News

Leah Foltz Finishes First-place a
Apr 24, 2017

Foltz, a graduate student in the lab of MCDB professor Dennis Clegg, delivered an engaging summary of recent strides in stem cell research and how her lab uses this biological material to study blinding diseases. Her research explores whether scientists will one day be able to use someone’s own cells to cure their blindness. Foltz’s lively delivery earned her a first-place finish in the campuswide competition. Now she’s headed to San Francisco to test her mettle Thursday, May 4, against participants from the nine other University of California campuses.

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Apr 24, 2017

MCDB professor Chuck Samuel has been selected as this year’s Faculty Research Lecturer, which is the highest honor the UCSB faculty can bestow on one of its members. Dr. Samuel was selected by his peers in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in research and scholarly work, as well as his outstanding professional competence and international impact in his field. One component of this award is the honor of presenting a lecture of interest to a broad community of scholars and a cultivated public during an event in fall quarter of 2017 with an associated reception.

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Apr 5, 2017

It’s a problem that parents know all too well: a child won’t eat because their oatmeal is too slimy or a slice of apple is too hard. Is the kid just being finicky? Or is there a biological basis for disliking food based on its texture? The work highlighted in the NIH Director’s blog by Zhang, Montell and colleagues, provides some of the first evidence that biology could indeed play a role.

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Mar 20, 2017

The Art of Science competition is an annual event where undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs are invited to submit images that "capture the imagination and share the beauty of science." The event is hosted and sponsored by The Schuller Lab and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP) at the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) together with the College of Creative Studies and UCSB Library. This year was the 4th annual competition. Over 60 submissions were received this year and the award ceremony was held on March 15.

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Mar 15, 2017

So they can’t use smartphones or WiFi, but bacteria have evolved some seriously complex strategies to communicate with one another. And the resulting interactions are a delicate balance of cooperation and, in some cases, competition. These intraspecies exchanges take place within contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems, which regulate cellular activities via cell-to-cell contact and are found in a wide variety of gram-negative bacteria, including important human pathogens such as Escherichia coli. New research by MCDB scientists examines how a particular pathogenic strain of E.

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Jan 31, 2017

In the ancient Japanese art of origami, paper must be folded precisely and following a specific order to create the desired result — say, a crane or lotus flower. It’s a complex pursuit that requires keen attention to detail and utmost accuracy. An equally precise biological process in living cells gives rise to proteins, the large biomolecules essential for life. Seeking to illuminate a piece of this biological puzzle, an international team of scientists, including UC Santa Barbara cell biologist Diego Acosta-Alvear, examined the role of a central UPR component, a stress sensor protein called IRE1 (inositol-requiring enzyme 1), in atherosclerosis. The researchers found that blocking IRE1 with a small molecule prevented the progression of atherosclerosis in mice. The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jan 12, 2017

MCDB is pleased to welcome two new faculty to the department, Dr. Carolina Arias and Dr. Diego Acosta-Alvear.

Dec 21, 2016

MCDB neuroscientist Kenneth Kosik has been studying the brain for decades. His UC Santa Barbara neurobiology lab focuses on the evolution of synapses that connect neurons and the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, Kosik’s team is interested in the underlying molecular basis of plasticity and how protein translation at synapses affect learning. In a new paper published in the journal Neuron, Kosik explores the nature of brain plasticity and proposes a theory about how neurons learn.

Dec 2, 2016

Nobel-prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote of a mythical town in the middle of the jungle whose residents suffer from a mysterious affliction that erases their memories. Today, in a region of Colombia called Antioquia, reality appears to be imitating fiction -- in a way that may answer questions for all of us.An extended family in Colombia with a genetic mutation causing Alzheimer’s may help scientists prevent the disease someday. Lesley Stahl reports on the groundbreaking study, featuring University of California, Santa Barbara's Dr. Ken Kosik.

Nov 21, 2016

Three UC Santa Barbara faculty members have been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2016 among them MCDB faculty member Kathleen Foltz. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.  Foltz was cited among her peers in the association’s section on biological sciences “for distinguished contributions to the developmental and cell biology of fertilization and egg activation, and in mentoring, outreach, education and undergraduate research in STEM fields.” Foltz’s research focuses on molecular- and cellular-level activity and signaling at the moment of fertilization and oocyte activation. She has been named a Searle Scholar and a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellow. She also is the recipient of UCSB’s Plous Award, the Chancellor’s Award for contributions to undergraduate research and the Distinguished Teaching Award. Foltz also holds an appointment at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute, and is interim dean of the campus’s College of Creative Studies.

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