DAVIS, Calif., June 20, 2017 – Emmet Francis from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded the 2017 M.S. Ghausi Medal at the College of Engineering’s spring commencement ceremony. The award, named for former College of Engineering dean, Mohammed S. Ghausi, is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior in engineering.
A Regents Scholar, Francis stands out among the top students in his department and the college. His nominators noted that he is exceptionally bright, but at the same time humble, unfailingly friendly, and utterly reliable.
As a freshman, Francis arrived at UC Davis as an undeclared major in the College of Biological Sciences, but he quickly developed a passion for biomedical engineering. After participating in lab tours organized by the Biomedical Engineering Society student chapter at UC Davis, he joined the Heinrich Lab research team led by Professor Volkmar Heinrich. During the summer after his sophomore year, Francis was engaged in full-time biological research, investigating calcium dynamics in human neutrophils – a type of white blood cell used by the body to fight infection.
Francis’s research has led to a podium talk at an international conference and first authorship on a paper currently in revision for publication in the journal, Science Signaling. After expanding the scope of his research in the Heinrich Lab, Francis achieved authorship on two additional high-impact published manuscripts. Francis’s accolades also include a Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship, travel awards from the Biophysical Society and the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center, a poster presentation at the 2017 Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, and a talk at the 2017 UC Davis Undergraduate Research Conference.
In addition to his research, Francis played tenor sax in the Cal Aggie Band-uh! Biomedical Engineering’s last Ghausi winner, Matt Halverson, also played in the band.
In fall 2017, Francis will pursue a Ph.D. at UC Davis focusing on cellular biophysics. Despite receiving compelling offers from other graduate schools, he chose to stay in Davis to build upon his research in the Heinrich Lab. He plans to continue working with neutrophils while redefining his research to focus on mathematical modeling and cell mechanics. In the future, Francis hopes become a professor, so he can instruct a new generation of scientists and continue research.
This story was originally posted by the Department of Biomedical Engineering.