College News Archive 2016


April 5, 2018

pDean Uhrich Helps Promote California Science in Nation's Capital 

CNAS Dean Kathryn Uhrich joined a delegation to Washington D.C. visiting more than 30 congressional offices to brief lawmakers and staff on Agriculture and Natural Resource research in California.

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April 2, 2018

pMicrobiome Study Suggests Marine Nematodes Are Not Picky Eaters 

UCR research finding no relationship between nematodes species and microbial profile suggests marine worms don't have a restrictive diet.

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March 15, 2018

pUC Riverside Launches Air Quality and Climate Change Training Program 

ACT program will train students and professionals to measure air quality and climate change and meet growing workforce needs.

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March 14, 2018

pUCR Researchers Receive Grant to Improve Pollinator Health 

Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research award will identify best management practices to protect bees.

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March 14, 2018

pSpring Garden Market and Plant Sale Set for April 7 

UCR Botanic Gardens sale will include thousands of plants, including rare and unusual varieties.

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March 14, 2018

pPhysics Student Awarded Outstanding Paper Award 

Physics grad student Fatemeh Barati won the Ken Hass Outstanding Student Paper Award at a recent national conference.

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March 7, 2018

p$1 Million Gift Empowers Next Generation of Scientists 

Undergraduate research is benefactor of gift from Rochelle Campbell and Professor Sue Wessler.

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February 26, 2018

pUCR Magazine Covers the Inspiring Story of CNAS Alum/Researcher 

Biochemistry alumnus and CNAS researcher Bassam Theodory ’17 and his family dropped everything to escape Syria. Now the former transfer student wants to become a doctor like his dad, who is back treating patients in Aleppo.

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February 22, 2018

pA Citrus Love Affair 

As the curator of UC Riverside’s Citrus Variety Collection, Tracy Kahn has handled fruits as big as a person’s head, and as small as a pea.

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February 21, 2018

pTropical Trees use Unique Method to Resist Drought 

UCR research may alleviate concerns about impact of drought on Amazonian trees, which play a critical role in regulating the global climate.

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February 16, 2018

pUCR Professor Selected as Sloan Research Fellow 

CNAS faculty Sandra Kirtland Turner is among 126 outstanding early-career researchers honored across eight fields.

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February 14, 2018

pMolecular Biochemist Katayoon Dehesh Profiled in The Scientist 

The director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology talks about her escape from Iran during the height of the Iran-Iraq War, her path to UC Riverside, and her goal to help women and girls around the world through education initiatives.

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February 12, 2018

pUCR Plant Pathology Graduate Students Receive Mathre Education Endowment Fund 

Plant Pathology graduate students Gabriel Ortiz, Claudia Castro, Derreck Carter-House, Antara Chakravarty and Nichole Ginnan have been awarded a grant from the American Phytopathological Society Foundation through the Mathre Education Endowment.

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February 9, 2018

foodFeast on Facts during Food Evolution Screening on March 16th

There will be a a free public screening of Food Evolution, a science-based investigation into the controversy of GMOs. Followed by a panel discussion which includes the film's producer and director, Academy Award Nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy.

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February 8, 2018

ffBiologists Decipher a Key Piece of the Odor Detection Puzzle in Flies, Mosquitoes

UC Riverside study led by Associate Professor Anandasankar Ray, offers a path to safer products to protect against disease-carrying mosquitoes, and chemicals to control crop-damaging pests.

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February 7, 2018

enScientists Crack Structure of Enzyme Complex Linked to Cancer

UC Riverside study led by Associate Professor Jikui Song offers important information for understanding "de novo DNA methylation"

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February 6, 2018

dnaFour UCR Undergraduates Awarded Prestigious Research Fellowships

CNAS Biology undergraduate students Benjamin Meza, Diana Medina-Yerena, Alejandro Quinones, and Sabrina Stulting have won fellowships from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)'s Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP).

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February 5, 2018

janetMapping the First Family Tree for Tropical Forests

Janet Franklin, Distinguished Professor of Biogeography, worked among an international team of researchers that unraveled the evolutionary history of the world's tropical forests.

