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Nicole Baumgarth Named Chancellor's Fellow

March 6, 2008

Six associate professors recently added a new title to their curricula vitae: Chancellor's Fellow, designating faculty who, early in their careers, already have distinguished themselves in teaching, research and public service.

The new fellows are Nicole Baumgarth, pathology, microbiology and immunology; Milmon Harrison, African American and African studies; Robert Irwin, Spanish; Kai Liu, physics; Kimberley McAllister, neurology, and neurobiology, physiology and behavior; and Richard McElreath, anthropology.

Each fellow receives a $25,000 prize from private contributions to the UC Davis Annual Fund and Davis Chancellor's Club, with the money to be used for research, teaching or service activities. The honored professors are allowed to use the "Chancellor's Fellow" title for five years.

Vanderhoef said the young faculty represent UC Davis' future. "They are the best of the best, and I couldn't be more pleased or encouraged."

The chancellor launched the fellows program in 2000-01, and 54 fellows have been named so far. Fellows from years past are among those invited to a reception at the chancellor's residence to honor the newest fellows.

Nicole Baumgarth works in the Center for Comparative Medicine and the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Using mouse models, the cellular immunologist has been working on basic aspects of immune response regulation to infectious diseases, most notably an influenza virus.

"Potentially of greatest significance is that her research over the last six years has identified the earliest activation signals for local B cells required to achieve maximal protective antibody responses to this virus," wrote Professor Stephen Barthold, director of the Center for Comparative Medicine, and Professor Dennis Wilson, chair of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

They noted that Baumgarth "exudes a love of science and is always interested in helping students and faculty." Indeed, Professor John Pascoe, executive associate dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, wrote that Baumgarth "has taken on an increasingly active role in the governance of graduate groups … particularly the Graduate Group in Immunology, for which she is chair."

This item has been excerpted from the January 11 edition of UC Davis Dateline, the campus' faculty-staff newsletter.

More about Dr. Baumgarth: Dr. Baumgarth is a cellular immunologist who studies immunity to viruses, particularly influenza viruses, in mice. Her work could lead to novel designs for influenza vaccines. Her research uses infectious-disease models to identify and characterize the basic mechanisms that regulate immune responses. She is particularly interested in a group of cells, known as "B cells," that produce a powerful immune defense response against influenza in mice.