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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.

Bobcats Help Shape Future of NASA, SPACEX Missions

As the SPACEX Crew Dragon spacecraft left Earth today to ferry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, many Bobcats were watching the live stream with keen anticipation.

It’s not just that the flight marks the first time a commercial aerospace company will carry humans — two NASA astronauts — into Earth's orbit. The collaborative project also has special meaning for UC Merced.

Professor Explores Green Lubricants for Mechanical Systems with NSF Grant

Mechanical systems, such as car engines and manufacturing equipment, use petroleum-based lubricants and solvents that are considered hazardous. After use, those compounds mostly end up in the earth.

Environmentally friendly alternatives — room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) — that don’t need solvents and can perform better haven’t been widely used because of a lack of basic understanding about how they work.

Bacteria Use the Physics of Twist to Measure Their Own Size and Shape

Theoretical physics Professor Ajay Gopinathan has been working over the past decade to model a submicroscopic mystery. Now, he and a team of colleagues have verified an important piece of the puzzle of how tiny, intrinsically twisted protein filaments responsible for repairing and growing cells know where to go to perform their function.

The work could someday enable scientists to control bacterial growth.

Human Waste Treatment Helps Solve Climate-Change Puzzle, New Study Shows

About 4.5 billion people around the globe do not have access to adequate sanitation, and what they do have — typically pit latrines and lagoons — are responsible for widespread illnesses and a portion of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.

UC Merced Professor Rebecca Ryals and a group of colleagues have a solution that not only increases safety, sustainability and jobs, but reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste-borne illnesses while producing an effective fertilizer for agriculture.

At the Intersection of Math and Biology, Sindi Lab Sees a Breakthrough in Prion Disease

A UC Merced researcher and her lab have unlocked one of the mysteries that could lead to treatments — or even cures — for prion diseases in mammals.

Prion diseases are a family of rare, progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans — such as with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or fatal familial insomnia — and animals, such as mad-cow disease. These disorders are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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