NEWS | May 18, 2017

UC Davis School of Medicine faculty honored for outstanding achievements


A pulmonary health researcher and an orthopaedic surgeon have received two of the UC Davis School of Medicine’s highest faculty honors — the Hibbard Williams Extraordinary Achievement Award and the C. John Tupper Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Reen Wu
Reen Wu

Named for the second dean of the School of Medicine, the Williams award recognizes contributions beyond traditional teaching or research roles. This year’s award went to Reen Wu, professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine, whose immunity and stem cell research has advanced the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illness.

Wu is best known for his leading-edge work developing a cell culture system known as “Whitcutt’s chamber,” a technique that revolutionized the study of a variety of lung cell interactions and helped characterize abnormal airway tract physiology. His studies of airway mucin genes and epigenetics and, more recently, the IL-17 pathway, also pushed boundaries, expanding the research community’s understanding of inflammatory factors in pulmonary disease.

In 2011, the American Thoracic Society acknowledged his significant contributions to basic research with their Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments.

Wu also is known as a valuable role model for medical students and early-career researchers. “By clear example, he consistently demonstrates a competitive spirit that is robustly balanced by a strong sense of integrity and fairness, and an enthusiasm for science that is infectious,” said his nominators.

Richard Marder
Richard Marder

The Tupper award, created by the founding dean of the School of Medicine to recognize sustained and enduring contributions to medical education, went to Richard Marder, chair and professor of orthopaedic surgery and specialist in treating sports injuries.

In addition to his leadership and surgical duties, Marder completely revamped the musculoskeletal curriculum for the School of Medicine and transformed it, according to his nominators, into one of “the best taught courses throughout the medical school curriculum.” His teaching style is engaged and feedback-oriented, and he ensures that the material he shares is clear and vital to the success of future physicians.

In addition to building clinical expertise among students, he engages them in active discussions about relevant clinical and basic science studies and the importance of practicing evidence-based medicine. “This not only fortified our understanding, but encouraged us to become lifelong learners — a concept critical in medical education,” Marder's nominators said.

Both awards were announced during an end-of-the-school-year banquet on May 18.

Those interested in nominating a 2018 Williams or Tupper award recipient should contact Lao Thao in the Office of Medical Education at 916-734-4121 or

More information about UC Davis Health, along with its departments of pulmonary medicine and orthopaedic surgery, is at

More information about the UC Davis School of Medicine is at