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10/28/16

If fictional scientist Victor Frankenstein had created a mate for his nameless Creature, humans would have gone extinct in about 4,000 years, according to a new study co-authored by a UC Merced professor. Two hundred years ago this year, 18-year-old author Mary Shelley began writing her now-classic horror novel and cautionary tale about the idea of playing God. Scholars who typically examine the book from a literary perspective...

10/24/16

New assistant professor in physics, David Strubbe gave an interview in Spanish about the physics conference “7th Time-Dependent Density-Functional Theory: Prospects and Applications,” which he attended in Benasque, Spain in September. Professor Strubbe was an instructor for the school as well as an invited speaker for a workshop. Time-dependent density-functional theory is a theoretical technique for solving the equations...

10/21/16

Adjunct Professor Gabriela Loots is studying why certain cancers prefer to metastasize to bone, using novel technology developed by fellow UC Merced Professor Michael Cleary. Her work, which takes place mainly at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, earned her a three-year, $768,803 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. “Once these kinds of cancer reach the bone, they form very aggressive tumors,”...

10/10/16

Fifty years ago this year, while a freshman faculty member in the University of Chicago Physics Department, Roland Winston published a paper introducing a new field he called nonimaging optics. In it, he described the compound parabolic concentrator (CPC), a highly efficient device that collects and concentrates light, and introduced “Winston Cones,” non-imaging light collectors that by their design maximize the amount...

10/03/16

Professor Anna Beaudin is just starting up her lab at UC Merced, but a paper she recently published already has some big implications for understanding autoimmune disease, allergies and rejection of transplanted organs.A developmental biologist with the School of Natural Sciences and an affiliate of the Health Sciences Research Institute, Beaudin studies how hematopoietic, or blood, stem cells are established during...

09/28/16

Biofilms — colonies of microorganisms living inside a protective coating — are everywhere, from the plaque we scrub off our teeth each day to the slimy green masses that form on rocks in streams. They are on the inside and outside of our bodies, in our oceans, and on natural and manmade surfaces, including medical implants such as artificial heart valves and catheters.

09/22/16

UC Merced Professor Roland Winston will will deliver details on a groundbreaking hybrid solar collector he’s working on that simultaneously generates electricity and very-high-temperature heat at the annual 2016 UC Solar Research Symposium slated for Oct. 7 at UC Davis.The University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar) — a multi-campus research collaborative headquartered at UC Merced — develops...

09/21/16

Graduate students at the University of California, Merced, will benefit from extensive new research, funding and training opportunities, thanks to two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling more than $3.25 million. Interdisciplinary groups of computational sciences researchers won two of the 30 NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program grants the agency is giving out this year...

09/13/16

Of the nation’s 10 best public universities, six are University of California campuses. U.S. News and World Report issues its list of the best American colleges and universities each fall. The magazine assesses academic reputation and outcomes, with graduation and retention carrying the most weight in its methodology. The top schools all have high graduation rates and strong rates of freshman retention.

09/13/16

UC Merced found itself this week on another list of the natrion's top universities high graduate rates and alumni giving. The U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best College rankings rated UC Merced No. 78 among public colleges and No. 152 overall among national universities. UC Merced has been ranked on the list in the past for specific ...

09/13/16

MERCED — U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of national universities, and UC Merced has made the top 10 among schools that exceed graduation rate expectations. Overall, UC Merced ranked 78th among public schools and 152 in the “National Universities” category. Stanislaus State University ranked No. 14 among public universities in the West region, up one position from last year...

09/13/16

The University of California’s youngest, smallest and least-prestigious campus finally got some big-time respect, when a closely watched list of the nation’s best universities included UC Merced for the first time. Long considered the campus of last resort for UC-bound students, UC Merced ranked 152nd among 298 national universities reviewed by U.S. News & World Report. All of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses made ...

08/29/16

The University of California ranks among the nation’s best colleges in serving the public interest, with six campuses making the top 20 and all nine undergraduate campuses in the top 100, according to Washington Monthly.The magazine today (Aug. 29) released its annual College Guide and Rankings, which assessed universities and colleges across the country on how well they improve social mobility, produce research and promote public service.

08/29/16

Looking back on his years as one of the first students at UC Merced, Vinh Vo remembers how the brand-new university served him not only as a student, but also by preparing him for graduate school and his current career as a dentist.Vo, who graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, said the faculty and staff members he interacted with during his four years were supportive of his goals and played a major role in his successes at UC Merced and beyond.

