Message from the Dean
The 2015/2016 school year has gotten off to a wonderful start. Since welcoming the incoming freshman class to the School in September, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few of the students better at this quarters Donuts with the Dean, and the All-University Leadership Conference. I am extremely impressed by the talent of our undergraduates an encourage more of you to take on leadership roles during your time here at UCI.
News and Highlights
New Faculty for the 2015-16 School Year
The Ayala School is excited to welcome four new faculty members. The new faculty will add their expertise to our already highly ranked Biological Sciences departments, and provide new professional development avenues for Ayala School graduate students to embark upon. You can read more about these dynamic individuals by following the link. Read more.
NIH Awards $19 Million to Institute for Clinical & Translational Science
UC Irvine is renowned for its exceptional research in the life sciences. With the establishment of the UC Irvine Institute for Clinical & Translational Science (ICTS), the University has made additional strides in translating its successes in the lab to advancing discoveries in clinical care. In recognition of this success, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently awarded UC Irvine ICTS a $19 million dollar grant to continue transforming innovative discoveries into potential clinical therapeutics. Read more.
Rose Hill Scholars
The Rose Hills Foundation has contributed substantially to educational institutions in California in support of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) undergraduate development. In 2014, UCI was awarded $700,000 from The Rose Hills Foundation to support the career development of it’s STEM students. Read more.
UCI 50th Anniversary Festival of Discovery
On October 3, 2015, UCI had its first ever Festival of Discovery in Aldrich Park. The event was open to students, faculty, alumni, and community members to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University's opening. Over 10,000 people attended the festival, with all the University's Schools, athletic program, and many centers and institutions also represented. The daylong event started with a 5K family run, after witch, on hand attendees were treated with a host of fun and educational activities to experience. The Ayala School had several interesting exhibits that demonstrated the exceptional research being conducted at our School. Read more.
"What Matters to Me and Why" Feat. Professor James McGaugh
On October 14, 2015, the “What Matters to Me and Why” Lecture
series began the 2015-2016 school year with a Lecture featuring Ayala
School Professor James McGaugh. The “What Matters to Me and Why” series encourages reflection about the values, beliefs, and motivations in the lives of those who shape our university. With the series kicking off in the same month as UCI’s official 50th anniversary celebration, the series coordinators thought it fitting to have one of the Universities founding faculty members. Read more.
Ayala School Professors Arthur Lander and Anne Calof Awarded $2.1 Million Grant from the National Institute of Health
Professor Arthur Lander, M.D., Ph.D. is a Donald Bren Professor in the department of Developmental and Cell Biology, and the director of the Center for Complex Biological Systems. Professor Anne Calof, Ph.D. is a professor in the departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Developmental and Cell Biology. Together with Professor Qing Nie in the department of Mathematics, Professors Lander and Calof received a new RO1 grant entitled, “Spatial Dynamics of Tissue and Organ Size Control”, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Read more.
Ayala School Professor receives prestigious award from The Dana Foundation
Professor Craig Stark, Neurobiology & Behavior, was recently awarded a $300,000 grant to support a project entitled “The Enrichment of neurogenesis in the hippocampus via the environment.” The goal of the project will be to determine if environmental enrichment, through 3D video games and/or a real world exploration experience, can ameliorate the hippocampal dependent cognitive deficits present in older populations. Read more.
Mrs. Allison Najafi is one of this year’s recipients of the Achievement Rewards For College Scientists (ARCS) for graduate students. The ARCS scholar award is intended to provide additional financial support for exceptional graduate students from qualifying institutions. Read more.
Donuts with the Dean, Fall 2015
To help kick off the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Dean Frank LaFerla held another Donuts with the Dean event on October 8 outside the Dean’s office in Natural Sciences II. Joining Dean LaFerla, and a host of Ayala School undergraduates, was Dr. William Loudon, Section Chief for Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Read more.
Ayala School Professor Gives insight into Tesla’s Model X Bioweapon ready air conditioning system
To determine how effective Tesla’s bioweapon defense mode might be, news site Gizmodo interviewed Professor Michael J. Buchmeier, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Read more.
Professor Leslie M. Thompson discusses her progress towards a new treatment for Huntington's Disease
Held in the Crystal Cove Auditorium in the UCI Student Center, Professor Leslie M. Thompson’s lecture covered the recent work her laboratory has done on developing novel ways to treat Huntington’s Disease (HD). Read more.
Research in the News
Better Ways to Manage Urban Stormwater Runoff
In a recent study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology, featured in Science Daily, Professor Peter Bowler, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and director of the school’s arboretum, along with his colleagues from three UC campuses (UCI, UCLA and UC San Diego) and Australia's University of Melbourne; water managers from Orange County Public Works; and engineers from consulting firm Michael Baker International, laid out a plan of innovative solutions for urban population centers to fulfill their water needs, and protect natural stream ecosystems. Read more.
Neuron Transplants May One Day Reverse BlindnessUC Irvine neurobiologist Professor Sunil Gandhi and his colleagues were recently featured in a Scientific American article that highlighted their work investigating the flexibility of the adult brain. In a groundbreaking study published earlier this year, Professor Sunil and his team successfully reactivated brain plasticity in adult mice using stem cell transplantation. You can read the article in its entirety here.
Professor Claudia Kawas has been working on a groundbreaking longitudinal study involving people over the age of 90 since 2003. The study, known as the 90-plus study, follows over 1,600 people older than 90 living in Leisure World in Laguna Woods California. Recent work from the study was featured on 60 minutes Australia. In the feature, Professor Kawas presented some interesting facts, including how moderate alcohol consumption was associated with living longer, and that being too thin does not help you live longer. To watch the entire 60-minute segments, click here.
Stem cell treatment lessens impairments caused by dementia with Lewy bodiesNeurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s share a common feature characterized by the buildup of proteins in and around brain cells. Once accumulated, the proteins can impair normal brain cell function leading to the collection of clinical symptoms known as dementia. Using a mouse model of Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second-most common type of age-related dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, Professor Mathew Blurton-Jones and doctoral student Natalie Goldberg recently tested the hypothesis that stem cell transplantation could overcome the clinical symptoms of DLB. Read more.
UCI Ayala School of Biological Sciences
5120 Natural Sciences II
Irvine, CA 92697-1450
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