College of Engineering Announces 2017 Faculty Awards

DAVIS, Calif.; July 17, 2017 – The UC Davis College of Engineering is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Faculty Awards. Faculty members were nominated by their respective departments and selected by the college’s faculty awards committee. The four professors will receive awards honoring their exceptional accomplishments at a special reception at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the Shields Library Courtyard.

Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award

Patrice Koehl, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Computer Science and faculty member in the UC Davis Genome Center, is the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. An internationally recognized researcher and educator in bioinformatics and computational biology, Prof. Koehl stands out for his energy and skill in exploring the possibilities that computers create for biologists. Students recognize Prof. Koehl for his determination, passion and patience and praise him as an educator who “embodies all the exact characteristics of an exceptional professor who goes above and indeed beyond the basic call of his profession.” In their nomination of Prof. Koehl, colleagues remarked, “If his commitment to teaching a course well is matched, it is by the sheer variety and amount he teaches.” In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in computer science, Prof. Koehl regularly delivers guest lectures on biophysics, scientific computing and medical informatics programs at UC Davis and at the National University of Singapore.

Outstanding Senior Faculty Research Award

This year’s Outstanding Senior Faculty Research Award goes to Bryan Jenkins, UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering chair and professor. In a career spanning more than three decades, Prof. Jenkins has pursued research that addresses the generation, use and sustainability of energy. His exploration of biomass conversion, including feedstock logistics, thermochemical conversion, and overall systems analysis and optimization, has yielded more than 300 publications and twelve book chapters. He is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced researchers in sustainable energy systems, and a colleague who nominated Prof. Jenkins remarked, “his record demonstrates a profound and highly effective commitment to public service and to translating the results of his research into sound public policy.” Prof. Jenkins is a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. He is also the recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Outstanding Achievement Award for exceptional contributions to the development of bioenergy and the European Union’s Linneborn Prize for outstanding contributions to the development of energy from biomass.

Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Research Award

Raissa D’Souza, a professor with dual appointments in the UC Davis Departments of Computer Science and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has earned the Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Research Award for her contributions to the field of network science. Prof. D’Souza’s interdisciplinary research focuses on mathematical models of the structure and function of networks emphasizing self-organization and phase transitions. In recent years, her transformative research on layered networks and explosive percolation has led to a new chapter in network science. A colleague who nominated Prof. D’Souza said, “Raissa is a star of her chosen field, with a series of fundamental discoveries under her belt that have altered our research.” She is widely published in journals, such as Science, Nature Communications and Physical Review Letters, and has had cover stories in Nature Physics and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Prof. D’Souza is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a long-serving external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, as well as the elected President of the Network Science Society and is an editorial board member of numerous scientific journals. She has also served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems. Prof. D’Souza’s current research, sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office, is funded by a $6.25 million interdisciplinary MURI grant for fundamental research on control of collective phenomena in complex networks.

Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

An assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Miguel Jaller is the recipient of the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Colleagues describe Prof. Jaller as an exceptional researcher and mentor, and as a caring, deliberate instructor. His multidisciplinary research covers a wide range of topics including humanitarian aid, the movement of goods and the use of real-time feedback for improving passenger travel. Since his arrival at UC Davis in 2014, Prof. Jaller has authored or co-authored 20 journal articles and book chapters published or currently under review. One of his nominators characterized his papers as creative, thought-provoking and scholarly, and remarked, “the topics he chooses to explore are timely and of great importance from a societal perspective.” On campus, Prof. Jaller is a faculty advisor for the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Engineering Student Chapter, a mentor at the Cross Cultural Center’s Graduate Student of Color Mentor Program and a faculty affiliate at the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science Program. Prof. Jaller is also a member of multiple research and planning committees for the Transportation Research Board and the Productions and Operations Management Society, among other external and outreach activities.