Volume 3.2 | January 2024

News from the SOM Office of Research

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Message from the Associate Dean for Research Infrastructure

2024 promises to be an exciting year for us here at the UC Davis School of Medicine. For the second year in a row, UC Davis has exceeded $1 billion in new external research awards in the fiscal year of 2022-23, placing UC Davis among fewer than 20 public universities in the nation that have surpassed $1 billion in external research funding. Our school is the top recipient of funding ($401 million), up by $5 million from the previous fiscal year. 

From groundbreaking advances in fetal surgery through new discoveries in healthy aging and dementia care, the School of Medicine is improving human health throughout the lifespan. None of this is possible without our most valuable resource – the faculty, staff, and trainees who are deeply committed to our research mission. In my new role as Associate Dean of Research Infrastructure, my goal is to ensure that our faculty have the space, equipment, and resources needed to grow their programs of research and to leverage our resources to attract new talent.


In the past two decades, we have seen a fundamental shift in the way we approach the most complex human health questions. Mounting evidence suggests that collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts led by highly integrated teams are needed to advance scientific discovery and accelerate translation to human health. As biomedical research continues to evolve, it is essential that our stewardship of research infrastructure adapts to support these needs. The UC Davis School of Medicine Office of Research is playing a key role in efforts to maximize utility of our existing research infrastructure, while investing in new opportunities for growth:


Aggie Square – Construction and occupancy planning for Aggie Square is well underway and proceeding on schedule. This first phase includes construction on spaces designed for science and technology & engineering, a classroom building dedicated to lifelong learning, and buildings designated for housing and university programs. Aggie Square will serve as an innovation hub that leverages our strengths in collaborative, interdisciplinary research to build new partnerships with industry and the surrounding community.


Collaborative Funding Opportunities – Mechanisms designed to promote larger-scale team science (mainly P and U grants) are a targeted area of growth for the school. To this end, the School of Medicine is pleased to announce the fourth round of the Cultivating Team Science program that provides seed funds for planning, preparation, and submission of large team-based applications. To further enhance collaborative opportunities, the School of Medicine Office of Research will also launch a new funding opportunity in 2024 to support shared equipment purchases. This program will provide funding from the School of Medicine Dean’s Office/Office of Research to share costs with an individual’s home department for equipment that benefits multiple investigators. See below for more information on this program.


New School of Medicine Research Space Policy – In the coming months, the school will implement a new space policy that aligns our space management methods with that of our peer research institutions and national best practices. The revised space policy has been developed to address challenges in accuracy, reliability, and variability of the standing space policy identified through a comprehensive assessment of space and oversight completed in 2022. The revised space policy will accommodate growth in existing and new basic, translational, and clinical research by maximizing research space utilization and fostering collaboration. We are currently recruiting faculty members to serve on the School of Medicine Research Space Advisory Committee (SOM-RSAC) that will provide general guidance and recommendations from the faculty perspective to the Vice Dean for Research relating to the most effective use of existing research space, new research space, and future developments. Committee members will cover the broad spectrum of faculty, representing a balance among disciplines, types of research, seniority, and both campuses. Please email [email protected] or click on this link if you are interested in serving on this committee.


It is an exciting time to be part of the School of Medicine Office of Research leadership team! As I embark on this new role, I look forward to spending time meeting with many of you as we evaluate, build, and grow our research infrastructure. Please reach out to me to share any feedback or new ideas.




Melissa Bauman, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research Infrastructure

Professor, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology


Join the new research space advisory committee

We are looking for School of Medicine faculty to join the School of Medicine Research Space Advisory Committee. This committee will provide general guidance and recommendations to the Vice Dean for Research on effective use of existing, new and future research space. We are looking for representatives from across both campuses and all School of Medicine departments.

If you are interested in serving as an inaugural member of this committee, apply here.

New program to support purchase of shared research equipment

This new program provides funding from the School of Medicine Office of Research for the purchase of shared equipment. The goal of this program is to support multi-user equipment purchases that foster collaboration and advance School of Medicine research priorities. When awarded, the School of Medicine Office of Research will provide 50% of each request for funds; the remaining 50% will be provided by the investigator’s home department/unit or some other source of funds (e.g., start-up funds, philanthropy). Applications due April 1, 2024.