08/08/16

Faculty members from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science , Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Mechanical Engineering groups are forming the newest research center at UC Merced, seeking the best ways to conduct high-performance computing. With a hardware donation from the NVIDIA Corporation and through the company’s GPU Centers Reward Program, professors Dong Li,...

08/01/16

Professor Jessica Blois is the newest recipient of the International Biogeography Society’s MacArthur & Wilson Award recognizing early career work and contributions to biogeography.Blois, a paleoecologist with the School of Natural Sciences, is the only recipient of this year’s award, which the International Biogeography Society (IBS) gives biennially to faculty members who have completed their Ph.D.s within the past 12 years.

07/25/16

A science literacy nonprofit created by UC Merced students is gaining an international foothold with planned expansion into classrooms in Ecuador.Growth is nothing new for BEAT — short for Biology, Engineering, Agriculture and Technology — but jumping the border is a significant step for the organization. BEAT co-founder and UC Merced alumnus Steven Duval Ruilova recently met with business leaders and educators in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss the organization’s model,...

06/27/16

Several students, faculty members and the provost represented UC Merced at the University of California’s recent Carbon Slam event, placing in the presentation competitions and increasing the campus’s visibility among peers and the public.Professors Michael Dawson, Elliott Campbell, Martha Conklin and Roger Bales attended, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Tom Peterson served as an emcee, two of Campbell’s graduate students each...

06/27/16

One of the most stunning sights in Yosemite National Park has nothing to do with granite. It’s the night sky, Milky Way and all. But light pollution within the park can diminish that experience for visitors as well as change the circadian rhythms of flora and fauna. UC Merced graduate student Melissa Ricketts has found an answer. And she’s turning one of her mentor’s inventions on its head to do it.

06/24/16

On June 24th the School of Natural Sciences held its third Annual Staff Award event that recognized staff that demonstrate the highest levels of commitment and dedication to the School of Natural Sciences and the university. Two categories of awards were handed out, one to recognize individual staff contributions through the Individual STAR Award and one to recognize team/unit contributions through the Team STAR Award. Nominations were solicited from faculty, students, and other colleagues from across the campus. Individual STAR Award...

06/06/16
UC Merced Ranked Top 10

Tuition has been on a constant rise making it increasingly difficult for students to pay their tuition, fees, and living expenses. This increase in tuition is why most students have resorted to scholarships and fellowships to fund their education, instead of taking out massive loans and accumulating crushing debt.The Good Call 2016 Best Schools for Scholarships Report has ranked UC Merced No. 8 out of 500 different universities and colleges all across the nation...

05/23/16
Campus To Get New Research Growing Spaces

Everyone knows UC Merced is growing, but pretty soon, the campus will be growing lots of plant specimens for research, too. The School of Natural Sciences is buying a pair of greenhouses that will be installed at the eastern end of campus near the North Bowl parking lot. The greenhouses will allow plant biology professors Emily Moran and Jason Sexton and their students to grow seedlings for study, but will also be used by many other faculty, graduate student and undergraduate researchers...

05/17/16

Research from UC Merced Professor Néstor J. Oviedo shows that in flatworms, cells with damaged DNA proliferate more in upper areas of the body and near brain tissue. Cancer cells divide with more frequency and are more resilient when they are closer to the brain, indicating a potential link between cell growth and the nervous system, according to new research from Professor Néstor J. Oviedo of the University of California, Merced...

05/11/16
Campus's First Undocumented Doctoral Recipient

A doctoral degree is something to be proud of. It is the culmination of years of study and hard work — a mark of determination, willpower and excellence in research and scholarship. For Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate student Yuriana Aguilar and the growing population of undocumented students like her, it is also a beacon of change and promise. Aguilar, who will participate in the 2016 commencement ceremony on Sunday (May 15), makes UC Merced history as the campus’s first undocumented Ph.D. recipient. Aguilar...

05/09/16
Student Laura Showalter is Committed to Excellence

“Ambitious” isn’t a good enough word for Laura Showalter. “High-achiever” doesn’t exactly do her justice, either. Her motto seems to be “why achieve when you can overachieve?” Now 20, the Merced native completed third and fourth grades simultaneously, graduated early from high school and moved on to junior college at age 14 before transferring to UC Merced. She’ll graduate this spring with a double major —chemistry and management — and nearly a 4...

05/02/16
New Supercomputing Cluster to Expand Campus Capabilities

A proposal to conduct high-performance computing across science and engineering disciplines has won UC Merced and Professor Christine Isborn a research computing cluster that will be used for a variety of projects across campus. Each year, Silicon Mechanics, a Washington-based provider of servers, storage and high-performance computing technologies, gives two such grants to campuses, nonprofits and federal labs chosen from across North America. Each winner gets a complete high-performance computing cluster worth about $100,000....