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February 5, 2018

hagaResearchers Receive $1M for Project Challenging Long-Standing Paradigm in Endocrinology

CNAS faculty Sachiko Haga-Yamanaka, Naoki Yamanaka, and Frances Sladek receive W.M. Keck Foundation's award which will support research focused on steroid hormone transport in cells.

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February 2, 2018

basmatiThe Science Behind the Scenes of 'Basmati Blues'

UCR geneticist Norman Ellstrand lent his scientific expertise to a musical romantic comedy centered around genetically modified rice.

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February 2, 2018

gillianGillian Wilson to Serve as Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

Gillian Wilson, a professor of physics and astronomy, has been named senior associate vice chancellor for research and economic development at UC Riverside, in the Office of Research and Economic Development (RED).

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January 24, 2018

antsFor Global Invasion, Argentine Ants Use Chemical Weapons

Assistant Professor Dong-Hwan Choe leads research on how compounds produced by Argentine ants are used to recruit nestmates and incapacitate opponents.

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January 19, 2018

natashaDistinguished Professor Named Interim Editor-in-Chief of PNAS

Natasha V. Raikhel, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Plant Cell Biology and former director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology (IIGB), has been named interim editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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January 12, 2018

hblUCR Professor Develops the Newest Weapon for the Citrus Industry

Mikael Roose, professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, shares an insect trap being developed to catch Asian citrus psyllids, which can spread the huanglongbing [HLB] bacteria among citrus trees. 

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January 10, 2018

pDepartment of Earth Sciences to Host "Are We Alone?" Lecture Series

The search for alien life defines a new era of space exploration. Learn how scientists hope to find life beyond Earth, and explore what that means for humanity.

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January 2, 2018

mosGenetic Changes Help Mosquitoes Survive Pesticide Attacks

UCR study shows how intensive pesticide use is driving mosquito evolution at the genetic level.

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December 19, 2017

spUCR Researchers Identify Nontraditional Sites for Future Solar Farms

Equivalent of 183,000 football fields of nonagricultural land identified in study aiming to ease competition between farmers, conservationists, and energy companies.

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December 8, 2017

citedFour CNAS Faculty Named to Most Highly Cited List

Julia Bailey-Serres, Sean Cutler, Timothy Lyons and Yadong Yin make the 2017 list of the most cited researchers worldwide compiled by Clarivate Analytics

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December 5, 2017

fogelMarilyn Fogel Appointed Inaugural Wilber W. Mayhew Endowed Chair in Geo-Ecology

Marilyn Fogel, a professor of Earth Sciences, was appointed the inaugural holder of the Wilbur W. Mayhew Endowed Chair in Geo-Ecology at a Nov. 30 symposium and naming ceremony. See photos from the event here.

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December 5, 2017

anuResearchers Show How Insect Food Choice can be Manipulated

Applications of UC Riverside study could include controlling spread of mosquito-borne diseases and damage to agricultural crops.

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December 4, 2017

shineCNAS Shines a Light on Plant Growth and Development

UCR CNAS researchers have discovered how plants respond to changes in light at the molecular level.

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November 20, 2017

cutlerCNAS Professor Sean Cutler Named AAAS Fellow

Sean Cutler, a professor of plant cell biology at the University of California, Riverside, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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November 17, 2017

mosWired Magazine Covers Gene-Editing on Mosquitoes at UCR

Wired magazine and others highlight a study led by Omar Akbari, assistant professor of entomology, and his team's successful development of transgenic mosquitoes through the use of gene-editing technologies.

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November 16, 2017

earthNASA is Studying Earth to Find Signs of Life on Distant Planets

Newsweek highlights research by Stephen Kane, associate professor of Earth sciences, and his participation in a Reddit AMA on the search for life on other planets by NASA Earth scientists.

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November 15, 2017

plateletsHow and Why Blood Clots Shrink

UCR CNAS research elucidating how blood clots contract could help in the development of new treatments for heart attack and stroke.