For more information and to apply for funding, go here.

School of Medicine Cultivating Team Science Awards

The Vice Dean for Research of the School of Medicine is pleased to announce the fourth round of funding intended to incentivize collaborative science by new research teams. We are seeking bold ideas that will open new areas of investigation between departments/ schools and have a multiplicative effect on extramural research funding in the near future. The program will provide two years of support for two multi-department teams to fund planning, preparation and submission of large team-based applications.

  • Budget for this intramural award is up to $100K per year (total funding $200K)
  • Allowable expenses include graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, supplies, data analysis/statistical support, support of clinical and adjunct faculty.
  • Not allowable: tenure-track faculty salary and benefits.


Submission Details


  • All proposals must be sent electronically as ONE single PDF file to [email protected]
  • Deadline for Applications: February 28, 2024, at 5 pm.
  • Awards announced: April 2024
  • Anticipated funding commences: May 2024

For more details on application submission, selection requirements and review criteria, go here.

KOHORT K-Writing Program

The School of Medicine Office of Research Grants Facilitation Unit's grant writing program, KOHORT, is designed to support School of Medicine-associated investigators in creating and submitting an NIH career development award (K01, K08, K23, K99/R00, etc.). The application process will be open from Jan. 4 – Feb. 15, 2024, participants will be notified of their acceptance by March 15, 2024, and the program will begin on April 18, 2024.

Download Program Flyer

Contact Erica Chédin, Ph.D., at [email protected] with questions.

Inaugural Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer named

University of California, Davis, Chancellor Gary S. May has selected George Baxter to serve in the new role of Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer, reporting directly to the chancellor and a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Council. Baxter will establish and lead innovation and economic development for UC Davis and UC Davis Health and lead the new Aggie Square Innovation District.

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Brittany Dugger

Congratulations to associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine Brittany Dugger, who has been selected to be a 2023-2024 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. Dugger will receive a one-time award of $25,000 for support of research, teaching, and service activities. The Chancellor’s Fellows Program was established in 2000 to honor the achievements of outstanding faculty members early in their careers. Dugger was selected based on her notable track record of research, teaching and professional service, and her commitment to workforce and research diversity. In addition to running her own laboratory, she is the neuropathology core co-leader of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, co-leader of the School of Medicine Machine Learning Working Group, and department liaison for the Women in Medical and Health Sciences program.

Elizabeth Morris

Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiology Elizabeth Morris has been selected as the Society of Breast Imaging 2024 Gold Medalist. The announcement was made at the Radiological Society of North America Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting. Morris’ research focuses on how to use newer techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for early breast cancer detection.

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Mark Mannis

Mark Mannis, professor and chair of the UC Davis Eye Center, has been honored by the Eye Hospital of Sorocaba near Sao Paulo, Brazil, for his work in ophthalmology. The hospital recognized Mannis’ work with a star on its Walk of Fame during a conference in October. Mannis is a world-renowned expert in the diagnosis and treatment of external eye disease and diseases of the cornea.

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Diana Farmer and Aijun Wang

A team of UC Davis Health researchers, led by surgeon Diana Farmer and bioengineer Aijun Wang, has been awarded nearly $15 million for their groundbreaking work on a spina bifida treatment. The funding will allow the team to carry out phase 2 of the CuRe clinical Trial (Cellular Therapy for In Utero Repair of Myelomeningocele). This study tests a treatment that uses placenta-derived stem cells to improve outcomes for children with spina bifida.

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Ulfat Shaikh

Pediatrician Ulfat Shaikh, medical director of health care quality at UC Davis Health, has been appointed project leader for the American Academy of Pediatrics' national primary care quality improvement collaborative. Shaikh will focus on how primary care clinics can prevent and treat substance use and improve mental health in adolescents.

