Seven members of the Senate and seven members of the Federation won awards for their teaching, research or public service. The ceremony took place in the International House.
Provost Mary Croughan, in her welcoming address, praised the 14 recipients for their excellent work, and also thanked the entire faculty workforce for their research, teaching and public service commitments during the two-year pandemic. Richard Tucker, chair of the Academic Senate, presented the Senate's awards and Martin Smith, chair of the Academic Federation, handed out the Federation's awards.
- Professor Diane Ullman, former chair of the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) won one of the Academic Senate's three Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Awards. She was nominated by UC Davis Distinguished Professor Jay Rosenheim.
- Professor Joanna Chiu, vice chair of the department, received one of the three Distinguished Teaching Awards, Graduate/Professional category, from the Academic Senate. She was nominated by medical entomologist-geneticist and assistant professor Geoffrey Attardo.
- UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal won the 2022 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from the Academic Senate for his series of webinars educating the public about COVID-19. He was nominated by UC Davis distinguished professor Bruce Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Professor Diane Ullman
Professor Ullman, an entomologist and an artist, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1991 after serving as an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hawaii.
Wrote one student: "My experience in her course last spring was one that lifted my spirits, enriched my education and strengthened my love for art and science during a time when it was difficult to feel positive about anything.”
Rosenheim noted that Ullman's commitment to mentorship motivated her to "create a nationwide mentorship program as part of a $3.75 million grant from the USDA, for which she was the lead principal investigator, to give undergraduate students a closely mentored opportunity to conduct individual research projects. This program (Vector Pathogen Educational Network or VPEN) trained 28 postdoctoral researchers and graduate students to be mentors, and then paired each with an undergraduate student researcher mentee."
Rosenheim described the Ullman-created entomology class, ENT 001, "Art, Science and the World of Insects," as "a unique and creative course to bring together art and science. The class includes two hours of lecture each week plus a single three-hour “labudio” – i.e., a combination of a science laboratory and an art studio. The lectures cover the biology and ecology of insects, including their interactions with humans and their importance in human culture."
Undergraduate entomology student Kyle Elshoff, Class of 2024, related that Professor Ullman is "one of the best instructors" he's ever had. "She has a love and passion for both art and science that is infectious and inspires further discussion and exploration by students outside of class."
Ullman received a bachelor of science degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. Her credentials include: chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, 2004-2005; associate dean for undergraduate academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2005 to 2014; and co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, launched in September 2006. A Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and the Entomological Society of America (2011), Ullman was named the 2014 recipient of the ESA National Excellence in Teaching Award.
Professor Joanna Chiu
Nominator Geoffrey Attardo, a co-instructor and a guest lecturer in some of her classes, wrote: "Joanna is skilled at communicating complex/abstract topics. She has a clear and concise manner of delivering information which is essential when dealing with aspects of molecular biology/genetics/biochemistry. This is especially so for students with little to no background in these fields. The nature of these topics requires students to internalize the information and visualize abstract interactions invisible to the naked eye. I have observed (and in fact taken classes myself) where this type of information is presented in a dense and impenetrable lecture format with little to no interaction between the professor and the students."
Graduate students Erin Taylor Kelly, Lindsey Mack, Christine Tabuloc and Yao Cai, and alumnus Kelly Hamby (now an associate professor/Extension specialist, Department of Entomology, University of Maryland) all praised her commitment to students and her ability to stimulate questions and acquire skills.
Wrote Hamby: "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."
Professor Chiu is the co-administrator of the campuswide Research Scholars in Insect Biology, which aims to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. A 2019-23 Chancellor's Fellow, she received the 2019 Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology and music from Mount Holyoke College, Mass., and a doctorate in molecular genetics from New York University. She served as a postdoctoral fellow in chronobiology--molecular genetics and biochemistry--at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal
“On March 22 came the first reported death from COVID in Yolo County,” wrote Hammock. “On April 23, Distinguished Professor Walter Leal, as a timely service to the UC Davis community and the general public, organized and moderated the first of his COVID-19 symposiums. What Dr. Leal did, and did so well in the throes of the raging pandemic, was to help the UC Davis community and the general public understand a disease that would go on to claim the lives of nearly 800,000 Americans. Two weeks prior to each symposium, he worked daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., reading the scientific literature, interviewing experts, lining up the speakers; gathering relevant questions from the public, and generally, taking care of all the logistics."
