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Lorena Anderson

$3.5 Million Hellman Endowment Expands Future of Research at UC Merced

Since 2011, the Hellman Fellows Fund has provided close to 60 UC Merced assistant professors with much-needed research support in the form of seed funding. The prestigious Hellman Fellowship has launched countless careers at UC Merced and across the UC system.

Now, thanks to a generous new $3.5 million gift from the Hellman family, UC Merced will permanently establish the UC Merced Society of Hellman Fellows starting in 2021. The endowment allows the program to continue in perpetuity, while affording the campus more flexibility in funding early-career research.

New Project Aims to Advance Understanding of Immune Cells as they Develop

Maybe now more than ever, scientists need to understand the immune system.

A new National Institutes of Health grant is funding a cross-disciplinary collaboration between bioengineering Professor Joel Spencer and immunology Professor Jennifer Manilay that will allow them to watch as immune-system cells develop in the bone marrow of a living mouse to gain insights into how they work.

Researchers Discover Mechanism Proteins Use To Find And Control Genes

Bioengineering Professor Victor Muñoz has answered a long-standing genetic mystery, and his research suggests that someday, bioengineers could devise ways to control gene activity — manually switching off the genes that contribute to cancer, for instance.

“If this mechanism turns out to be as powerful as we anticipate, engineering it will be relatively straightforward,” Muñoz said. “Controlling the output of genes could be done in a targeted way by new genome editing technologies such as CRISPR.”

Berhe Named to Endowed Chair in Recognition of Her Work in Soil Sciences

Soil biogeochemistry Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe has been named the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology.

“The Falasco family is engaged in construction and development, so they have an intimate connection with and an understanding of the earth beneath our feet,” Berhe said. “Not only are they generous with their hard-earned resources, they are investing in a worthy cause for the Valley. They appreciate how invested we all should be in the land and the Earth.”

Biodiversity Study Indicates Large and Small Organisms React Similarly to Environment

Bacteria and starfish have more in common than people might think.

A new study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences shows that both single-celled (microbes) and multi-celled organisms (every other living thing) in marine lakes share similar reactions to changes in their environment.

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