UC Davis-led conference promotes new collaborations in Brazil

(Contributed by Carole Gan, UC Davis Health System)

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — An interdisciplinary delegation of researchers and educators, led by UC Davis, met this month at the Integrated Biological Networks Driving Disease Outcomes conference in Uberlândia, Brazil, to explore new opportunities for collaboration with the Brazilian Research Network in the biomedical and translational sciences.

The conference was held at the Universidade Federal de Uberlandia (UFU), one of the country’s most prominent public universities and a key partner in expanding UC Davis Health System’s connections to Brazil. Nearly 200 colleagues from throughout the country attended, including representatives from public and private research foundations, as well as investigators, postdoctoral scholars and students from multiple universities.

UC Davis, Lawrence Berkeley Lab forge closer ties

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and LBL Director Paul Alivasatos signing the agreement formalizing joint appointments..

Contributed by Emma Estrella and Sharon Ruth, Office of Research

“A small galaxy of diverse research” — that’s how plant biology professor Luca Comai describes UC Davis’ relationship with the UC-run Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as they begin a new era of collaboration.

Comai, who maintains his lab in the UC Davis Genome Center, was among the researchers and administrators who joined their Lawrence Berkeley lab colleagues at an Aug. 9 signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding.

ETTC is a Top Ten Incubator

The Engineering Translational Technology Center at the UC Davis College of Engineering has been named as one of “Ten College Business Incubators We’re Most Excited About” by bestcollegesonline.com. ETTC appears on the list alongside Syracuse University’s Student Sandbox and Harvard’s Innovation Lab.

“This incubator is all about supporting technology transfer, sharing learning experiences with students, providing professor support, and facilitating partnerships and collaborations with other groups on campus, like the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship,” notes the blog post.

Video: Wildfires becoming hotter, faster and more frequent as climate changes

From Colorado’s record-breaking Waldo Canyon fire to blazes burning across California, Washington and western rangelands, the summer of 2012 — like many recent summers — has been marked by a long, intense wildfire season. It has claimed thousands of acres, hundreds of homes, and in some cases, lives.

Malcolm North, a UC Davis professor and U.S. Forest Service research scientist, studies the effects of fire on Sierra Nevada coniferous forests. In this video, North says that both climate change and a history of fire suppression in the forest mean wildfires will burn hotter, faster, longer and more often. We need to find ways to make the forest more resilient to these changes, he says.

Two grad students win Hughes scholarships

Two international graduate students at UC Davis, Liang-Tien (Frank) Hsieh from Taiwan and Andrea Ferrero from Italy, have received International Student Research Fellowships from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The scholarships are worth $43,000 a year to support the third through fifth years of graduate study in the United States.

HHMI created the program in 2011 because international students working in the U.S. often have difficulty getting funding to complete their studies. They are not eligible for fellowships or training grants funded by federal agencies, for example. By the third year of study, most students have identified a research project and demonstrated their potential for success.

More from Mars: UC Davis engineering alumn lead landing system design

Adam Steltzner, the NASA engineer who led the design and development of the “sky crane” system that allowed the Curiosity rover to make a soft landing from Mars, has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UC Davis.

Steltzner was a distinctive figure in NASA’s live stream from the control room, pacing around the rows of monitors. He’s also one of the narrators of the NASA video, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” about the landing process.

Even before Curiosity landed, Steltzner has got an unusual amount of press for a NASA engineer, including this profile from National Public Radio.

Mars!

Watching Curiosity touch down on Mars last night was a compelling piece of live news — without any need for intrusive commentary, gauzy biographies, advertising or a time delay (other than the few minutes it takes for radio waves to reach Earth from Mars). Now the science starts.

UC Davis geologist Dawn Sumner has been involved with the project for several years, including working on camera design and helping to select the landing site in Gale Crater. Now Sumner is a Long Term Planner with the team, helping to keep the mission mesh its long term goals with day-to-day activities and discoveries. In this landing-day blog post, Sumner explains how a team of more than 300 people do science together.