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November 6, 2017

newfacMeet the New Faculty for 2017 

Recently honored at a new faculty reception on October 27, 19 scholars joined the ranks of CNAS faculty this year. See their photos and bios.

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November 5, 2017

cynCynthia K. Larive Named UCR Provost

Larive, a CNAS alumna and professor of chemistry, served in a number of leadership positions in the college and UCR before being named as the university’s chief academic officer.

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November 3, 2017

palmGrant to Help CNAS Researchers Fight Destructive Palm Weevil

Mark Hoddle, director of the Center for Invasive Species, and his team, will work with ISCA Technologies, a Riverside biotech company, to develop environmentally-friendly pest controls to save California’s iconic palm trees and protect the date palm industry from the invasive South American palm weevil.

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November 2, 2017

cardeCardé Named Fellow of California Academy of Sciences

Ring Cardé, distinguished professor and Alfred M. Boyce Chair in Entomology, has been named a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS).

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October 25, 2017

riggsUCR Science Alumni Dr. Arthur D. Riggs '61 and Dr. John Leonard '78 Honored

The UCR Medallion was awarded to Riggs, a renowned researcher at City of Hope, and Leonard who is SVP for Development at Vaccinex Inc., was awared the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Both received their awards at the Chancellor's Dinner on October 21.

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October 25, 2017

tectonicEarthquake Risk Elevated with Detection of Spontaneous Tectonic Tremor in Anza Gap

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have detected spontaneous tectonic tremor, which may predict a massive earthquake in the future.

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October 20, 2017

wenCNAS Faculty Honored for Patents and Innovations

The First Annual UCR Patent Award Ceremony and EPIC anniversary took place October 11, honoring 27 UCR researchers who were issued patents in the last fiscal year, including 14 faculty from the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

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October 18, 2017

ggAstronomer Gillian Wilson Named an ELATE Fellow

Gillian Wilson from the department of Physics & Astronomy has been named a fellow of ELATE at Drexel, and elite professional development program for senior women faculty in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

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October 13, 2017

nPhysicist Nathan Gabor Named a 2017 CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar

The assistant professor of physics is one of only 15 exceptional early career investigators to receive the prestigious two-year appointment this year.

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October 9, 2017

pRevolutionizing the Way Solar Energy is Collected

A research team led by Assistant Professor of Physics Nathaniel M. Gabor has developed a photodetector- a device that senses light- which could have broad impact on the efficiency of solar energy collection. The study appears in the journal Nature Nanotechnology

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October 6, 2017

mSymposium Launches New Microbiome Initiative for UCR

The UCR Microbiome “Initiative,” a new program meant to bring researchers together who focus on the microbiome from around the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) and the School of Medicine (SOM), held its Inaugural Symposium and Datablitz on Sept. 27.

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October 2, 2017

sCNAS Study Shows the Upside and Downside of Genetically Modified Soybean Oil

Research led by Professor of Cell Biology and Divisional Dean for Life Sciences Francene Sladek has tested a genetically-modified soybean oil used in restaurants and found that while it induces less obesity and insulin resistance than conventional soybean oil, its effects on diabetes and fatty liver are similar to those of conventional soybean oil. The findings were published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Read more


September 14, 2017

mmNew Findings on the Effects of Third-hand Smoke Exposure

The research, lead by Manuela Martins-Green, Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, found that exposure effects health as early as one month after initiation, and worsens overtime.

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September 8, 2017

orangesideCNAS Researchers Are on the Forefront in the Fight Against a Deadly Citrus Disease 

With the recent discovery of Huanglongbing (HLB) in Riverside, a disease that has decimated citrus trees in Florida, CNAS faculty have been working with government and industry officials to detect and fight the disease while pioneering new ways to treat infected trees and prevent HLB's spread. 

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August 28, 2017

bbNew Article by Professor Janet Franklin Highlights Impact of Global Warming on Ecosystems 

The article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looks at the disappearance of certain bird species in the Bahamas during a warming event 12,000 years ago. 

