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Clinical and Translational Science Center

Clinical and Translational Science Center

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S P O T L I G H T  O N  C O L L A B O R A T I O N

THE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE CENTER enabled engineer Cristina Davis and pulmonologist Nicholas Kenyon to find common ground. Their goal is to demonstrate the practical application of a compact spectrometer capable of analyzing human breath to aid in disease diagnosis for patients with asthma and other respiratory disorders.

Their collaborative work began shortly after Davis left her position as a bioengineering group leader and principal member of the technical staff at a national laboratory in Boston to join UC Davis in November 2005.


Cristina Davis, Ph.D. and Nicholas Kenyon, M.D
“I told Cristina about my interest in exhaled biomarkers, and she told me about her sensor development and interest in measuring exhaled breath condensates and biomarkers,” said Kenyon, an associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and expert in the diagnosis and treatment of severe asthma. Kenyon has been studying the mechanisms of airway inflammation, fibrosis and airway hyperresponsiveness to find ways to improve patient care.

Davis, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, directs the Bioinstrumentation and BioMEMS Laboratory. She received a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award in 2010 for her research on miniature chemical sensors for childhood asthma, the result of CTSC project support. With her expertise in chemical and biological sensing applications, BioMEMS (microelectromechanical) devices, and bioinformatics interpretation of sensor output, she was an ideal collaborator for Kenyon’s asthma studies.

“The CTSC enabled us to meet and establish collaborations with UC Davis faculty from multiple disciplines,” Davis said. The CTSC also awarded seed money for several studies and provided support with study design, patient recruitment and clinical trials implementation.

“Our fruitful and productive collaboration demonstrates that working together across disciplinary boundaries enables scientists to achieve much more than they could by working alone,” Davis said. “The CTSC offers numerous resources to promote new partnerships. It’s the way science is moving forward.”