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The University of California, Merced, was established in 2005 — or so the story goes. The main campus officially opened in September of that year, but that particular reading of history elides a more colorful backstory. UC Merced didn’t spring into existence when developers broke ground on the main campus. Its founding was a tremendous undertaking that required extensive planning. Most of that planning occurred before the official groundbreaking, and much of it took place on a former Air Force base. “Castle was the campus in every sense of the...
Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a biogeochemist who studies the impact of climate change on Sierra Nevada soils. She’s also active in efforts to recruit and retain women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Those efforts were recently bolstered by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Berhe is part of a team that was just awarded a four-year, $1.1 million ADVANCE grant to develop new strategies to combat the lingering and pervasive issue of sexual and gender-based harassment in the earth sciences. “ADVANCE is an...
A new study published in the journal Science may have major implications for the future of water purification. Professor Aleksandr Noy and his research team at Lawrence Livermore National Lab found that carbon nanotube porins (CNTPs) — hollow cylinders made of pure carbon that resemble microscopic drinking straws — can transport pure water across barriers while excluding impurities. The study also shows that CNTPs do this better than any material known to science. Approximately 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, CNTPs are so narrow that...
Elizabeth (Betsy) Dumont joins UC Merced today as the newest dean of the School of Natural Sciences. She’s the third dean in the school’s history and the second woman to serve in this capacity, after Founding Dean Maria Pallavicini. Dumont arrives from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where for the past three years she served as vice provost for academic affairs and director of the Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Life Sciences. She joined the UMass faculty in 2001. “Dr. Dumont brings a distinguished and varied track record of...
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson announced on Monday the appointment of Elizabeth (Betsy) Dumont as the third Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced effective August 1, 2017. Dr. Dumont is currently the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and a professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  In his announcement to the campus community, Provost Peterson stated, "Dr. Dumont brings a distinguished and varied track record of leadership in higher education to UC Merced, as well as a strong...
Beginnings Statue
We would like to welcome three new senate faculty that will be joining the UC Merced and the School of Natural Science faculty on July 1, 2017.  Son Nguyen joins the Chemistry & Chemical Biology unit as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Nguyen comes to UC Merced from UC Berkeley, where he was a postdoctoral scholar working in the C.B. Harris research group. Dr. Nguyen's research is focused on understanding and expanding the applications of nanoparticle photocatalyst to novel green synthesis and solar energy harvesting. These nanometer...
As the academic year comes to an end, we look to celebrate the success of another year. On May 1, 2017, we recognized the dedication and accomplishment of graduating undergraduate students at the school’s outstanding student award reception. This annual award ceremony began back in 2009 to recognize the contributions of the school’s graduating students. Fourteen students were nominated by the faculty in all undergraduate majors for their strong academic success and involvement in research. The ceremony was also a time to...
Dean Meza
School of Natural Sciences Dean Juan Meza was recently elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Committee on Council Affairs. His selection became official during this year’s annual AAAS conference in Boston in late February. His term lasts two years, and he is one of eight members of this executive committee who will help guide the AAAS annual conferences and other efforts. Meza is a passionate advocate for science and science education, and said he looks forward to working with his...
The cake pans were hung on poles to gather dust samples.
But dust from as near as the Central Valley and as far away as the Gobi Desert in Asia provides more nutrients — especially critical phosphorus — than previously thought to sustain the vegetation in the Sierra Nevada, a team of scientists has found. A new study released in the journal Nature Communications Opens a New Window. this week indicates it’s important to understand how dust helps vegetation thrive, especially in light of the changing climate and land-use intensification. It is well known...
Professor Jessica Blois and colleagues examine the role of the fossil record in understanding future global changes.
The rapid pace of global change has large impacts on nature, and on the work conservation biologists will have before them, too. From here on out, experts say, the fossil record is going to be critical to guide nature into the future. A new paper in the journal Science Opens a New Window., co-authored by UC Merced paleoecology Professor Jessica Blois, contends that rather than holding ecosystems to an idealized past, preserving and maintaining vibrant ecosystems requires new approaches. That includes using Earth...

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