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August 15, 2017

vbNew Center to Fight Vector-Borne Diseases

An $8 Million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new joint research center with UC Davis, the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. 

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August 8, 2017

woodardEntomologist Hollis Woodard in New York Times ScienceTake Video

The CNAS assistant professor of entomology discusses "Why do bees buzz?" 

Watch the video




July 20, 2017

nsfThree CNAS Faculty Among Those Chosen for NSF Early Career Awards

Asst. Prof. of Chemistry Boniface Fokwa, Asst. Prof. of Physics and Astronomy Nathaniel Gabor and Asst. Prof. of Mathematics Yulong Xing are awarded grants in recognition of their promising research and education excellence.

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July 19, 2017

mosTeam Led by CNAS Entomologist Wins $14.9 Million Grant to Combat Disease-Spreading Mosquitoes

Funded by a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Assistant Professor of Entomology Omar Akbari will lead research efforts on how advanced gene editing technologies can control mosquitos. 

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July 14, 2017

katDean Kathryn Uhrich Elected To College of Fellows for Controlled Release Society

The honor from the country's leading professional organization for delivery science and technology, was given to Uhrich, a chemist, for her "innovative research on polymers for controlled release applications [which] has advanced the field." 

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July 6, 2017

rainCNAS Climatologist Predicts More Rain for California in the Coming Years

Robert Allen, associate professor in the Earth Sciences department, with graduate student Rainer Luptowitz, published an article in the journal Nature Communications, showing that despite predictions of a drier climate due to global warming, California will actually get wetter in the years ahead. 

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June 26, 2017

kaMolecular Biochemist Named to German National Academy of Sciences

Katayoon Dehesh, known for her work on how stress signals are sensed in plants, joins an academy whose past members include Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. 

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May 5, 2017

susanUC Riverside Geneticist Named Royal Society Foreign Member

Susan Wessler, a distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, has been named a foreign member of the Royal Society, the leading science academy of the United Kingdom, whose past membership includes Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein.

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May 4, 2017

sladekCNAS Names New Divisional Dean of Life Sciences

Frances Sladek, professor of cell biology and toxicologist, has been named the Divisional Dean for Life Sciences in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). Her three-year appointment begins July 1, 2017. 

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April 25, 2017

cnasscholarCNAS Scholarship Recipients Announced

The College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Executive Committee announced the recipients of the 2016 – 2017 CNAS scholarships. Among the recipients were two CNAS Science Ambassadors, Amanda Tedesco and Abigail Burr and UCR's recent Goldwater Scholar, Shannon Sweitzer.

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December 14, 2016

Michael Pirrung
Pirrung Elected to National Academy of Inventors

Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Michael C. Pirrung is among 11 University of California innovators who were recently elected to the National Academy of Inventors for “. . . creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.”

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December 8, 2016

SHINES to Host Workshop on Spintronics and Thermal Transport

With support from the Vice Chancellor for Research, UCR's Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) on Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems (SHINES) will hold a workshop at UCR’s Palm Desert Center on January 12-13, 2017. The workshop will focus on the most recent development at the frontiers of spintronics and thermal transport in nano-materials and nano-devices.

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November 10, 2016

Gillian Wilson
Wilson Named Interim Deputy Director of UC Observatories

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Gillian Wilson has been named interim deputy director of UC Observatories, a multi-campus astronomical research unit with headquarters on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The unit operates the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, technical labs at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA, and is also a managing partner of the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The appointment comes just months after Wilson was named chair of the University of California Observatories Advisory Committee.

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July 11, 2016

Mahi fish
Study Shows Lingering Toxic Effects of Oil Pollution on Development of Fish Embryos and Larvae

In the first experiment evaluating the effects of oil from the three-million-barrel leak from the Deep Water Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Professor of Aquatic Ecotoxicology Daniel Schlenk found that the weathering of the oil produced significant changes in gene expression related to critical functions in Mahi embryos and larvae.

