How Closely Are Water And Energy Linked?

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala, published in UCR Today on March 31,2014.)

UC Riverside to observe World Water Day on April 3 with symposium focused on water-energy nexus

California is facing its most severe drought in decades. Governor Jerry Brown has asked each state agency to reduce its water consumption by 20 percent over the next year.  Recently, University of California President Janet Napolitano urged each UC campus to take drought response measures aimed at reducing short-term water consumption.

The 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme.  Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The 2014 World Water Day had water and energy as its theme. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

To observe World Water Day, the University of California, Riverside is hosting a symposium on April 3 in Room 240, Orbach Science Library. Extending from noon to 4 p.m., the symposium is free of charge and open to the public.

“World Water Day, a United Nations initiative, is celebrated around the world with one theme chosen each year,” said Ariel Dinar, the director of UC Riverside’s Water Science and Policy Center (WSPC), which is hosting the symposium. “It is apt that the theme this year is water and energy.  A significant amount of energy goes to move and pump water.  Therefore, saving water will save energy and saving energy will save water.  This nexus is very important in semi-arid regions such as California.  UCR has several researchers and graduate students working on the water-energy nexus.  We expect in this symposium to raise awareness of the linkage between water and energy so that both resources can be conserved and used in an optimal way today and in the future.”

A number of experts will give short talks at the symposium. They will cover a wide range of water- and energy-related topics, including renewable energy, using marginal land to produce biodiesel, energy considerations needed when purifying water for potable reuse, and how the Emirate of Dubai makes decisions related to water and energy.

The World Water Day symposium that will take place at UC Riverside exemplifies the seizing our destiny pillar catalyst for innovation.   Creating and redeveloping processes to attain  and retain energy resources is one the most important subjects of our future.  Since most forms of energy require the use of water, the symposium at UCR will focus on  increasing efficiency with our water supply to prepare for energy demand in the future.  UCR’s commitment and efforts to raise awareness of the water and energy initiative illustrates itself to be a catalyst for innovation in our community, as well as the scientific community.

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Riverside Alum Pilots Bobsled At Winter Olympics

(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Ross French, and published today on UC RiversideThursday, February 6, 2014.)

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cory Butner and Justin Olsen of the United States practice a bobsled run at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

During his time at UC Riverside, Cory Butner was what Student Recreation Center Associate Director Mike Eason describes as a “gym rat.” Whether it was working as a SRC staff member in the weight room, playing basketball, or working out himself, when Butner wasn’t in the classroom pursuing his degree in statistics, he could likely be found within the walls of the Student Recreation Center.Now just eight years after earning his degree and six years after taking up the sport of bobsledding, the 32-year old, 6-2, 210-pound Yucaipa native is representing the United States as a pilot of a two-man bobsled at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The two-man competition is scheduled for Feb. 16 and 17 at the Sanki Sliding Center.

“Being a part of this team is the best thing to happen to me,” Butner said. “I’m really excited to be representing the USA on the big stage.”

Butner is currently ranked fifth in the world and is in the midst of a strong 2013-14 World Cup campaign that has seen him record bronze medal finishes at Lake Placid on Dec. 14, 2013, and Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 3. He also has three fourth-place finishes, including the most recent event on Jan. 25 at Schönau am Königsee, Germany. In 2012-13, he won silver medals at the Park City World Cup and Lake Placid World Cup. He finished ninth overall in the competition at the Sochi track and finished the season ranked eighth in the world.

“Most people don’t know about 95 percent of the stuff that goes into racing. You only get to see 5 percent of what we do on TV once every four years,” he said. “Four years for four minutes of racing to prove to the world who is the best.”

A basketball and track athlete at Colton High School, Butner didn’t play intercollegiate sports at UCR, but fed his desire for competition in the weight room and through intramural sports. He credits his sister, Charity — who played volleyball at UCR and graduated in 2000 — with giving him the idea to pursue the bobsled following his graduation in 2005. It’s great to hear stories like this of former UCR alumni. He is truly a champion and reflects the community’s creative side with a desire for lifelong learning.