The webinars drew scores of comments. “You are my heroes,” wrote one viewer. “This (the symposium) gave me a sense of hope and calmed my anxiety like nothing else. Part of what has been so hard is all the disinformation and complete lies and contradictions that are happening daily. To hear people, real doctors and scientists who are knowledgeable talk about what is going on and why is so appreciated! I learned so much; wish you were the ones leading [our] government through this! Having a family zoom tonight to relay the info! I (offer) much gratitude to UC Davis! My husband says ditto.”
“Few are aware that Dr. Leal interrupted his sabbatical leave to complete his mission,” Hammock pointed out. “Personally, this was not unusual. Having known Dr. Leal for more than two decades, I am fully aware of how altruistic and dedicated he is. He firmly believes that a primary mission of a land-grant university is to serve the public.”
A native of Brazil and fluent in three languages, Leal was educated in Brazil, Japan and the United States, pursuing the scientific fields of chemical engineering, agricultural chemistry, applied biochemistry, entomology and chemical ecology. After serving in a leadership capacity in Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries for five years, he joined the Department of Entomology faculty in 2000. Leal chaired the department from 2002 to 2013 before accepting an appointment as a professor of biochemistry with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Widely recognized for his research, teaching and mentorships, Leal is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Academy of Sciences, Royal Entomological Society and the Entomological Society of America (ESA). The UC Davis Academic Senate named him the recipient of its 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching, and the Pacific Branch of ESA presented him with its 2020 Award of Excellence in Teaching. Leal was recently selected the 2022 recipient of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Faculty Teaching Award. The Leal lab also won the 2020 Lab Safety Award for exceptional safety culture, signed by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and Eric Kvigne, associate vice chancellor, Safety Services.
Faculty Distinguished Research Award. The Academic Senate's 2022 Faculty Distinguished Research Award went to UC Davis Distinguished Professor Pamela Ronald of the Department of Plant Pathology for her work in infectious disease biology and environmental stress tolerance in plants. "Professor Ronald has made discoveries that have informed our understanding of plant immune systems and have positively affected the lives and livelihoods of millions worldwide," according to a UC Davis Dateline news story. "Her work is highly recognized, having earned several national and international honors. Notably, her studies on rice — particularly on strains resistant to flooding--have helped to identify and develop more robust, tolerant varieties given our changing global climate. Her studies have also explored thenature of disease resistance in specific strains to counter diseases that had previously devastated production. Moreover, Professor Ronald's efforts to educate the public, particularly on the role of biotechnology in agriculture and to address concerns about genetically modified crops, are recommendable."
James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist Thomas Harter of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources won the Academic Federation's highest honor, the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award, given in recognition of the recipient's record in research, teaching and/or public service.
See UC Davis News website for capsule information on all 14 recipients./span>
UC Davis Distinguished Professor James R. Carey will pay selected students $1000 each to write a paper dealing with human hibernation and longevity--a two-fold project aimed at assisting him with his research and helping students learn how to research, write, illustrate, finalize and deliver the equivalent of a quality term paper.
"With a heavy fall quarter teaching load and other demands during this academic year, I am in need of help in researching the literature on the biology of hibernation and concepts associated with its integration into the human life course," Carey announced, adding that he is "in the early stages of writing a theoretical paper tentatively titled “Human Hibernation as a Future Life Course Option."
The deadline to apply is 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1. UC Davis students at all levels and all majors may apply. "It's a report equivalent to the quality term paper I expect in my class that would receive an A or an A+," Carey said.
