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Looking Back at 2006

December 11, 2006

Mosaic graphic for This Week@UCSD 2006

A character right out of the "Da Vinci Code." Birds that learn grammar. Author Maya Angelou and movie director Woody Allen. What do all these characters have in common? They all made appearances in This Week@UCSD in 2006. With the end of the year just around the corner, we decided to take a look back at the last 12 months. Here is a list of some of the most important and interesting stories that ran in This Week@UCSD this year:

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


UCSD Partners with Venter Institute to Decipher Genetic Code of Marine Microbes
Since 2003, Sorcerer II has crisscrossed the world’s oceans, dropping its anchor every 200 miles and harvesting samples of microbial life. The results of the project, financed by UCSD alumni J. Craig Venter and his research institute, have been staggering: the expedition uncovered up to 40,000 new species at some sites and discovered millions of new genes between Halifax and the Galapagos, with many more to come.

Vitamin D Shown to Cut Cancer Risk
Vitamin D can lower the risk of certain cancers Taking 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D 3 daily appears to lower an individual's risk of developing certain cancers - including colon, breast, and ovarian cancer - by up to 50 percent, according to cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at the UCSD Medical Center. The researchers call for prompt public health action to increase intake of vitamin D 3 as an inexpensive tool for prevention of diseases that claim millions of lives each year.

Regents Restructure Pay Scale for Senior Managers
The University of California Board of Regents approved a new salary structure for senior management positions and new rules for severance agreements during a meeting at UCSD last week. Regents also responded to some of the criticism UC has faced over its executive compensation packages.

Kiplinger Ranks UCSD 11th in Nation for "First-Class Education at Bargain Prices"
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance issued its yearly rankings today identifying the top 100 values in public colleges. The University of California, San Diego ranks 11 th in the nation for offering a “first-class education at bargain prices,” said the magazine.



Dogged Alumnus Uncovers Da Vinci Secrets
Maurizio Seracini
A character stepped right out of “The Da Vinci Code” and onto a UCSD stage last week. The tale he told was just as compelling as Dan Brown’s bestseller, though it didn’t involve a secret, thousand-year-old plot by the Catholic Church. In “The Da Vinci Code,” Brown says that Maurizio Seracini “unveiled the unsettling truth” about Leonardo’s work.

Antidepressant Use in Late Pregnancy May Affect Fetus
Researchers found an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns of mothers who used certain commonly prescribed antidepressants in late pregnancy. The results of the study will be published in the February 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

National Brain Imaging Study on Alzheimer's Disease to
Identify Biological Changes Associated with Memory Decline

Alzheimer's Study is Largest, Most Comprehensive of Its Kind
The UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center will be part of the five-year, $60 million Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a landmark research study to identify brain and other biological changes associated with memory decline.



Calit2 Researchers Deploy Disaster Communications
Network at San Diego Mardi Gras Festivities

Calit2 supports SD Law Enforcement at Mardi Gras Mardi Gras is supposed to be a little wild, and maybe even a little out of control. But no one wants the celebrations to get out of hand to the point that revelers are danger. So last month, a team of nearly 30 researchers from Calit2 joined forces with San Diego law enforcement to make sure San Diegans and out-of-town visitors had a safe Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Four San Diego Powerhouses Join Forces for Stem Cell Research
UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and leaders of three other San Diego science institutions signed an agreement Friday to create a ground-breaking alliance dedicated to stem cell research. The independent consortium plans to build a joint facility and seek funding for stem cell work. In addition to UCSD, the new San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine includes the Burnham Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Scripps Research Institute.

Alternative Spring Break: Students Shun Fun in the Sun for Community Service
Students painting in Brazil One day during their spring break last year, a group of UCSD students and their advisor found themselves standing up in a Brazilian church while about 300 people showered them with applause. That week, they had made soup bowls for the homeless out of soda bottles. They had delivered meals to people who lived on the streets. They had worked with disabled children.

Reinstating Retirement Contributions: What It Means to UC Employees
UC employees will begin contributing again to one of their retirement plans in July 2007, UC Regents decided earlier this month. It’s still unclear what percentage employees will contribute and how the changes will affect take-home pay. But this past week, several UC employees said they understood the need for change.

U.S. News Ranks UCSD Among Top 10 of Nation's
Best in Science, Engineering, and Medicine Graduate Programs

UC San Diego - Geisel Library In a survey of graduate education programs released Friday by U.S. News & World Report, six UCSD doctoral programs in the biological sciences, physical sciences and computer sciences were ranked among the top 10 in the nation. UCSD also excelled in the professional school rankings and is one of only five research universities to have both a medical school and engineering school ranked in the top 15.

