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Berkeley’s ‘Rosetta Stone’ for fire science imperiled by Sierra blaze

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 13:18
Berkeley’s ‘Rosetta Stone’ for fire science imperiled by Sierra blazeBlodgett Research Forest, a key UC Berkeley research station, is under threat from the King Fire in El Dorado County. The 4,270-acre forest, located 56 miles east of Sacramento, is a critical site for a wide variety of research projects, including wildfire-management techniques. Nobody is watching developments with more interest than Berkeley's forest experts.
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King Fire Puts UC Research Forest to the Test

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:48
By Ann Brody Guy, College of Natural Resources Updated Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Calfire has back-fired off of the roads that wrap around the east and south ends of Blodgett (not on the Blodgett property). Humidity is high, so the back... Ann Guy

Media Advisory: Sept. 21 party to celebrate MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at Mars

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:50
 Sept. 21 party to celebrate MAVEN spacecraft’s arrival at MarsA celebration of the arrival at Mars of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft carrying four instruments built at the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.
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Counting fish teeth reveals DNA changes behind rapid evolution

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 05:30
Counting fish teeth reveals DNA changes behind rapid evolutionThreespine sticklebacks undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean into freshwater, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. UC Berkeley biologist Craig Miller now shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for jaw deformities in humans.
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Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look unique

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 07:40
Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look uniqueWhy are human faces so variable compared to other animals? Berkeley biologists Michael Nachman & Michael Sheehan analyzed human faces and the genes that code for them and found a variability that could only be explained by selection for uniqueness, probably because of the importance of social interactions in human relationships and the need for all of us to be recognizable.
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2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize for boosting women in architecture, sustainability announced

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 05:00
2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize for boosting women in architecture, sustainability announcedSheila Kennedy, an internationally recognized architect, innovator and educator, is the 2014 recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize. The award is given by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design to a design practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to advance gender equity in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and community.
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Lessons for saving our forests

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:01
Lessons for saving our forestsUC Berkeley professor Scott Stephens lost 400 research sites in last year's Sierra Nevada Rim Fire, but the harm to the forest ecosystem is incalculable. Now fires are raging again in Yosemite. Stephens offered advice on how to reduce future catastrophes, in a NewsCenter story that first ran in October 2013; it is reposted here.
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Changing how we farm can save evolutionary diversity, study suggests

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:00
Changing how we farm can save evolutionary diversity, study suggestsA new study by biologists at Stanford University and UC Berkeley highlights the dramatic hit on evolutionary diversity when forests are transformed into agricultural lands. The findings point to using diversified farming as a way to preserve the evolutionary history embodied in wildlife.
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Berkeley BioE ranked #9 program in U.S.

Department of Bioengineering - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:59
Not only is Berkeley the #1 public university in the nation, Berkeley Bioengineering has been ranked the #9 bioengineering undergraduate program in the US, by U.S. News & World Report. This is one step higher than last year's ranking - #1, here we come!
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Follow noon TweetChat with Janssen Award winner Jennifer Doudna

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:30
Follow noon TweetChat with Janssen Award winner Jennifer DoudnaJohnson & Johnson will host a TweetChat featuring Jennifer Doudna (@UCBerkeleyNews) and Emmanuel Charpentier from noon to 1 p.m. Wed., Sept. 10, on the occasion of their receiving the 2014 Janssen Award in Biomedical Research. The chat will be moderated by former Scientific American Editor-in-Chief John Rennie. Follow @JNJInnovation and submit questions using the hashtag #DPJAward.
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Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its hole

College of Natural Resources - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 13:30
By Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley Media Relations BERKELEY — Scientists estimate that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain in their Mojave Desert home, but a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, is giving important guidance in the... Ann Guy

Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its hole

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 01:00
Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its holeA UC Berkeley biologist is giving important guidance in the efforts to rescue a critically endangered fish found only in Devils Hole, about 60 miles east of Death Valley National Park. It is estimated that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain. Considered the world's rarest fish, the wild pupfish faces a 28 to 32 percent risk of extinction over the next 20 years.
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Bakar research fellows make their case in Silicon Valley

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 16:00
Bakar research fellows make their case in Silicon ValleySixteen faculty members from UC Berkeley's Bakar Fellows Program recently took their research ideas to Sand Hill Road — the heart of Silicon Valley's venture capital community — for a coveted meeting with some of the nation's top angel investors.
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Study links honesty to prefrontal region of the brain

UC Berkeley Science News - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:50
Study links honesty to prefrontal region of the brainLead author of new study linking honesty to a certain region of the brain says the findings have significant implications for understanding social interaction and cooperation within business organizations and beyond.
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Shining light on brain circuits to study learning, memory

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 07:05
Shining light on brain circuits to study learning, memoryNSF has given Ehud Isacoff, director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, $300,000 over two years to develop a new technology that uses light to tweak the synapses of brain cells to determine how they process information during learning and memory.
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Can UC’s Lick Observatory be saved?

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:55
Can UC’s Lick Observatory be saved?"I’m fighting in part for the next generation," says UC Berkeley Professor of Astronomy Alex Filippenko in a Daily Californian feature on the future of UC's Lick Observatory, near San Jose. UC Office of the President recently announced it plans to phase out funding for the facility by 2018.
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New book from Sanjay Kumar

Department of Bioengineering - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 15:02

Kumar book coverBioE professor Sanjay Kumar has edited a new book with Professor Adam Engler, of UC San Diego. Titled  Mechanotransduction, the book is Volume 126 in the Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science series. 

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Biochip research in the Daily Cal

Department of Bioengineering - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 14:56
Pioneering research by Professors Kevin Healy and Luke Lee, aimed at recreating human heart and liver tissues on "biochips", was featured in the Daily Cal.
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BioE receives computational biology curriculum enrichment grant

Department of Bioengineering - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 14:53

UC Berkeley has awarded a 2014-2015 Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grant to the Department of Bioengineering for revision of the undergraduate computational biology concentration.

The program provides the opportunity for faculty teams to transform core areas of the undergraduate curriculum. Monies awarded through the program provide support and a pathway for graduate student researchers to refine and hone skills in conducting evaluation and participating in program-level curriculum dialogue. 

The project will be led by Professors Kimmen Sjölander, Professor of Bioengineering and Plant & Microbial Biology; Mohammad Mofrad, Professor of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering; Teresa Head-Gordon, Chancellor’s Professor of Chemistry, Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; and Rasmus Nielsen, Professor of Integrative Biology and Center for Computational Biology.

Fellows will revamp the computational biology track in the Department of Bioengineering through (1) review, revision, broadening and strengthening of the computational biology track in the Department of Bioengineering undergraduate curriculum, (2) development of two new courses in foundational concepts from computer science, math and statistics to improve the effectiveness of advanced computational biology algorithms courses offered in the department, and (3) creation of an online repository for Computational Biology and Data Science curricula and tools which other departments can use in developing their own tracks.

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Chemist and Manhattan Project alum Robert Connick has died at 97

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:00
Chemist and Manhattan Project alum Robert Connick has died at 97Chemistry professor emeritus Robert E. Connick, who studied the chemistry of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project during World War II, died peacefully at his home in Kensington on Aug. 21. He was 97.
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