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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 Homosapiens interbred, and modern humans got an evolutionary advantage because of it. Hybrid...
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 book from a literary perspective have focused on Shelley's knowledge of then-prevailing views on alchemy, physiology and resurrection...
New assistant professor in physics, David Strubbe gave an interview in Spanish about the physics conference "7th Time-Dependent Density-Functional Theory: Prospects and Applications," which he attended in Benasque, Spain in September. Professor Strubbe was an instructor for the school as well as an invited speaker for a workshop. Time-dependent density-functional theory is a theoretical technique for solving the equations of quantum mechanics, typically used for studying interactions of light with materials or molecules. ...
Adjunct Professor Gabriela LootsOpens a New Window. 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 tumors,” said Loots, a bone biologist. “We want to know what it is about the...
Fifty years ago this year, while a freshman faculty member in the University of Chicago Physics Department, Roland Winston published a paper introducing a new field he called nonimaging optics. In it, he described the compound parabolic concentrator (CPC), a highly efficient device that collects and concentrates light, and introduced “Winston Cones,” non-imaging light collectors that by their design maximize the amount of light that can be focused from large areas into smaller photodetectors or photomultipliers...
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 are established during fetal development and how they give rise to the cells that make up our immune system.  ...
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 news, but when they are, they can cause extremely serious problems. Biofilm infections are impossible to treat or even to see...
UC Merced Professor Roland Winston will deliver details on a groundbreaking hybrid solar collector he’s working on that simultaneously generates electricity and very-high-temperature heat at the annual 2016 UC Solar Research Symposium slated for Oct. 7 at UC Davis. The University of California Advanced Solar Technologies InstituteOpens a New Window. (UC Solar) — a multi-campus research collaborative headquartered at UC Merced — develops innovative technologies that make solar energy systems more...
Graduate students at the University of California, Merced, will benefit from extensive new research, funding and training opportunities, thanks to two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling more than $3.25 million. Interdisciplinary groups of computational sciences researchers won two of the 30 NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program grantsOpens a New Window. the agency is giving out this year. The grants will fund 50 doctoral students and train another 100 graduate students over the course of five years....
Looking back on his years as one of the first students at UC Merced, Vinh Vo remembers how the brand-new university served him not only as a student, but also by preparing him for graduate school and his current career as a dentist. Vo, who graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, said the faculty and staff members he interacted with during his four years were supportive of his goals and played a major role in his successes at UC Merced and beyond.  “Being in such a close-knit environment...

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