November/December 2023

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Inaugural School of Medicine Impact Symposia Awards

Three $15,000 matching grants have been awarded to School of Medicine departments to host symposia through a new initiative, the School of Medicine Impact Symposia Awards. As announced earlier this year by Vice Dean for Research Kim Barrett, this initiative is intended to incentivize and support departments to showcase our institution. UC Davis School of Medicine is well-ranked with respect to objective measures of research success (extramural awards and publications), but our reputational rankings for research accomplishments lag behind. This funding initiative was implemented to help departments within the School of Medicine host high quality symposia that advance our research mission and bring thought leaders to campus to raise awareness of our research excellence.

The awardees will receive $15,000 each for these upcoming symposia:

  • Amy Brooks-Kayal and Kia Shahlaie, chairs of the Departments of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, respectively, have been awarded funding to develop an innovative joint symposium on sleep and cognition, “UC Davis SOM Connection Symposium: Sleep-Wake and Cognition – A Light in the Dark for Neurological Disorders.”
  • Anthony Jerant, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the recipient of funding for the proposed symposium, “Developing a Research Agenda for Increasing and Optimizing the Primary Care Spend to Advance the Quadruple Aim,” which will address urgent issues of primary care processes.
  • Donald Bers, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Joseph Silva Endowed Chair for Cardiovascular Research, was awarded funding to expand the focus of the UC Davis Cardiovascular Symposium.

Awardees were able to demonstrate that their proposed symposia would feature novel formats and/or high impact outputs that would increase the visibility of our campus and highlight our innovative research efforts. "We're excited that these new awards will help to bring national and international thought-leaders to UC Davis, while showcasing our outstanding research contributions in basic, translational and clinical areas,” said Barrett.

Chancellor May names new vice chancellor for research

Chancellor Gary S. May has named Simon J. Atkinson to be the next vice chancellor for research, effective Nov. 15. Atkinson currently serves as vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas, a position he has held since 2019. He has primary responsibility for research on the Lawrence campus and advises university leadership on universitywide issues, including the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. His portfolio includes direct oversight of 10 university-level centers and institutes. KU research garners just over $300 million in external funding.

The UC Davis Office of Research is responsible for review and acceptance of extramural research awards; research relationships with government and industry; encouraging and assisting faculty in developing research and scholarly studies; oversight of intramural research support; functional responsibility for organized research units and projects; management of certain research-related programs, instrumentation and facilities; management of several UC Natural Reserve sites; review and approval of the use of human subjects and conflict of interest disclosures; and coordination of patenting and licensing of campus intellectual property. Read more.

Melissa Bauman joins School of Medicine Office of Research

The School of Medicine Office of Research has welcomed Melissa D. Bauman, Ph.D. as our new associate dean for research infrastructure. Dr. Bauman is professor in the Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology and the MIND Institute. In her new role, Bauman will design and develop an action plan for School of Medicine core facilities, advise on investments from School of Medicine Office of Research resources, and oversee the roll-out of the new School of Medicine Research Space Policy.

Bauman’s research focuses on understanding how changes in the prenatal environment, in particular the maternal-fetal immune environment, may increase the risk for autism, schizophrenia and other neuro-developmental disabilities. ​ In addition to research, she has a strong commitment to advancing women's careers in science and medicine. She serves as the director of the UC Davis Health Women in Medicine and Health Sciences (WIMHS) program.


Brain-Computer Interface Research Program takes prize

At this year's BCI Award ceremony, around 300 attendees listened to the presentations of 12 nominees, from which three projects were selected as the final winners. A UC Davis team came in first for the groundbreaking project "A rapidly-deployable high performance speech neuroprosthesis," co-led by Nicholas Card and Maitreyee Wairagkar. The group demonstrated a rapidly-deployable high performance speech neuroprosthesis that provides real-time brain-to-text and brain-to-voice decoding.

This program is from UC Davis’ Brain-Computer Interface Research Program, part of the UC Davis Neuroprosthetics Lab. The lab is housed in the Department of Neurological Surgery and is co-led by Assistant Professors David Brandman and Sergey Stavisky. They are part of the BrainGate Consortium, which centers around a clinical trial of an implanted neural interface system to restore communication and movement to people with paralysis. Watch their project presentation here.

Neurology chair receives international honor for research

Chair of the UC Davis Health Department of Neurology, Amy Brooks-Kayal has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Child Neurology Society Bernard Sachs Award. The prestigious award is given annually to honor a scholar of international status who has done leading research in neuroscience related to the care of children with neurological disorders. Brooks-Kayal’s research, published in numerous journals, focuses on how seizures affect the brain.

Brooks-Kayal is also working to develop new treatments for epilepsy prevention and potentially, a cure. As a provider, Brooks-Kayal specializes in caring for children who have epilepsy that is complex or difficult to manage.

Brooks-Kayal is only the 10th woman to win the prestigious Bernard Sachs Award from the Child Neurology Society. Read more.

Professor elected president of Society for Neuroscience

In November, UC Davis Health neurology professor John Morrison will begin his term as president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience. Morrison is the director of the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis and a distinguished professor in the School of Medicine's Department of Neurology. Morrison is taking on a three-year commitment: one year as president-elect, one year as president and one year as past president.

With nearly 35,000 members in more than 95 countries, the society strives to advance neuroscience, support the neuroscience community, advocate for the field and educate the public. Morrison stepped into his president-elect role at the society’s annual meeting in Washington D.C. last week. He is the second UC Davis faculty member to be elected president of the society. It’s uncommon for a university to be represented twice. Read more.

UC Davis surgeon receives AAMC award

UC Davis Health thoracic surgeon Luis Armando Godoy’s path to medicine has been filled with adversities. An immigrant from a small Mexican village, he went from a farmworker picking stone fruit alongside his parents to working as an assistant professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine. His experiences along the way helped to shape his desire to fight inequities and promote diversity in medicine.

In recognition of his outstanding efforts to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, Godoy has been awarded The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Herbert W. Nickens Faculty Fellowship. The award recognizes leadership in fighting inequities in medical practice and education. With this award, Godoy will work on a project that directly addresses trainee and workforce diversity disparities. The School of Medicine Office of Research was delighted to nominate Dr. Godoy for this award. Read more.

UC Davis neuroscientist receives NIH Director’s New Innovator Award

Christina Kim, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Neurology and faculty member of the Center for Neuroscience, has been selected as a 2023 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award recipient. The award, announced last month, is part of the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program. The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award supports research from exceptionally creative, early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects in the biomedical, behavioral or social sciences.

The grant will provide the Kim Lab with $2.3 million in funding over five years. Kim’s project, “Activity-dependent probes for spatially-defined proteomics,” aims to develop and test new technologies to capture the protein expression of neurons whose activity is linked to certain health conditions. Read more.

Featured Research: Orthopaedic Surgery

We talked to three research faculty who joined the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2023. From established career investigators to new assistant professors, they vary widely in background and experiences, but they have all found a fit at UC Davis for their research projects.

Read More

Research Celebration

The 2023 School of Medicine Office of Research celebration took place on October 11. The event featured leadership messages from vice dean for research Kim Barrett and interim vice chancellor for research Jeffrey Gibeling. Presenting their research were Sergey Stavisky, Oyebimpe Adesina, Deborah Lieu, Theanne Griffith, Courtney Lyles and Andreas Baumler.

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