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Evidence-Based Solutions for Central California

Lorena Anderson

New Grant Helps Assess Benefits of Satellites for Determining Water Quality

Summertime means fun in the water, but as temperatures increase, algal blooms can grow in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Some algae are natural and life-giving, while others are the result of life out of balance and can have harmful effects. Consisting of bacteria and tiny plankton, they arise quickly and alter the ecosystem by consuming available oxygen, killing fish.

Bacteria Use the Physics of Twist to Measure Their Own Size and Shape

Theoretical physics Professor Ajay Gopinathan has been working over the past decade to model a submicroscopic mystery. Now, he and a team of colleagues have verified an important piece of the puzzle of how tiny, intrinsically twisted protein filaments responsible for repairing and growing cells know where to go to perform their function.

The work could someday enable scientists to control bacterial growth.

Human Waste Treatment Helps Solve Climate-Change Puzzle, New Study Shows

About 4.5 billion people around the globe do not have access to adequate sanitation, and what they do have — typically pit latrines and lagoons — are responsible for widespread illnesses and a portion of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.

UC Merced Professor Rebecca Ryals and a group of colleagues have a solution that not only increases safety, sustainability and jobs, but reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste-borne illnesses while producing an effective fertilizer for agriculture.

At the Intersection of Math and Biology, Sindi Lab Sees a Breakthrough in Prion Disease

A UC Merced researcher and her lab have unlocked one of the mysteries that could lead to treatments — or even cures — for prion diseases in mammals.

Prion diseases are a family of rare, progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans — such as with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or fatal familial insomnia — and animals, such as mad-cow disease. These disorders are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Research Reveals Collective Dynamics of Active Matter Systems

Flocks of starlings producing dazzling patterns across the sky are natural examples of active matter — groups of individual agents coming together to create collective dynamics.

In a study featured on last week’s cover of the journal Science, a team of researchers including a UC Merced theoretical physicist revealed new insights into what happens inside such active systems.

Researchers Discover Mechanism Proteins Use To Find And Control Genes

Bioengineering Professor Victor Muñoz has answered a long-standing genetic mystery, and his research suggests that someday, bioengineers could devise ways to control gene activity — manually switching off the genes that contribute to cancer, for instance.

“If this mechanism turns out to be as powerful as we anticipate, engineering it will be relatively straightforward,” Muñoz said. “Controlling the output of genes could be done in a targeted way by new genome editing technologies such as CRISPR.”

‘E-Week’ Shines Spotlight on Engineering Field, Students

Competitions, showcases, career success stories and more highlight the work of the School of Engineering and its students at UC Merced’s annual celebration of National Engineers Week, Feb. 18 to 21.

E-Week is an opportunity for engineering students to share the work they do with the campus, invite some friendly competition and introduce other students and younger school children to the field. Each day carries a specific theme, from Project Palooza (a showcase for engineering clubs and organizations) to Professional Day (career advice and alumni success stories).

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