For the full article, click here.

UCR Named A “Best Value College” By Princeton Review

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Ross French and published in UCR Today on January 28, 2014)

For the third year in a row, UC Riverside has been recognized by The Princeton Review as a Best Value College.

For the third year in a row, UC Riverside has been recognized by The Princeton Review as a Best Value College.

The University of California, Riverside has been included among the 150 institutions in The Princeton Review’s annual The Best Value CollegesThis isn’t a new accolade for the university, which has been included on the list since its current format began in 2012.  The University of California, Riverside is on a steady path of intelligent growth and educational advancement, being that this is the third consecutive year UCR has made this list.

Download and view a PDF of UC Riverside’s pages in the book.

“I am pleased to see that UC Riverside is once again represented on The Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges list,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs James Sandoval said. “It is further proof that a world-class research university can provide a great value to young people seeking an outstanding education.”

The 75 public and 75 private schools were selected based on surveys of 2,000 undergraduate institutions conducted during the 2012-13 academic year. In each group, the Princeton Review identifies the top 10 ranking colleges.  The remaining 65 schools in each group are reported in alphabetical order. The surveys addressed academics, cost, financial aid. Student survey data from the past three years were also included in the analysis.

The selection process analyzed school-reported information across more than 30 data points covering academics, cost, and financial aid as well as data from The Princeton Review’s surveys of students at the schools over the past three academic years.

“Although perhaps not as famous as some of the other schools in the UC system, the University of California, Riverside has much to boast about,” reads the introduction, which goes on to commend the campus’ state-of-the-art facilities in genomics and nanotechnology, its top-ranked entomology department, the largest undergraduate business program in the UC system, and the only undergraduate creative writing program among the UC schools.  With or without the fame among the UC system, UC Riverside has definitely proven itself to be a location of choice.

“We commend  all of our ‘Best Value Colleges’ for their outstanding academics. Equally impressive are their efforts to be affordable to students with need – either via comparatively low sticker prices, generous financial aid, or both,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher in a prepared press release.

Click here to see the full article.

Realizing Her Dream: One Student’s Rise to the Top

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Iqbal Pittalwala and published in UCRToday on January 28, 2014.)

In 2009, when she was an undergraduate student at UCLA, Irma Ortiz attended a talk on that campus by Linda Walling, a professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside. When Walling, a specialist in the areas of plant defense responses and plant-insect interactions, gave another talk at UCLA two years later, Ortiz finally found the courage to approach Walling and introduce herself.

Irma Ortiz is a student in the graduate program in plant biology at UC Riverside.Photo credit: I. Pittalwala.

Irma Ortiz is a student in the graduate program in plant biology at UC Riverside.Photo credit: I. Pittalwala.

“I knew, right then and there, that I wanted to do research in UC Riverside’s graduate program in plant biology,” said Ortiz, now a Ph.D. graduate student in Walling’s lab, where she also researches plant defense mechanisms.

Today, Ortiz and her lab-mates identify and deploy gene-based strategies for insect resistance in plants.  Recently, the lab found that transgenic tomatoes that over-express the protein leucyl aminopeptidase A (LAP-A) are more resistant than regular tomatoes to insect feeding.

“We are working on understanding LAP-A’s activity on other tomato proteins that results in plant resistance to insects,” Ortiz said. “One thing I like about doing scientific research is that it makes every day different. I do different kinds of laboratory work, analyze new data, and write. I am also finishing up my courses.”  Irma’s commitment to success and achievement is a true testament to the Intelligent Growth of our community here in Riverside, CA.  Her dedication to education and passion for science have proven to be a real Catalyst for Innovation among the research team at UC Riverside.

Ortiz grew up in Panorama City, Calif., and attended James Monroe High School in nearby North Hills.  Quiet by nature, she is driven by a determination to succeed.  Like many UCR students, she is the first in her family to graduate from college.  Her parents, immigrants to the United States from Mexico, regularly attended meetings in her elementary school and high school to support her education.

