The CNAS Report: Winter 2016

W I N T E R   2 0 1 6

Notes from College Building North

This is my first — and quite possibly my last — message to you from College Building North. Don't get me wrong — I plan to be here a long time; but when I arrived at UCR to serve as CNAS dean in January, it quickly became clear that the old saying is true: "Location, location, location." While our parking situation is the envy of everyone on campus, College Building North's fringe-of-campus location does not serve the mission of the dean's office well. That mission is multi-faceted, of course, but at its heart is a responsibility to serve our faculty. To do this, we are moving to the near-center of campus in the weeks ahead and invite you to visit us in our new quarters on the second floor of the Geology Building.

As you will see in this newsletter and in other stories on our website, our faculty and students continue to impress with their research, teaching and accomplishments. Not only did we add 30 new scientist/scholars to our ranks this past fall, we have Mark S. Alber, Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, joining us in June. He will become part of a distinguished cohort that includes Professors Julia Bailey-Serres and Yadong Yin, who were recently named to Reuters' list of the most influential scientists in the world. Congratulations go out to them and to Tracy Kahn, curator of UCR's Citrus Variety Collection, who was recently named Givaudan Endowed Chair. Sadly, we also report on our recent loss of two emeritus faculty members. We all owe the late Professors Bruce Chalmers and Earl Oatman a debt of gratitude for their roles in the success of our students, our college and our university.

While the Student Success Stories section of our website is bursting with good news, we are proud to recognize two most-recent accomplishments. Ph.D. candidate Eleinis Avila-Lovera has been selected for a U.S. Agency for International Development fellowship and will work with the Universidad Central de Venezuela to study cultivating cacao in an agroforestry system. Fourth-year undergraduate physics major Connor Richards, who serves as president of the CNAS Science Ambassadors, is the first UCR student to be awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Steven Brint called, ". . . the most prestigious award for graduate study that any UCR undergraduate has ever won."

It's an exciting time to be part of CNAS and I look forward to sharing with you in the months and years ahead many more stories of our success.

With warm regards,

Kathyrn Uhrich

New Faculty 2014-15

Ma and Vidalakis to Co-Direct $4M Grant on Destructive Citrus Disease HLB

Wenbo Ma, associate professor of plant pathology and microbiology, and Georgios Vidalakis, associate CE specialist and director, Citrus Clonal Protection Program, are PI or Co-PI on a new $4-million USDA grant that will seek to control citrus huanglongbing (HLB). Also known as citrus greening disease, HLB is one of the most destructive diseases of citrus worldwide and first enters a citrus tree via the tiny Asian citrus psyllid.

New Faculty 2014-15

CNAS Welcomes 30 New Faculty to its Ranks for 2015-16

Thirty new faculty joined the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for the 2015-16 academic year, filling positions in the Departments of Biochemistry, Biology, Botany and Plant Science, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Entomology, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Nematology, Physics and Astronomy, Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and Statistics.

Bailey-Serres and Yin

Bailey-Serres and Yin Named Among World's Most Influential Scientists

CNAS scientists Juilia Bailey-Serres (botany and plant sciences) and Yadong Yin (chemistry) have been named to the Thomson Reuters 2015 list of “some of the best and brightest minds of our times.” The 2015 list focuses on contemporary research achievement using highly cited papers in journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection during the 11-year period 2003-2013 and defined as those that rank in the top one percent by citations for field and publication year. 

Bruce Chalmars and Earl Oatman

Emeritus Faculty Members Chalmers and Oatman Pass Away

The CNAS community was saddened to learn of the loss of two emeritus colleagues: Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Bruce Chalmers, who passed away December 11; and Professor Emeritus of Entomology Earl Oatman, who passed away December 13. Professor Chalmers joined the Department of Mathematics in 1976 and retired in 2008. Professor Oatman was hired at UCR in 1962 to work in Biological Control, served for a time as chair of the Division of Biological Control, and retired in 1988.

Mark S. Alber

Distinguished Professor Mark S. Alber to Join UCR’s Department of Mathematics

Distinguished Professor Mark S. Alber will join the faculty in the CNAS Department of Mathematics effective June 30, 2016. Professor Alber is currently the Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Notre Dame.

Tracy Kahn

Tracy Kahn Appointed Givaudan Endowed Chair

Tracy Kahn, curator of UCR’s Citrus Variety Collection, has been appointed the Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection Endowed Chair. The appointment, which went into effect July 1, 2015 and runs through June 30, 2020, allows the collection to be supported and maintained in perpetuity.


Richards Awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Connor Richards, a fourth-year physics major, has been awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world. He is one of about 40 American students who received the award, and he is the first UCR student to be granted the award. He will read for a Master of Advanced Study in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.


Avila-Lovera Awarded USAID Fellowship for Research in Venezuela

Eleinis Avila-Lovera, a Ph.D. candidate working under the direction of Associate Professor of Physiological Ecology Louis Santigao, has been selected for a U.S. Agency for International Development fellowship co-sponsored by the UC Global Food Initiative. Working with the Universidad Central de Venezuela, she will return to her native country to study cultivating cacao in an agroforestry system.

Connect with CNAS on Social Media

Did you know CNAS has a Facebook page? And a YouTube channel? How about Flickr, Instagram and Twitter accounts? We invite you to like us, connect with us, engage with us, and let us know how we can keep you better informed about news, events and the many success stories being generated by CNAS faculty and students in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the community. E-mail works, too: cnascommunications@ucr.edu.

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For more news about the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, visit our News Archive.Your donations help support CNAS students and programs. Learn more about supporting CNAS.

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