School of Natural Sciences

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.

Misbehaving “Killer” Cells Accelerate Progress of Autoimmune Disease

In 1998, scientists studying rheumatoid arthritis observed a population of immune cells that weren’t behaving the way they were supposed to. Immunologists noted the strange phenomenon, but decided not to pursue the subject further, and the cells were soon forgotten.

But interest in these cells has swelled over the past few years as they’ve been found in patients with chronic viral infections and cancer.

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.

Students Discover Cannibal Lizards on Remote Aegean Island

It reads like a mashup of Greek mythology and H.G. Wells. “The Odyssey of Doctor Moreau,” perhaps. Explorers find their way to a remote Aegean island and discover it’s inhabited by reptilian cannibals. They describe one encounter as follows:

“[I]t began to run away, with the dead lizard torso and head still in its mouth. The cannibal continuously ran along the top of a wall and paused intermittently to thrash the corpse against the cement.”

Women’s Soccer Star, Campus Leader Wraps Four Fulfilling Years

When prospective student-athletes visit UC Merced, soccer standout Abbie-Leigh Meneses is among the first people they meet.

Not long ago, Meneses was a recruit herself, touring the University of California’s 10th and newest campus. She fell in love with UC Merced and its central location within driving distance to Yosemite National Park and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Grad Programs Make U.S. News Rankings Debut

For the first time, UC Merced’s doctoral programs in the sciences have been ranked among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of Best Graduate Schools.

A Fruit Fly Walks Into a Bar ...

Editor’s note: Every year UC Merced shines a spotlight on the cutting-edge research underway at the university. Research Week is an opportunity for the public to explore the groundbreaking work conducted by students and faculty. As part of Research Week, the Newsroom will highlight a few of these ongoing efforts. Tune in for new research stories all week long.

Humans aren’t the only species with a well-developed drinking culture. The social life of the humble fruit fly also revolves around alcohol.

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