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Davis: Departments

Native American Studies
The Department of Native American Studies began as a program at UC Davis in 1969 under the direction of David Risling (Hoopa) and Jack Forties (Powhatan). By 1970 Carl Gorman (Navajo) and Kenneth Martin (Assiniboine) joined the faculty, and Sarah Hutchison (Cherokee) joined soon after. All were also active in the founding of D-Q University, a local Native American community college.

The focus of Native American Studies is on the indigenous peoples of the Americas, those peoples, nations, tribes, and communities whose ancestors have lived in North, Central, and South America from earliest times. Interdisciplinary in its scholarly approach, the department offers a comprehensive and comparative perspective, including attention to the increasing dislocation and diaspora of indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.

Native American Studies gained departmental status in 1993, the only such department in the UC system. In 1998 the graduate program was approved, making UC Davis only the second university in the nation to offer a Ph.D. in Native American Studies. As of the year 2000, the department has two active emeriti faculty, Risling and Forties, and seven regular faculty: George Longfish (Mohawk), artist; Stefano Varese, anthropologist; Ines Hernandez Avila (Nez Perce), creative writer and specialist in Native American religions; Steven Crum (Shoshone), historian; Martha Macri (Cherokee), linguist; Victor Montejo (Maya), anthropologist and creative writer; and Zoila Mendoza, ethnomusicologist. A recently endowed chair promises to enhance scholarly productivity and the national academic prestige of the department.

The C. N. Gorman Museum (now Carl Gorman Museum) was established in 1973 in honor of Carl Nelson Gorman, Navajo artist, advocate, and former faculty member. Under the direction of George Longfish the museum has achieved national prominence, hosting four exhibits each year by contemporary Native American and other artists.

The department is actively involved in research. To date, the department has hosted four UC Office of the President postdoctoral fellows. The Maya Hieroglyphic Database Project has brought three postdoctoral fellows to campus. The Indigenous Research Center of the Americas, directed by Varese, was awarded a four-year grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to sponsor the studies of 12 scholars from North, Central, and South America in language and literature, performance, and political issues. The Sarah Hutchison Library contains books, periodicals, and pamphlets on Native American topics, and, as of 1999, serves as the graduate students' computer lab. The Native American Language Center encourages linguistic research on American Indian languages. The aim of the center is to develop a sustained and productive relationship between American Indian linguistic scholarship and the needs and aspirations of Native American people. It encourages the active participation of scholars and students, both native and non-native, in the task of language preservation and revitalization. source

Nematology
Beginning about 1915, research on plant parasitic nematodes was conducted intermittently by staff members from the USDA, the California Department of Agriculture, and the California Agricultural Experiment Station. Accumulation of evidence of the importance of nematodes as pests of agricultural crops led in 1943 to the appointment of a nematologist in the Department of Entomology and Parasitology at UC Berkeley. In 1947 a nematologist was hired in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside, and in 1948 an additional nematologist was appointed at Berkeley.

The success in controlling nematodes with chemicals in California and elsewhere from the late 1940s to the early 1950s focused the attention of the agricultural industry and the university on the need for expanding research on nematodes and nematode-induced plant diseases. In 1953 the state legislature, in response to industry requests, provided the university with funds for substantially increasing nematological research. Thus the University of California became the first academic institution to recognize nematology as a field of science distinct from plant pathology, entomology, or parasitology. A statewide Department of Plant Nematology was established in 1954 with staff located at Berkeley, Davis, and Riverside. In 1959 the transfer of staff to the Davis campus closed nematological research at UC Berkeley. By 1962 the research competency of the staff had broadened sufficiently for the university to approve of a name change to the Department of Nematology because research had moved beyond plant nematodes. In 1965 the statewide Department of Nematology separated into individual departments at Riverside and Davis and, from 1965 onward, the two departments evolved independently.

On July 1, 1976, the Davis Department of Nematology was reorganized into a research unit (the Division of Nematology) with a chairman, and the teaching component was transferred to the Department of Entomology. In 1987 the research unit reverted back to departmental status. Since then, the department has been restructured through retirements and the addition of new faculty members. The direction of research has moved toward greater emphasis on integrating non-chemical approaches to nematode suppression. Current faculty members study nematodes in most habitats (except marine) and across a range of levels of biological organization, from molecular to community.

Nematology faculty have earned national and international recognition for their research and contributions to the discipline. The Society of Nematologists selected Merlin Allen (1970) and Dewey Raski (1988) as honorary members and D. Raski (1981), Armand Maggenti (1990), and Howard Ferris (1995) as fellows. The CIBA-Geigy Award was given to D. Raski (1980), H. Ferris (1984), and Becky Westerdahl (1995). D. Raski has been honored by the Indian Society of Nematologists. In 1998 Harry Kaya received the C.W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America and was the Founders' Lecturer for the Society of Invertebrate Pathology in 1999.