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July 11, 2016

Study of Cloud Records Demonstrates Effects of Climate Change

A research team that includes Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Robert Allen analyzed satellite cloud records and discovered that cloud storm tracks are moving toward the Earth’s poles, subtropical zones are expanding and cloud tops are moving higher in the atmosphere. The study, “Evidence for Climate Change in the Satellite Cloud Record,” appears in the July 11 edition of the journal Nature.

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July 8, 2016

Why Do Galaxies Stop Creating Stars?

Using a large sample of around 70,000 galaxies, a team of researchers led by astronomers Behnam Darvish and Bahram Mobasher focused on the effects of external and internal processes that influence star formation activity and may have found an explanation for why galaxies stop creating stars.

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June 30, 2016

Umar Mohideen
Mohideen Named Divisional Dean of Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Umar Mohideen has agreed to serve as Divisional Dean of Physical Sciences and Mathematics for the college, effective July 1, 2016. He will replace Professor of Chemistry Cindy Larive, who has been chosen to serve the university as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

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June 14, 2016

Fortino Morales III
Morales '11 Recognized with UC Global Food Initiative 30 Under 30 Award

Fortino Morales III (B.S., environmental science, 2011), manager of UCR's R’Garden, has been recognized by the UC Global Food Initiative for his work at the 3-acre community garden on campus, which serves as a source of food, food education and community engagement.

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June 6, 2016

Citrus Research Foundation and UCR Team Up to Fight Citrus Killer

California Citrus Research Foundation and UCR launched an effort Monday, June 6 that will result in construction of a new facility to be used by researchers to fight a disease devastating the citrus industry. The research partnership aims to protect California’s $3.3 billion citrus industry from Huanglongbing, the citrus disease.

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May 19, 2016

Larive Named Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Paul D’Anieri has announced that Cindy Larive, Professor of Chemistry and Divisional Dean for Physical Sciences and Mathematics in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, has agreed to serve as UCR's next Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education effective July 1, 2016.

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May 17, 2016

Study Advances Understanding of Colon Cancer and Colitis

A new study led by Professor of Cell Biology and Toxicologist Frances M. Sladek explains how the distribution of two forms of a transcription factor in the colon influence the risk of disease. Both forms are important and require an appropriate balance between them in the gut. The next step in the research is to identify foods that disrupt this balance and those that help preserve it.

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May 5, 2016

Exploiting Male-Killing Bacteria to Control Insects

A team of scientists including Assistant Professor of Entomology Omar Akbari have discovered a key mechanism that drives a bacteria that kills male insects, a development that could potentially be exploited to control insect pest species in the future. In a paper published in Current Biology, they describe how the bacterium Spiroplasma initiates male killing by directly targeting the dosage compensation complex of an organism, which equalizes gene expression between the males and females.

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May 4, 2016

Renowned Biologists to Give Free Public Talk on Earth’s Tipping Point

Biologists Anthony D. Barnosky and Elizabeth A. Hadly will deliver the John A. and Betty C. Moore Science as a Way of Knowing lecture on Thursday, May 12, 2016. Free and open to the public, their hour-long talk is titled “Tipping Point for Planet Earth – How Close Are We to the Edge?” and will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the UCR Extension Center.

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May 3, 2016

Chen to Deliver Faculty Research Lecture on Small RNAs

Distinguished Professor of Botany and Plant Sciences Xuemei Chen will deliver the 64th annual Faculty Research Lecture titled, “Small RNAs – Small but Powerful” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on June 6 in the Genomics Auditorium. Small RNAs were the “dark matter” in biology until the early 2000s, when they were found to be universally present in animals and plants. In the past 15 years, efforts in the research community have unveiled many secrets of these enigmatic molecules and have begun to harness their power.

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May 3, 2016

Bailey-Serres Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Professor of Genetics Julia Bailey-Serres has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for her excellence in original scientific research. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Bailey-Serres learned of her election May 3, 2016, during the academy’s 153rd annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

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April 27, 2016

Bacteria Beneficial to Plants Have Spread Across California

A recent study led by Associate Professor of Biology Joel Sachs and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that a strain of beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria has spread across California, demonstrating that beneficial bacteria can share some of the same features that are characteristic of pathogens. The bacteria, called Bradyrhizobium, form tumor-like nodules on the roots of plants and are able to “fix” nitrogen by breaking it down and rendering it into forms that plants can easily metabolize.