04/28/16
NIH Funds Research Into Stem Cells, Bone Disease

A new study from UC Merced Professor Jennifer O. Manilay promises to shed new light on how bone diseases can affect the maintenance of healthy blood and immune cell development throughout life. Funded by a $434,000 grant over three years from the National Institutes of Health — specifically the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — Manilay’s study will examine how blood and bone stem cells communicate and work together, and what happens to one when the other is unhealthy. Stem cells live in a resting...

04/27/16
Researchers Dive Into Big Data to Predict NBA Winners

Before you place any bets on the next NBA playoff games, take a look at UC Merced Professor Harish Bhat’s Twitter account. He’s tweeting daily predictions based on an innovative new algorithm, and so far this postseason, he’s right about 80 percent of the time. In about 10 minutes a day, Bhat and two of his students run simulations for each team in each day’s matchup between 10,000 and 100,000 times before tweeting their predictions. The calculations take about 10 minutes. “We could...

04/11/16
Oceanic 'Dead Zone' Research Earns Campus's 13 CAREER Award

Professor Michael Beman, with the School of Natural Sciences, became the 13th faculty member to win a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award since the campus opened. The grant provides nearly $700,000 over the next five years to help the UC Merced life sciences professor further his studies of oceanic hypoxic and anoxic (low- and no-oxygen) “dead zones.” “There are microbes that can consume the oxygen all the way down to zero, and it appears there are some organisms...

04/04/16
Study Shows How Plants Could Adapt to Changing Climate

If you want to understand how plant populations will respond as the climate changes, just examine the plants in different locations. That’s one of the conclusions drawn by UC Merced School of Natural Sciences Professor Jason Sexton in a new paper that’s part of a special issue of the American Journal of Botany exploring the evolution of plants. Written by Sexton and graduate student Erin Dickman, “What Can Local and Geographic Population Limits Tell Us about Distributions?” looks at different...

03/30/16
Pine Bacteria Getting a Closer Look From Scientists

Professor Carolin Frank’s research into the nitrogen-fixing properties of bacteria inside the needles of some high-elevation pine trees is the topic of a new paper in the journal New Phytologist. Frank, with the School of Natural Sciences, won a $1.6 million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014 for her work on foliar endophytes. “Evidence for Foliar Endophytic Nitrogen Fixation in a Widely Distributed Subalpine Conifer” is the first publication to come from that research....

03/28/16
Students Part of 'Symbiotic' Effort to Meld Art With Science

Graduate student Sabah Ul-Hasan translated her love of science into four separate college degrees. She holds bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, and environmental and sustainability studies, and a master’s in biochemistry (marine science) from universities in Utah and New Hampshire. Ul-Hasan, a Ph.D. Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in Quantitative and Systems Biology at UC Merced, is working on a documentary series called BIOTA, which unites art and science and applies them to social justice issues. The documentary project...

03/07/16
New Study Shows Early Human Impacts on Biodiversity

Even without all the industrial and technological growth that has accelerated climate change, humans can — and do — dramatically impact ecosystems. A new paper in Nature Communications, co-authored by UC Merced Professor Marilyn Fogel, indicates early humans were responsible for the fairly rapid extinction of the 10-foot-tall flightless bird Genyornis newtoni in Australia about 47,000 years ago, simply through hunting and the interruption of reproduction. In “Human Predation Contributed to the Extinction of...

03/07/16
Student Volunteers Work With Local Department

In Fall 2007, Maricela Rangel-Garcia became one of the first UC Merced students to sign up for a new, non-clinical volunteer program in the busy Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department (ED). Her participation in what has become a vital and growing program cemented her career path. “I decided to volunteer because I wanted general experience with doctors and patients,” said Rangel-Garcia, a Clovis resident who graduated in 2009 with a degree in biological sciences. “The program was a great way to gain...

02/29/16
Researchers Identify Drug That Could Treat Melanoma

Less than a year after mapping the genetic landscape of melanoma, a researcher from the University of California, Merced, has identified a drug that could be effective in battling the deadly skin cancer. UC Merced Professor Fabian V. Filipp led a team of researchers on the new project, the results of which were published today (Feb. 29) in the journal Neoplasia. Filipp’s previous study used data from The Cancer Genome Atlas — which includes DNA sequences from 471 melanoma patients and more than 12,000 cancer...