Although the department does not offer a major or graduate program, faculty members teach undergraduate courses in nematology and other disciplines, and mentor many students. Many Davis graduates have become national and international leaders in the field. source

Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
The Section of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior (NPB) was formed in 1993 with the reorganization of the Division of Biological Sciences under the leadership of Dean Robert Grey. Key players in the early life of NPB were Peter Marler and Barbara Horwitz. Marler, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, envisioned a section that would break new ground with a program centered on how physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, and multicellular levels bear on the ways that animals operate and behave as complete, integrative entities. Horwitz, the 1991 winner of the UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and a member of the Council of the American Physiological Society, was the first chair. She shared Marler's vision and worked to implement the plan, notably by overseeing the design of a single major for undergraduates that integrated neurobiology, physiology, and behavior. This integrative biology major, unique in the nation, has proved very attractive to students, earning a reputation as a demanding yet well-taught major.

NPB brought together faculty from several departments, most notably animal physiology and zoology, units that were dissolved when NPB was formed. Eleven faculty, M. Barkley, E. Carstens, C. Fuller, J. Goldberg, J. Horowitz, B. Horwitz, A. Ishida, P. Pappone, A. Sillman, J. Weidner, and D. Woolley, came from animal physiology, a department whose history and relationship to other physiology programs at UC Davis has been well documented. Three faculty, P. Marler, B. Mulloney, and M. Wilson, were drawn from the Department of Zoology. In addition, J. Keizer, a mathematical biologist from Chemistry, L. Chalupa, a neuroscientist from Psychology, and E. Chang from Animal Science joined the section. With this core, NPB underwent a phase of rapid expansion over the next several years. Five new faculty, K. Britten, B. Chapman, C. Gray, G. Recanzone, and M. Sutter, were added to the section as the new Center for Neuroscience was formed. Two scientists working on animal behavior, N. Clayton and G. Nevitt, and a molecular endocrinologist, J. Furlow, were also recruited. Together, section faculty taught an undergraduate major and actively engaged in research spanning two and in some cases all three areas of the discipline.

Leo Chalupa, chair of the committee that drafted the plan for the Center for Neuroscience and a former director of the center, became the second chair of NPB in 1998. Sillman, winner of the 1996 Academic Senate Citation for Distinguished Teaching, became vice chair for teaching. Chalupa implemented a two-pronged strategy for strengthening NPB programs, first by building bridges to biological research programs across the campus, and second by developing clusters of research excellence. As an example of this strategy, Chalupa is the principal investigator of an NIH grant on visual research, which bridges several departments and includes NPB faculty A. Ishida and M. Wilson.

In summary, NPB has developed an outstanding major, its excellence recognized by Academic Senate/Federation Teaching Awards received by T. Adamson, J. Horowitz, B. Horwitz, and A. Sillman; and an extremely strong research program, supported in 1998 by 52 extramural grants totaling $23 million. source

See also Division of Biological Sciences.

Neurological Surgery
There is no history currently available for this department. See School of Medicine.

Neurology
There is no history currently available for this department. See School of Medicine.

Nutrition
The Department of Nutrition was first established as a freestanding department in 1967, although the process was set in motion earlier. Before 1966, the unit was a part of the Department of Home Economics, which had moved from Berkeley to the Davis campus. Key to its transition from a component of Home Economics to the current departmental structure were the efforts of Glenn Hawkes, then associate dean of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Fredric Hill, who served as an interim dean in the transition and later as chair of the department. Hill also served as editor of the Journal of Nutrition, which gave the department considerable external visibility through the 1970s.

Several faculty members helped establish the department as an important center of research in areas such as developmental nutrition and teratology. Gladys Everson contributed in this area in the 1960s, and Lucille Hurley and Francis Zeman sustained the effort through the 1970s and 1980s. Particularly important were the creation of an independent animal unit for research and linkage of the department to activities in the School of Medicine.

William Weir and Robert Rucker served as chairs of the department from the mid-1970s through 1987. During this period the department nearly tripled in size. Originally housed in Everson Hall, the department was moved to Meyer Hall in 1987. Further ties were developed with the School of Medicine through the Division of Clinical Nutrition (now a part of Endocrinology) in the Department of Internal Medicine. The Department of Nutrition also became the administrative home for the Food Intake Laboratory and the Program in International Nutrition.

From 1987 through the 1990s, Barbara Schneeman and Carl Keen served as chairs of the department. Further growth, external visibility, and maturation characterize this period. Four faculty members have served as presidents of the American Society for Nutritional Science and three as presidents of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Three members, current and past, are members of the NAS Institute of Medicine. The faculty is also distinguished by its service on numerous NIH, USDA, NAS, WHO, and UNICEF committees and by receipt of numerous research awards.

The Department of Nutrition is currently home for two professional journals, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Lactation. In 1994, the state's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program were moved to the department from Berkeley. In 1997/98, the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Laboratory was moved from San Francisco to the Davis campus, where its academic administrative home is the Department of Nutrition. The department currently supports approximately 50 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars, while there are about 250 students associated with the undergraduate programs. source

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Last updated 06/18/04.