in honey bees and other social insects. He was the first to employ molecular markers to study polyandry and patterns of sperm use in honey bees. He provided the first quantitative demonstration of low genetic relatedness in a highly eusocial species.
His work has garnered a significant impact in the scientific community through his research on the evolutionary genetics and social behavior of honey bees. He was the first to demonstrate that a significant amount of observed behavioral variation among honey bee workers is due to genotypic variation. In the 1990s, he and his students and colleagues isolated, characterized and validated the complementary sex determination gene of the honey bee; considered the most important paper yet published about the genetics of Hymenoptera. The journal Cell featured their work on its cover. In subsequent studies, he and his team published further research into the regulation of honey bee foraging, defensive and alarm behavior.
Page has authored than 250 research papers, including five books: among them “The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution,” published by Harvard University Press in 2013. He is a highly cited author on such topics as Africanized bees, genetics and evolution of social organization, sex determination, and division of labor in insect societies. His resume shows more than 18,000 citations.
Highly honored by his peers, Page is a fellow of a number of organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Sciences, the Entomological Society of America, and organizations in Germany and Brazil. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, known at the Humboldt Prize, the highest honor given by the German government to foreign scientists. He most recently received the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Her research expertise involves molecular genetics of animal behavior, circadian rhythm biology, and posttranslational regulation of proteins.
By using Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study the mechanisms that regulate circadian clocks, Chiu has discovered new insights into the function of key proteins that control animal circadian clocks. In particular, she has identified new mechanisms that slow down or speed up the internal clock of fruit flies and mechanisms that allow the internal clock to interpret food as timing cues--research that could help lead the way to alleviate human circadian disorders.
“Dr. Chiu is a prolific, phenomenal and talented scholar whose research is innovative, cutting-edge and groundbreaking,” said Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, describes her as “a rising star.”
In announcing the Chancellor's Fellows, Chancellor Gary S. May said: “They've clearly made a mark both at UC Davis and within the academy generally. I have no doubt their contributions will continue to grow.” Each will retain the title for five years and receive a prize of $25,000 earmarked for research or scholarly work. Private donations to the UC Davis Annual Fund and the UC Davis Parents' Fund finance the program.
Chiu joined the Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2010 as an assistant professor and advanced to associate professor and vice chair in 2016. She received her bachelor's degree in biology and music from Mount Holyoke College, Mass., and her doctorate in molecular genetics in 2004 from New York University, New York. She served as a postdoctoral fellow from 2004 to 2010 in chronobiology (biological rhythms and internal clocks)--molecular genetics and biochemistry--at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Major grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation fund Chiu's biological rhythms research.
In addition to her research in biological rhythms, Chiu also aims to leverage her expertise in genomics to address key issues in global food security. She is the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on six grant awards from the State of California to research various fruit crops damaged by the spotted-wing Drosophila. At the time of her nomination, her publication record included 41 journal publications and book chapters, one U.S. Patent, and more than 3,235 journal citations (Google Scholar).
Chiu targets the spotted wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, first detected in North America in central California in August 2008. A native of Southeast Asia, the invasive species has already caused billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agriculture. Chiu took the lead role in sequencing the genome and is now heavily involved in finding new and more sustainable strategies to control the pest.
Chiu instigated the drive to obtain genomic data prior to its adaptation to a variety of local environments, which can differ in climate, pesticide use, natural enemies and types of fruits available. She played a leading role in establishing the SpottedWingFlyBase, a publicly available web portal documenting a variety of genomic databases for this species.
Chiu co-founded and co-directs (with professor Jay Rosenheim and associate professor Louie Yang) the campuswide Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology, launched in 2011 to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. The program's goal is to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research.
Under her tutelage, many of Chiu's students are first authors of publications in prestigious journals. She continues to provide guidance and advice to undergraduate and graduate students and those who have embarked on their careers.
Former UC Davis graduate student Kelly Hamby, now assistant professor/Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, said Chiu “is so generous of her time and advice. Her office is always open to students, whether they are visiting high school students, undergraduates, or graduate students, her own students or someone else's. She carefully guides students throughout their experiments, directly providing technical training—side by side at the bench—while developing their critical thinking and communication skills. Joanna not only imparts excellent analytic and laboratory molecular skills to her students, but also commits to providing ongoing professional advice and development. Joanna's mentorship continues long after graduate and she leaves a lasting impression on students.”
“Joanna's teaching philosophy is clearly targeted towards the professional development of her students, modeling assignments on the activities of practicing scientists,” Hamby added.