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April 25, 2016

College Saddened by Loss of Robert Haddon

Robert Cort Haddon, UCR distinguished professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, passed away April 21, 2016. He was awarded the American Physical Society’s James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials in 2008 and named by Thomson Reuters as one of the “best and brightest minds of our times” in 2014.

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April 19, 2016

More Natural History Training Needed, Survey Shows

A survey by scientists from three UC campuses and led by Cameron Barrows, associate researcher at the Center for Conservation Biology, shows that only 11 percent of early career scientists felt their academic training alone provided the needed exposure to natural history, which can be defined as the observation of organisms in their natural environment.

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April 19, 2016

Physics and Astronomy Hosts Public Events About Dark Matter, Mercury Transit

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is holding a Cosmic Wednesday discussion on April 27 about dark matter, along with a viewing of the rarely-seen Mercury transit. Designed to educate the community about science in an accessible way, the Cosmic Wednesday lecture will feature Professor George Becker, who will discuss computer-generated simulations of dark matter--a special kind of matter that doesn’t emit light or magnetic or electric fields.

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April 18, 2016

Self-healing Polymer Could Lead to Artificial Muscle

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Chao Wang is co-author of a study published in Nature Chemistry that describes a new polymer that can stretch to 100 times its original length, and even repair itself if punctured. It can also twitch by exposing it to an electric field, causing it to expand and contract, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

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April 18, 2016

All Ants on Deck

Like humans, ants work together to enhance their response to emergency situations with different members of the group carrying out different tasks. A team of scientists that includes Assistant Professor of Entomology Jessica Purcell has found that a species of ant that clusters together to form rafts to survive floods exhibits memory and repeatedly occupies the same position during raft formation.

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April 12, 2016

$1M NSF Grant Will Help Sophomores Persist in Science

UCR has received a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide scholarships, academic support, research experience and internships for a group of sophomores majoring in science. The program builds on the highly successful Freshman Scholars Learning Communities program developed at CNAS.

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April 6, 2016

Reznick Among Three UCR Scholars Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Distinguished Professor of Biology David Reznick is among 175 persons in the U.S. awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2016. Also honored from UCR are Laila Lalami, professor of creative writing, Fred Moten, professor of English and poetry. Reznick is an evolutionary biologist whose groundbreaking research found that an individual’s response to environmental conditions may predict evolutionary changes in future generations.

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April 4, 2016

Study Shows How Broadbills Use Their Wings to Create Sounds to Mark Territory

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology by Assistant Professor of Biology Christopher J. Clark demonstrates that Broadbills, birds found in some parts of Africa, produce a startlingly loud sound that they make with their wings to mark off territory. Clark was able to demonstrate that that it is not the outermost wing feathers but the ones just inside of these feathers that make their klaxon-like sound.

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March 30, 2016

Study Finds Wide-Reaching Impact of Nitrogen Deposition on Loss of Plant Diversity

Professor of Plant Ecology Edith B. Allen is among a group scientists who studied more than 15,000 sites across the U.S. and discovered that human activity is leading to nitrogen deposition in levels the decrease soil health and diversity of plant species in 24 percent of the sites they examined. Among the causes of this diminishing plant diversity are fossil fuel combustion, agricultural fertilizer application and livestock waste.

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March 30, 2016

Trumble Gan
Researchers to Study Contaminants from Treated Wastewater on Food Produce

Jay Gan, a professor of environmental chemistry, and John Trumble, a distinguished professor of entomology, have been awarded a $749,631 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the human and ecological health impacts of water reuse and conservation practices. University researchers will use the funds to measure levels of contaminants in vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater.

