UC Merced Update mastehead


Welcome to this edition of UC Merced Update, providing you with an inside look at recent campus news and developments.


January 18, 2008



Researchers Developing Tool to Reduce Screening Time for MRSA

Miriam Barlow

Miriam Barlow

Matthew Meyer

Matthew Meyer

Shawn Newsam

Shawn Newsam


Amid international concern about the public health threat of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aurea bacteria, biomedical researchers at UC Merced are developing a powerful new screening tool that could someday answer widespread calls for universal staph screenings before patients are admitted to hospitals.

“Universal screening is not possible right now,” said Professor Miriam Barlow of the School of Natural Sciences. “The standard means for identifying drug-resistant staph is a two-step process that requires several days. Obviously, hospitals can’t make patients wait that long to be admitted.

“Our screening method is being developed with the aim of accomplishing a screening in six hours or less.”

Barlow and her colleagues, professors Matthew Meyer of the School of Natural Sciences and Shawn Newsam of the School of Engineering, are developing what they call the Microcalorimetry Microorgamism Infectious Disease Analyzer (M2IDF), a machine that measures how bacterial cells respond to heat as a way of identifying the bacteria and determining whether they are resistant to antibiotics.

Experiments and testing continue at UC Merced with the aim of bringing M2IDF to the market. The professors involved are seeking industrial partners for its development.

Barlow and her colleagues believe that resistant staph is a public health threat comparable in scope to AIDS. Hospital-acquired infections have long been a major source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but now those hospital-acquired infections are moving into the community and posing a serious public health threat.

By reducing the amount of time required to identify staph and determine its antibiotic resistance, researchers will eliminate the need for doctors to prescribe drugs that may not work while waiting for a true diagnosis. Every time an ineffective antibiotic is administered, especially in a hospital setting, the population of resistant organisms increases and the problem of worldwide antibiotic resistance becomes a little more severe. By reducing the use of ineffective antibiotics, M2IDF will reduce the spread of resistance and prolong the use of antibiotics as an effective means of infectious disease therapy.

David Hosley Named President of UC Merced’s Great Valley Center

David Hosley

David Hosley


David H. Hosley, president and general manager of KVIE Public Television in Sacramento, has been named president of the University of California, Merced's Modesto-based Great Valley Center.  The veteran journalist, author, nonprofit consultant, and community leader succeeds the regional development organization's founder and former president, Carol Whiteside, who has led the center for more than a decade. He will begin his new position effective Feb. 1, 2008.

"We are extremely pleased to find a candidate of David Hosley's caliber to take the helm at the Great Valley Center," said Steve Kang, chancellor of UC Merced and chair of the GVC board of directors.  "He is a proven manager and strategist, a skilled communicator and fund-raiser, and a strong proponent of regional planning and socio-economic development.  The center will benefit enormously from his leadership, his knowledge of regional issues, his great familiarity with academic institutions, and his unique combination of nonprofit and managerial experience as we seek to improve the quality of life in the fast-growing Central Valley." More

Jan Mendenhall Named Associate Vice Chancellor For Development

Jan Mendenhall

Jan Mendenhall


Jan Mendenhall has been promoted to associate vice chancellor for development for the Division of University Relations at UC Merced.

"Jan is extremely successful as a fundraiser and an administrator,” said John Garamendi Jr., vice chancellor for university relations. “She has been instrumental in the growth of this campus. During her nine-year tenure, she has worked with major donors, and local and national corporations and foundations to raise more than $20 million for the campus.”

Mendenhall, who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, joined UC Merced in 1998 as one of the university’s first employees. She served as director of community relations, director of university relations, director of foundation and corporate relations, director of development and relations, and most recently as executive director of development and relations.

“I am amazed by what our students and faculty have already accomplished and the dramatic impact they will continue to make on the San Joaquin Valley, the state and the world,” Mendenhall said. “I am honored to take on this new leadership role and look forward to continuing to serve UC Merced.”

Mendenhall has always felt deeply about the communities that UC Merced serves and has supported the region through her volunteer work as assistant district governor and president of the Downtown Merced Rotary Club, board member of the Mercy Hospital Foundation, honorary board member of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, founding board member of the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network, and by volunteering her time to facilitate strategic planning efforts for organizations such as the Merced County Multicultural Arts Council and Healthy House.

