Message from the Dean
Making connections and providing the community of Orange County with the opportunity to learn about the critical role that biological sciences play in our world is one of the most exciting activities sponsored by the Ayala School. Many of the issues facing our world, from the environment/sustainability to health and wellness to energy production will have a biological-based solution. Carl Sagan once said “we live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” Hence, it is critical that UCI and the Ayala School help inform and educate the citizens of Orange County and beyond about the complex issues related to the life sciences.
On February 4th, Arthur D. Lander, M.D., Ph.D., Donald Bren Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, was the guest speaker for the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series. It was a resounding success for two main reasons. First, it was exciting to see that the lecture hall was packed with many members of the local public who were interested in learning about the life sciences. Second, Professor Lander delivered a truly remarkable lecture that provided a fresh perspective on biological systems. The enthusiasm spilled over into the reception, where the dialogue between Ayala faculty and community members evolved beyond Professor Lander’s topic for that night.
As a public university, The Ayala School seeks to build strong bridges to the community to help inform them about the sciences, which will hopefully translate into stronger lobbying support for research and other benefits. We intend to continue to reach out to our local public using our lecture series as a bridge between the researchers who seek to find solutions to society’s grand challenges, and the people seeking solutions to those challenges.
News and Highlights
Purpose, Complexity and Failure in the Living World
The first Dean's Distinguished Lecture of 2016 kicked off with a presentation by the Donald Bren Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology, Arthur D. Lander, M.D., Ph.D., at the Crystal Cove Auditorium at the UCI student center. Professor Lander's lecture introduced the audience to the fascinating world of complex biological systems. Read more.
Technology Development Innovation Award
Professor Aimee L. Edinger, Developmental and Cell Biology, recently received a Track 3 Award from UCI Irvine Applied Innovation. The award aims to assist university faculty with the development of technology that focuses on rapid assessment of commercial feasibility. Professor Edinger is currently researching cancer cell metabolism and how to combat cancer cells by depriving them of nutrients. Read more.
Fighting the Zika Epidemic
The Zika viral epidemic is the latest mosquito-borne illness to afflict humans. Professor Anthony A. James, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has been approached by several news organizations to give his expert opinion on the potential use of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus. Read more.
Faculty Receives Honorary Life Member Award
Professor Andrea J. Tenner, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Neurobiology and Behavior, was recognized for her contributions to the field of leukocyte biology by receiving the 2015 Honorary Life Member Award from the Society of Leukocyte Biology. Professor Tenner is internationally recognized as a leader in the immunological field and currently serves as the director of UCI MIND. Read more.
New James L. McGaugh Endowed Chair Named
Professor Craig E. L. Stark was recently awarded the James L. McGaugh Chair, Neurobiology and Behavior, for his profound impact on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of memory. His most recent research has focused on the link between memory formation and playing 3-D video games. He will receive an endowment that will support his research and teaching for up to five years. Read more.
Ayala Faculty to Watch: Christie Fowler
Professor Christie D. Fowler, Neurobiology and Behavior, was recently featured as a "Scientist to Watch" in The Scientist magazine. Her research explores how the abuse of drugs can modulate the circuitry of the brain and create drug-seeking behavior. Professor Fowler also serves as an executive committee member of the UC Irvine Center for Addiction Neuroscience (ICAN). Read more.
Saving the Salton Sea
The California Natural Resources Agency has named Professor Timothy J. Bradley, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, to the science advisory committee to help preserve the Salton Sea. Professor Bradley is the current director of the Salton Sea Initiative, which has been working to understand the environmental impact of the Salton Sea's aridity. Read more.
Focus on Addiction
The UC Irvine Center for Addiction Neuroscience (ICAN) held their first Addiction Symposium led by ICAN's director, Professor Marcelo A. Wood. The event brought faculty from UCI, other universities, and medical professionals together to highlight their research and technical expertise and foster collaboration on addiction research. Read more.
Two Ayala Faculty Members Among Thomson Reuters Most Cited
The Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers List was created to identify scientists who have significantly contributed to their field of research. Two Ayala School faculty members were selected along with many faculty members from across the UC campuses. Read more.
Spark the Zot in You - UCI Homecoming 2016
Alumni, students, faculty and staff filled Aldrich Park for this year's homecoming despite light rain. Throughout the day, the Ayala School booth gave visitors the opportunity to learn about the school's various research fields, meet Dr. Catherine Loudon, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and UCI MIND, who showcased a human brain and spinal cord. Read more.
Research in the News
Marine Life Impacted by Elevated CO2 and Higher Temperatures
Through studying tide pool habitats in Alaska, Professor Cascade J. Sorte, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and colleagues have found a direct link between changes in marine life physiology and ecology and elevated changes in temperature and CO2. Her research may help forecast what changes might occur if global temperatures continue to change. Read more.
Having the Muscle to Move
Professor Eman Aziz, Dr. Natalie Holt, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and colleagues investigated whether skeletal muscle morphology and physiology determines optimal performance that allow muscles to perform a broad range of movements by studying the movements of the cane toad planteris muscle. Read more.
UCI Ayala School of Biological Sciences
5120 Natural Sciences II
Irvine, CA 92697-1450
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