Chancellor’s Innovation Awards highlight new therapeutics, pandemic response (video)


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SACRAMENTO — Two UC Davis School of Medicine faculty, David Olson and Richard Michelmore, have received UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards. The annual awards program celebrates the university’s innovative contributions to the regional and global community. Recipients receive $10,000 to apply to their research or community engagement efforts.

David E. Olson, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and the Department of Chemistry, received an Innovator of the Year Award. Olson’s research focuses on harnessing neuroplasticity to treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. He identified a new class of medicines, psychoplastogens, that rewire the brain to heal damaged neural circuits.

David E. Olson (l) and Richard W. Michelmore (r)

Richard W. Michelmore, along with Healthy Davis Together and the city of Davis, received an Innovative Community Partner Award. Michelmore is a distinguished professor in the departments of Plant Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and director of the Genome Center at UC Davis. Michelmore guided the development of the innovative COVID-19 testing platform by adapting high-throughput genome testing typically used in the agricultural biotechnology arena.

Mark Mascal, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, also received an Innovator of the Year award for an array of innovative and sustainable solutions for energy, electronics, and medicine using novel applications of synthetic organic chemistry.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Annabeth Rosen, a distinguished professor of art and an innovator in ceramic sculpture, and Howard-Yana Shapiro, a senior fellow and a renowned expert in plant science with an emphasis in sustainable agriculture and genomic sequencing.

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