“There is no other cause that I feel more passionate about than UC Merced," Mendenhall said. “Being a part of this campus from the beginning has been profoundly rewarding for me on a professional and personal level.”



Professor Earns Career-boosting CIRM New Faculty Award

Jennifer Manilay

Jennifer Manilay


There's a bridge to be crossed before stem cell therapies are ready for widespread use, according to Professor Jennifer O. Manilay at UC Merced.

Tissues derived from embryonic stem cells are unlikely to be an immunological match for their intended recipients, and without immune system acceptance, they will not help patients. Manilay's research into transplantation and immune response aims to cross that bridge, and it is now supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Manilay has received a $1.58 million grant from CIRM under the New Faculty Awards program, aimed at boosting the careers of promising stem cell scientists in California, to fund her research for the next 5 years.

"A New Faculty Award from CIRM is an honor for Jennifer and for UC Merced," said Dean of Natural Sciences Maria Pallavicini, who is a pioneering stem cell researcher. "It's an important career breakthrough for a young scientist to receive such a large award, and her innovative ideas in transplantation immunology certainly warrant the support she has now received." More



Grad Student Wins Research Award at Sigma Xi Student Conference

Emily Reed

Emily Reed


Curiosity about a wasp's waist led UC Merced, alumna and grad student Emily Reed to a prestigious award.

Reed was among 26 first place award-winners for outstanding scientific research presentations at the 2007 Sigma Xi Student Research Conference in Orlando, held November 2-3.

Reed's interdisciplinary research project, conducted under the mentorship of Professor Christopher Viney of the School of Engineering, was titled "Microstructure, Nanostructure and Properties of the Wasp Petiole." She was recognized at an awards ceremony with a medal and an invitation to join Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. More



MSEFCU Endows Scholarship Fund at UC Merced

In keeping with its commitment to education, Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union has donated $25,000 to start an endowed scholarship fund to benefit students at the UC Merced.

The credit union has begun the Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union Scholarship Fund because of a strong belief in the next generation and a commitment to providing students with opportunities to further their educations.

“We know that even if students do well in high school, financial reasons may prevent them from attending a university,” President/CEO Nancy Deavours said. “Through scholarships, we have an opportunity to assist in helping further the education of young people in the San Joaquin Valley.”

MSEFCU is a not-for-profit cooperative formed in 1954 by seven school employees looking for a safe place to save and borrow money at fair interest rates. Robert Wayne, one of the founding fathers, managed the credit union out of a shoe box in his apartment and took loan applications in his bedroom. When the credit union was large enough, he quit his teaching job.  He retired after 39 years, and Nancy Deavours became the President/CEO. Under her direction, MSEFCU has become a full-service financial institution with four branches in Merced, Atwater and Los Banos that serve more than 35,000 members.

“The philosophy of credit unions is the cooperative spirit of people helping people,” Deavours said. “This cooperative spirit will be reflected by us helping some of our members with financial support to further their education at UC Merced.”

Rotary Gift Gives Students Something to Ponder

Boulder benches gift from Rotary

Students find boulder benches in the Academic Quad a convenient place to study between classes.


Thanks to a local Rotary club, UC Merced students now have a boulder seating area where they can study, hang out between classes or even hold a small study group. The eight boulder “benches,” in the Academic Quad across from the Kolligian Library, were made possible by a $2,000 donation from the Merced Sunrise Rotary and a matching grant from Rotary District 5220. An engraved plaque on two of the boulders designates that the Merced Sunrise Rotary donated them to the campus.

“We have many goals for our local community through our Community Service program and one project was installing the benches at the university,” said Gary Hogston, past director of community service for the Merced Sunrise Rotary. “Our hope is that students who sit on them will wonder about Rotary International and look further to see what this service organization does to help people worldwide.”

Hogston credits Tim O'Neil, club president when the donation was initiated, for his key role in making the boulder benches become a reality.

With the help of the Merced Sunrise Rotary, UC Merced students established a Rotaract Club on campus that is very active in community service projects.  The purpose of the club is to continue Rotary International’s mission to better serve humankind through the resources of merchants.



On Feb. 13, UC Merced will host the Foundation Board of Trustees meeting at the UC Merced Fresno Center. The day’s events will include Focus Area, committee and full board meetings. The day’s meetings will be capped off by a reception from 5:45-7 p.m.

