Deborah Kimbrell Receives Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad Award

Deborah Kimbrell
Professor Deborah Kimbrell holds a tray of fruit fly specimens. She launched fruit flies into space in 2006 as part of an experiment to test their immunity in space. (Kathy Keatley Garvey/UC Davis)

For the third year, UC Davis honored those on campus advancing the research, teaching, and service mission of UC Davis through their international engagement with Chancellor’s Awards for International Engagement.

This year’s faculty and staff awardees—who span agricultural and resource economics, emergency medicine, history, and human resources—were recognized by Chancellor Gary S. May for their outstanding international engagement at the International Connections Reception hosted by Global Affairs on March 7.

The annual reception and awards ceremony also featured the announcement of the Academic Senate’s inaugural Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad Awards for Academic Senate and Academic Federation members—which were followed by recognition of this year’s recipients of various Global Affairs grant and development programs.

“Each year I am thrilled to see how faculty and staff are contributing to UC Davis’ mission in innovative and international ways,” said Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs.

“This year in particular, I am proud to see how faculty and staff are collaborating in meaningful ways both on and off campus and how they are creating new global learning opportunities for our students," Regulska said

Associate Research Geneticist Emerita and Lecturer Deborah Kimbrell was among those honored, receiving a 2019 Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad Award.


An associate research geneticist emerita and lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the College of Biological Sciences, Deborah Kimbrell created a pioneering Study Abroad opportunity for life sciences students: Genetics: the Global Learning Language of Biology.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, it has filled each year, thanks to Kimbrell’s diligent planning and contagious passion—and, ultimately, has paved the way for more science majors to be able to experience global learning. In combining the history of genetics in Cambridge, England with the future of genetics in Stockholm, Sweden, Kimbrell has opened up a world of academic, cultural, and career opportunities for students.

For one student nominator, she met her future graduate advisor because of the program; for another, the program motivated him to achieve his dream of attending medical school; and for others, there are accounts of gaining broadened perspectives or discovering new career options, and of being more prepared as international scientists and citizens.

This story originally appeared on UC Davis Global Affairs. Click here to learn more about the other award winners