BGI Chairman to speak on campus, Nov. 9

Huanming (Henry) Yang, Ph.D., co-founder and chairman of BGI — formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute — will speak in room 1005, Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility at 4.10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.

UC Davis and BGI have formed a partnership, BGI@UC Davis, to set up a DNA sequencing facility and foster new breakthroughs in genomics especially related to medicine, food and agricultural sciences, and the environment.

Cuts to Williamson act threaten open space and critical habitat

From UC ANR News

A survey by UC Davis doctoral students shows that cuts to California’s Williamson Act could lead to a sell-off of land currently protected from development.  The findings appear in the October–December 2012 California Agriculture, UC’s peer-reviewed research journal.

State budget cuts have dramatically reduced funding for the Williamson Act, California’s conservation law that provides property tax relief for the owners of 15 million acres of rangeland and farms — preserving California’s prized open space.

Plant scientists honored for humanitarian rice research

By Pat Bailey

UC Davis plant scientists Pamela Ronald and David Mackill have been named laureates of the Tech Awards 2012, selected by The Tech Museum of San Jose, Calif., for their efforts to apply technology to benefit humanity and spark global change.

Ronald, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center, and Mackill, an adjunct professor in the Department Plant Sciences, share the honor with former postdoctoral fellow Kenong Xu, now an assistant professor of horticultural sciences at Cornell University.

Migrating mallards carry bird flu strains to California

By Kat Kerlin

As migrating mallard ducks touch down on the wintering grounds of California’s Central Valley and mingle with resident mallard populations, they sometimes carry new avian influenza strains with them.

So concludes a new study conducted at the University of California, Davis, with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Canadian Department of the Environment, and University of Minnesota. The study appears in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Practice makes perfect for oiled bird responders

Contributed by Kat Kerlin

“Do we have an ETA on those sandpipers?” Mike Ziccardi asked into his cell phone at the San Francisco Bay Oiled Wildlife Care and Education Center in Cordelia, Calif.

Ziccardi, a UC Davis wildlife veterinarian, is director of the UC Davis-led Oiled Wildlife Care Network. His phone call was made in the middle of a drill held earlier this summer that drew about 70 of the state’s key oiled wildlife responders.

IgNobel for showing chimps can recognize each other, front and back

Researcher Jennifer Pokorny is now the second UC Davis affiliate to win a prestigious Ig Nobel Prize. Pokorny collected the prize, which she shared with Frans de Waal of The Netherlands, at the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University on Sept. 20.

Pokorny and de Waal were awarded the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for Anatomy “for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.”

UC Davis’ other Ig Nobel laureate is Professor Ivan Schwab of the Department of Ophthalmology, who won the Ornithology Prize in 2006 for his studies on why woodpeckers do not get headaches.