Dean Deborah Deas Reappointed

Deborah Deas, Mark and Pam Rubin Dean and Chief Executive Officer for Clinical Affairs, and Jonathan Thomas.

Congratulations to Dean Deborah Deas on her reappointment to the governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency. Dean Deas was sworn in by Jonathan Thomas on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018.






Distinguished Professor Named Interim Editor-in-Chief of PNAS

Natasha V. Raikhel, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Plant Cell Biology and former director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology (IIGB), has been named interim editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). Established in 1914, PNAS is one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific journals, spanning content in the biological, physical, and social sciences, with nearly half of all accepted papers coming from authors outside the United States. With PNAS’ selection, Raikhel joins a distinguished line of former editors, including Nobel Prize winners Linus Pauling and Randy Schekman and is only the second woman to serve in this capacity in the journal’s over 100 year history (she is preceded in service by Maxine Singer).

During her time as IIGB director, Raikhel led the initiative to form the Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB) with the goal of developing a modern biotechnology hub within IIGB which would include bioinformatics, proteomics, chemical genomics, and advanced microscopy core facilities. These UCR core facilities remain the cornerstone of IIGB’s multidisciplinary research focus and are available to scientists both on- and off-campus.

Raikhel’s research is centered on the study of endosomal and vesicular trafficking to the vacuoles, using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Her study led to a better understanding of the basic biology of endomembrane trafficking, and on the strength of her research findings, Raikhel was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012.

Still an active member of the UCR, IIGB, and CEPCEB research communities, Raikhel’s legacy was most recently recognized through IIGB’s establishment of the Natasha V. Raikhel Award in Research Innovation and Science Leadership, with the inaugural award just bestowed in December 2017 to Thomas Girke, professor of bioinformatics and director of UCR’s High Performance Computing Center.

The election of Raikhel as interim editor-in-chief of a multidisciplinary journal covering a majority of topics beyond her scientific expertise of plant biology is a great testament to Raikhel’s academic standing. In addition, this honor serves as further acknowledgment of the caliber of the greater UCR and IIGB research communities, whose scientific influence has secured such profound recognition.


Charmaine Craig Receives Emory Elliott Book Award

“Miss Burma” is based on the lives of Craig’s grandparents and mother, a two-time pageant queen who later became a leader of Burma’s mid-20th-century Karen resistance during the country’s long-running civil war.

Charmaine Craig, an author and a UCR assistant professor of creative writing, received the 2017 Emory Elliott Book Award for her novel “Miss Burma.” Craig accepted the prize, awarded annually by the university’s Center for Ideas and Society (CIS), during a lunchtime ceremony held Wednesday, Jan. 17.

“It’s a joy and an honor to receive an award given in Emory Elliott’s name,” Craig said. “The values upheld by this award — in particular, ‘the capacity to recognize complexity together with the passion to clarify,’ — are central to my own literary and scholarly aims, and so it is with special appreciation that I thank Professor Elliott’s family and the Center for Ideas and Society.”

Published in May by Grove Atlantic, “Miss Burma” tells the story of 20th-century Burma (now known as Myanmar) through the lens of Craig’s own family history. The novel is based on the lives of her grandparents and mother, Louisa Benson Craig, a pageant queen who later became a resistance leader of a Burmese ethnic minority group, the Karen, during the country’s long-running civil war.

“‘Miss Burma’ is a stunning combination of historical scholarship and creative accomplishment,” said CIS Director Georgia Warnke. “Given the quality of all the books nominated, the prize committee’s decision was a difficult one; nevertheless, ‘Miss Burma’ fully justifies their choice.”

The Emory Elliott Book Award program was created by the family and friends of Emory Elliott, a UCR distinguished professor of English and former CIS director who passed away suddenly in 2009. Elliott is remembered as a passionate teacher, mentor, and advocate for university-wide diversity.  

Each year, the awards program’s selection committee recognizes a book written by a faculty member in UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences that best reflects Elliott’s “spirit of intellectual generosity” while contributing to an ongoing public conversation, Warnke said.

Prior to receiving the Emory Elliott Book Award, “Miss Burma” was included on the National Book Awards Longlist in Fiction, named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, an Indie Next selection, and an Amazon Best of the Month Editors’ Pick in Literature & Fiction.

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