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Graduate Studies Recognizes Exceptional Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Scholars and Faculty Members

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 12:00am

Announcing the 2021 Graduate Studies Honors and Awards Recipients

Graduate Studies is pleased to announce and celebrate the dedicated and talented individuals who have earned awards and recognition for their exceptional achievement in the 2020-2021 academic year. The recipients of these awards and distinctions have made a huge impact on the UC Davis campus community despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and professors are recognized for outstanding contributions in research, teaching, and mentorship.

Dissertation Awards

Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology

​The Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology is awarded the student who best demonstrates "scholarly achievement and promise for teaching and research.”  The recipients of the Carlson Prize receive an award of $3,000, a certificate commemorating the Prize, and their name will be inscribed on the Carlson Prize plaque in the Carlson Library.

Awarded to Aki Chaffin, Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology
Major Professor: Karen Ryan
Dissertation Title: “Adipose-liver signaling mediates sex-dependent benefits to hepatic steatosis by FGF21”

Awarded to Lu Ren, Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology
Major Professor: Nipavan Chiamvimonvat
Dissertation Title: “Regulation of Cardiac Signaling and Excitability”

Max Kleiber Prize

This prize was established to honor the sixty-year career of Professor Max Kleiber in recognition of his outstanding success in elucidating metabolic relationships in intact animals. The award is given to a nominee who best represents the characteristics and high standards of scholastics and professional ethics that guided Professor Kleiber’s career. 

Awarded to Katherine Murphy, Plant Biology
Major Professor: Philipp Zerbe
Dissertation Title: “Form and Function of Diterpenoids in Maize”

John Kinsella Award

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) has established the Kinsella Memorial Prize in honor of the late Dean and Professor John Kinsella. The annual award of $3,500 is given to two outstanding individuals based on the quality and originality of the work, the multidisciplinary impact of the research, and the importance of the research to the college’s mission to serve agriculture, the environment, and human health and development.

Awarded to Zachary Alexander Bendiks, Microbiology
Major Professor: Maria Marco
Dissertation Title: “Variable gut microbiome responses to resistant starch type 2 across different host species”

Awarded to Peixin Tang, Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
Major Professor: Gang Sun
Dissertation Title: “Development of Nanofibrous Membrane-Based Colorimetric Sensors for Personal Protections Against Fumigant Exposures”

Allen G. Marr Prize

The Allen G. Marr Prize was established in honor of Allen G. (Jerry) Marr's 20 year contribution as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and his commitment to the highest standards of scholarship and professional ethics. A $1,750 prize is awarded by Graduate Studies to a doctoral student in honor of superior dissertation work. Each year the competition is in different discipline areas. The fields of competition for the 2018 award were Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering and Social Sciences.

Awarded to Maureen Burdock, Cultural Studies
Major Professor: Elisabeth Krimmer
Dissertation Title: “The Queen of Snails: A Graphic Memoir”

Zuhair A. Munir Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation in Engineering

The Zuhair A. Munir Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation honors former Dean of the College of Engineering Zuhair A. Munir.   Munir led the College from 2000 to 2002 and acted as its Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for 20 years. This Award will not only honors the individual who submitted the best doctoral dissertation within the College of Engineering during the eligibility period and publicize their outstanding research, but also acknowledges the mentorship of the major professor. The award consists of a plaque and honorarium of $1000 for the student.

Awarded to Sima Asadi, Chemical Engineering
Major Professor: William D. Ristenpart
Dissertation Title: “Airborne infectious disease transmission via expiratory aerosol particles and aerosolized fomite"
Read more about this year's recipient


Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards

The Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award (OGTA) recognizes the contributions of graduate students to teaching and learning at UC Davis. This is a tremendously important award as it honors outstanding graduate students, reminds the campus that teaching is a central part of the university’s mission, and can inspire students and professors to give increased attention to the educational process.

  • Angelica Carrazco, Animal Biology
  • Georgina Oller Bosch, Spanish
  • Margaret Miller, English
  • Christina Thomas, Native American Studies
  • Samah Abdelrazek, Integrative Pathobiology
  • Mitchell Iwahiro, Community Development 
  • Xing Mei Lou, Statistics
  • Andy Viet Nguyen, Horticulture and Agronomy
  • Kathleen O’Hara, Epidemiology
  • Lynea Witczak, Psychology

Mentoring Awards

Distinguished Graduate and Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring Award

Graduate Studies and the Graduate Council are pleased to present awards for outstanding mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The Distinguished Mentoring Awards recognize the vital role mentoring plays in the academic and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at UC Davis. A certificate and $1,000 will be conferred to each awardee.  

  • Carolyn Dewa, M.P.H., Ph.D., Professor, Public Health Sciences
  • Eleonora Grandi, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmacology
  • Jeffrey Hoch, Ph.D., Professor, Public Health Sciences
  • David Olson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chemistry

In addition to the above dissertation, teaching, and mentoring honors, earlier this spring Graduate Studies also announced the 2021-2022 cohort of the Professors for the Future (PFTF) program and the winners of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research.