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NuSTAR takes first peek into core of supernova

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 10:00
NuSTAR takes first peek into core of supernovaNASA's high-energy X-ray satellite NuSTAR has peered for the first time into the heart of an exploding star in the final minutes of its existence, providing details of the physics of the core explosion inaccessible until now, says team member Steven Boggs, professor and chair of physics.

Hurley Receives Protein Society Award

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 09:40

Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology James Hurley is the recipient of the 2014 Hans Neurath Award awarded by the Protein Society. This award is given to an individual who has made "a recent contribution of unusual merit to basic research in the field of protein science."

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Seizing control of brain seizures

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 08:25
Seizing control of brain seizuresAs a grad student at the Hebrew University, after serving in the Israeli army, Daniela Kaufer showed that extreme stress can break down the physiological barriers that normally protect the brain. The finding would eventually lead Kaufer, now a Bakar Fellow at Berkeley, to uncover a change in brain chemistry that triggers epileptic seizures.

I School’s Tapan Parikh named a 2014 Sloan Research Fellow

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 16:53
I School’s Tapan Parikh named a 2014 Sloan Research FellowTapan Parikh thinks information tools like mobile phones can help transform the lives of poor people in rural India, Guatemala and other countries. He's a Sloan Foundation "rising star."

Peru’s Manu National Park sets new biodiversity record

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:37
Peru’s Manu National Park sets new biodiversity recordWhen it comes to amphibian and reptile biodiversity, the eastern slopes of the Andes stand out. A new survey of 'herps' in and around Peru's Manu National Park, conducted by Berkeley postdoc Rudi von May and his colleagues, found greater biodiversity than in any protected area worldwide.

Campus launches Rose Hills Innovator Program

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:36
Campus launches Rose Hills Innovator ProgramUC Berkeley has launched the Rose Hills Innovator Program, a new initiative to support distinguished early-career faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The program aims to strengthen the efforts of campus researchers by providing seed support for projects with exceptionally high scientific promise and the potential to generate significant follow-on funding.

Lab coats being distributed free at Memorial Stadium this week

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/18/2014 - 08:27
Lab coats being distributed free at Memorial Stadium this weekThe Office of Environment, Health and Safety is distributing free personal-protective equipment to all campus lab researchers through Feb. 27 at Memorial Stadium. Researchers may register online for a half-hour time slot.

Geographic variation of human gut microbes tied to obesity

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 02/14/2014 - 08:04
Geographic variation of human gut microbes tied to obesityObese people have a different balance of microbes in their guts, researches have shown. Now UC Berkeley and University of Arizona researchers have found that people living in northern latitudes have a greater proportion of bacteria associated with obesity than do people living farther south.

Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, Caltech unite to boost number of minority Ph.D. students, faculty

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 01:00
Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, Caltech unite to boost number of minority Ph.D. students, facultyThe California Alliance, led by UC Berkeley, is setting a new course for diversifying the postdoctoral and faculty ranks at top-tier research universities nationwide.

Rebecca Hernandez: ‘What I see can be me’

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
Stanford Ph.D. student Rebecca Hernandez mentors other students but longs for a mentor to help her prepare for a career trajectory that leads to being a professor at a top-tier research university.

Sidney Hill: Physical sciences need minority students’ talents

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
While in the first grade in his rural North Carolina town, Sidney Hill discovered what he said was the “sheer joy” of science while explaining in class the differences between a solid, a liquid and a gas. Science continued to wow him as he grew, providing him with realizations about the physical world around him, and the motivation to pursue […]

Jeremy Brown: Mentors make a difference

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/13/2014 - 00:55
 As a fifth-year Ph.D. student in geophysics at Stanford University, Jeremy Brown is pretty convinced of his career path. It’s not academia, he said, but the private sector, likely an oil or gas company where he could do energy exploration. “I’ve been really happy doing the Ph.D. It’s good to develop a research base, to tackle problems for a long […]

New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illness

UC Berkeley Science News - Tue, 02/11/2014 - 10:32
New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illnessBiologist Daniela Kaufer and her colleagues have shown that chronic stress makes stem cells in the brain produce more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons, possibly affecting connections between cells as well as memory and learning. This could explain why stress leads to mental illness later in life.

Kenneth R. Farrell, former UC ANR vice president, is dead at 87

College of Natural Resources - Mon, 02/10/2014 - 16:56
By Pamela Kan-Rice Kenneth R. Farrell, former University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, died following a brief illness in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Jan. 24. He was 87. “Ken Farrell was a person of rare integrity... Ann Guy

Key process in photosynthesis likely evolved before oxygen

College of Natural Resources - Fri, 02/07/2014 - 16:26
Discovery opens up new areas of microbiology and evolutionary biology Scientists studying methane-producing microbes, like the ones found in deep-sea hydrothermal vents (pictured here), discovered that a process critical to contemporary photosynthesis likely developed on Earth long before oxygen became... Ann Guy

2014 Clark Kerr Award goes to UCSD’s Marye Anne Fox

UC Berkeley Science News - Fri, 02/07/2014 - 11:02
2014 Clark Kerr Award goes to UCSD’s Marye Anne FoxThe Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate has named Marye Anne Fox of UC San Diego for the 2014 Clark Kerr Award for Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education. UCSD's chancellor emerita and a distinguished professor there in chemistry and biochemistry, Fox is being honored for working "tirelessly and effectively to strengthen science education and science policy."

Bakar Fellows Program seeks early-career faculty pursuing innovative research

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/06/2014 - 14:37
Bakar Fellows Program seeks early-career faculty pursuing innovative researchThe Bakar Fellows Program, which supports innovative research by young UC Berkeley faculty whose work has commercial applications, is inviting professors in the sciences to apply for its its 2104-15 cohort. Read a profile of Bakar Fellow Lydia Sohn and her research on breast cancer metastasis here.

Center targets ‘hidden health crisis’ of unhealthy workplaces

UC Berkeley Science News - Thu, 02/06/2014 - 11:00
Center targets ‘hidden health crisis’ of unhealthy workplacesUC Berkeley's Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces is connecting researchers in a variety of fields with businesses, agencies and nonprofits in a concerted effort to target what its director calls a "national health crisis."

Key protein in photosynthesis likely evolved before oxygen

UC Berkeley Science News - Wed, 02/05/2014 - 15:47
Key protein in photosynthesis likely evolved before oxygenVirginia Tech and UC Berkeley researchers discover that thioredoxin, a critical protein in photosynthesis, likely developed on Earth long before oxygen became available. Thioredoxin, the researchers found, plays an important role in methanogens, an ancient type of microbe found in deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Harold Lecar has Died

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology - Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:03

It is with sadness that we announce the Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology Harold Lecar passed away on February 4, 2014.