UC Davis expert testifies at Prop 8 trial

UC Davis psychology professor Gregory Herek is testifying today for plaintiffs seeking to overturn Proposition 8, the state ballot measure passed in 2008 that bans gay marriage in California. Herek, an internationally recognized authority on prejudice against lesbians and gay men, testified this morning that for gays and lesbians, the distinction between ‘marriage’ and a ‘domestic partnership’ was about more than just words. He also testified that research shows that gays and lesbians do not choose their sexual orientation and that they are subject to stigma.

Does stomach ulcer bug protect against TB?

Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and stomach cancer, may also play a protective role against tuberculosis, according to studies in both humans and monkeys by a team from Stanford University, UC Davis, the University of Pittsburgh and Aga Khan University in Pakistan.

“Here is a bacterium that we know is sometimes harmful and that is clearly associated with cancer,” said Jay Solnick, professor of medicine and microbiology at the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine. “But it’s not that simple.”

One-third of the world’s population is infected with TB, although most infections are latent and only one in ten progress to active disease.

Dark Matter observation is #8 discovery of the decade

The direct measurement of Dark Matter makes it to #8 on Discovery News’ list of the Top 10 Discoveries of the Decade (slideshow). Marusa Bradac, now an assistant professor of physics at UC Davis but then at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, is part of the team that made the discovery back in 2006.

Dark matter is thought to make up about one-fifth of the universe, far more than “ordinary” matter. It is invisible and appears only to interact with other matter through gravity.Bullet cluster image

Grad student blogs from World Universities Forum, Davos

UC Davis graduate student Abigail Boggs has been blogging over the weekend about her trip to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Universities Forum with Chancellor Linda Katehi. So far, she has blogged on “How universities think,” innovation and universities in China, and (satirically) on “How to Destroy a Department.”

Katehi addressed the conference today on “Privatizing a Public Research University.” In her talk, according to Boggs, Katehi summarized the history of public universities from the nineteenth century on, and the achievements of publicly-funded schools such as the University of California. But she also described a long-term trend to reduce public investment in research and education, as attitudes shift away from public funding of education for the public good towards seeing education as a personal entitlement.

A Blue Bouquet for Ray Rodriguez

Raymond Rodriguez, professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), one of the top-ranked universities in Japan. The doctorate is the first honorary degree presented by the institute in its 20-year history and recognizes Rodriguez’ efforts in establishing the successful academic exchange program between NAIST and the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis.

The program provides research and educational opportunities for UC Davis and NAIST graduate students and faculty studying biological, Ray Rodriguez and Akira Isogaimaterial and information sciences. Rodriguez was principal organizer of the program and served as faculty contact from 2001 to 2006.