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Name Droppers: UCD professor receives presidential award

By From page A5 | May 01, 2014

Katherine A. Rauen, professor in the department of pediatrics and a physician-scientist affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute and UCD Children’s Hospital, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 15.

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren was the keynote speaker for the event, held in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jefferson Auditorium. Agency officials, friends and relatives of the 102 award recipients attended the event. Afterward, the recipients were greeted at the White House by President Barack Obama, who thanked them for their achievements.

Award recipients are selected from among individuals who either are funded or employed by federal departments and agencies. The National Institutes of Health honored Rauen for her studies on the role of germline mutations in the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway on skeletal myogenesis. She is one of 35 awardees acknowledged through their association with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and one of the 20 National Institutes of Health honorees.

She is one of only eight recipients in the University of California system.

Rauen is an internationally respected leader in the study of the Ras/MAPK pathway genetic syndromes, and coined the term “RASopathies.” Ras/MAPK regulates cell growth, which is critical for normal fetal development and, when dysregulated, can cause cancer.

She earned her master’s degree in human physiology and her doctorate in genetics at UCD and received her medical degree at UC Irvine. She completed residency training in pediatrics and a fellowship in medical genetics at UC San Francisco.

Three UC Davis faculty members working in diverse fields were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Margaret W. Ferguson, professor of English; Robert Huckfeldt, professor of political science; and John C. Wingfield, professor and endowed chair in physiology; joined the academy, one of the nation’s oldest academic societies and independent policy research centers. Their election was announced April 23.

Ferguson has published extensively in the areas of Renaissance literature, literacy studies and feminist theory and is president of the Modern Language Association. At UCD since 2007, she has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies.

Huckfeldt focuses on political participation and decision-making among citizens within networks of social and political communication. With support from the National Science Foundation, he has carried out studies of urban neighborhoods, national and cross-national election studies, experimental studies and agent based simulations of political processes.

At UCD since 2003, he is a former chair of the department of political science and former director of both the UC Center Sacramento and Institute of Governmental Affairs.

Wingfield’s research examines neural pathways in birds to understand the effects of seasonality and environmental stress. His work provides insights into conservation biology and how animals deal with global climate change and endocrine disruption. He has been at UCD since 2007 and serves as assistant director for biological sciences at the National Science Foundation.

UC Davis is now represented in the American Academy by 27 current and emeritus faculty.


Two UC Davis students have received scholarships as part of the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program. A total of $100,000 is being awarded to 20 students.
Through a partnership with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, the program recognizes outstanding second- and third-year students who are pursuing careers in large animal and companion animal medicine.

UCD’s winners are:

* Tracy Huang, from Bangkok, Thailand, is a third-year student. Following graduation in June 2015, she plans to pursue a career in animal welfare advocacy in rural and low-income communities.

She holds a bachelor’s in biochemistry/cell biology from UC San Diego, and master’s in vision science from UC Berkeley. She is co-president of the International Veterinary Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides veterinary care to rural communities in Nicaragua.

* Eric Nickerson, from Anaheim, is a second-year student. Following graduation in May 2016, he plans to pursue an internship and residency in small animal cardiology.

During undergraduate studies, Nickerson worked as a veterinary technician at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego and a research assistant in respiratory physiology at UCSD. He also participated in ecological field studies research at the University of Queensland, Australia.

He holds a bachelor’s in ecology, behavior and evolution from UCSD. He represents UCD as the student American Veterinary Medical Association delegate and is the student representative for the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association.

Sophomores Alexandra R. Barbaria and Erin C. Leary and junior William M. Young, all of Davis, made the Scholastic Honor Roll for the winter term at Oregon State University.

To be on the Honor Roll, students must carry at least 12 graded hours of course work and receive a grade-point average of 3.5 or better.

Enterprise staff

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