Funding, Facilities and Food at Open House

The UC Davis Office of Research held its second annual open house April 15, with exhibits on services, research and facilities for researchers. And strawberries. Lots of strawberries.


  1. Opening the event, Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin said it marked a turning point for the Office of Research, which has undergone extensive reform and reorganization in the past two years. Staffing has expanded from 85 to 135, providing support to campus researchers in writing and administering grants, managing intellectual property and research integrity issues, and providing a wide range of research facilities to the campus.

    "It's a celebration of all that we've become and of our new programs, and an opportunity to say thanks to our customers," Lewin said.

    For example, the Office of Research has launched two internal grant programs to fund interdisciplinary research: Research Investments in Science and Engineering (RISE), announced last year, and the Interdisciplinary Frontiers in Humanities and the Arts (IFHA), whose awardees are to be announced in May.

    In another initiative, Lewin established the Office of Corporate Relations in 2011 to act as a "front door" to the university for corporations and businesses. Corporate Relations staff have been bringing together researchers and resources across campus to target specific industry sectors, such as biotechnology and food.

  2. Lewin said the office would soon be rolling out an electronic research administration system, as well as a venture capital program in collaboration with the Graduate School of Management. The office is also working towards accreditation of UC Davis's Institutional Review Board by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs. AAHRPP accreditation will show that UC Davis's human research programs meet the highest standards of ethics, quality and protection of human subjects.

  3. Some 48 units had exhibits at the Open House, including: Office of Research administrative and service units such as InnovationAccess, Sponsored Programs, Corporate Relations, Interdisciplinary Research Support and Research Compliance and Integrity; Organized Research Units and facilities administered by Office of Research such as the John Muir Institute of the Environment, California National Primate Research Center, Crocker Nuclear Laboratory; other campus research facilities and centers, such as the Genome Center, BGI@UCDavis, Center for Watershed Sciences and Geospatial Consulting@UCDavis; and other campus units that support the research enterprise, such as Graduate Studies, Safety Services and University Communications.
  4. InnovationAccess manages intellectual property for the university, including patents, plant varieties and licensing. They brought along a display of some of the commercial walnut varieties generated by UC Davis breeders, but they were not for eating...
  5. But they also brought these "Albion" strawberries...which were for eating, and many packs of strawberries were seen around the venue.
  6. Researchers at the John Muir Institute of the Environment are developing low-cost RFID systems, similar to the "microchips" used in domestic pets, to track small animals in their natural habitat. The chipped chipmunk above (see the microchip taped to its fur) is about to walk over a sensor buried in the forest floor, recording data that researchers can retrieve later.

    JMIE researchers are also working to set up a first-of-its-kind animal tracking system at the UC Davis Quail Ridge Reserve. The wireless network will let scientists anywhere in the world monitor animals wearing radio collars as they move around the reserve, 24 hours a day.
  7. At the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, they are using 3-D displays to educate school kids about lakes. Backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation and collaborating with the UC Davis KeckCAVES, they plan to build a database of 2,700 lakes that can be studied in 3-D. Here, researcher George Malyj (seated) demonstrates the technology with a display of Crater Lake, Oregon.
  8. The NeuroMab facility, funded by the National Institutes of Health and run out of the laboratory of Prof. Jim Trimmer, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, College of Biological Sciences is a national resource for monoclonal antibodies for use in neuroscience research.
  9. Another research facility is the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging, located within the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The Center provides state-of-the-art imaging services for small animals including PET, CT and MRI scanning.
  10. The crew of UC Davis Fire Truck 34 attracted a steady crowd trying their hand at CPR. (It probably didn't hurt that they were near the strawberries.)

    Also on hand were staff from Safety Services, which oversees lab safety, occupational health and related issues from with the Office of Administration and Resource Management.
  11. Another ARM unit present was the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, promoting "green labs." Simply keeping freezer seals clean of ice buildup and lowering the sash on fume hoods -- with the handy colored guide, seen below -- makes for significant savings on power bills.
  12. Over 300 people came to the event. From the Office of Research Facebook page:

    "Whether you exhibited or came to learn, your support drives the success of our operations. Please let us know what we're doing well and what we can do better -- your continued support and feedback is crucial to our growth!"