Carey said he hopes to assemble an interdisciplinary team of 10 to 12 students able and willing to invest the time (60-70 hours) to write the equivalent of a 2,500-word term paper on one of 10--or possibly more--topics. Research and writing efforts will be spread over the 2021-22 academic year. He will compile and format their papers in “proceedings” and publish as both a print and digital book, using the Barnes and Noble Press self-publishing website. The students are also free to re-purpose their papers.
Carey is seeking papers similar to the quality of the three award-winning term papers that his Longevity and Human Development students submitted in the UC Davis Lang Writing Prize Competition. Two students won the top prize in their categories in both 2020 and 2021, and another scored third place in 2021.
Paper Topics (Tentative)
1. Ecology and population biology of dormancy
2. Physiology and ecology of mammalian hibernation
3. Human torpor: Historical, accidental and medical
4. Prospective role of human hibernation in deep space exploration
5. Historical rates of biomedical progress in disease mitigation and cures
6. Reconfiguring the human life course
7. The biology, psychology and behavior of long-term isolation and separation
8. Personal, family and societal consequences of “dropping out”
9. The biology, behavior and psychology of individuals re-entering society
10. The future of human longevity: Emerging concepts
Students interested in participating in the project can email Carey at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Human Hibernation Project" and include in the body:
- your UC Davis major and year
- your first and second choices of paper topic by number or topic (e.g., dormancy; life course; etc);
- whether you would be interested in participating if another student was assigned your topic(s) of greatest interest (yes/no)
- a 100 to 150-word statement on why you are interested and would be a good choice to join the team; and
- a 1-page (only) CV. Writing experiences and skills are a plus, he said, but "I am mostly interested in highly motivated and self-directed students who are willing to dive deeply into the literature related to my broad topic and to synthesize the results. I will teach you how to write your paper competently and professionally."
Carey will interview the top candidates via Zoom and make final selections within a week. If selected, they will have
"plenty of time" to enroll in his one-credit ENT 99 or 199, he said.
Fall Quarter (2021): Frame, research and finish a preliminary working draft including at least rough figures and tables and references (using Endnotes bibliographic software).
Winter Quarter (2022): Complete research, finalize structure and submit near-final draft, all figures, tables and references cited finished
Spring Quarter (2022): Finalize narrative, figures, tables and references. Submit final version.
Carey, a senior scholar at the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging at UC Berkeley, focuses his research on the biology and demography of aging and lifespan, particularly the use of insect models. A national-award winning teacher, he offers worldwide workshops on best practices in information design and presentation strategies. His most recent book is Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods (2020, Princeton University Press), co-authored by Deborah A. Roach, professor and chair of the Department of Biology, University of Virginia.
He and other members of the research team are exploring the intact organs and tissues of tsetse flies using a powerful 3D X-ray imaging technique. The study, “Unraveling Intersexual Interactions in Tsetse”), is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD) of the National Institutes of Health.
“We started this project in 2019 and the work is ongoing,” said Attardo, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and chair of the Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector Borne Diseases. “We actually have scans of flies through the entire reproductive cycle, however, the segmentation is ongoing. We are working on developing ways to train artificial intelligence based software to assist us with the tissue segmentations.”
The tsetse fly transmits the parasite that causes the deadly human and animal trypanosomiasis, better known as African sleeping sickness, says Attardo, who is featured in a recently posted article, "A Detailed Look Inside Tsetse Flies," on the Berkeley Lab website. (See YouTube)
“The imaging technique provided new insights into how the flies' specialized biology governs mating and reproductive processes, including female flies' unique lactation and their delivery of a single fully developed larvae per birthing cycle – whereas most other insect species lay eggs,” according to the article. “The ALS (National Laboratory Advanced Light Source) produces X-rays and other forms of light for a broad range of simultaneous scientific experiments.”
Attardo, who specializes in medical entomology, reproductive physiology, molecular biology and genetics, says that tsetse flies resemble house flies, but are distinguished from other Diptera by their unique adaptations, including lactation and the birthing of live young. They carry only one offspring in their uterus at one time.