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Jacqueline C. Stockling

Jacqueline C. Stocking, vice chair for patient quality and safety at UC Davis Health, has been appointed to the editorial board of Critical Care Medicine, the premier journal of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. The peer-reviewed, scientific publication is directed to specialists who treat patients in the intensive care and critical care units.

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Impactful Publications

Gut dysbiosis (gut microbial imbalance) is linked to many illnesses but translating advances in microbiome research into clinical interventions requires a better understanding of the ecological causes of dysbiosis and its causative effects on disease. UC Davis faculty Andreas Bäumler (pictured) and Sebastian Winter, provide a review of recent progress on this understanding in the Dec. 4 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This contribution is part of the special series of Inaugural Articles by newly elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, of which Bäumler is one.

Three UC Davis faculty are coauthors of an article in JAMA Oncology, Population Attributable Risk of Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer by Race and Ethnicity. Shuai Chen and Diana Miglioretti (pictured), from the Department of Public Health Sciences, and Michael Bissell, from the Department of Statistics, contributed to a cohort study that found little difference between biennial and annual breast cancer screening in the proportion of diagnosed advanced breast cancer. The authors recommend reducing advanced breast cancer diagnoses by focusing on primary interventions such as weight reduction.

Get to know SOMOR

Research Administration

The Research Administration Unit (RAU), under the direction of Christopher Wang, Director of Research Administration, was formed in May of 2023 to provide research administration support and infrastructure to Departments and Centers within the School of Medicine. The mission of the RAU is to facilitate the pursuit of cutting-edge research endeavors by offering expert guidance, pre-award services, resourceful solutions, and continuous learning opportunities for staff that provide research administration support, thereby contributing to the growth and success of our institution and the broader research ecosystem.

The RAU has 2 main verticals, providing Centralized Pre-award support to departments and centers and the second is to provide specialized training to research admins and staff who handle research administration duties. The unit assists with interpreting contracts and grants policies and provides general guidance and research administration support.

Pre-award services are provided to departments and centers within the School of Medicine by trained research administrators (RAs) with years of research experience. Services include all facets of the grant proposal submission process that include, but are not limited to, reviewing grant RFAs, creating grant submission timelines, creating budgets, filling out institutional forms including Cayuse and assisting with grant submissions.

The unit officially opened pre-award services in November of 2023, with the addition of seasoned Research Administrator, Matt Nguyen, and quickly secured contracts with six departments. Pre-award services are now at capacity, so the Research Administration team is recruiting for an additional Research Admin 4, hopefully joining the team in early 2024. We are looking forward to providing exceptional research administration services as our team continues to grow!

The RAU is tasked with developing a research administration training program with the vision of creating a school-wide certificate training program for all RA’s and staff who work in research. The vision for the program, led by RAU Program Manager/Trainer, Jennifer Sanchez, is to offer an in-person, cohort-based, case-based learning certificate series. Courses will cover such topics as pre- and post-award, compliance, and tips and tricks on interpersonal communication with faculty and other departmental staff. The RAU will be forming focus groups of subject matter experts in the beginning of 2024 to solicit feedback on the potential structure and format of the training program.

With support from the RAU Executive Assistant, Tracy Huff, and Jennifer Sanchez, the Research Administration Unit will host a quarterly research administrator meeting beginning in January 2024. The meeting will serve as a platform for networking among RAs and provide an open forum to discuss best practices in the field. Each meeting will feature a guest speaker who will discuss their career path to research administration. The first guest speaker to kick off this meeting series will be Kim Barrett, School of Medicine Vice Dean for Research.

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Christopher J. Wang, M.B.A., C.R.A.

Director of Research Administration

[email protected]


Jennifer Sanchez

Trainer/ Program Manager

[email protected]


Matt Nguyen

Research Administrator 4

[email protected]


Tracy Huff

Executive Assistant

[email protected]


The UC Davis Department of Urologic Surgery has one of the largest urologic research programs in the nation with six research laboratories and almost $6 million in research grants in 2023. In 2022-23, the department’s excellent year of research funding resulted in a jump in their Blue Ridge ranking. The department was ranked 10th in funding out of all ranked medical school urological surgery departments in the nation, up from 12th the previous year. 


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