Faculty

Emergence, Extinction of Massive Ancient Shark to be Explored with NSF Grant

Forty million years after dinosaurs went extinct, one of the largest predators that ever prowled Earth’s oceans emerged, feeding the imaginations of modern scientists and the nightmares of modern movie audiences.

Megalodon — the name means ‘giant tooth’ — appeared some 23 million years ago and reigned the seas for about 21 million years. In 400 million years of shark evolution, megalodon is the most massive shark species that ever lived, growing to 60 feet long, or three times the size of the largest of today’s great whites.

NSF Grant Helps Professor Connect Evolutionary Dots along the Open Tree of Life

UC Merced life and environmental sciences Professor Emily Jane McTavish and a collaborator at the University of Kansas recently received a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to extend and improve the Open Tree of Life (OpenTree).

$2.5M Grant Will Help Professor to Build a Powerful Molecular Imaging Scanner

Bioengineering Professor Changqing Li was recently awarded a four-year, $2.5 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help develop a focused X-ray luminescence tomography (FXLT) scanner that could accelerate cancer research.

The scanner is a first-of-its kind molecular imaging tool that will allow researchers to visualize how disease progresses and monitor the effectiveness of novel drug-delivery systems in live animals — without invasive surgeries or euthanizing the animals.

CAREER Award Will Help Professor Predict How Species Respond to Climate Change

Paleoecology Professor Jessica Blois recently became the campus’s 19th recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award.

The NSF describes as the CAREER as its “most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their organizations.”

The award provides Blois with $782,449 over the next five years to pursue an agenda that includes research and outreach.

Campus Lands $1M Howard Hughes Grant to Make STEM More Inclusive

UC Merced’s efforts to make science education more inclusive were recently given a huge boost after the campus was awarded its first Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant, an impressive mark of distinction that reflects the strong upward trajectory of the campus’s research and teaching efforts.

News and Notes: UC Launches Million Light Bulb Challenge, Upcoming Ally Trainings Offered

Let There Be Energy-Efficient Light

The University of California is spearheading a statewide effort to advance the purchase of 1 million high-quality, energy-efficient light bulbs for campus buildings and residences across the state.

Following a Devastating Pandemic, California’s Sea Stars are Evolving

In 2012, Environmental Systems graduate student Lauren Schiebelhut was collecting DNA from ochre sea stars living along the Northern California coast — part of an effort to study genetic diversity in various marine species that serve as indicators of habitat health. She had no idea that just one year later, most of the sea stars would be dead.

Beaudin Named Campus’ Second Winner of Prestigious Pew Award

Biology Professor Anna Beaudin was named a member of the 2018 class of Pew Biomedical Scholars today, one of 22 early-career researchers nationwide to receive this year’s prestigious award.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be joining such an accomplished and talented group of scientists as a 2018 Pew Biomedical Scholar,” Beaudin said. “Receiving this award will give my lab the opportunity to dig deeper into how early life events shape immunity across the lifespan and contribute to autoimmune disease susceptibility.”

Study Finds That Gene Transcription Can Serve as Brain’s Timekeeper

Neurons keep time. These brain cells – which are responsible for the brain’s “heavy lifting,” from information processing to memory formation – seem to "know" how long they’ve been exposed to sensory stimulation. Now, scientists are starting to understand how they do this.

Researchers Examine Barriers to Organ Donation and Possible Remedies

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national organ transplant waiting list, and about once every hour, someone on the list is removed — either because they died while waiting or grew too ill for surgery.

The number of Americans on the waiting list totals more than 114,000 as of this writing, and about 30,000 transplants will be performed this year. In part, that’s because there are not enough organ donors.

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