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Photo: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis.

Cristina Davis Joins College of Engineering Leadership Team

Originally published on the College of Engineering

The UC Davis College of Engineering is pleased to announce that mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and chair Cristina Davis has been appointed to serve as associate dean for research effective October 1.

As a member of the college’s leadership team, Davis will work with the leadership of college research centers and recharge facilities to ensure they continue to fulfill their missions. She will also assist Dean Corsi with catalyzing new multi-disciplinary research initiatives, developing external research partnerships and facilitating group discussions to build a strategic research vision and plan for the college. 

“As we identify pillars of existing strength in the college, we will provide mechanisms to help these areas expand and seed new large, multi-investigator research grant proposals to outside funders,” said Davis. “The college will provide strategic investments to allow for teaming and collaborations, both within the college and with others on campus, and continue to encourage and grow collaborations with industry and the national laboratories.”

Davis’ research focuses on developing handheld devices that sense chemical and biological markers in the air and in breath with applications in agriculture and human and animal health. These devices have been used on everything from detecting citrus disease to identifying biomarkers in breath that can indicate illness, to running an analysis on chemicals in the air during a wildfire. She has an active and well-funded research program, is a leader in the emerging field of breath research and is the co-founder of two startup companies based on her lab’s work.

“I am eager to help raise the profile of our ongoing research in the college, and I hope to foster growth of new research initiatives and help build bridges and collaborations across campus, with our engineering faculty leading the way,” said Davis. “Our college has tremendous talent, which leads to breakthrough research in many areas. I hope to help focus attention on these, and help faculty and staff reach even greater heights.”

In connection with this appointment, the college has reorganized some of the functions of the associate dean positions. Associate dean for facilities and capital planning and chemical engineering professor Roland Faller has agreed to also assume responsibility for graduate education, including broadening participation in graduate programs and exploration of online professional masters programs, as the new associate dean for graduate studies.

Faller’s research group uses and develops novel techniques and models in all areas of molecular modeling, focusing on directly integrating them with experimental methods. The group is interested in a wide range of materials that span from biological molecules via polymers to ceramic oxides. They work on developing micro-macro relationships which will allow tailor-made materials for specific applications.

“I have always been passionate about graduate education, as I have been graduate program chair and graduate studies committee chair in the past,” said Faller. “Graduate education is where a research university can distinguish itself.”

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