Water Found To Be Main Culprit In Argentine Ant Invasions
Got ants? Try turning off the outdoor sprinklers. According to a study conducted by two biologists at the University of California, San Diego, Argentine ants in Southern California need wet soil to live and breed. So residents plagued by indoor infestations of the pesky little critters may find relief by simply shutting off or substantially limiting the use of their outdoor irrigation.



Students March in Support of Immigrant Rights
Students March from Balboa Park to Downtown Chanting in English and Spanish and holding home-made signs, UCSD students, faculty and staff took part last week in a pro-immigration demonstration -- possibly the biggest in San Diego history. Anywhere from 50,000 people, according to police, to 100,000 people, according to organizers, marched Sunday from Balboa Park to the County Administration Building in downtown San Diego. Many waved the American flag. A few held up Mexican flags.

Challenging Chomsky, Starlings Learn ‘Human-Only’ Syntax Patterns
The European starling – long known as a virtuoso songbird and as an expert mimic too – may also soon gain a reputation as something of a “grammar-marm.” This three-ounce bird, new research shows, can learn syntactic patterns formerly thought to be the exclusive province of humans.



Maya AngelouAngelou Urges Audience
to Look for Rainbows in Their Clouds

At age seven, Maya Angelou became a victim of rape. At age 16, she became an unwed mother. Six decades later, she has become a phenomenally successful writer, with 12 best-selling books to her name.

New LGBT Center to Hold Grand Opening
In the past few years, UCSD’s LGBT Resource Center went from employing one part-time intern to one graduate and eight undergraduate interns. It went from 300 square feet to 960 square feet of space near the Gilman parking structure. Now, the center is taking a new leap, to a new 2700-square-foot building and a prominent location near Mandeville Center. This new building is the largest LGBT resource center on any public American college campus, officials said.

Women’s Center Celebrates 10 Years
Women's Center Celebration at Mandeville There were poetry readings, commemorative wine glasses, speeches and desserts. Some talked about past struggles and demonstrations. Others talked about the future. Chancellor Marye Anne Fox talked about being a young female chemist seeking employment.

Flexcar Offers New Transportation Option to Those Who Don't Drive to Campus
You’ve read the e-mails. You’ve seen the signs. You might have noticed the booth at the Farmer’s Market on Library Walk urging you to sign up for the Flexcar program.



Cross-Border Art Cuts Across National Lines
From: The Most Beautiful Brides of Baja California (Photo / Yvonne Venegas) To some, it has become a new Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall. Others view it as an exciting place, where cultures meet and mix. To others still, it’s just plain sexy.

Walkers Don Sneakers to Help Chancellor Kick Off ‘Walk UCSD’
Walk UCSD (Photo / Paul Abbott) Some, including Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, wore shorts and sneakers. Others donned dress pants and comfortable shoes. One even pushed a stroller. All 200 of them braved cloudy skies Friday to kick off UCSD’s new walking program. Walk UCSD aims to help staff, faculty and students stay fit, or get in shape. It offers nine walking routes throughout campus and allows participants to track their mileage. Walkers also can use their own, home-made itineraries. So far, more than 400 people have registered for the program online.

Backs to the Future
Aymara people Tell an old Aymara speaker to “face the past!” and you just might get a blank stare in return – because he or she already does. New analysis of the language and gesture of South America’s indigenous Aymara people indicates a reverse concept of time.

Making an Impact: Playwright Brings
Creative Bent to New Role as Thurgood Marshall Provost

The author of 13 published plays and a playwright who has had his plays produced at theaters across the United States and Europe, artist and educator Allan Havis will channel his creative juices in a new direction when he takes over as provost of Thurgood Marshall College Aug. 1.

Carter Parlays Former Presidency into Bully Pulpit for Humanitarian Aid
39th President Speaks to Invited Guests at UCSD
Jimmy Carter A PVC pipe with a cloth filter keeps harmful parasites out of drinking water. A net prepped with pesticide wards off mosquitoes that spread malaria. Latrines keep at bay trachoma, a disease that causes blindness. More than 25 years after leaving the White House, President Jimmy Carter now is fighting disease, one simple solution at a time.

New Scripps Study Reveals San Andreas Fault Set for the ‘Big One’
A researcher investigating several facets of the San Andreas Fault has produced a new depiction of the earthquake potential of the fault’s southern, highly populated section.



