The University of California, Davis, is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the UC Davis Medal, the highest honor the university bestows on individuals.
Michael W. Chapman, UC Davis alumnus and chairman emeritus of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UC Davis Medical Center; John and Lois Crowe, pioneering scientists and philanthropists; and Gurdev Khush, professor emeritus of plant sciences, will all be recognized for their extraordinary personal achievements and contributions to the ideals of higher education on which UC Davis was founded.
First presented in 2002, the UC Davis Medal recognizes individuals of rare accomplishment “to be heralded today and in perpetuity” as special members of the UC Davis community. Past honorees include such well-known individuals as former President Bill Clinton, artist Wayne Thiebaud, and Robert and Margrit Mondavi.
Curiosity-driven research changed world of medicine
John and Lois Crowe worked as a research team and were instrumental in helping UC Davis become one of the top rated biological science programs in the nation.
John is professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology in the College of Biological Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. from University of California, Riverside. Lois received her Ph.D. from UC Davis and was a biophysicist in the Departments of Zoology and Molecular and Cellular Biology before retiring.
The two are known for their pioneering work toward understanding how some organisms survive extreme drying. Their discoveries about how these organisms use a simple sugar called trehalose to preserve their integrity in the dry state led to inventions that are in widespread use in pharmacy, medicine and agriculture. For example, their work has enabled the drying of fragile drugs, human cells, foods and plants. Human platelets can be stored dry, improving their storage life from just five days to at least two years.
“They are a faculty member and an alumna of UC Davis whose accomplishments in research have brought international acclaim to the university and whose inventions have had a major impact on society,” said Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences.
The Crowes have also made substantial volunteer and philanthropic contributions to UC Davis. Both are founding members of the Davis Chancellor’s Club and the Mondavi Center Volunteer Advisory Board. Lois was also a UC Davis Foundation trustee from 2009 to 2015.
This story originally appeared on UC Davis News.