Hotel rooms have been reserved at the Ramada Inn, Fresno, at the special rate of $139/ room. The hotel is walking distance to UC Fresno Center, east of Hwy. 41 on Shaw Ave. Please contact Connie Evans-McIntyre by Jan. 31 at (559) 224-4040.

More information will follow in your mailing packet and will be posted to trustees.ucmerced.edu. Contact Shannon Blackwood at (209) 228-4401 or via e-mail sblackwood@ucmerced.edu for login information.




Our appreciation is extended to all our renewing and first-time donors to UC Merced.  A special thank you to all our Chancellor's Associates donors who, through their annual contributions and participation, have made the campus' premier donor group such a great success.

Joining the Chancellor's Associates is your opportunity to make a personal impact on the future of UC Merced. 

We welcome back renewing donors Lawrence and Doris Blazina, Karen Bizzini, Lee and Marie-Alyce Kolligian, Christian and Lucy Galley, Sarah Landels, Maria Pallavicini and Guenter Fischer, Amita and Roy Atul, Pete and Vicki Bandoni, Jane and Pope Lawrence, James and Andrea Sofranek, Henry and Marie te Velde, Jeff and Delores Wright, John and Dora Bennett, Shivarama and Meenakshi Bhat, Gundala and Manju Reddy, John and Nancy Westerholm, Eric and Susan Conley, Ray and Jeanne McAuley, Marge McAuley, James and Sabra Abbate, Loren Gonella and Andra Greenwald, Claude and Terri Ellison, Bob and Suzanne Carpenter, Roger and Sheryl Wyan, Pam Anderson, Sherrie Spendlove and new donors Jesse Arreguin, Thomas and Kara Grave, Edith MacDonald, Marilynn Shannon, Roger and Jeane Samuelson and Paul Dunmire.

For more information on becoming a Chancellor's Associates member, please contact Victor Mitre, director of annual giving programs, at (209) 228-4297.



Advocate for Your University in Sacramento: UC Day March 4

Join alumni and friends at UC Day 2008 at the state capitol on Tuesday, March 4. The festivities will begin on Monday, March 3 with a special dinner at UC Merced for alumni, friends and legislative staff.

UC Day provides an opportunity for alumni, friends and campus leaders from all ten UC campuses to come together each year to discuss the university's priorities with state legislators. In the past, this effort has proven effective in gaining legislative awareness and support for budget and policy issues affecting UC Merced. This year’s theme is “UC Goes Green.”  No previous advocacy experience is needed.

For more information or if you are interested in being an advocate at UC Day, please contact Shannon Blackwood at (209) 228-4401.



Students, Professors Plan Jan. 31 “Teach-in” on Global Climate Change

Students and professors at the UC Merced have organized a teach-in on global climate change that will take place Thursday, Jan. 31 on the newest UC campus. Based on a model from Focus the Nation (www.focusthenation.org), the teach-in is aimed at creating awareness on campus and in the community about the issues surrounding climate change.

Professors from all three UC Merced schools as well as guests from the National Parks Service will make educational presentations and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Topics will include how climate change is affecting Yosemite National Park, how literature helps mobilize for change, and more.

The public is welcome, and there is no cost to attend the teach-in. For more information, please contact student organizer Emily DeCremer, edecremer@ucmerced.edu.

UC Merced to Host Conference for Chicana, Chicano Studies Feb. 2

The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies’ Northern California Regional Conference will take place Feb. 2 at UC Merced. The event – sponsored by UC Merced’s Writing Program, Office of Admissions, Transfer Program, Graduate Program, MECha chapter and Latino Associated Students – is open to the public and will include academic presentations, an art exhibit and poetry workshops.

The conference begins at 8 a.m. Cost is $15 for students and $25 for others. It will include workshops on NACCS, how to apply for graduate school and how to go about transferring, in addition to academic presentations. The confirmed morning speaker is renowned author/poet Juan Felipe Herrera. Lunch is included with the price of admission.

A vintage Chicano poster exhibit will include works submitted by the community. There is still time to contribute to the poster exhibit. Please check your garage for vintage posters and submit them as entries to share with attendees. Please contact Lucia Vazquez at lvazquez2@ucmerced.edu, if you would like to participate, or if you would like more information on the event.

Other events:

Jan. 21: Martin Luther King Holiday (UC Merced closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $3,551,877
• Total amount of awards this month:  $478,425
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007: $8,396,789


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