Graduate student Irma Ortiz researches plant defense mechanisms in the lab of Linda Walling, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside.Photo credit: I. Pittalwala.

Graduate student Irma Ortiz researches plant defense mechanisms in the lab of Linda Walling, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside.Photo credit: I. Pittalwala.

“They understood the importance of a college education,” Ortiz said. “They did not pressure me to have a specific career or get a post-secondary education. They accepted that I would be a science major at UCLA. All they told me was to do what made me happy.”

An early challenge for Ortiz was the unavailability of members in her family who could advise her on college applications.  She turned, therefore, to her high school for support, meeting with limited success. She also solicited advice from university recruiters who visited Monroe High.

For the full article, click here.

How Completion Counts Changed Education in Riverside

(This article was written by Steven Frasher, Communications Consultant for the Completion Counts partnership on January 9, 2014.)

Completion Counts enters 2014 entirely on its own, now supported by the local commitment of its partners. Far from fading or faltering, Completion Counts is on firm footing and making a real difference in the lives of thousands of Riverside students.

“We want our students to complete two-year degrees, four-year degrees, certificate programs,” said Mayor Rusty Bailey, speaking for the Completion Counts partnership in a recent video update just posted to the City’s GTV and YouTube. “We’ve made a real concerted effort setting them up for success.”

City of Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey speaking on Completion Counts.

City of Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey speaking at a student-centered Press Conference on Completion Counts help in December, 2013 in City Hall.

The Completion Counts initiative was launched with a great deal of fanfare in 2010 when the national League of Cities announced that Riverside was one of four cities nationwide to receive a three-year $3 million Communities Learning in Partnership (CLIP) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together with New York City, San Francisco and Mesa, Arizona, Riverside was challenged to treat postsecondary education as a workforce development imperative. Cities and their public education institutions worked to raise their college completion rates.

Then-mayor Ron Loveridge gladly accepted the charge and brought executive focus to the challenges at hand. The initiative, several partners have claimed, forged “the new way we do business” in Riverside.

The partners are the City of Riverside, Alvord Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside City College, Riverside County of Office of Education, University of California, Riverside and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

“The name, ‘Completion Counts,’ is intentional,” said Dr. Wendel Tucker, a former superintendent at Alvord Unified School District, who did consulting for the partnership. “Our expectation is that you will complete college. We will help you to succeed – to have a vibrant economy, here, in Riverside.”

Three years later, not only the mayor but the school superintendents, chancellors and community college president, are all new faces but the commitment remains.

“We’ve been at the table since Day One,” said Cindy Roth, President of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, to a group of student reporters, in December. “It’s for your benefit and our benefit. We can’t attract jobs without the workforce. Employers look at education.”

Roth pulled no punches reminding listeners why Riverside benefitted. Any entity assessing strengths and challenges of the Inland region found local advantages offset by a low rate of college completion and university degrees among regional residents. Up to 93% of current jobs require some sort of postsecondary education, she said.

Postsecondary education can include college and university, as well as career certificate programs.

Industries attracted to Riverside – including technology, medical, advanced manufacturing and logistics – all require mastery of core classes, called the A-G sequence, demanded of the University of California and California State University systems, for entrance.

“You need a college degree to get in to today’s job market. Things have changed. Times have changed,” Roth said. “The jobs will go elsewhere if we’ don’t have the labor market.”

Dr. Imran Farooq, a member of the California Workforce Development Board, told students that the Riverside – Inland region is poised for tremendous period of growth.

“There are a growing number of consumers demanding products and services,” Farooq said. The region needs a qualified workforce and innovative entrepreneurs, and students need to know they have the support and commitment of their community.

“We’re here to help you,” Mayor Bailey told the students.

Educational attainment is so important that Completion Counts is embedded in Seizing Our Destiny, the City’s strategic action plan.