Charm Offensive in the 'War on Cancer'
Katie Couric Take your mom for her birthday. Or, make it a romantic his-and-her excursion. These weren’t sales pitches for a spa vacation but the upbeat exhortations of one of America’s most popular journalists as she urged people to get over self-consciousness already and seek colonoscopies and other potentially lifesaving cancer-screening procedures.

UCSD Recruits Top Expert from National Science
Foundation to Spearhead Mission of Research

Arthur B. Ellis, director for the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation, will join UCSD as the Vice Chancellor for Research beginning Sept. 1. Ellis is an internationally recognized chemist and is widely known for his leadership in advancing the mission of research in the university to create and communicate new knowledge.

Biologist Receives Prestigious Presidential Award
Tracy Johnson A UCSD biologist was recognized today at a White House ceremony with the highest honor given by the federal government to promising researchers and educators in the early stages of their careers. Tracy L. Johnson, an assistant professor of biology at UCSD was awarded this year’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers along with 19 other scientists and engineers nationwide.

Promising Therapy for ALS Delivers Drug Directly to Nervous System
Researchers from the School of Medicine, the Center for Neurologic Study and Isis Pharmaceutical Corporation have designed and tested a molecular therapy in animals that they hope will be a major development in the fight to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

UCSD Ranked 5th in Nation in Federal R&D Expenditures
UC San Diego UCSD ranked fifth among 600 U.S. universities in federal research and development expenditures for fiscal 2003-2004, up two points from the last ranking, according to newly released figures from the National Science Foundation.

Internationally Recognized Physiologist to Lead University's Graduate Studies
Kim Barrett has been appointed Dean of Graduate Studies, effective Sept. 1. Barrett is an internationally recognized physiologist, well known for her research in gastrointestinal epithelial transport and function. Dr. Barrett joined the UCSD School of Medicine faculty in 1985.



Researchers Warn of Serious Threat Global Warming Poses to California
Our Changing Climate Sea levels and temperatures would rise. Beaches and water supplies would shrink. Wildfires could become more frequent. Global warming could have a devastating impact on California, according to scientific findings that Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers and state officials discussed this month at UCSD.

UCSD Ranked Sixth Best U.S. University
by Washington Monthly’s 2006 College Guide

In rankings based on how much a school benefits the country, UCSD placed sixth among 150 U.S. universities in the Washington Monthly 2006 College Guide.

Ocean Noise Has Increased Considerably
Since 1960s, According to New Scripps Analysis

Sean Wiggins examines data disk drives inside an acoustic recording instrument.
With populations increasing around the globe in recent decades, no one would be surprised by an increase in the amount of noise produced in terrestrial environments. Now, a study involving researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography has shown that the underwater world also is becoming a noisier place, with unknown effects on marine life.

Science Dean Has Minor Planet Named After Him
Mark Thiemens has spent an entire career studying and analyzing meteorites, chunks of space rock that survive the fiery plunge through Earth’s atmosphere. Now he has an orbiting space rock—an asteroid or "minor planet"—to call his very own.



Students Urged to Make Their Mark at First-Ever Campuswide Convocation
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox (Photo / Ioana Patringenaru)
Volunteer. Study abroad. Get to know your professors. Above all, get involved. Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Associated Students President Harry Khanna, faculty and alumni welcomed freshmen and transfer students with advice and praise during UCSD’s inaugural campuswide convocation ceremony, held Sept. 17 on the Sun God Lawn.

Beauty and the Brain
The phrase "easy on the eyes" may hit closer to the mark than we suspected. Experiments led by Piotr Winkielman, an associate professor of psychology, and published in the current issue of Psychological Science, suggest that judgments of attractiveness depend on mental processing ease, or being "easy on the mind."

Never Too Young for UCSD
Early Childhood Education Center (Photo / Victor Chen)
Campus Offers Child Care for 3- to 12-Month-Olds
"Dylan," "Ammon," "Adrian," "Alex," "Alexandra" and "Nicolas." The names were written in colorful letters on a white board above a small play area. Nearby, six little plastic chairs huddled together, waiting for someone to use them. In the room next door, six little cribs were neatly tucked in against the walls

UC San Diego Ranked Among World’s Top
Universities as Biotech Hotbed, According to Milken Institute Study

UC San Diego, long recognized for its pivotal role in seeding what has become one of the largest and most dense biotech sectors in the nation, was ranked among the top universities in the world for its prowess in developing and translating biotechnology into medical treatments, drugs, and other commercial applications.

