The management team oversees daily activities of the project and
is led by PI Katehi, Faculty Director Bisson, Assistant
Director Barbu and Communications and Administrative
Manager Blumenthal. The team also includes a Budget Analyst,
Purchasing & Accounts Payable Specialist, and a Financial Analyst
housed within the College of Engineering.
Sophie Barbu is the Assistant Director for the UC Davis ADVANCE
Program. She leads data research, collection and analysis, and
internal program evaluation, publication/dissemination of project
research results, and federal reporting. In 2017, Ms. Barbu was
selected for the competitive University of California Women’s
Initiative for Professional Development award. She also serves as
a member of the Status of Women at Davis Administrative Advisory
Committee (SWADAAC) which is an advisory body to the Provost and
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.
Dr. Bisson is a Professor Emeritus and Geneticist in the
Agricultural Experiment Station in the Department of Viticulture
and Enology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental
Sciences. She leads the UC Davis ADVANCE Program as Faculty
Director and provides daily project leadership and management in
addition to serving as a co-chair to the Policy and
Practices Committee of the ADVANCE program on the Davis campus.
She served for several years on the CAP Oversight and Appellate
Committees, chairing both.
Kate Blumenthal is the Communications and
Administrative Manager for the UC Davis ADVANCE Program. She is
primarily responsible for managing the content for ”Our
Voices” Blog for Women in STEM in Academia
and leading the UC Davis ADVANCE website, social media
accounts, web presence, in addition to all office
Jonathan Eisen’s lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and he
holds faculty appointments in the Department of Medical
Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine, and the
Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological
Sciences. In addition he holds an Adjunct appointment at the
Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA.
Dr. Eisen’s research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the
origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate).
Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung earned her PhD in Genetics with a
Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology from UC Davis in
2003. During the UC Davis ADVANCE award period, she
contributed to the management team as program coordinator,
including strategic communications, operationalizing project
plans, recruitment and management of personnel, NSF reporting and
sustainability planning. She continues to serve as a member of
the CAMPOS Initiative Committee and on special projects to
promote diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Dr. Karen McDonald is a Co-Principal Investigator of the UC Davis
ADVANCE Program and Professor in the Department of Chemical
Engineering and served as Associate Dean for Research and
Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering at UC Davis for 13
years prior to joining the UC Davis ADVANCE program. In addition,
Karen is associate director of news and media relations,
supervising public relations for the College of Letters and
Science (divisions of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, and
Social Sciences), Student Affairs and Admissions, and the schools
of law and education as well as the Graduate School of
Management. She also expands UC Davis’ presence in emerging
media. She enjoys showing the rest of the world how UC Davis
plays a role in analyzing, discovering and explaining world
The National Science Foundation began supporting ADVANCE
initiatives in 2001, and has awarded over $130M in funding for a
variety of programs. The most significant efforts seek to create
permanent institutional transformation.