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Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program Elevates Diversity in the Life Sciences

August 20, 2018
Quick Summary
  • Since 1988, the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP) has hosted more than 1,500 undergrads.
  • BUSP supports students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Each fall, approximately 50 students join the program.

When Tayler Smith entered UC Davis as a freshman two years ago, she knew she had a strong interest in life sciences research. But at the time, she had no idea what research was, or how it was carried out in the laboratory.

From Molecules to Minds

August 16, 2018
For astrophysicists, the final frontier is outer space, but ask a neuroscientist, and the greatest quest for scientific exploration lies within your brain. 

Vastly more advanced than any supercomputer, the complexity and versatility of the human brain is awe-inspiring. Of all its abilities, learning from new experiences might be the most powerful and astounding feature. But how does learning occur? And how do we remember what we learn? 

Discovering Curiosity: Erwin Bautista Leads the Classroom

July 05, 2018

When Erwin Bautista, a lecturer in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, looks at the human body, he doesn’t see just the individual parts—the cells, organs, tissues, muscles and bones—he sees the sum.

“Whenever I teach things, I always tell students that physiologists love acronyms,” said Bautista. “We love naming things; we love all these itty-bitty points and details. But at the same time, we also love the big picture, and we’re going to try to impress upon you the big picture.”

Yolo Hospice: Well-worn wisdom from a 95-year-old

June 18, 2018

Verne Mendel is within spitting distance of a 100th birthday. At 95-plus, he likes to recall some decades-old advice that he heard from one of his former university students in the 1970s. With a smirk on his face and a glint in his eye he says, “Life is hard by the yard, but it’s a cinch by the inch.”

University Medalist Learned Value of Perseverance in Lab

June 13, 2018

During her second year of undergraduate research in the lab of Aldrin Gomes, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Emily Eijansantos felt ready for a solo project. She’d spent her sophomore year learning the lab’s techniques and shadowing more experienced undergraduates. She felt prepared. But like many things in life, the project—studying ibuprofen’s effects on heart cells—had its hurdles.

Ann Hedrick Elected as a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society

June 07, 2018

Ann was elected by the Animal Behavior Executive Committee as a fellow. Fellows are members who have engaged in research in animal behavior for at least ten years and who in the opinion of the elected officers and current Fellows of the society have made distinguished contributions to the field.

Discovering Curiosity: Age-Related Hearing Loss with Gregg Recanzone

June 06, 2018

As our bodies age, we all face some decline in our senses, and among the senses most susceptible to deterioration is hearing.

Hearing loss is a substantial problem for society. It’s the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease and about 30 percent of adults between ages 65 and 74 and nearly half of people over 75 experience some difficulty hearing.  It’s a social problem, one that can lead to isolation and depression.

A Mind for Service Earns Connor Grant the Veloyce Glenn Winslow Jr. Award

May 15, 2018

“Connor is an upbeat and enthusiastic learner, and has the type of energy, thirst for knowledge and an ability to understand complex systems that we should be recruiting into medicine.” -David Tom Cooke, Department of Surgery 

As a high school student in Brentwood, Tenn., Connor Grant thought his career future lay in business and marketing. That changed his junior year thanks to a family friend, an emergency room physician who invited Grant to shadow her during a shift.

Discovering Curiosity: Art at the Zoo

April 28, 2018

Before delving into the world of endocrinology, Assistant Professor Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, wasn’t following the path of a traditional scientist. She’d studied studio art and psychology at both Skidmore College and Boston College and thought she wanted to pursue the artist’s life.   

“When I graduated, it was really difficult to make it in the art world, but I would get odd jobs here and there,” she said. “One of them happened to be at the Dallas Zoo, where they commissioned me to paint this very large mural.”

Emily Eijansantos is receiving the NPB Outstanding Senior Award

April 16, 2018

Emily Eijansantos is a Regents Scholar and a member of the University Honors Program for the last four years. She has won several awards including the Provost’s Undergraduate Fellowship, Pedrozzi Scholarship, first place in the HOSA Collegiate Medical Math Competition, UC Davis travel fellowship, and is currently finishing her NPB Honors thesis. Her undergraduate research has resulted in contributions to three publications, and she has presented her recent work at the Biophysical Society’s 62nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Training a Bee to Fly Upwind: Stacey Combes’ Research Reveals the Complex Biomechanics that Help Insects Survive

March 14, 2018

Associate Professor Stacey Combes has long been fascinated by how animals move. In her lab, she uses high-speed imaging at 1,000 to 5,000 frames per second to reveal the behaviors and physiological traits that shape insect behavior and survival. One thing she’s learned is that bees, which are critically important pollinators, are actually quite clumsy.

Taylor Follansbee wins Hermann Handwerker prize

October 27, 2017

Congratulations to Taylor Follansbee, who received the Hermann Handwerker prize at the 9th World Congress on Itch, held in Wroclaw, Poland October 15-17, 2017. The Hermann Handwerker prize, named after a famous itch researcher, is awarded to a junior researcher who is judged to give the best scientific presentation at the biennial World Congress on Itch. The title of Taylor's presentation was: "Effects of itch and pain stimuli on rostral ventromedial medullary ON and OFF cells". The prize comes with a monetary award of $3,000.