The previous recipient from the Department of Entomology and Nematology was pollination ecologist Neal Williams, now a professor.
See list of this year's Chancellor's Fellows on UC Davis Dateline.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology professor, is organizing and chairing the symposium, which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, April 2 in the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina.
“The symposium will include scientific contributions from leaders in the fields of bee ecology, conservation and pollination,” announced Williams. “All are individuals whose work and specialty have been influenced by Robbin and his research program."
The scientists speaking, in addition to emcee Williams, include:
- Claire Kremen, University of British Columbia, formerly of UC Berkeley
- James Strange, USDA's Agricultural Research Service
- Heidi Dobson, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
- Gretchen Lebuhn, San Francisco State University
- Richard Hatfield, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
- Terry Griswold, USDA's Agricultural Research Service
- Leslie Saul-Gershenz, UC Davis
- Gordon Frankie, UC Berkeley
“The symposium will be followed by a social time during which hope to share our gratitude with Robbin for his lifetime of work, mentoring and friendship,” Williams said.
Thorp, a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty for 30 years, from 1964-1994, achieved emeritus status in 1994 but has continued to engage in research, teaching and public service. In his retirement, he co-authored two books Bumble Bees of North America, an Identification Guide (Princeton University, 2014) and California Bees and Blooms, A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday, 2014).
Thorp, a tireless advocate of pollinator species protection and conservation, is known for his expertise, dedication and passion in protecting native pollinators, especially bumble bees, and for his teaching, research and public service. He is an authority on pollination ecology, ecology and systematics of honey bees, bumble bees, vernal pool bees, conservation of bees, contribution of native bees to crop pollination, and bees of urban gardens and agricultural landscapes. He is active in research projects and open houses at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Thorp received his bachelor of science degree in zoology (1955) and his master's degree in zoology (1957) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He earned his doctorate in entomology in 1964 from UC Berkeley, the same year he joined the UC Davis entomology faculty. He taught courses from 1970 to 2006 on insect classification, general entomology, natural history of insects, field entomology, California insect diversity, and pollination ecology.
Every summer since 2002, Thorp has volunteered his time and expertise to teach at The Bee Course, an annual workshop sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and held at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Ariz. The intensive 9-day workshop, considered the world's premiere native bee biology and taxonomic course, is geared for conservation biologists, pollination ecologists and other biologists who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees.
An authority on Franklin's bumble bee, Bombus franklini, Thorp has monitored the bumble bee population since 1998 in its narrow distribution range of southern Oregon and northern California. He has not seen it since 2006 and it is feared extinct. In August of 2016 a documentary crew from CNN, headed by John Sutter followed him to a meadow where Thorp last saw Franklin's bumble bee. He wrote about Thorp, then 82, in a piece he called "The Old Man and the Bee," a spinoff of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea."
Thorp was instrumental in placing the bumble bee on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Long active in the North America IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group, Thorp served as its regional co-chair, beginning in 2011.
Thorp was named a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco in 1986; recipient of the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship of UC Davis in 2010; and recipient of the UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Award in 2015. Other honors include: member of the UC Davis Bee Team that won PBESA's Team Award in 2013. In addition, he is a past president (2010-2011) of the Davis Botanical Society, and former chair (1992-2011) of the Advisory Committee for the Jepson Prairie Reserve, UC Davis/Natural Reserve System.
Since its inception, Thorp has been involved in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden on Bee Biology Road operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, installed in 2009. To establish a baseline, he began monitoring the site for bees in 2008. He has since detected more than 80 species of bees.
Born Jan. 30, 1951 in Hong Kong and fondly known as “Amazing Grace,” she received her doctorate at UC Davis in 1983 with major professor Hammock, now a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Her husband of 41 years, Davy Jones, a longtime professor in the UK Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, received his doctorate from UC Davis, studying with major professor Jeffrey Granett of the then Department of Entomology.
Hammock described Grace Jones as a hard-working scientist with “amazing skill and creative insight.”
“Following her research at Texas A&M University, Grace joined my lab in the 1970s at UC Riverside and then finished her PhD at Davis in 1983,” recalled Hammock, a member of the UC Riverside faculty from 1975 to 1980, when he accepted a joint-faculty appointment in toxicology and entomology at UC Davis.