02/23/16
Professor Elected to Leadership Role With American Physical Society

Professor Anne Myers Kelley, with the School of Natural Sciences, has been elected vice-chair of the Division of Laser Science (DLS) of the American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest organization of physicists. Kelley, one of the first faculty members to join the campus in 2003, is with the Chemistry and Chemical Biology group in her school. She will serve as vice-chair until October, then move into the positions of chair-elect, chair and past chair, each for one year. “It’s a very nice honor from my...

02/12/16
Research Raises UC Merced's Standing on Carnegie List

UC Merced moved up in ranking on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education list, which officials say highlights the campus’s research activity. Designated a “doctoral-granting university with higher research activity,” the second-highest classification for U.S. research universities, UC Merced made its first appearance at that level on the Carnegie list...

02/02/16
Group Offers Encouragement, Support to Women In STEM

A new organization at UC Merced is working to close the gender gap by engaging, supporting and mentoring women in fields traditionally dominated by men. WSTEM — or Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — brings together undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, professors and staff members of both genders...

01/28/16
Faculty Climate Champion Puts Plan Into Action

Biodiversity Professor Michael Dawson has been named UC Merced’s inaugural Faculty Climate Action Champion by the UC Office of the President (UCOP). Dawson’s work and his plan, which formed a proposal for a project to engage the campus and community in sustainability, earned him the title and $25,000 to fund a research project in the 2015-16 academic year. UCOP recently announced its first Faculty Climate Action Champions, with one selection from each UC campus. Through the award, Dawson, with the School of...

01/26/16
Researchers Find Key to Harmful Pathogen's Transformation

A team of scientists led by UC Merced Professor Aaron D. Hernday has made a major advancement in understanding how the most common fungal pathogen in humans can alter its cellular phenotype and behavior. Although typically a benign component of the human microbiome, Candida albicans can transition into a dangerous pathogen that can cause yeast infections in women, thrush in babies, and serious bloodstream infections in people with compromised immune systems. The researchers have discovered a transcriptional regulator that controls the...

01/21/16
Boot Camp Participants Start the Year Out Writing

UC Merced Graduate Division's second Dissertation Boot Camp - a weeklong intensive writing program for graduate students - successfully wrapped up last week, and participants agreed the experience was an extremely positive one. Twenty students from five graduate groups participated after completing applications and committing to attend and to work on their projects for a full work week. During the week, participants took advantage of dedicated quiet writing space, one-on-one editing assistance, daily productive workshops and more...

01/13/16
Researcher's Work Shows History

Shakespeare might have been right when he wrote “what’s past is prologue,” but not when it comes to modeling climate change. A new study shows that rising air temperatures could have a crippling effect on the likelihood of precipitation falling as snow. That’s a huge problem for California, because the snowpack in the Sierra is the state’s natural reservoir, storing up snow in the winter for release through spring and summer melt. Lead author Mohammad Safeeq, a research hydrologist with...

12/17/15
Natural Sciences Dean Election to AAAS Council

School of Natural Sciences Dean Juan Meza has been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) council, representing the Section on Mathematics. The association is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people, with one of its major goals being to communicate science to the public to convey its importance. Meza’s term begins in February and lasts three years. “I want to make sure I do a good job of representing...

12/16/15
Humans Have Disrupted Ecosystems for 6,000 Years, Research Shows

The basic structure of Earth’s ecosystems lasted for 300 million years but changed about 6,000 years ago, and humans are the most likely reason. A team of about 25 researchers from around the globe, including UC Merced Professor Jessica Blois, outline that discovery in a paper published today in the journal Nature. “Over the past 10,000 years, we see rapid changes in natural communities,” said Blois, a professor in UC Merced’s School of Natural Sciences. “We really see the turning point happening...

12/09/15
Researchers Model Near Future of Coastal Redwoods' Habitat

Many species of trees and plants have begun migrating as the climate changes, but some, like California’s giant coastal redwoods, can’t just pick up and move. The proximity of the ocean, which has unique effects on temperature and climate, makes it challenging to predict what the redwoods’ habitat will look like in the future. By using California’s historical climate data, UC Merced researchers have developed near-term predictions about the coastal habitat for the archetypal redwoods. The trees will...

12/08/15
Professor Wins Major Award for 'Time Machine' Project

UC Merced Professor Miriam Barlow was honored with a major award last month for her role in developing a method to restore the efficacy of antibiotics and help doctors deal with resistant bacteria. Barlow, a biologist, worked with American University mathematician Kristina Crona on the “Time Machine” software to rewind the evolution of bacteria. For that project, Barlow and Crona were chosen from among five finalists in the Health and Medicine category of the annual World Technology Network awards...

