Graduate Studies Vice Provost and Dean JP Delplanque with Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award recipients

Grad Studies Recognizes Exceptional Research, Teaching and Mentoring at Award Ceremony

UC Davis Graduate Studies presented special honors and awards to graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty in a ceremony Wednesday, May 23, on the Davis campus. At the event, Vice Provost and Dean Jean-Pierre Delplanque recognized some of the most exemplary teaching, research and mentoring that took place within the UC Davis graduate education community over the past year.

In addition to awarding dissertation, teaching and mentoring honors, Graduate Studies also recognized both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 cohorts of the Professors for the Future (PFTF) program.

Dissertation Awards

John Kinsella Award

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) has established the Kinsella Memorial Prize in honor of late Dean and Professor John Kinsella.  The annual award of $3,500 will be given to an outstanding individual based on the quality and originality of the work, the multidisciplinary impact of the research and, the importance of the research to the college’s mission to serve agriculture, the environment, and human health and development.

Awarded to Randall Robinson, Food Science
Major Professor: 
Daniela Barile, Department of Food Science and Technology ​
Dissertation Title: “Novel Analytical Techniques for Characterization of Health Promoting Bioactive Peptides and Oligosaccharides in Dairy Products”

Max Kleiber Prize

This prize was established to honor the sixty year career of Professor Max Kleiber in recognition of his outstanding success in elucidating metabolic relationships in intact animals. The award is made to a nominee who best represents the characteristics and high standards of scholastics and professional ethics that guided Professor Kleiber’s career. 

Awarded to Grace Or Mizuno, Molecular and Cellular Integrative Physiology
Major Professor: 
Lin Tian
Dissertation Title: “Aberrant Calcium Signaling in Astrocytes Inhibits Neuronal Excitability in a Human Down Syndrome Stem Cell Model”

Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology

​The Loren D. Carlson Prize in Physiology is awarded the student who best demonstrates "scholarly achievement and promise for teaching and research.”  The recipient of the Carlson Prize receives an award of $3,000, a certificate commemorating the Prize, and their name will be inscribed on the Carlson Prize plaque in the Carlson Library.

Awarded to Raman Goyal, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Major Professor: 
Laura Borodinsky
Dissertation Title: “Glutamate Signaling Regulates Neural Tube Formation”

Zuhair A. Munir Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation in Engineering

The Zuhair A. Munir Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation honors former Dean of the College of Engineering, Zuhair A. Munir.   Munir led the College from 2000 to 2002 and acted as its Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for 20 years. This Award will not only honors the individual who submitted the best doctoral dissertation within the College of Engineering during the eligibility period and publicize their outstanding research, but also acknowledges the mentorship of the major professor. The award consists of a plaque and honorarium of $1000 for the student, and a plaque for the major professor.

Awarded to Konstantin Zamuruyev , Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Major Professor: Cristina Davis
Dissertation Title: “Development of a Portable System for Analysis of Exhaled Breath Condensate”

Allen G. Marr Prize

The Allen G. Marr Prize was established in honor of Allen G. (Jerry) Marr's 20 year contribution as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and his commitment to the highest standards of scholarship and professional ethics. A $1,500 prize is awarded by Graduate Studies to a doctoral student in honor of superior dissertation work. Each year the competition is in different discipline areas. The fields of competition for the 2018 award were Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering and Social Sciences.

Awarded to Philipp Brand, Population Biology
Major Professor: William H. Casey
Dissertation Title: “The Evolution of Perfume Communication and Reproductive Isolation in Orchid Bees”

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards

The Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award (OGTA) recognizes the contributions of graduate students to teaching and learning at UC Davis. This is a tremendously important award as it honors outstanding graduate students, reminds the campus that teaching is a central part of the university’s mission, and can inspire students and professors to give increased attention to the educational process.

Mentoring Awards

Distinguished Graduate and Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring Award

Graduate Studies and the Graduate Council are pleased to present awards for outstanding mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The Distinguished Mentoring Awards recognize the vital role mentoring plays in the academic and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars at UC Davis.  A certificate and $1,000 will be conferred to each awardee.  

  • Graham Coop, Professor of Evolution and Ecology
  • Brian Gaylord, Professor of Evolution and Ecology
  • Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor, Professor of History
  • Andrew Sih, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Wakeham Mentoring Fellowship

The Mentoring at Critical Transitions Wakeham Fellowship recognizes up to five exceptional faculty-graduate student mentorship projects annually. The fellowship provides support for faculty mentors and their graduate student mentees.

  • Barbara Blanco-Ulate, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology
  • Karen Zito, Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
  • Katerina Ziotopoulou, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

The postdoctoral fellowship awards honor the research and accomplishments of postdoctoral scholars at UC Davis. These fellows provide an outstanding pool of potential new faculty members in a wide range of disciplines. 


  • Robert Connell, African American and African Studies
  • Felicia Rhapsody Lopez, Native American Studies
  • Maywa Montenegro, Human Ecology and Geography
  • Grace Wu, John Muir Institute of the Environment


  • Dena Al-Adeeb, American Studies
  • Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh, Asian American Studies
  • Bo Zhang, Environmental Science and Policy


  • John Halloran, Public Health Sciences
  • Márton Pósfai, Computer Science
  • Ruoyu Wang, Land, Air and Water Resources

Professors for the Future

Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service. 

2018-2019 Fellows

2019-2020 Fellows

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.

Secondary Categories

General News Announcements Professors for the Future