UC Merced Update mastehead


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


June 13, 2008

Editor's note: This will be our last issue of Update for the summer. We're taking a break but will return in September with more campus news.


$4.36 Million Will Fund Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry

Michelle Khine in lab
A $4.36 million CIRM grant to establish a stem cell instrumentation foundry could lead to medical breakthroughs.


The University of California, Merced, has been chosen as the location for a Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The facility, anticipated to cost about $7.5 million total, will be supported with $4.36 million from CIRM through its Major Facilities Grant program. UC Merced officials anticipate the foundry will be housed at the university’s facility on the former Castle Air Force Base.

The proposed facility would include two clean rooms, specialized spaces for cell imaging and culture work, and support and office space.

CIRM announced award recipients in the Major Facilities Grant program May 7 in Los Angeles. UC Merced’s proposal was approved as one of the “Special Programs” grants – the category for projects costing $5 million to $10 million.

Valley Telehealth Partnership Selects Six Health Care Sites

The Valley Telehealth Partnership (VTP), spearheaded by UC Merced, is set to begin establishing telehealth programs in six different Central Valley communities in order to improve local access to medical specialists. The six initial sites are at the forefront of what is expected to become a larger regional project that will use telemedicine technologies to connect patients and physicians in some of the Valley’s most rural and underserved communities with medical specialists whose services are often unavailable in these areas.

The initial six partnering sites include:

  • Castle Family Health Centers in Atwater
  • Mercy Hospital Family Care Clinic in Merced
  • National Health Services in Oildale
  • San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp
  • Sierra Kings District Hospital in Reedley
  • United Health Center in Kerman.

Using high-resolution video equipment provided by the VTP, sites will be able to access specialists for real-time video consultations with patients. Specialties will include dermatology, psychiatry, pediatric specialties, endocrinology, gastroenterology and many others.

Last year, UC Merced received nearly $1 million — $500,000 from AT&T; $200,000 from the California Emerging Technology Fund and $250,000 from the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley – to establish an eHealth network in the region that would improve health care access. As a result, the VTP was born. The purpose of the VTP is to address the severe health care disparities that exist in the San Joaquin Valley's rural and underserved communities by improving access to specialty medical services for Valley residents. Read more here.

UC Merced Selected for National Workgroup on Community Engaged Scholarship

UC Merced was founded with the commitment to apply its globally focused research to help meet urgent regional needs related to education, poverty, medical care shortages, population growth and air pollution. The campus’ teaching, research and public service activities aim to understand and improve the conditions of the Central Valley and beyond.

In late May, faculty and staff joined an innovative national effort to improve how universities ensure effective relationships and positive impacts for the communities that they serve.

Professor Robin DeLugan, Dean Maria Pallavicini and Jorge Aguilar of UC Merced, as well as Stergios Roussos of the Community Partnership Alliance in Merced attended a charrette, or collaborative planning session, “Faculty for the Engaged Campus,” sponsored by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health from May 28 through 30 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This program was part of a larger effort of the Department of Education to improve postsecondary education. The Merced team was part of a select national workgroup advancing how institutes of higher education select, prepare and support faculty teaching, research and public service to be of greater value and impact to communities.

More than 100 campuses applied to participate in the charrette. UC Merced was one of only 20 chosen, and the only institution from California represented.

“The charrette will help us learn ways other leading universities establish programs, policies and practices that support how faculty engage communities’ needs and resources in their daily work,” DeLugan said, “This will include ways to make sure that research supporting our region is valued in the tenure process, for example.”

DeLugan and Aguilar are also working with CURAJ (Community-University Research & Action for Justice), an initiative to foster collaborations of university research and local community expertise to improve the well-being of the disadvantaged populations in the Central Valley. After the May charrette, they will be preparing for a fall CURAJ Action Summit that will bring community organizations together to learn how to draw on faculty research expertise.



Wang Publishes on Japanese Art; Creates Student Exhibit Web Site

As an art historian, ShiPu Wang of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts has published an article, "'Japan Against Japan': U.S. Propaganda and Yasuo Kuniyoshi's Identity Crisis," in the spring issue of "American Art," the scholarly journal of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and one of the preeminent publications for new research in American art history.

Wang, a founding faculty member of UC Merced's Global Arts Studies Program, examines the underlying contradictions in the work of Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889 - 1953), particularly his “anti-Japan” posters created for the Office of War Information, the U.S. war propaganda agency, and how these powerful images reveal the artist’s identity crisis and the sociopolitical storms he weathered during World War II.

