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From Molecules to Minds

UC Davis neuroscientists advance learning and memory research to decode how our brains work

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Ben Young Landis, ’03 B.A. in Evolution and Ecology, Founder and Executive Chair of Capital Science Communicators

March 28, 2018
As an independent communications consultant and founder and executive chair of the professional network Capital Science Communicators, Ben Young Landis strategizes methods to communicate science to both general audiences and other groups from non-scientific backgrounds. To do so effectively, he takes cues from marketing principles.

Cholesterol Research from UC Davis Highlighted in PNAS Blog

March 27, 2018

Distinguished Professor Jodi Nunnari, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Marina Besprozvannaya, a postdoctoral researcher, recently published a new study on the movement of cholesterol transporters and other molecules in the scientific journal eLIFE. Their work, along with three other studies, is synthesized in a new blog post on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' website.

Q&A with Grace Ha: Making "Nature" Real and Meaningful in Everyday Life

March 26, 2018
Grace Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in marine ecology at UC Davis, where her thesis focuses on the analysis of camouflage in marine ecosystems. She is participating in the Leaders for the Future program, a five-month cross-campus collaboration between the Office of Research, the Internship and Career Center, GradPathways (Graduate Studies) and our institute. She recently participated in the Food, Ag + Health Entrepreneurship Academy as our 2018 Harkins Fellow.

March of Dimes Award Supports Richard McKenney’s Research into Prenatal Brain Development

March 15, 2018
For more than a decade, Assistant Professor Richard McKenney, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has dedicated his research to the microscopic world of movement and transportation within cells. Now, a two-year, $150,000 research award from the March of Dimes will support his research to better understand how molecular dysfunction influences prenatal brain development.

Feeding the Future

March 12, 2018
UC Davis researchers are exploring the survival strategies of wild and parasitic plants to help cultivate the climate-resistant food crops of tomorrow.

Bacteria of the Flies: Tracing the Spread of Disease-Controlling Wolbachia

March 09, 2018
In a study appearing in Current Biology, Michael Turelli, distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, and his colleagues traced the spread of closely related Wolbachia across Drosophila fly species. They found that while the flies evolutionarily diverged tens of millions of years ago, their Wolbachia bacteria diverged only tens of thousands of years ago.

Jennifer Whistler: On the Search for Safer Opioids

March 08, 2018
As healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, patients and families grapple with the opioid crisis, researchers are rushing to design safer opioids. Center for Neuroscience Associate Director Jennifer Whistler believes drug development is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to opioids. Her solution: design a better drug that mimics the body's natural pain reliever, endorphin.

Young Scientist Program Featured in The Record

March 05, 2018
Briana Rocha-Gregg, a biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology Ph.D. student, was recently featured in Stockton's The Record promoting the Young Scientist Program, which is dedicated to enhancing K-12 science education.

Solving the Conference/Child Care Career Conundrum

March 05, 2018
A group of female academics is calling on scientific conferences to do more to accommodate nursing mothers and parents to help normalize parenthood in academia — removing a significant barrier to women beginning their careers in science.

New Machine Learning Algorithm Finds Patterns in RNA Structures

March 01, 2018
Software inspired by speech recognition technology could help scientists understand the secret language inside cells. A machine learning algorithm called patteRNA, designed by UC Davis researchers, rapidly mines ribonucleic acid, commonly called RNA, for specific structures, providing a new method to establish links between structure, function and disease.

Native Wildflowers Bank on Seeds Underground to Endure Drought

March 01, 2018
Native wildflowers were surprisingly resilient during California’s most recent drought, even more so than exotic grasses. But signs of their resilience were not evident with showy blooms aboveground. Rather, they were found mostly underground, hidden in the seed bank, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

Harnessing Plant Microbiomes to Promote Agricultural Growth

February 28, 2018
In a paper appearing in PLOS Biology, Joseph Edwards, ’17 Ph.D. in Plant Biology, Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan, Departments of Plant Biology and Plant Sciences and their colleagues tracked root microbiome shifts throughout the life-cycle of rice (Oryza sativa). The research could help inform the design of agricultural probiotics by introducing age-appropriate microbes that promote traits like nutrient efficiency, strong roots and increased growth rates in rice plants.

Receptors Key to Strong Memories

February 27, 2018
New research reveals how the patterns of connections between neurons, which form memories, can be strengthened or weakened at a molecular level.

Guardians of the Genome

February 26, 2018
For many, breast cancer is more than just a disease – it’s personal. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. But through new discoveries at the genetic level, the personal nature of cancer will eventually be what helps to beat it.