Zoetis Award for Research Excellence

Zoetis Award for Research Excellence

The purpose of this award is to foster innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity. Each year a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine faculty member is honored with the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence. The School's Office of Research and Graduate Education accepts nominations for consideration by the Research Committee.


Peter Havel 2019 Zoetis Excellence in Research AwardPeter Havel 2019 Zoetis Excellence in Research Award

Dr. Peter Havel receives the 2019 Zoetis Excellence in Research Award for his exceptional research in metabolism, obesity, and diabetes. His research has increased basic knowledge about the alterations in metabolism that occur with diabetes, bariatric surgery, and consumption of high fructose diets. These research efforts have laid the foundation for developing effective interventions and therapeutic strategies for mitigating the metabolic complications that occur with obesity and diabetes in companion animals and humans.

Havel received a B.S. degree in Zoology (‘88) from the University of Washington before earning his DVM (‘94) and Ph.D. in Endocrinology (’94) from UC Davis. He joined the SVM faculty in 2007, and is a member of the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Havel serves as block leader for VET 410, Endocrinology and Reproduction Block, and is actively engaged in teaching and mentoring in the graduate program in Nutrition.

Havel’s research focuses on identifying treatment strategies for mitigating adverse meta- bolic responses to weight gain induced by high sugar diets. His work has shown that plasma ApoC3 levels are strongly related to diet-induced hypertriglyceridemia, and that decreasing plasma ApoC3 levels using dietary fish oil or RNAi-mediated inhibition of ApoC3 levels attenuated fructose-induced hypertriglyceridemia in rhesus monkeys. Havel also identified the peptide hormone, adropin, as a potential contributor to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction following consumption of a high sugar diet.

In addition, Havel has contributed to diabetes research through his development of the UC Davis Type 2 diabetes mellitus rat. This rat model largely recapitulates the metabolic and pathophysiological changes induced by Type 2 diabetes mellitus in humans. Thus, these rats have become an important resource for investigators studying diabetes.

Havel has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals involving international collaborations from multiple countries. His impact is further substantiated by his “fingerprint” on Scopus: 17,901 citations with an H-index of 67 (as of August 2019). He is on the short list of the top experts on the impact of bariatric surgery and high fructose diets on metabolism, obesity and diabetes in humans and companion animals.


  • Past recipients of the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence
  • 2018  Nicole Baumgarth
    2018  Janet Foley
    2017  Helen E. Raybould
    2016  Jonna Mazet
    2015  Pam Lein
    2014  Dori Borjesson
    2013  Paul Russell
    2012  Peter Dickinson
    2011  Ian Gardner
    2010  Xinbin Chen
    2009  Gino Cortopassi
    2008  Stephen Barthold
    2007  Susan Stover
    2006  Alan Conley / Reen Wu
    2005  Edward Robert Atwill
    2004  Charles Plopper
    2003  N. James MacLachlan
    2002  Eugene Steffey
    2001  Laurel Gershwin
    2000  Alan Buckpitt
    1999  Dallas Hyde / Peter Moore
    1998  Patricia Conrad
    1997  Isaac Pessah
    1996  John Madigan
    1995  Quinton Rogers / James Morris
    1994  NONE
    1993  Edward Feldman
    1992  James Cullor
    1991  Richard Yamamoto
    1990  Bennie Osburn
    1989  Shri Giri
    1988  Tilahun Yilma
    1987  Niels Pedersen
    1986  Ronald Hedrick