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A doctoral degree is something to be proud of. It is the culmination of years of study and hard work — a mark of determination, willpower and excellence in research and scholarship. For Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate student Yuriana Aguilar and the growing population of undocumented students like her, it is also a beacon of change and promise. Aguilar, who will participate in the 2016 commencement ceremony on Sunday (May 15), makes UC Merced history as the campus’s first undocumented Ph.D. recipient. Aguilar...
“Ambitious” isn’t a good enough word for Laura Showalter. “High-achiever” doesn’t exactly do her justice, either. Her motto seems to be “why achieve when you can overachieve?” Now 20, the Merced native completed third and fourth grades simultaneously, graduated early from high school and moved on to junior college at age 14 before transferring to UC Merced. She’ll graduate this spring with a double major —chemistry and management — and nearly a 4...
A proposal to conduct high-performance computing across science and engineering disciplines has won UC Merced and Professor Christine Isborn a research computing cluster that will be used for a variety of projects across campus. Each year, Silicon Mechanics, a Washington-based provider of servers, storage and high-performance computing technologies, gives two such grants to campuses, nonprofits and federal labs chosen from across North America. Each winner gets a complete high-performance computing cluster worth about $100,000....
A new study from UC Merced Professor Jennifer O. Manilay promises to shed new light on how bone diseases can affect the maintenance of healthy blood and immune cell development throughout life.   Funded by a $434,000 grant over three years from the National Institutes of Health — specifically the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — Manilay’s study will examine how blood and bone stem cells communicate and work together, and what happens to one when the other is unhealthy.   Stem cells live in a resting...
Before you place any bets on the next NBA playoff games, take a look at UC Merced Professor Harish Bhat’s Twitter account.   He’s tweeting daily predictions based on an innovative new algorithm, and so far this postseason, he’s right about 80 percent of the time.   In about 10 minutes a day, Bhat and two of his students run simulations for each team in each day’s matchup between 10,000 and 100,000 times before tweeting their predictions. The calculations take about 10 minutes.   “We could...
Researchers at the University of California, Merced, won a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how biological matter like proteins or cells come together to perform specific tasks, effectively behaving as machines. The research — funded over five years through the NSF’s Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program — could help researchers design and develop innovations ranging from designer cells and tissue to novel diagnostic and therapeutic devices....
Professor Michael Beman, with the School of Natural Sciences, became the 13th faculty member to win a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award since the campus opened.   The grant provides nearly $700,000 over the next five years to help the UC Merced life sciences professor further his studies of oceanic hypoxic and anoxic (low- and no-oxygen) “dead zones.”   “There are microbes that can consume the oxygen all the way down to zero, and it appears there are some organisms...
If you want to understand how plant populations will respond as the climate changes, just examine the plants in different locations.   That’s one of the conclusions drawn by UC Merced School of Natural Sciences Professor Jason Sexton in a new paper that’s part of a special issue of the American Journal of Botany exploring the evolution of plants.   Written by Sexton and graduate student Erin Dickman, “What Can Local and Geographic Population Limits Tell Us about Distributions?” looks at different...
Professor Carolin Frank’s research into the nitrogen-fixing properties of bacteria inside the needles of some high-elevation pine trees is the topic of a new paper in the journal New Phytologist.   Frank, with the School of Natural Sciences, won a $1.6 million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2014 for her work on foliar endophytes.   “Evidence for Foliar Endophytic Nitrogen Fixation in a Widely Distributed Subalpine Conifer” is the first publication to come from that research....
Graduate student Sabah Ul-Hasan translated her love of science into four separate college degrees. She holds bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, and environmental and sustainability studies, and a master’s in biochemistry (marine science) from universities in Utah and New Hampshire.   Ul-Hasan, a Ph.D. Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in Quantitative and Systems Biology at UC Merced, is working on a documentary series called BIOTA, which unites art and science and applies them to social justice issues. The documentary project...

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