Message from the Dean
I am pleased to welcome everyone to the 2016-17 academic school year. For those of you returning, this year is set to be even more eventful than last. We have an outstanding list of events planned, which should appeal to both faculty and students alike.
Let us extend a special welcome to our incoming class. The university is welcoming its largest freshman class ever, and many of our new anteaters have chosen to join the Ayala School. With over 1300 new students, this year’s welcome event was moved to the Bren Center to accommodate one of the largest incoming classes the School has ever had. I wish much success to everyone as the academic year commences.
Biology for a Better Tomorrow
Risk Factors for Congenital Heart Defects May Lie Outside the Heart
New research published by Professors Anne L. Calof (Anatomy and Neurobiology and Developmental and Cell Biology) Arthur D. Lander (Developmental and Cell Biology) and their colleagues, report that the role of genes in congenital heart defects is more complex than previously realized, and that overall risk of the disease is determined by a combination of gene effects both inside and outside of the heart itself. Read more.
Blue Mussel Population Gives Insight into Declining Biodiversity
Professor Cascade J. Sorte (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) has discovered that the population of blue mussel populations has significantly declined over the past 40 years. Blue mussel loss coincided with a shift in the composition of species within their habitats. The results from Professor Sorte’s study may help guide future conservation efforts to protect the biodiversity of coastal systems. Read more.
Unraveling the Mechanisms Underlying Bacterial Competition
Professor Celia W. Goulding (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) has solved the crystal structure of an activated toxin complex (CysK/CdiA-CTEC536) that is delivered by bacteria and used in contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI). A better understanding of toxin function, gained through the identification of its structure, may lead to the production of new and/or more effective antibiotics. Read more.
Rapid Killing of Bed Bugs on Luggage Using Heat
In a recent study by Entomologist and Teaching Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Catherine Loudon discovered that a brief 6-minute exposure of soft-sided luggage to high temperatures, 158-167°F, was sufficient to kill all the bed bugs found on the exteriors of the luggage, including those located under zipper flaps or decorative piping. Read more.
New Insight into Mechanisms Governing Cancer Development
Professor Wenqi Wang (Developmental and Cell Biology) and his collaborators, have provided new mechanistic insights into protein tyrosine phosphorylation, a critical cellular event that is carried out, in part, by enzymes called protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs). PTPs are frequently mutated in various human cancers, suggesting that they have important roles in tumor suppression. Read more.
Commentary: Why Spraying Pesticides over Orange County for Mosquito Control is a Bad Idea
Professor Bruce Blumberg (Developmental and Cell Biology) has recently commented on a proposal for mosquito control from the Orange County Vector Control District (OCVCD), featured in the OC Weekly. The OCVCD’s plan involves spraying Duet, a synthetic pesticide, aerially over Orange County. Read more.
Will A Trip to Mars Lead to Pre-Mature Infertility?
Sending astronauts on deep space missions is a future goal of both NASA and the private sector. Unfortunately, little is known about the ramifications of long-term exposure to cosmic radiation on most physiological functions, including reproduction. Professor Ulrike Luderer (Medicine and Developmental and Cell Biology) has discovered that a single brief exposure to low doses of high linear energy transfer (LET) heavy iron particle radiation, a type of radiation that is also found in cosmic radiation, results in premature ovarian failure. The results from Professor Luderer’s study may help guide future research efforts to protect female astronauts from irreversible injury due to long-term space flight. Read more.
News and Highlights
Prestigious Recognition for Distinguished Neuroscientist
Distinguished Professor Bruce L. McNaughton (Neurobiology and Behavior) was awarded a National Science Foundation award and named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor McNaughton and his collaborators are working to determine the mechanisms that transform short-term memories into more permanent long-term memories. Read more.
Distinguished Faculty Member Recognized During World Mosquito Day
Distinguished Professor Anthony A. James (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) was recognized by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on this year’s World Mosquito Day. World Mosquito Day was first established August 20th, 1897, to recognize the discovery that mosquitoes were involved in malaria transmission. Read more.
New Summer Internships in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to Promote Diversity
In an effort to enhance diversity within University of California (UC) graduate programs, the UC system has partnered with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create the UC-HBCU Initiative. Several outreach award programs have been created through the initiative to assist in the recruitment of future graduate students. The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology was recently awarded a 2016 UC-HBCU award to support a summer internship program. Read more.
Dean Welcomes the Class of 2020
This year’s welcome ceremony was held in the Bren Events Center and played host to one of the largest incoming classes in the School’s history. Close to 1300 new students packed the center’s floor, where they were introduced to Student Affairs Officer Jenna Bague, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Michael Leon and Ayala School Dean Frank M. LaFerla. Read more.
Christine Schneider, a doctoral candidate in the lab of Professor Melissa B. Lodoen (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) was selected for her outstanding academic success and her research investigating how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii evades the brain’s immune response.
UCI Ayala School of Biological Sciences
5120 Natural Sciences II
Irvine, CA 92697-1450
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