Denneal Jamison-McClung Named Director of UC Davis Biotechnology Program

Denneal Jamison-McClung Named Director of UC Davis Biotechnology Program

Denneal Jamison-McClung, director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, at the UC Davis Life Sciences Building, June 27, 2019. (UC Davis/Lisa Howard)

By Lisa Howard

July 8, 2019

Denneal Jamison-McClung has been named director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program by the Office of Research. Founded in 1986, the program provides a hub for biotechnology efforts on campus and creates a critical bridge between academia and the biotech industry as well as government entities involved in bioscience.

“The Biotechnology Program is a unique asset at UC Davis,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis. “It has helped launch UC Davis graduates into exciting careers at well-established biotechnology companies, as well dynamic new startups in California and across the country. We are excited to have Dr. Jamison-McClung leading the program.”

Jamison-McClung is an alumna of the program she will now be running. She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Women’s Studies from UC Davis. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics at UC Davis with a “Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology,” a key offering of the Biotechnology Program.

Jamison-McClung has taught biotech graduate courses and workshops in science communication, science policy and social entrepreneurship at UC Davis. She was a program coordinator for National Science Foundation CREATE (Collaborative Research and Education in Agricultural Technologies and Engineering) program and also for the UC Davis ADVANCE program.

Jamison-McClung was associate director for the Biotechnology Program from 2006-2018 and became interim director in 2018 after the retirement of Judith Kjelstrom, who ran the program for almost 20 years.

“I am looking forward to working with industry partners and campus colleagues to create and sustain novel, effective training programs that accelerate biotech innovation and broaden opportunities for all students,” said Jamison-McClung.

The Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology, known as “the DEB,” supplements a student’s Ph.D. curriculum with real-world applications and exposure to industry. Launched in 1997 with just ten students, more than 310 students have gone through the program to date, with 193 currently enrolled.

In addition to completing a core course, seminar series, and bioethics course, the students also participate in internships at industry leaders like GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech, IBM, Amgen, Bayer, Pfizer, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, as well as with dynamic startups like Second Genome.

About 250 UC Davis faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines are affiliated with the DEB, and the students participating are from 29 different doctoral programs, everything from biochemistry to plant pathology to immunology to electrical engineering.

The DEB helps industry partners get involved with educating the next generation of researchers. It also gives them a chance to find prospective employees whose skills and personality might be a good match for their companies.

In addition to the DEB, Jamison-McClung will also oversee the other programs affiliated with the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, including the Advanced Degree Program for Corporate Employees, Teen Biotech Challenge, and BioTech SYSTEM.



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