Cristina Davis Honored by AAMC for Ongoing Interdisciplinary Program


Cristina Davis, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for a project undertaken with colleague Nicholas Kenyon, a pediatric critical care doctor at UC Davis Medical Center.

Davis and Kenyon have been selected as finalists for the AAMC Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-Focused Training, for their submission Building Bridges: An Engineering Capstone Experience in Translational Medicine.

Under the supervision of Davis and Kenyon, the Capstone Senior Design Course has developed strong interdisciplinary ties between the UC Davis College of Engineering (COE), Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) and School of Medicine (SOM). Conceived in 2008 as a means of removing barriers between medicine and other disciplines, the program has encouraged clinicians and engineers to collaborate on medical engineering project concepts that are selected for their high likelihood of success. Student teams, mentored by COE and SOM faculty, prototype instruments or systems from design to fabrication and testing.

Since inception, the program has involved 40 faculty mentors, more than 100 students and 25 projects. Successful projects include an ICU patient self-hydration unit; an EMG-powered wheelchair; a mechanical walker for critically ill ICU patients; an endoscopic balloon drug delivery device; a low-cost pediatric treadmill for home use by disabled children; and many other ingeniously designed prototypes.

The award will be presented at the AAMC Graduate Research, Education and Training (GREAT) Group’s annual Professional Development Meeting, taking place Sept. 19-21 in Atlanta. The UC Davis School of Medicine, one of AAMC’s member institutions, will receive a $1,000 cash prize for its role in the award-winning submission.

Davis graduated from Duke University with degrees in mathematics and biology, and obtained her doctorate in biomedical engineering in 1999 from the University of Virginia. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 2005, becoming a full professor in 2012. She heads the UC Davis Bioinstrumentation and BioMEMS Laboratory, is co-director of the UC Davis College of Engineering’s Design and Prototyping Clinic, and is a CTSC associate director. She received a 2010 Hartwell Foundation Biomedical Research Award to assist in her development of a safe and effective, non-invasive diagnostic health monitoring sensor for children with asthma.

The Association of American Medical Colleges serves and leads the academic medicine community, to improve the health of all patients throughout the world. AAMC bridges education, clinical care and research, with the specific goal of transforming health care.

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