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March 30, 2016

New Tumbleweed Species Rapidly Expanding Range

Two invasive species of tumbleweed have hybridized to create a new species that Professor of Genetics Norman C. Ellstrand and his former graduate student Shana R. Welles found has dramatically expanded its geographic range in California in just a decade. They believe the invasive species Salsola ryanii could spread beyond California to other states.

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March 29, 2016

Scientists Unlock Genetic Secret that Could Help Fight Malaria

Omar Akbari, an assistant professor of entomology, is among group of scientists who have discovered a long-hypothesized male determining gene in the mosquito species that carries malaria, laying the groundwork for the development of strategies that could help control the disease. This is significant because male mosquitoes offer the potential to develop novel vector control strategies to combat diseases, such as malaria and the zika and dengue viruses, because males do not feed on blood or transmit diseases.

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March 21, 2016

Humans Releasing Carbon 10 times Faster Than Any Time in Past 66 million Years

New research published in Nature Geoscience by Professor of Earth Sciences Andy Ridgwell and two co-authors looks at changes of Earth’s temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) since the end of the age of the dinosaurs. Their findings suggest humans are releasing carbon about 10 times faster than during any event in the past 66 million years.

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March 17, 2016

Close Leads Team on $1.6M Grant to Sequence Cowpea Genome

Professor of Genetics Timothy Close is leading a team of UCR scientists on a nearly $1.6-million grant from the National Science Foundation to sequence the genome of the cowpea and further research developing superior cowpea breeding lines. The cowpea, which also includes black-eyed peas, is one of the most widely grown legume crops in the world and number one source of protein in the human diet in sub-Saharan Africa.

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March 2, 2016

Spinning Better Electronic Devices

A team of researchers led by Professor of Physics Jing Shi have demonstrated for the first time the transmission of electrical signals through insulators in a sandwich-like structure, a development that could help create more energy efficient electronic devices. The research results, published in Nature Communications, are the first first major collaborative result from the SHINES (Spins and Heat In Nanoscale Electronic Systems) center, which is funded with a $12-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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March 1, 2016

New Method Developed to Stop Argentine Ants

Graduate student Kevin Welzel and Dong-Hwan Choe, assistant professor of entomology and assistant cooperative extension specialist, are co-authors of a new paper describing research results showing bait that includes ant pheromones can be nearly twice as effective as bait without them in controlling Argentine ant populations.

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February 18, 2016

Akbari Co-Authors Paper on State of Engineered Gene Drives

In a highly innovative and technical review, Assistant Professor of Entomology Omar Akbari and his graduate students have published a paper in the journal Nature Reviews Genetics that examines the different gene drives systems, analyzes the pros and cons of each and applications associated with them, and also surveys the safety and regulatory issues associated with them. Engineered gene drives have the potential to spread desirable genes throughout wild populations or to suppress harmful species.

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February 8, 2016

Funning Co-Authors Paper on Potential for Double Earthquakes

A team of researchers including Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Gareth Funning has published a paper in journal Nature Geoscience that describes how an earthquake rupture on one thrust fault can trigger a second earthquake on another thrust fault much further away than previously thought. The finding could have severe implications for the Los Angeles area and other regions in the world.

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January 29, 2016

Bailey Serres 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 1 percent by citations for field and publication year..

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January 19, 2016

Watching Electrons Cool in 30 Quadrillionths of a Second

Nathan Gabor and Joshua C. H. Lui, assistant professors in the Department of Physics, are among the co-authors of a paper published recently in Nature Physics titled, “Tuning ultrafast electron thermalization pathways in a van der Waals heterostructure.” It describes a new process the research team developed that could have applications in visual displays, solar cells and photodetectors.

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January 13, 2016

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.

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January 12, 2016

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.

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January 11, 2016

Backyard Chickens Harbor Many Parasites

A study in the Journal of Medical Entomology by graduate student Amy Murillo and Professor of Entomology Bradley Mullens demonstrates that backyard chickens are infested by a greater diversity of mites and lice than cage-raised chickens.

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January 5, 2016

Chalmers 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.

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