UCI Associate Vice Chancellor for Research James Hicks received an honorary doctorate from Aarhus University in Denmark on Sept. 14. The professor of ecology & evolutionary biology has long collaborated with scientists at the Danish school, which is one of Europe’s top centers for biological study. Hicks is a leading researcher in comparative physiology; his specific focus is the evolutionary traits of cardiac systems in reptiles such as crocodiles and turtles. He has spent significant time at Aarhus conducting seminars and helping faculty evaluate dissertation oral arguments, among other efforts. Highlighting the ceremony was an appearance by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (pictured with Hicks). Hicks said he had no idea that he’d been nominated by Aarhus science professors for the honor. “I was completely blown away and surprised,” he said. “I did not anticipate this at all.”