November 2020
Dean's Message: Reasons to be Thankful

As we move into an unfamiliar holiday season, I am mindful of reasons to be thankful. Among them is the amazing work being done by the faculty and staff in the College of Biological Sciences. Please enjoy reading the stories and taking advantage of some our virtual events. As Dean, I hope you share my pride in all of the unique and exceptional Aggies that make UC Davis special.

This week, Yolo County joined most of the rest of California in being moved back to the most restrictive purple tier. On campus, COVID-19 testing continues and expands to faculty and staff. You can learn more on the UC Davis Campus Ready dashboard.

Lastly, Horticulturist Marlene Simon, aka the Plant Lady, at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory reminds us how to take care of our houseplants as the air gets cooler and fall colors arrive. Go to the UC Davis Magazine online site to specifically learn 6 Tips for Caring for Succulents.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.


Mark Winey, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Biological Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology 
P.S. Please join us in supporting science research with your tax-deductible gift TODAY!
News Highlights
Patrick Shih Awarded Packard Fellowship
Jurassic Park in a test tube
Patrick Shih, a biologist who studies the evolution of enzymes that play a central role in taking carbon out of the atmosphere, has been awarded a 2020 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Life on Earth today represents only a tiny fraction of all the living things that have ever existed. By looking at rubisco in a wide range of modern organisms, Shih’s lab can work backwards to ancient, ancestral forms of the enzyme and study their kinetics.
“It’s like Jurassic Park in a test tube,” he said.

Allen Distinguished Investigators
This past October marked the 10th anniversary of the Allen Distinguished Investigator program.

Among this year’s five project recipients are Daniel Starr and Gant Luxton of the UC Davis College of Biological Science. They are studying a protein complex known as LINC, whose role is to physically connect the nucleus to the cell’s interior scaffolding system, otherwise known as the cytoskeleton.
Genome Center Academic Coordinator Receives Mentoring Award
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Arpana Vaniya, quoting Sheila Boyington. “This really resonates with me when thinking about mentoring and why I continue to do it.”

Lucky for many UC Davis students, Vaniya continues. The Academic Coordinator at the West Coast Metabolomics Center has just been honored with the Million Women Mentors Trailblazer Awards. Million Women Mentors, an initiative of StemConnectors, is a national and global movement to spark the interest and confidence in women and girls to pursue STEM careers and leadership opportunities through the power of mentoring.
Reimagining Medicine: Breakthroughs in Imaging
Monday, December 7 @ 4pm PST

Unearthing a hidden cancer, studying the brain to understand schizophrenia, preventing breakdowns in horses, Finding ways to image cell-based, gene editing and molecularly targeted therapies and developing new imaging technologies across the lifespan, including the nation’s only total-body PET scanner — UC Davis is doing this and more. At this Plugged In event, you’ll get an insider’s look into how we are using innovative approaches to reimagine the future of imaging in medicine.