“She asked how juvenile hormone regulated the development of moth larvae that are serious agricultural pests,” Hammock said. “She also found two parasites, one of which sped up host larval development and the other of which slowed host larval development. She found that both parasitoids were manipulating the host insect endocrine system to their benefit. Endocrine regulation of insect development was a theme of Grace's whole career which she pursued with amazing skill, hard work and creative insight.”
Longtime friend and colleague Lynn Riddiford, emerita professor of biology at the University of Washington, Seattle, who worked with Grace Jones on a National Science Foundation grant, praised her as “a creative and imaginative scientist.”
“Her research focused on the action of juvenile hormone (JH), a key hormone regulating metamorphosis in insects,” Riddiford said. “Early on Grace studied the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation by JH of several proteins in the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni—the JH-inducible JH esterase that breaks down JH and several JH-suppressible hemolymph storage proteins. Her work was always careful and thorough and contributed significantly to the field.”
Riddiford said that “Grace became intrigued by the idea that Ultraspiracle (USP), the heterodimeric partner of the ecdysone receptor (EcR), might be the long-sought JH receptor. She pursued this line of research with rigor, and later found that USP bound methyl farnesoate, the immediate precursor of JH, with the high affinity typical for hormone receptors. Furthermore, she showed that the methyl farnesoate-USP complex was critical for the larval-pupal transformation in Drosophila. Even though her initial idea that USP was the JH receptor proved wrong, her work stimulated the field and resulted in a deeper understanding of the factors controlling metamorphosis in Drosophila.”
Riddiford added: “Grace will be especially remembered for her amazing drive and determination to forge ahead with her science and to continue to make significant contributions despite the disabilities engendered by her stroke.” (See research publications)
Keith Wing, Hammock's second doctoral student who went on to become a senior research associate at Rohm and Haas and DuPont, and is now a consultant, remembered her as “a cheerful, hard-working colleague and friend, and wife of Dr. Davy Jones, University of Kentucky. A few of us spent many a late night studying juvenile hormone esterase and binding proteins at UC Riverside and Davis in lepidopteran larvae, trying to help the lab piece together the story of how JH metabolism and transport helped to regulate insect metamorphosis.”
“We shared everything and always helped each other out,” Wing said. “Grace went on to focus on this in much greater detail, including exploration into insect hormone receptors and regulation. She was an incredibly dedicated researcher who contributed a lot to the field."
Grace Jones received her bachelor's degree in biology in 1973 from Belmont (N.C.) Abbey College, and her master's degree in biology in 1974 from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University. She did post graduate research at Texas A&M in insect physiology and endocrinology before joining the Hammock lab in UC Riverside (1979-80). After receiving her doctorate in 1983 from UC Davis, she headed to Harvard University's Medical School as a visiting scholar in the Department of Cell Biology and Department of Pathology, working there from 1989 to 2000. Her career then included visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Biology and a visiting professor at Baylor College of Medicine, where she specialized in stem cell research.
The UC Davis alumnus joined the UK Department of Entomology in 1984 as an assistant research professor, studying insect biochemistry and molecular biology. She was promoted to associate research professor in 1990, and then switched to UK's School of Biological Sciences, becoming an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology in 1991; an associate professor in 1993; and a full professor in 1999.
"Dr. Jones was a superb, internationally recognized scientist, even as her health declined over the past 18 years, but she continued to work on teaching and research throughout," wrote UK Department of Biology chair Vincent Cassone on a web page memoralizing her. "Over the course of her research career, Dr. Jones had received millions of grant dollars for her important studies from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, and published more than 100 research articles in prestigious journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. She and Davy also received a patent in 2007 for a method to identify drugs that interact with insect nuclear receptors, which could be used for biological control of pest species."
"Over the years, students have expressed great admiration and love for Professor Jones in letters and emails, and eminent scientists have expressed their high regard for her work," Cassone wrote. "A Grace Jones Memorial Fund for Family Support has been set up. Donations can be sent to the UK College of Health Science c/o Loralyn Cecil, 900 South Limestone 124E, Lexington, KY 40508 or online at https://karrn.org/. Her infectious smile will be missed in the halls of Biology, as she had her daily walks, arm in arm, color-coordinated with her husband, Davy, a testament to devotion and love."
Davy Jones notified his wife's friends and colleagues, including Hammock, of her death with an email, “Butterfly has flown on.” He attached a photo of Grace and a blue morpho butterfly.
She died in his arms, as this song, “Amazing Grace,” played softly in the room, he wrote.
“UC Riverside, UC Davis and the field lost a wonderful colleague and we have all lost a dear friend,” Hammock told him.