The School of Natural Sciences is pleased to welcome and introduce 3 new faculty members this spring.
We look forward to supporting their careers and research development as we continue our advancement to R1.
Claire Lukens, Assistant Professor, Life, and Environmental Sciences
Claire is a geoscientist and educator and comes to UC Merced following 4 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research focuses on surface processes and sediment in mountain Claire Lukens, Assistant Professor, Life, and Environmental Sciences Claire is a geoscientist and educator and comes to UC Merced following 4 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research focuses on surface processes and sediment in mountain landscapes and uses geochemistry to address the complex interactions between tectonics, climate, Earth’s surface, and life. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Colorado College, and her MS and Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Wyoming. She is excited to be joining the interdisciplinary and diverse faculty in Life and Environmental Sciences, and the broader Merced community.
Bercem Dutaguci, Assistant Professor, Molecular Cell Biology
Bercem received her bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 2006 and her master's degree in 2008 from the Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. She then moved to Frankfurt, Germany to pursue her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, where she worked on membrane biophysics using solid-state NMR techniques and computer simulations. After her graduation in 2013, she went back to Bogazici University in Istanbul for postdoctoral training in in-silico drug research. In 2015, she started her postdoctoral research at Michigan State University, where she worked on various projects including implicit membrane development, protein structure refinement, and predictions of membrane permeation of drug molecules. Currently, she is interested in larger-scale biological questions related to eukaryotic transcription and phase separation events in cellular systems. Her research focuses on transcription processes using computational techniques.
Maggie Sogin, Assistant Professor, Molecular Cell Biology
Maggie’s research interests are centered on understanding host-microbial interactions in marine taxa. She completed her Ph.D. in Dr. Ruth Gates Laboratory at the University of Hawaii and a post-doc in Dr. Nicole Dubilier’s lab at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. Her laboratory will focus on exploring the chemical interactions between seagrasses and their microbial symbionts. She develops and applies metabolomic techniques coupled to metagenomic approaches to explore the chemical interactions between hosts and symbionts.