11/24/15
Professor Joins Executive Board of American Physical Society

Professor Linda Hirst, with the School of Natural Sciences, has been elected to the executive council of GSOFT, the new Topical Group on Soft Matter in the American Physical Society (APS), the world's largest organization of physicists. Professor Linda Hirst“This is a big honor and is very exciting,” Hirst said. “I wanted to become more involved with the APS, and this is a great way to do it. This will bring a lot more attention to soft-matter physics at UC Merced, too.”..

11/23/15
Professor Takes A Bird's-Eye View of Collective Movements

All of life is motion — whether it is molecules shuttling around within our cells or flocks of birds in the sky. Physics Professor Ajay Gopinathan, with the School of Natural Sciences, and the researchers in his lab are investigating the general principles governing such biological transport...

10/30/15
Campus Research Taking a Healthy Approach

The University of California, Merced, was plotted at the juncture of mountains, fields and urban sprawl with the mission of serving the diverse needs of the San Joaquin Valley region. Little has changed with that philosophy a decade later as UC Merced flips the switch on a new era in which public and human health sciences will be some of the core subjects for the institution in its teaching, research, faculty recruitment and program development. As research funding and activity has grown exponentially on campus, studies have...

10/29/15
New Grands Aid Chemist's Research, Support Student Learning

Almost $2 million in grants will go a long way toward helping Professor Christine Isborn and colleagues at other universities learn more about the molecular processes involved in capturing solar energy, energy storage and telecommunications for the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. The money will also allow Isborn to further work with upper-division students to help them succeed and stick with their chemistry studies. “It’s super exciting,” the quantum chemistry professor said. “I was...

10/27/15
UC Merced Experts Part of New UC Climate Report

The University of California aims to lead the way to a sustainable future in the face of global warming, and UC Merced professors have contributed to a report that offers practical steps to help get there. “Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions for Carbon Neutrality and Climate Stability,” an intercampus report due out in the spring, presents paths for limiting climate warming to no more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit and preventing the consequences any further warming would cause. An executive summary, released today...

10/22/15
Professor Helps Identify New Giant Galapagos Tortoise Species

Professor Danielle Edwards is part of a team of researchers that made a huge discovery recently about two groups of giant Galapagos tortoises — they are actually two different species. The team’s paper, entitled “Description of a new Galapagos Giant Tortoise Species (Chelonoidis; Testudines: Testudinidae) from Cerro Fatal on Santa Cruz Island,” appears online today in the journal PlosOne. “It’s not every day you can name a new species of major vertebrate,” Edwards said. “...

10/16/15
Professor's Invention Helps Scientists Win Nobel Prize

Professor Roland Winston has been tracking the Sudbury Neutrino Experiment since it began in the 1980s, because he invented the light collectors the scientists built to detect solar neutrinos. “I just wanted to make sure they worked,” he said. Last week, Winston learned with the rest of the world that the collectors not only worked, but were critical to the experiment that shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. “It’s a very important experiment,” said ...

09/28/15
GEM Consortium Brings New Fellowship Opportunities

New fellowship opportunities are available to undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields at UC Merced, thanks to the university’s recent acceptance as a member in the National GEM Consortium. GEM is a partnership between universities and industry with the common goal of increasing diversity in the STEM workforce, particularly in the areas of engineering and applied science. Industry and universities jointly recruit high-quality, underrepresented students for graduate studies in STEM...

09/28/15
New Nanomaterials Taking Research to Mexico, Possibly to Space

Professors Linda Hirst and Sayantani Ghosh are combining liquid crystals with nanoparticles such as gold and quantum dots to come up with a new platform that could have applications in fields such as optics and medicine. And the two new grants the School of Natural Sciences researchers have earned could help take their creations out of this world — literally. A National Science Foundation grant of $410,000 will help Hirst and Ghosh study the fundamental physics behind the capsules that form when...

07/16/15
NIH Grant Charts Path to UC Merced

A new grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will create a pipeline to UC Merced doctoral degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences for underrepresented minority students from California State University, Fresno. UC Merced Professor Andy LiWang and Fresno State Professor Krish Krishnan were recently awarded a nearly $1.4 million Bridges to the Doctorate grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)...

05/11/15
Graduate Students Honored At 2nd CRTE Awards Ceremony

On Friday, May 8, the Center for Research and Teaching Excellence (CRTE) and the Graduate Division hosted their second-annual awards ceremony and reception in the California Room. More than 100 undergraduates, graduate students and faculty were recognized for their contributions to teaching excellence at UC Merced during the ceremony...