UCI’s annual Lauds and Laurels gala honors three from Bio Sci

May 16, 2014

The UC Irvine Alumni Association (UCIAA) has presented Lauds and Laurels since 1971, honoring outstanding members of the UC Irvine community for their service to the university, the community or their profession. On Thursday, May 15, three outstanding individuals from the School of Biological Sciences were honored at the annual gala.

Frank LaFerla, School of Biological Sciences Dean of the School of Biological Sciences was honored for Outstanding University Service; Sandra Holden, Biological Sciences graduate student was honored as Outstanding Graduate Student and Carl Ware, class of 1974, was named Distinguished Alumnus.

Congratulations to our outstanding Bio Sci awardees!

Outstanding University Service Award: Frank M. LaFerla, School of Biological Sciences Dean of the School of Biological Sciences

Dr. Frank LaFerla, a noted expert on Alzheimer’s disease, is the newly-appointed School of Biological Sciences Dean of the School of Biological Sciences. Most recently, Dr. LaFerla served as Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where his research focused on the study of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Also prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Director of UCI MIND, the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, which focuses research on neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

Since arriving on the UCI campus in 1995, Dr. LaFerla has made numerous contributions to UCI and the community at large through his research and various service roles. As Director of UCI MIND, he has helped increase the educational experience for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the Institute by starting a young scholars group called ReMIND (Research and Education in Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders). Dr. LaFerla made outreach a top priority for UCI MIND, increasing communications with the community. He created the popular “Ask a Doc” public forum program, developed a Spanish website, and launched social media initiatives. He also established the Institute’s first external board of advisors, which includes prominent members of the local community and four distinguished UCI professors. When state budget cuts necessitated the reduction of the UCI MIND clinic’s budget by 50 percent, Dr. LaFerla worked with his development officer to raise over $5 million in donations, allowing the Institute’s dementia clinic to remain open.

Dr. LaFerla is the also the founding director of UCI’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, and has served on the Animal Care and Use Committee and the Senate Assembly. He is a faculty advisor for undeclared/undecided majors and an active participant of the CNLM. He is a member of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, a vital partner to the Orange County Alzheimer’s Association where he serves on the Board of Directors, and an advisor to Alzheimer’s Family Services. On a national level, Dr. LaFerla serves on the editorial board for Neurobiology Aging and Neurobiology of Disease, and is a standing member of the NIH study sections for the international Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease conference.

Outstanding Graduate Student: Sandra Holden

Sandra Holden is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program in the School of Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on the influence of climate change on carbon storage in ecosystems. In particular, Sandra is examining a dramatic new development in northern ecosystems, including studying an increase in Alaskan forest fires caused by drier conditions linked to global warming. Her research addresses how forest fires alter the storage of carbon that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, and how quickly the forest can recover.

Sandra’s work has led to publications in numerous science journals and she received the Outstanding Student Paper Award from the American Geophysical Union. In addition, she has received prestigious, highly competitive graduate fellowships from the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Through her research, Sandra is actively involved in mentoring undergraduate and high school students, helping them refine their critical thinking and technical skills. She also works with students in the Irvine Unified School District, participating in “Ask a Scientist Night”, where she helps middle and high school students design their science fair projects by teaching them the principles of experimental design. She also serves as a judge at the annual science fair. Sandra is actively involved with the non-profit organization CLEAN (Climate change through Learning, Empowerment, Action and Networking) Education, where she collaborates with Orange County teachers to improve science curricula and incorporate education about climate change.

Sandra is an active member of the Ecological Society of America and serves as the coordinator for the Graduate Student Recruitment Weekend and annual Graduate Student Symposium for the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology programs within the School of Biological Sciences.

Distinguished Alumni for the School of Biological Sciences: Carl Ware ’74, Ph.D. ’79

Dr. Carl Ware is Director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases Research Center at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Ware’s work spans the realms of autoimmune and infectious diseases and cancer, and translation of his discoveries have led to the development of three novel therapeutics to suppress inflammation, all currently in clinical trials.

Dr. Ware received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from University of California, Irvine and was awarded a prestigious National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health to support his postdoctoral training. He studied membrane biochemistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, then joined the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, where he developed monoclonal antibodies to discover membrane proteins associated with T cell function.

In 1982, Dr. Ware joined the University of California, Riverside, as professor of Immunology in the Biomedical Sciences Program. In 1996, he left academia for the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology as head of the Division of Molecular Immunology, and was recruited to his current position in 2010. He concurrently holds a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Biology at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Ware is the recipient of the prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He is a scientific advisor and organizer for the ICS and TNF Superfamily conferences, serves on several editorial boards, NIH study sections and panels, and currently advises foundations supporting biomedical research, including the Arthritis National Research Foundation.