“It takes a team. We’ve set students up for success, but we need students to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you,” said Bailey, who was himself a high school teacher prior to becoming mayor in 2012.

Many of Riverside’s families have never sent anyone to college. The partnership especially targeted low income and first generation college-goers. Completion Counts created the College311.org website as a comprehensive source of free and authoritative information about financial aid, college and university applications, and other helpful information.

Counselors received additional training and met with their college counterparts. Math and English teachers and instructors met to compare curricula and now those same lessons and partnerships are being applied to teaching Career Technical Education (CTE) courses in city high schools and at RCC.

“Completion Counts has been an investment in alignment,” said Dr. Rick Miller, the former superintendent of Riverside USD.

Grant funds paid to bring together high school teachers from both school districts with college professors. Both sides realized they didn’t really know what to expect from the other. High school math and English courses were adjusted to align with college-level expectations.

Foundation-granted funds also paid for assessments of each school district, their course offerings and college-going rates, in processes guided by consultants from Oakland-based The Education Trust-West.

School districts have placed greater emphasis on the core A-G curriculum demanded by universities, which is more rigorous than classes required simply for high school graduation or for entrance to a community college. Still, even the college finds that too many students step into postsecondary classes unprepared for what’s expected of them.

School districts have changed how they schedule and deliver classes to better serve students.

“It’s been a change in culture,” said interim RUSD Superintendent Mike Fine. The goal isn’t just getting to high school graduation. “The focus goes beyond that – to the next two years, the next four years.”

The success of alignment means fewer students have to spend valuable time and money taking remedial courses at RCC; it also increases the chances of student success in college, said Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac, the interim President of Riverside City College.

As Mayor Bailey put it, “You have to make your senior year valuable” in terms of continuing to take care classes and keeping math and English skills fresh, going into college. “It’s money in your pockets.”

Community colleges are shifting emphasis from just ‘access’ to ‘success,” Isaac said.

In a Riverside-San Bernardino region with one of the lowest college-going rates in the state, post-secondary education is no longer optional, added Dr. Edward Bush, Vice President of Student Affairs at Riverside City College. Area students can’t think that college is not for them, he said. Some sort of postsecondary training is necessary for everyone.

“When students are told they’re not college material, they stop aspiring toward college,” Bush said. The result, then, is students unprepared for college when they realize they really have to go. Students are then stuck repeating courses they could have completed in high school.

One of the paths Completion Counts put into motion is the RCC 2-Year Completion Contract, announced in May 2012. The offer is made available to any Alvord or Riverside unified school district graduating senior who is prepared for full-time college-level work.

“If you meet the [math and English] requirements, we will guarantee that you will have access to classes with the support you need to be able to graduate in two years,” Bush said. At present, fewer than 4% of California community college students are able to earn enough credits to graduate in just two years.

There are currently more than 500 students enrolled in Riverside’s 2-Year Completion Contract, with more than 200 of the first cohort poised to graduate this spring.

Higher education is necessary, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are multiple pathways to postsecondary success. Students and their families must actively seek out their options, the Mayor said, but the opportunities are there.

Educational and professional pathways are so important that educators look hard to find the best fit for students, said Dr. LaRae Lundgren, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment at the University of California, Riverside. “We’ve tried to make those pathways shine a little brighter.”

Completing the official FAFSA federal financial aid application is an important first step for preparation, regardless of a student’s plans for their family’s financial means. There are often more financial resources available to students than they expect, Lundgren said.

Cash for College workshops, which are open to any student of any high school, are being presented at several Riverside schools between January and March. Complete schedules will be posted to the College311.org website.

The Welcome Center, on the RCC campus, is another option available for all students to learn about their college and university, regardless of where the student wants to attend.

Completion Counts “is a game changer,” said Alvord Unified Superintendent Dr. Sid Salazar. Meaningful education means positions, jobs for our students, once they graduate from high school and college.”

