Patrice Koehl Wins Graduate Program Advising and Mentorship Award
Computer science professor Patrice Koehl has received a 2020-21 Graduate Program Advising and Mentorship Award from UC Davis Graduate Studies, in honor of his excellence in advising and mentorship of graduate students.
The second annual awards are part of a Graduate Studies initiative to showcase and promote good mentoring experiences for graduate students at UC Davis. Winners are nominated by their graduate programs to highlight UC Davis faculty members for their service to their programs, their commitment to advising and mentoring and the positive impact they have on graduate students and colleagues.
Koehl is among 26 winners across UC Davis and the UC Davis School of Medicine and five in the College of Engineering to be recognized this year.
“Mentorship is all about giving the students the resources and support they need to be successful,” he said. “We do not train graduate students to be successful just during their Ph.D., but to build upon these successes to become successful professionals in whatever the path they choose. At some point, the mentee becomes better than their mentor on their research topic—this is when I feel that I have done my job.”
Koehl received his M.Eng. in applied math and bioengineering at L’Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris and his Ph.D. in molecular biology and biophysics at University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. He joined UC Davis in 2004 after working first as a research scientist for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), affiliated with the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg and then as a research associate at Stanford University’s Department of Structural Biology.
Since then, he has become a leader on campus in the field of computational biology. His research group—which is part of the Department Computer Science and the UC Davis Genome Center—aims to develop new computational tools to analyze biomolecular systems, characterize their shapes and predict how they will change with changes in their environment. His research is, and always has been, driven by a desire to help analyze and understand the overwhelming amount of data that is now available to biologists.
In 2014, he also became founding director of the UC Davis Data Science Initiative, a cross-university group that promotes data literacy, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and helps make data science accessible. Most notably, the group played a critical role in creating the new data science major, which will begin enrolling students this fall.
He has been recognized for both his teaching and research by the College of Engineering, first in 2017 with the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award and again in 2019, with the Late Mid-Career Faculty Research Award. He is also an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a fellow of the American Cancer Society.