Wang has also created a Web site where his students exhibit their work and engage in a constant exchange of ideas beyond the classroom. The site is supported by a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

Professors and Students Publish Review in 'Science'

A team of UC Merced professors and students have published a book review in the journal "Science." Professors Mike Dawson, Marcos Garcia-Ojeda and Jennifer O. Manilay worked with nine students in the Current Topics in Quantitative and Systems Biology class to review "Systems Biology: Philosophical Foundations" (Elsevier: Boogerd et al., eds.) and "An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits" (Chapman and Hall: Alon) for the May 23 issue of the prestigious interdisciplinary journal.



Paying It Forward

Sonia Salazar


If you had to sum up Sonia Salazar’s advice to her fellow graduates, it would be simple: Pay it Forward.

“We need to take what we’ve learned here at UC Merced and take it with us wherever we go,” she said during a recent interview. “We are UC Merced’s legacy.”

Salazar, who has earned her bachelor’s degree in literature, has been at UC Merced since the beginning. And that is something of which the Southern California native is quite proud.

“I had been in the city my whole life; I wanted something different and to be part of something new.”

She got her wish. Salazar was a member of the inaugural student government, serving as senator of the Associated Students of UC Merced for the 2006-07 term. As a senator, she helped draft the university constitution. She also sat on the Greek Life Council and helped to found a few of the campus’ first student groups, such as Dance Coalition and Kappa Delta Chi.

However, Salazar didn’t devote her entire career at UC Merced to being a social butterfly. She got a taste of just about everything a college student could possibly imagine. She interned at the Washington, D.C. public defender’s office as part of the UCDC internship program; she researched Chicano literature; she even worked two jobs on campus while balancing a full academic course load.

One could say the commencement speaker immersed herself in the UC Merced experience, and she doesn’t have any regrets.

“The UCDC program was challenging, but it was more than I could have ever asked for in an internship,” she said. “I was able to do lots of investigative work – not low-level busy work.”

Her work in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts with Professor Manuel Martin-Rodriguez broadened her definition of what research entailed.

“I thought research was all about science, but I learned that every field has its own type of research,” she said. “And it one more opportunity to get to know professors on a personal level.”

Like many of UC Merced’s graduates, Salazar pledges not to forget her experiences here or the lessons she’s learned. She’s representing UC Merced this summer as an intern for the Library of Congress, where she’ll be working on the Veterans History project in Los Angeles. In the fall, she’ll go to law school.

“We owe it to ourselves and to future UC Merced graduates to share our pioneering spirit, to help our university make a name for itself, to pay it forward.”



UC Merced Alumni Association Welcomes Class of 2008

Commencement class gift revealed
During the commencement, the Class of 2008 unveiled a replica of their gift to the university – an academic mace.


On May 22, Chancellor Steve Kang and Mia Kang hosted the university’s newest alumni in their home and welcomed them into the UC Merced Alumni Association. The following day family, friends and staff celebrated the accomplishments of 75 UC Merced students during commencement.

As members of the Alumni Association, UC Merced graduates receive many benefits, including free e-mail forwarding for life. Best of all, membership is absolutely free.  For more information, please contact Stefani Martinez, Alumni Affairs Coordinator, smartinez6@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-ALUM.



New Trustee on UC Merced Foundation Board

The UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to welcome Kenni Friedman as its newest member. Friedman served on the Modesto City Council for 11 years. She also served on the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control district and was chair in 1999. She is a member of the United Way Women's Initiative Committee and the Stanislaus County Education Foundation. Her other Board affiliations include Hispanic Leadership Council and the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation.




Our appreciation is extended to our newest Chancellor’s Associates donor Dean Sparks of Mail Media Group.

Chancellor's Associates is a premier group of leadership donors who are recognized for their annual gifts of $1,000 or more to be used to fund the university’s greatest needs. Donations to the Chancellor’s Associates provide the Chancellor with the opportunity to enhance UC Merced’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

In order to provide alumni with continued support after graduation and to increase alumni participation, UC Merced has launched a new initiative through the Chancellor’s Associates program called the Chancellor’s Pioneers. A special thank you to our founding Chancellor’s Pioneers Kamilia Dews, Kevin Duffy and Maria Salazar for their support and commitment to our campus.

For more information on becoming a Chancellor's Associates member, contact Chiara Sill at (209) 205-8753. 




July 4: Independence Day (UC Merced is closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $12,058,973
• Total amount of awards this month:  $1,202,344
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to May 31, 2008: $14,336,910


Contact Us

We want to hear from you. Do you have a question or comment about your UC Merced Update? Is there a campus-related topic or issue you’d like us to address? Or would you like to unsubscribe? Please contact Brenda Ortiz by e-mail bortiz@ucmerced.edu or call (209) 228-4203 with your questions, feedback and requests.

UC Merced logo