Incoming External Relations Vice Chancellor Highlights Top Priorities for Future
Keith Brant Keith Brant became UC San Diego’s Vice Chancellor of External Relations Sept. 1. The former assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations at UCLA, Brant also was executive director of the UCLA Alumni Association. A few days after coming to campus, he sat down with Senior Writer Ioana Patringenaru to talk about his experiences, his philosophy of External Relations and his plans for the future at UCSD.



Thousands Turn Out to Get Taste of UCSD at Open House
UCSD ROCKS - Open House (Photo / Victor Chen) They saw a pickle glow. They made their way through a giant whale. They watched performances by Hawaiian dancers and heard giant Japanese drums. More than 7,500 people turned out for UCSD’s Open House Saturday.

Science of Learning Center Comes to Campus
If a robot responds to a child’s smile too quickly, that child may not realize the robot is really smiling back. If a teacher piles on too many new ideas during the last ten minutes of a 60-minute lecture, students may have an extra tough time following along. The physics problem you couldn’t figure out last night at 2 a.m. may not be so daunting the next day.

Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson to Retire
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Joseph Watson After 40 years of service at UCSD as a top administrator, a Provost and an organic chemist, Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson will retire at the end of this academic year. Watson became Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs in 1981. He had been the founding Provost of Thurgood Marshall College from 1970 to 1981. Last week, he received an award for his 40 years of service on campus.

UCSD Receives $1 Million from Amgen Foundation
for Undergraduate Science Research Program

The Amgen Foundation has announced its partnership with UCSD and nine other prestigious institutions of higher learning to provide hundreds of undergraduate students an opportunity to engage in a fully-funded, hands-on summer research experience.

Study Finds Tropics Are the Source of Most New Species
Playa Ramada, Chile Biologists from UC San Diego, Berkeley and the University of Chicago have found that the tropics are the source of a majority of the planet's biodiversity, underscoring the need to preserve tropical forests, reefs and other ecosystems around the world.

Vaccine Developed From Research Conducted
at UCSD Offers Potential Relief to Allergy Sufferers

An allergy vaccine developed from initial basic and pre-clinical research conducted over the past decade by faculty in the School of Medicine has shown promise in relieving allergy symptoms in human patients.



Students Without Borders
Lecture given at a Roman Chapel UCSD Offers a Cornucopia
of Study Abroad Programs for Many Majors

You can learn about biodiversity in a Costa Rican tropical rain forest. You can study engineering, science and business in Hong Kong. Or you can learn about the Italian Renaissance and go to class right in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. About 1,200 UCSD students studied abroad last year, more than at any other UC campus, said Bill Clabby, director of UCSD’s Opportunities Abroad Program.

Passage of Prop 1D Gives Green Light to
Construction and Upgrading of Campus Facilities

New $75 Million Structural and Materials Engineering Building Among Projects Funded
Future UCSD Music Center UCSD will receive $94.5 million from a statewide school bond that voters approved on Nov. 7. The money will allow the university to refurbish old facilities and build new ones, including laboratories for students and researchers, as well as artist studios and offices. In all, 56.6 percent of California voters cast ballots in favor of Proposition 1D, which set aside $10.4 billion for public schools, community colleges and universities, for construction and renovation, repairs of aging buildings and upgrades for labs and other scientific facilities.

UC San Diego Ranks 7th in Nation for Scientific 'Impact'
UC San Diego - Calit2 Building Research conducted at the UC San Diego is among the most highly cited in the world and has placed UCSD 7th among U.S. universities for scientific impact, according to a national survey of published research. The survey, conducted by Thomson Scientific, a Philadelphia publisher of scholarly research databases, highlights those universities whose published papers from 2001 to 2005 have, on average, been cited by other scientists far more frequently than comparable papers from other institutions. Citations are generally regarded as a measure of the strength and significance of research papers.

Paper or Plastic?
Students Tackle Difficult Questions in Sustainability Seminar
Part of the researchers for paper or Styrofoam (Photo / Ioana Patringenaru) Paper or plastic? Well, actually, when it comes to cups for drinks, Styrofoam might be better. That’s the conclusion reached by a group of students enrolled this quarter in a senior seminar on sustainability at UCSD. The course aimed to teach students about sustainability while giving them opportunities for hands-on learning.



Woody Allen to Jazz Up San Diego Holiday Season
Woody Allen ArtPower! at UCSD is bringing Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band to the Copley Symphony Hall on Dec. 19 for a rare appearance outside of the Big Apple. As part of his first North American tour with the band, Allen will give San Diegans a taste of New Orleans Dixieland jazz for an evening of exuberant music.

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