In rare honor, UC Davis Health physician named as Academy Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences
Emanual Maverakis, a UC Davis School of Medicine associate professor in the Department of Dermatology and expert in immune-mediated diseases involving the skin, has been named as an Academy Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. When he is inducted today, Maverakis will become one of the very few physicians to hold that honor. He is one of two UC Davis faculty to be selected as a new Academy Fellow this year.
Fellows are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the California Academy of Sciences Board of Trustees to join this governing group of more than 450 scientists and leaders who have made notable contributions to science education and communication.
Maverakis, who was honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama in 2011, said that his Academy Fellow selection is especially meaningful as it is an honor bestowed by peers.
“I am deeply humbled to be named alongside these highly accomplished individuals, many being members of the National Academy of Sciences,” he said.
The other UC Davis-affiliated inductee is Neal Williams, a professor of pollination ecology working to sustain native bee populations. Maverakis observed that Williams – alongside the distinguished astrophysicists and climate change scientists in this year’s Fellows class – are tackling issues of tremendous global impact and import.
“I believe that I am the only Academy Fellow elected this year who is not actively saving the world,” he quipped.
Of course, Maverakis is just being modest. A true physician-scientist who balances seeing patients in a clinical setting with “pipetting away in the lab,” Maverakis leads innovative research on the role of autoreactive T-cells in immune-mediated skin diseases – with an eye toward better targeted therapies. He is widely known for his work in melanoma, skin ulcers and autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Maverakis was also on a team that educated the general public during the initial stages of the Zika virus outbreak, traveling to Brazil with a University of California delegation that included renowned UC Davis entomologist Walter Leal. It was Leal, a distinguished professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, who nominated Maverakis for the Academy Fellow honor.
“Walter and I have crossed paths a few times so he knew about my research and my community outreach work,” Maverakis explained.
In addition to lending the Academy of Sciences his perspective as a practicing physician, Maverakis said he looks forward to helping the institution with its outreach and education efforts, especially as they relate to health care. He noted that it’s fitting that the academy would induct a dermatologist at this time, with the current exhibition “Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity” at its museum in San Francisco.
“I am hopeful that I can be a valuable resource to them,” Maverakis said. “I am very interested in all aspects of the academy.”