News

  • Carnegie Mellon University will award its prestigious Dickson Prize in Science to David Haussler, a leader in the field of bioinformatics and professor of biomolecular engineering. Haussler will receive an award of $50,000 and will deliver a public lecture as part of the prize ceremony to be held at Carnegie Mellon University in March 2006.
  • John N. Thompson, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has now published his third book on the subject of coevolution, The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution (University of Chicago Press, 2005).
  • Shortly after learning of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, biomolecular engineering adjunct professor Mark Akeson began to ask after his collaborator and former UCSC PhD student, Stephen Winters-Hilt, who is a computer science professor at University of New Orleans.
  • Professor Harry Noller, Director of the UCSC Center for the Molecular Biology of RNA, and his team have solved the structure of the ribosome, the largest and most important macromolecular complex ever solved. The results were presented in a recent issue of Science.
  • The cover of the October issue of PLoS Pathogens (vol. 1, issue 2) features research by MCD biologist Bill Sullivan and colleagues on Wolbachia, a parasitic bacterium that lives inside the cells of many insects. Wolbachia travel from host to host on the female germ line. Since they reside in the host cell’s cytoplasm they cannot be transmitted by sperm.
  • Scientists from Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States attended a working meeting of two ENCODE project teams at UCSC in November, hosted by the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group.
  • The World Technology Network (WTN) honored David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering and CBSE director, at its 2005 World Technology Summit. The WTN honors the top individuals and companies deemed by their peers to be the most innovative in the world of science and technology in 20 categories. Haussler took the top award in the IT Software category. Other awardees include British Prime Minister Tony Blair for policy and stem cell pioneer Woo Suk Hwang from Seoul National University for biotechnology.
  • David Feldheim, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, and his colleagues have made headway in the quest to understand neuronal development in mammals. Their research is described in the November 23 issue of Neuron.
  • Technology industry leaders on Monday announced several major new research alliances with QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research. The announcements coincided with an inaugural event celebrating the opening of the institute’s headquarters at UCSF Mission Bay.
  • A team of UCSC researchers was among 20 finalists who traveled to Italy in November to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges in a nanotechnology business plan competition. The UCSC team ultimately placed fifth out of 70 entrants in the Nanochallenge 2005 competition, organized by Veneto Nanotech.
  • The UCSC Genome Browser now contains an ever-growing image library that corresponds to the genome data it houses. This new software tool, called VisiGene, was created by Jim Kent and Galt Barber of the UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Group.
  • Blowing bubbles is child's play, showing how easily soap molecules can assemble into a sheet and curl around to form a bubble. To David Deamer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and acting chair of biomolecular engineering, the formation of a soap bubble is no mere curiosity—it illustrates an essential property of the kinds of molecules that compose the membranes of all living cells. While other researchers debate whether DNA or proteins came first, Deamer traces the origin of life to microscopic bubblelike membranes.
  • Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have received major funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop new sensor technology for biomedical applications. The project builds on earlier advances by UCSC researchers in optical and electrical sensing technologies and involves a broad interdisciplinary group of collaborators at UCSC and Brigham Young University.
  • UC Santa Cruz, has received $375,000 from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund the first year of a new training program in stem cell research. CIRM announced today that it has distributed $12.1 million in grants to 16 California institutions as part of the CIRM Training Program.
  • Biomolecular engineering professor Josh Stuart will be honored May 10 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He will receive the 2006 Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Graduate Award during the 76th Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony. The Kalpana Chawla Award recognizes alumni who have made exceptional contributions to their field within 10 years of graduation. This award was named to honor the CU-Boulder alumna who died aboard the Columbia space shuttle on February 1, 2003.
  • Wentai Liu, professor of electrical engineering, has received the 2006 Outstanding Alumnus Award from Taiwan National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Liu received the award at a ceremony on April 8.
  • Both the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the inclusion among their members of David Haussler, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor of biomolecular engineering.
  • Scientists have long known that the social insects in the order Hymenoptera, which includes ants, bees, and wasps, have an unusual mechanism for sex determination: Unfertilized eggs develop into males, while fertilized eggs become females. But the development of an unfertilized egg into an adult (called parthenogenesis) remains a mysterious process.
  • The UCSC Training Program in Systems Biology of Stem Cells is accepting applications for three predoctoral students and three postdoctoral fellows, who will each receive at least 2 years of support. The CIRM scholars undertake research projects with faculty mentors from UCSC and also participate in a variety of learning opportunities.
  • Josh Stuart, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering, has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow. These prestigious fellowships aim to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. The fellows, once chosen, are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of the most compelling interest to them.
  • February 8, 2006--The California Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology released a report outlining actions needed to improve California's competitiveness in nanotechnology. Steve Kang, dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, served on this task force, which was a joint federal-state venture to benefit Silicon Valley and promote California as the premier center for nanotechnology research, development, and commercialization.

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