News

January 18, 2017
A new study identifies genetic changes in Native Americans that came about when Europeans settled in the Pacific Northwest and might have played a major role in why so many natives died of infectious disease. In a new paper in Nature Communications, “A Time Transect of Exomes from a Native American Population Before and After European Contact,” UC Merced Professor Emilia Huerta-Sánchez and...
January 11, 2017
There are many labs at UC Merced where visitors can see students huddled over microscopes and petri dishes, using tweezers to extract and examine different items. But no one at UC Merced has ever seen the likes of what’s going on in Professor Kara McCloskey’s class. The graduate and undergraduate students in her Tissue Engineering Design course learning to build living, walking robots — bio-bots...
December 15, 2016
By Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Scientists expect subalpine trees to advance upslope as global temperatures increase, following their climate up the mountains. But new research published Dec. 15 in the journal Global Change Biology suggests this might not hold true for two subalpine tree species of western North America. A study led by project scientist Lara Kueppers,...
December 9, 2016
There are 1.7 million multidrug-resistant, hospital-acquired infections that extend hospital stays, increase medical expenses and decrease quality of life. The United States alone reports at least 120,000 deaths annually from resistant infections that are improperly treated because of a scarcity of reliable antibiotics.  But a new study shows that not only can hospitals be breeding grounds for...
November 30, 2016
UC Merced professors Jessica Blois and Justin Yeakel and their graduate students are sifting through time, picking out tiny clues that will give them a mouse’s eye view of the ecosystem that surrounded what is now the La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of Los Angeles.   A deeper look into the past could also help better understand the future. There’s a growing recognition of climate change threats,...
November 16, 2016
It’s not just luck or practice that gets Sherpa mountaineers up the slopes of Mt. Everest each year. Functioning so well at extreme elevations is in the Sherpa and Tibetan DNA — literally. A new study by UC Merced Professor Emilia Huerta-Sánchez — published recently in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution — shows that between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals, Denisovans and...
October 28, 2016
If fictional scientist Victor Frankenstein had created a mate for his nameless Creature, humans would have gone extinct in about 4,000 years, according to a new study co-authored by a UC Merced professor. Two hundred years ago this year, 18-year-old author Mary Shelley began writing her now-classic horror novel and cautionary tale about the idea of playing God. Scholars who typically examine the...
October 21, 2016
Adjunct Professor Gabriela Loots is studying why certain cancers prefer to metastasize to bone, using novel technology developed by fellow UC Merced Professor Michael Cleary. Her work, which takes place mainly at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, earned her a three-year, $768,803 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. “Once these kinds of cancer reach the bone, they form very aggressive...
October 3, 2016
Professor Anna Beaudin is just starting up her lab at UC Merced, but a paper she recently published already has some big implications for understanding autoimmune disease, allergies and rejection of transplanted organs. A developmental biologist with the School of Natural Sciences and an affiliate of the Health Sciences Research Institute, Beaudin studies how hematopoietic, or blood, stem cells...
September 28, 2016
Biofilms — colonies of microorganisms living inside a protective coating — are everywhere, from the plaque we scrub off our teeth each day to the slimy green masses that form on rocks in streams. They are on the inside and outside of our bodies, in our oceans, and on natural and manmade surfaces, including medical implants such as artificial heart valves and catheters. Biofilms aren’t always bad...

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