Entomologist Diane Ullman of UC Davis, along with a team of eight other investigators from six institutions, has received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses.
Thrips are tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from hundreds of species of plants, including tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and soybeans. The pests cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. crops as direct pests and in transmitting plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus.
Ullman, principal investigator of the grant, credited the Interdisciplinary Research Support group led by Sheryl Soucy-Lubell in the UCD Office of Research, with assistance in developing the multi-institutional grant.
Ullman and co-principal investigator John Sherwood, head of the department of plant pathology at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., will alternate years as program directors. Sherwood, a past president of the American Phytopathological Society, is a former program leader of the Plant Biosecurity Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services and the USDA program leader for the joint Microbial Observatories Program with the National Science Foundation.
The team will integrate their efforts through monthly cyber conferences, meetings and workshops at annual APS meetings and by connecting undergraduate and graduate researchers through an educational network.
Luna received a $200 prize in conjunction with the award.
Peter Hall, professor of statistics at UC Davis, has been named an officer of the Order of the Australia for his distinguished contributions to the field of statistics worldwide. The honor is among the highest awarded by the Australian government.
Hall is a professor at the University of Melbourne and, since 2006, has held a 25 percent appointment at the UCD department of statistics. He spends one quarter a year, typically spring quarter, in Davis and teaches a proportional full load over a two-year cycle.
UC Davis researcher M. Eric Gershwin has been recognized with the first Vasco da Gama Award for Explorations in Autoimmunity by Medinterna Association, an international organization dedicated to improving therapeutic strategies for immune-system diseases.
Given during the association’s 11th annual meeting held Feb. 6-9 in Porto, Portugal, the award is named for the 15th century Age of Discovery explorer famous for forging new sea routes to expand spice trade between Portugal and India. Nearly 400 of Gershwin’s colleagues in immunology from 15 countries were present as he received the recognition.
Gershwin is chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Jack and Donald Chi Professor of Medicine at UC Davis Health System, where he leads a team of clinicians and researchers who treat and investigate diseases such as lupus, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Gershwin is well known for being the first to clone an autoantigen, a landmark outcome that has dramatically enhanced understanding of all autoimmune disease. His research focuses on primary biliary cirrhosis, which is characterized by progressive obstruction of the bile ducts of the liver. By clarifying the pathology of PBC — from its genetics to autoimmune mechanisms — he has identified new treatment targets for the devastating disease. As his lab advances science toward a cure, his clinic provides cutting-edge therapies for PBC patients nationwide.
Owen Carmichael, associate professor in the UC Davis department of neurology, will work to develop such biomarkers through a new two-year, $100,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Carmichael and his colleagues will enroll 50 cognitively healthy people who already have received multiple clinical evaluations, cognitive testing and MRIs at the UCD Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
The center is one of only 27 research centers designated by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. Its goal is to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients while focusing on the long-term goal of finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Also funded by the state of California, the center allows researchers to study the effects of the disease on a uniquely diverse population.
Boston University has awarded Ping Liu of Davis a master’s degree in banking and financial services management.
Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges.
Sherman McFarland of Davis has been placed on the Gettysburg College dean’s honor list for outstanding academic achievement in the fall 2012 semester. Students with a grade-point average of 3.60 or higher on a 4.0 scale for a semester’s work are placed on the list.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Dr. John Hernried, medical director for the Sutter Weight Management Institute, is one of 226 physicians across the United States who is now board-certified in obesity medicine. Hernried’s certification was part of the American Board of Obesity Medicine’s first obesity medicine certification examination, in November 2012.
Kaitryn Ronning of Woodland was named to Susquehanna University’s dean’s list for the fall 2012 semester.
The dean’s list recognizes students who achieve a grade-point average of 3.4 or higher out of a possible 4.0 for the semester. To qualify, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours.
Ronning, a sophomore biology and music major, is a 2011 graduate of Davis High School. She is the daughter of Karl Ronning, and Carol and Greg Mathisen.
Susquehanna University is in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove.