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October 22, 2010


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Alumni Highlights

UC Merced Ph.D. Lands Tenure-Track Position in Hydrology

Glenn ShawOne of UC Merced’s earliest Ph.D. recipients has been hired in a tenure-track faculty position. Glenn D. Shaw is a new assistant professor in geological engineering at Montana Tech of the University of Montana in Butte.

Shaw will contribute the expertise in hydrology he gained at UC Merced, where he earned a doctorate in 2009. He specializes in using chemical tracers to determine age and composition of ground and surface water — research he plans to continue at Montana Tech.

“I’m looking forward to studying local groundwater basins,” Shaw said. “There are areas where we could learn a lot about how land use change will impact the water supply using techniques from my previous work.”


Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out what’s happening on campus now!


View details of MTS Lecture Series, Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture series, Energy Speaker Series and Psychological Sciences Colloquium.

14th Annual Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out – Oct. 29

Today (Oct. 22), is the last day to register for the 14th Annual Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-out at one of California’s top-ranked courses, Stevinson Ranch. Proceeds benefit UC Merced Athletics and Recreation. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. Oct. 29.

For information, contact George Kelley at 209-664-6400.

University Friends Circle –
Nov. 2

“High Speed Rail: A Promise for Merced County” presented by Dr. Lee Boese

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Merced. Dr. Lee Boese will present “High Speed Rail: A Promise for Merced County.” Please note that you do not have to be a current UFC member to attend the luncheon. The cost, including lunch, is $20 for members and non-members. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, send an e-mail to ufc@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-4136.

The UFC provides a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty, and their families, to engage in open discussion and interact with members of the surrounding communities.

Arts UC Merced Presents …

Merced Symphony Fall Concert – Nov. 6

Celebrate Frederic Chopin's 200th birth year with his technically demanding but expressive Piano Concerto No. 2, and the return of pianist Natsuki Fukasawa at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium. Henrik Jul Hansen leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, "Pathetique." He calls it "one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. "

Purchase tickets online at arts.ucmerced.edu.

For information, contact Gail Benedict at 209-228-4566.


Chief Ranger for the National Parks Service Steve Shackelton – Dec. 2

Chancellor's Associates and their guests are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception Dec. 2. Come discover the renowned Yosemite Leadership Program and National Parks Institute at UC Merced through the eyes of Chief Ranger for the National Parks Service Steve Shackelton.

RSVP to specialevents@ucmerced.edu or 209-228-RSVP.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at 209-228-4109.


Total amount of awards in September:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2010:



Campus’ Economic Impact on Valley Continues to Grow

Economic impactThe struggling economy continues to be boosted regionally by UC Merced. The campus announced this week that its economic contribution to the San Joaquin Valley since operations began in July 2000 has surpassed the $500 million mark. Statewide, the university’s total economic contribution now exceeds $1.1 billion.

UC Merced has paid more than $333 million in local wages, awarded $107 million in construction contracts to local businesses and purchased $111 million in goods and services from local suppliers. That’s a total Valley investment of $551 million — an increase of nearly $100 million in the past year alone.

And as that money is circulated throughout the economy, a “multiplier effect” increases the actual value of UC Merced’s local investments by as much two to four times, per varying economists’ estimates.

Within the Valley, Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus counties have been the largest beneficiaries of university investments. Fresno County businesses have been awarded nearly $100 million in construction and business-service contracts over the 10-year period. Merced County businesses have been awarded approximately $52 million in contracts, and $23 million in contracts have been awarded to businesses based in Stanislaus County.
[Read more]

State Budget Supports UC Merced’s Growth

Construction on UC Merced’s next academic building will begin next year, thanks to the continued support from California’s leaders.

The 2010-11 budget includes $81 million for construction of the Science and Engineering II Building, $10 million in base funding for operations, $6.5 million for continued site development and infrastructure at UC Merced and $5 million in supplemental operating funds.

"We are very pleased that the approved state budget reflects the critical importance of higher education to the people of California," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "We expressly thank Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has enthusiastically supported UC Merced since before the campus opening in 2005. His readiness — along with the Legislature's — to include these funds this year attests to their commitment to UC Merced and to the growing contribution this campus is making to the San Joaquin Valley and the state."

The building will be built next to the Science and Engineering Building, which is on the eastern side of campus. The campus’ Social Science and Management building, under construction, is scheduled to open for Fall 2011.

UC Merced a Partner in New Innovation Hub

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has announced the Central San Joaquin Valley Innovation Hub (iHub), in which UC Merced is a partner, has received the state’s new iHub designation.

In the iHub, UC Merced will partner with regional nonprofit and government agencies in a multifaceted project aimed at stimulating economic development and job creation through research and innovation.

The Central Valley Business Incubator and Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development are the lead agencies in the Central San Joaquin Valley iHub — one of 12 total projects to have now received the state’s designation — with UC Merced, California State University, Fresno, and the Small Business Development Center as partners.


Study Shows Coral Genomes Could Adapt to Climate Change

Coral research   View the video  

When UC Merced biology Professor Mónica Medina and her team learned that a group from Penn State was undertaking coral larvae research in Florida similar to their own research in Mexico, she decided to reach out to them.

“I said, ‘Well let’s just find out what they’re doing, and maybe we can compare our results,’” Medina said. “It sort of developed from that.”

The teams found each other through their respective blogs, and what developed was a research publication that showed, for the first time, that coral genomes differ depending on their geographic location and that they may be adaptive enough to cope with changing environmental conditions.
[Read more]

Award Supports Protein Research

Shawn Newsam

Shawn Newsam

Mike Colvin

Mike Colvin

Ajay Gopinathan

Professors Shawn Newsam, Mike Colvin and Ajay Gopinathan were recently awarded a $647,841 grant from the National Science Foundation for their research into protein dynamics.

Newsam, in the School of Engineering, and Colvin and Gopinathan, in the School of Natural Sciences, are taking an interdisciplinary approach to better understand the behavior of intrinsically disordered proteins, which have only recently been recognized as important. The grant helps to continue research into these kinds of proteins.

Unlike traditional proteins, they don't fold into a fixed structure. They are dynamic, which may determine their function.

Being dynamic also makes them difficult to study. To understand them, Newsam, Colvin and Gopinathan are looking at computer simulations. Computer simulations can be considered a third mode of science, complementing theory and experimentation, Newsam explained.

Intrinsically disordered proteins are thought to play a role in several diseases such as Alzheimer's.


Biology Students Secure Prominent Postdoctoral Positions

Postdoctoral positionsMany UC Merced students who earned their doctoral degrees in Quantitative and Systems Biology have continued their success by securing positions at some of the leading labs in the world.

Quantitative and Systems Biology (QSB) is one of the top graduate groups on campus. Of the 12 Ph.D.s awarded during May 2010 commencement, nine of them were to students in the QSB program. Some of these graduates are now in New York, Boston, Memphis, San Francisco and Germany pursuing their careers in science.

Students in the program focus on the integration of systems at molecular, cellular, organ, organismal or ecological levels to better understand the overall function of biological systems as a whole.
[Read more]

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