The Mentorship & Networking Initiative and committee is no longer active. We are so appreciative of the below members for their contributions while serving on the ADVANCE MNI Committee. Please note this page is not updated and biographical information of committee members may no longer be accurate.
JoAnne Engebrecht is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis. Dr. Engebrecht studies meiosis and checkpoint function in the C. elegans germ line. Dr. Engebrecht specifically investigates how checkpoint pathways are differentially regulated in the female and male germ line; how unpaired sex chromosomes of the heterogametic sex repair double strand breaks and are hidden from the checkpoint machinery; and how different checkpoint pathways interact to ensure the faithful transmission of the genome.
Carol Erickson is a Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis. Dr. Erickson’s research focuses on the development of the avian trunk neural crest, with a particular interested in the mechanisms that segregate the neural crest lineage from the neural epithelium, the mechanisms that guide specific neural crest lineages along different migratory pathways, and the control of neural crest cell differentiation.
Magali Billen is a Professor of Geophysics at UC Davis. Her research uses powerful computers to research what is happening deep within Earth, in the viscous mantle that lies under the thin crust of rocky plates that form the planet’s outer surface. In particular, her geophysical research efforts focus on subduction zone dynamics, deformation and rheology of the lithosphere and upper mantle, effects of water and melt on viscosity and plate tectonics.
Chen-Nee Chuah is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis. Dr. Chuah received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley in 2001. From 2001 to 2002, she was a visiting researcher of the IP-Group at Sprint Advanced Technology Laboratories in Burlingame, CA. She joined UC Davis as a full-time Assistant Professor in July 2002, and currently leads the Robust and Ubiquitous Networking (RUBINET) Research Group.
Gitta Coaker is an Associate Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Coaker’s research interests focus understanding the interaction between bacterial pathogens and plants at a biochemical level. Her research group studies how the plant innate immune system can actively recognize and respond to pathogenic microorganisms using tomato, citrus, and Arabidopsis as models.
Raissa D’Souza is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Computer Science at the University of California at Davis, as well as an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and Managing Editor of the journal Internet Mathematics. Dr. D’Souza’s research focuses on mathematical models of self-organization, phase transitions and the structure and function of networked systems. Her publications span the fields of statistical physics, theoretical computer science and applied math.
Lorena Garcia is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences. Her research focuses on health disparities, in particular obesity and diabetes (metabolic and nutritional disorders), intimate partner violence (injuries), immigrant health and acculturation in the Latino community. A public health epidemiologist, Lorena Garcia is an expert in disease and health patterns in Latinas. She studies how diabetes, obesity and cancer have become some of the worst diseases affecting Latinas in the United States.
Deb Niemeier is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Niemeier’s research interests span transportation, air quality modeling, energy consumption and land use interactions, sustainability and the project development process for major infrastructure projects.She has served on the expert independent review teams to assess the cost increases associated with the San Francisco Bay Bridge and to review the cost methods used for the proposed 3rd locks of the Panama Canal.She has published more than 110 journal articles and book chapters.
Lynne A. Isbell is a Professor of Anthropology at UC Davis. Her research focus is largely focused on primate behavior and ecology, especially food (competition, spatial and temporal distribution, abundance, and nutrition), predation, dispersal, and ranging behavior; Primate evolution, especially where, how, and why primates originated. As a committee member of the UC Davis ADVANCE Mentorship and Networking Initiative, Dr. Isbell is interested in implicit bias in academia.
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, Dr.
Binnie Singh is the Assistant Vice Provost, in the Office of the Vice Provost, Academic Affairs. In this role, she serves as the primary liaison between Academic Affairs and other units and organizations, both campus and systemwide, and assists the Vice Provost – Academic Affairs in strategic planning, implementation and innovation for all matters affecting academic personnel at UC Davis. Prior to this role, she served for over 10 years as the Director of Faculty Relations and Development in Academic Affairs consulting with campus leaders on resolving conflicts that involve academic employees, mediates and settles formal complaints and grievances, coordinates and delivers development/training programs for faculty, especially department chairs and new faculty, manages faculty medical leaves and issues related to accommodations, and administers the Work Life Program for academics.
Jay Stachowicz, Professor of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis, researches the ecological causes and consequences of biodiversity. He is the current director of the Center for Population Biology. Dr. Stachowicz has found seaweeds and marine invertebrates to be particularly tractable experimental subjects and has conducted research involving a diverse suite of invertebrate taxa including corals, hydroids, crabs, echinoderms, polychaetes, ascidians, bryozoans, and gastropods.
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.