Professor Cristina Davis has been named chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, effective July 1, 2019. Davis has been at UC Davis since November 2005 and has served as vice chair for the past two years.
Her research focuses on designing sensors and instrumentation to detect chemical biomarkers indicative of disease in humans, animals and plants for extremely rapid and accurate diagnosis. She uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to implement this technology for a wide range of applications in human health, agriculture and defense. She heads the Bioinstrumentation and BioMEMS Laboratory and is affiliated with the Biomedical Engineering, Forensic Science and Health Informatics graduate groups.
As vice chair, she has worked to improve the department’s graduate education by working with her colleagues to add new course offerings and expand the breadth of opportunities available to students. She teaches “Introduction to BioMEMS” (MAE 228) and “Engineering Experimentation and Uncertainty Analysis” (MAE 207) for graduate students, along with “Statistical Methods in Design and Manufacturing” (EME 151) for undergraduates. She also taught the department’s senior design course for nine years.
“I thoroughly enjoy working with students to see them experience the design process and unleash their creative potential to solve real world engineering programs,” she said.
Davis received a B.S. in both biology and mathematics from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. She worked in industry in the defense sector before joining UC Davis.
She was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) in 2016, received the UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Award in 2016 and won the UC Davis Engineering Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Award in 2018. She has written over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, holds 12 issued patents and is a co-founder of two startup companies that have spun out of her research at UC Davis.
Davis returned to the defense sector and served on the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 2014-2018. She received both the Air Force Commander’s Award for Public Service in 2018 and the UC Davis Distinguished Public Service Award in 2019 for her contributions.
Davis succeeds Professor Stephen K. Robinson, who had held the position since 2016. Robinson will step down to lead the Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration (HOME) Space Exploration Research Institute, a multi-institution program to develop technology for human habitats in deep space.
“I look forward to leading our department as we continue to serve our students and the people of California” she said.