The parasite invades the central nervous system and disrupts the sleep cycle, says Attardo. “If not treated, the disease can result in progressive mental deterioration, coma, systemic organ failure and death.” An estimated 65 million people in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk for the deadly disease, according to the World Health Organization.
Attardo led a study, published in September 2020 in the journal Insects, detailing the ALS imaging work. The article, “Interpreting Morphological Adaptations Associated with Viviparity in the Tsetse Fly Glossina morsitans (Westwood) by Three-Dimensional Analysis,” received widespread attention. ALS experiments allow the researchers to create a detailed 3D visualizatiaon of the reproductive tissues without dissection and staining processes that introduce damage to the delicate samples.
“We want to understand what changes are happening during this process, how the process is being mediated, and if it can be manipulated to artificially repress females in the wild from mating,” Attardo told the Berkeley Lab News Center.
The Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram science lab in the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science.
In his UC Davis lab, Attardo researches one of 35 tsetse fly species, Glossina morsitans morsitans, which prefers feeding on cattle to humans. Its strong mouthparts can easily puncture the tough cattle hide. In his lab, he feeds them warm cow blood.
Attardo holds a doctorate in genetics from Michigan State University, where he researched the molecular biology of mosquito reproduction in the lab of Alexander. Prior to joining the UC Davis faculty in 2017, Attardo worked for 13 years in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, first as a postdoctoral associate and then as a research scientist studying the reproductive biology of tsetse flies.
But newly published research by UC Davis agricultural entomologist Christian Nansen and insect physiologist Michael Strand of the University of Georgia reveals a new, non-destructive and quite accurate method to characterize physiological responses to parasitism: proximal remote sensing or body reflectance response data.
They published their research, “Proximal Remote Sensing to Non-Destructive Detect and Diagnose Physiological Response by Host Insect Larvae to Parasitism,” Dec. 4 in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.
Nansen, first author of the paper and an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, specializes in insect ecology, integrated pest management and remote sensing. Strand, a professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, is an international authority on the physiology of insect parasitism.
The Nansen-Strand project involved soybean loopers without parasitism (control group) and with parasitism, involving both wasp species.
“Based on reflectance data acquired three to five days post-parasitism, all three treatments (control larvae, and those parasitized by either M. demolitor or C. floridanum) could be classified with more than 85 percent accuracy,” they wrote.
Due to parasitism-induced inhibition of growth, “it's easy to differentiate soybean loopers parasitized by M. demolitor from non-parasitized larvae as long as the developmental stage of the host larva is known,” they said. In addition, a single M. demolitor offspring emerges from the host larva 7-9 days post-parasitism to pupate, while non-parasitized larvae continue to increase in size to the final instar.
Copidosoma floridanum minimally alters host growth until late in the final instar, when thousands of wasp progeny complete their development. This wasp is known for having the largest recorded brood—3,055 individuals--of any parasitoidal insect.
Parasitoids are often categorized as either idiobionts--whose hosts cease development after parasitism--or koinobionts--whose hosts continue to develop as the parasitoids offspring grow. “Parasitoids also are commonly divided into ectoparasitic species whose offspring grow by feeding externally on hosts or endoparsitoids, whose offspring grow by feeding internally,” the authors wrote. “Most known idiobionts are either ectoparasitoids that paralyze and lay eggs on the surface of larval stage hosts or are endoparasitoids that lay their eggs inside sessile host stages like eggs or pupae.”
Both of the wasps they studied are idiobionts and endoparasitoids.
Nansen noted that “many species of minute wasps are parasitoids of eggs and larvae of other insects, and parasitism represents one of the most extreme life strategies among animals”
“Living inside the body of another animal,” he said, “poses a series of non-trivial challenges, including how to overcome/suppress the defense response by the host; how to obtain oxygen; how to feed on the host without killing it--because once the host is dead, then microbial organisms and general decomposition will make the host body unsuitable--and how to manage waste.”
Nansen likened the developing parasitoids to astronauts flying in a space capsule. “A developing parasitoid faces a long list of serious practical challenges, so the evolutionary selection pressure has been immense and lead to some of the most extreme cases of co-evolution.”