Announcing the 2021 Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Winners
Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Awards: Dr. Essam Abdelfattah, Dr. Fabio Anzà, and Dr. Michelle Cohn. This year’s recipients of the award were honored at the 6th Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium on March 30, 2021.
This distinction recognizes the vital role that postdoctoral scholars play in maintaining the reputation of excellent research at the University of California, Davis. Recipients of this award must be nominated by their sponsor or colleagues prior to undergoing a rigorous review of their achievements and research contributions.
“The Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Awards are designed to recognize UC Davis postdoctoral scholars whose outstanding research provides significant contributions to their field or to society, as a whole,” said Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, Associate Dean for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars. “We are delighted to celebrate the outstanding achievements of this year’s recipients.”
The winners received $1,000 to assist in their continued professional development and research.
2021 Excellence in Postdoctoral Research Award Recipients
Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Abdelfattah is a postdoctoral scholar at the Dairy Epidemiology Laboratory in the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Abdelfattah’s research focuses on using an epidemiological approach to improving the health and welfare of agricultural animals. Since 2018, he has led research efforts funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to meet society’s interest in reduced antimicrobial drug use while maintaining health and welfare of dairy cattle. Dr. Abdelfattah has completed one of the most comprehensive and largest AMR studies conducted in the dairy industry. In addition to his research duties, Dr. Abdelfattah has been an active officer of the UC Davis Postdoctoral Scholars Association since 2015.
Department of Physics, College of Letters and Science
Dr. Anza is a Postdoctoral Scholar and Templeton “Power of Information” Independent Research Fellow at the Complexity Sciences Center at UC Davis. His work at UC Davis is focused on an approach to Quantum Mechanics, called Geometric Quantum Mechanics, to tackle transport of information in quantum dynamics, quantum thermodynamics and quantum information processing. The major outcome of this research is a new framework, with a novel series of analytic and numeric tools, to study stochastic quantum dynamics, its computational capabilities and information-theoretic resources. This also unlocks a series of concrete questions, currently under investigation, mostly within the following research areas: non-equilibrium thermodynamics of quantum systems; noisy quantum information processing; dynamics of open quantum systems. The work also closes an existing gap between the theory of dynamical systems and quantum physics. This will allow us to answer key questions from quantum information and quantum computation, like “What is the structural complexity of a quantum model?” or “How much memory does a quantum process have?”
Michelle Cohn, Ph.D.
Department of Linguistics, College of Letters and Science
Dr. Cohn's research program tests how people interact with voice-AI assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. In this area, she has already published 16 papers, mentored eight graduate students and nine undergraduates in independent projects, and received two external grants, including a training fellowship through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Cohn has also been active in public outreach: hosting virtual booths at the 2020 and 2021 UC Davis Picnic Day, and doing local news and radio interviews for a paper on face-masked speech. Recently, she organized the UC Davis Human-Computer Interaction Research Group to bring together faculty, postdocs, and students from departments across campus in regular meetings.
Congratulations to our 2021 recipients. Learn more about the requirements and nomination process for the Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research.