The CNAS Report: Fall 2014

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Susan WesslerWessler Awarded McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies

Distinguished Professor of Genetics Susan R. Wessler, a world-renowned expert in transposable elements, has been awarded the McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies for her exceptional contributions to and leadership in the study of plant transposable elements for the last three decades. Transposable elements are DNA pieces that can move from one genomic location to another and duplicate themselves in the process.

Barbara McClintock (1902-1992), one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists and one of the foremost women scientists in 20th century America, is most noted for her pioneering research on transposable elements in maize. For this work she was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1983, the first woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in that category.

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Department of Chemistry Named Among Top 50 in the World

The Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences is ranked 47th in the world, according to the recently published 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities, which measures the research impact of more than 1,200 universities around the world.

When compared with other U.S. universities UCR ranks 27th overall, and is 17th among public universities. This ranking places the UCR Chemistry Department ahead of several noteworthy U.S. universities including John Hopkins, UC Davis, Duke, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Penn State, Princeton, and University of Chicago. Notably, UCR’s chemistry faculty were ranked 11th in the category that measures percentage of papers published in top journals.

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New Faculty 2014-15

CNAS Welcomes 15 New Faculty to its
Ranks for 2014-15

Fifteen new faculty joined the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for the 2014-15 academic year, filling positions in the Departments of Biochemistry, Biology, Botany and Plant Science, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Entomology, Mathematics, and Statistics.

Searches are currently underway for 29 additional ladder-rank faculty for the upcoming academic year. 

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Wilbur (Bill) W. Mayhew

Founding Faculty Member Wilbur (Bill) Mayhew Dies

Professor Emeritus Wilbur (Bill) W. Mayhew, a founding member of the University of California, Riverside faculty in 1954, died on Sept. 19, 2014. In the early 1960s, with rare vision and foresight Mayhew, Ken Norris of UC Santa Cruz, and Mildred Mathias of UC Los Angeles, founded the UC Natural Reserve System.

Starting out with 130,000 acres, the NRS has since grown to more than 756,000 acres and is comprised of 39 sites, 16 of which Mayhew helped acquire. The reserve is used annually by researchers from all over the world. Mayhew also established the Mayhew Graduate Research Award in 1996, which helps fund graduate research at Boyd Deep Canyon, and received the George B. Fell Award from the Natural Areas Association in 2003.

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Timothy LyonsLyons Leads NASA Astrobiology Institute Research Team

Distinguished Professor of Biogeochemistry Timothy Lyons is lead investigator for an international multidisciplinary team that will share a $50-million grant to study ancient rocks on Earth to determine how oxygen developed in our atmosphere billions of years ago.

Lyons' Alternative Earths team will spend five years trying to map the different states of life on Earth from 3.2 billion years ago—when bacteria may have first begun oxygen-producing photosynthesis—to about 700 million years ago, about the time animals came on the scene.

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News Briefs Post-ItIncoming Class Pushes CNAS Enrollment to Highest Levels Ever

With the addition of 1,790 new undergraduate and 180 new graduate students for the fall 2014 quarter, CNAS now has 5,025 undergraduate and 801 graduate students enrolled in its 24 degree programs within 13 academic departments. They will be taught, guided and supported in their coursework and research by 435 ladder-rank and emeritus faculty, 450 other researchers, 192 permanent staff and $51.6 million in contract and grants awards. CNAS alumni now number 24,237.

SISTERS ProgramSISTERS Program Underway

The Success in Science and Technology: Engagement with Role-models (SISTERS) program pairs female Science Ambassadors from CNAS with a group of girls at University Heights Middle School, where they mentor them through the school year. Mentors take turns giving presentations about topics such as girls’ health, overcoming barriers and stereotypes, bullying, boosting self-confidence and how to prepare for pursuing a major in STEM and set up for success. Students also go on field trips and hear presentations by CNAS faculty. The program was developed and led by Science Ambassadors president Roselyn Tran (far right in photo). 

View the Video of CNAS Students Conducting Research at CERN

Jesse Heilman and Elizabeth Kennedy, graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at CNAS, describe their work on the Compact Muon Solenoid  experiment, a large particle-capturing detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Check out this video developed by the staff at CERN:


Connect with CNAS on Social Media

Did you know CNAS has a Facebook page? And a YouTube channel? How about 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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Dean of the college
: Marylynn V. Yates
Divisional deans: Jodie S. Holt, Peter W. Atkinson, Cynthia K. Larive, Michael A. McKibben

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