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What's New: Division of Biological Sciences

Kim McDonald | December 11, 2006


What’s new this academic year? This Week@UCSD is taking a quick look at what’s in store for different areas of campus. Here’s what the Division of Biological Sciences is up to for 2006-07.

  • UCSD’s molecular biologists and geneticists ranked fourth and UCSD’s plant scientists ranked sixth among U.S. universities for scientific impact, according to a recent survey of published research articles. More at: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/science/impact06.asp
  • Grey Matters: From Molecules to Mind, a public lecture series run by the division that informs nonscientists in San Diego about research in the neurosciences, has launched its third year with support from Amylin Pharmaceuticals. This year’s topics include decision-making, memory, the aging brain and autism. The talks are held at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, and regularly attract crowds of 300 to 400.  Grey Matters also has an accompanying website with lesson materials in English and Spanish for teachers and students.  See: http://ucsd.tv/greymatters/       
  • UCSD biologists, embarking on a study of membrane proteins of cells, were recently awarded a $4.8 million National Science Foundation grant to characterize genome-wide membrane protein interactions in the mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana, used extensively by plant geneticists to learn more about the plant genome. The project, which is headed at UC San Diego by Julian Schroeder, a professor of biological sciences, includes faculty at The Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, the University of Maryland and Penn State University.
  • A number of biological science faculty members are exploring new ways to teach introductory biology classes that will more fully engage students in the learning process, enhance their overall learning experience and encourage more of them to consider a career in science. More at:  http://biology.ucsd.edu/alumni/ENews_BioSphere/html/education_wasserman.html
  • James Nieh, professor of biological sciences, heads a program called the Opportunities for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, which provides research experience for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. It recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the participation of community college students in research on animal behavior.  The grant also provides funds for students to travel to Brazil to grain tropical field experience.  More about ORBS at: http://www.biology.ucsd.edu/labs/nieh/ORBS/orbs.htm   
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded UCSD with a four-year, $2.1 million grant to further education in the biological sciences at the UCSD undergraduate and community college transfer levels. The grant will also support science education for students and teachers at partnering high schools and middle schools, focusing primarily on students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and on selected schools having traditionally low college-going rates. More at: http://biology.ucsd.edu/alumni/ENews_BioSphere/html/education_HHMI_grant.html
  • Two biologists are among four UCSD professors recently named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/thisweek/2006/dec/12_04_aaas.asp
  • UCSD biologist Charles Zuker was one of four UCSD faculty members elected this fall to the Institute of Medicine: http://biology.ucsd.edu/alumni/ENews_BioSphere/html/people_zuker.html
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