How Mosquitoes Are Drawn to Human Skin and Breath

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Iqbal Pittalwala and published in UCRToday.edu on December 5, 2013)

Female mosquitoes, which can transmit deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and filariasis, are attracted to us by smelling the carbon dioxide we exhale, being capable of tracking us down even from a distance.  But once they get close to us, they often steer away toward exposed areas such as ankles and feet, being drawn there by skin odors.

Why does the mosquito change its track and fly towards skin?  How does it detect our skin?  What are the odors from skin that it detects? And can we block the mosquito skin odor sensors and reduce attractiveness?

Mosquitoes are drawn to human skin and breath.Image credit: Genevieve M. Tauxe, Ray Lab, UC Riverside.

Mosquitoes are drawn to human skin and breath.Image credit: Genevieve M. Tauxe, Ray Lab, UC Riverside.

Recent research done by scientists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) can now help address these questions.  They report on Dec. 5 in the journal Cell that the very receptors in the mosquito’s maxillary palp that detect carbon dioxide are ones that detect skin odors as well, thus explaining why mosquitoes are attracted to skin odor — smelly socks, worn clothes, bedding — even in the absence of CO2.  UCR is referenced quite regularly under Seizing Our Destiny’s category of catalyst for innovation for their research on insects.  Research like this can lead to tremendous breakthroughs in the fight against deadly diseases.

“It was a real surprise when we found that the mosquito’s CO2 receptor neuron, designated cpA, is an extremely sensitive detector of several skin odorants as well, and is, in fact, far more sensitive to some of these odor molecules as compared to CO2,” said Anandasankar Ray, an associate professor in the Department of Entomology and the project’s principal investigator. “For many years we had primarily focused on the complex antennae of mosquitoes for our search for human-skin odor receptors, and ignored the simpler maxillary palp organs.”

Click here for the full article.

UC Riverside to Unveil New Technology to Produce Cleaner more Efficient Fuel

(This article includes excerpts from an article written by Sean Nealon and published in UCR Today on November 13, 2013.)

What: The University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a new steam hydrogasification reactor system. Following the ceremony, university researchers will conduct a tour and demonstrate how the technology works. California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller will be in attendance to speak about the commission’s support of hydrogasification technology. State and local government officials in attendance will include: Senator Richard Roth, Assemblymember Jose Medina and Mayor Rusty Bailey of Riverside.

The new steam hydrogasification reactor system.

The new steam hydrogasification reactor system.

When: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19

Where: Thermochemical Conversion Process Laboratory UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology 1084 Columbia Ave. Riverside, CA 92507 Note: This is an off-campus location and parking is free. Directions are available at www.cert.ucr.edu/contact.html

Who: Reza Abbaschian, Dean, UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering Kim A. Wilcox, Chancellor, UC Riverside

Robert B. Weisenmiller, Chair, California Energy Commission

Richard Roth, California State Senator, District 31 Jose Medina, California State Assemblymember, District 61 Rusty Bailey, Mayor of Riverside

Researchers from UC Riverside, including Joseph Norbeck, UC Riverside professor emeritus, will be on hand to talk about the reactor and demonstrate how it works.

Why: In a carbon-constrained world, our energy sources will need to be cleaner and more efficient for the benefit of the environment and public health. The success of hydrogasification technology could result in cost-effective and environmentally friendly natural gas production from California’s local waste resources, which can be used as clean burning transportation fuel or for electricity generation. UC Riverside is always at the forefront of innovation like this. The advanced steam hydrogasification process, which has been in development at UC Riverside for more than a decade, uses steam, recycled hydrogen and carbon-based materials, such as yard waste and agricultural waste, into fuel. The new reactor is 12 percent more efficient and can process material 10 times faster than conventional dry gasification systems. Over the past several years, the California Energy Commission has funded over $3.4 million on early technology projects leading to the development of the system.

RSVP: Reservations are required to attend the event. They can be made by contacting Kathy Vang at kathyv@cert.ucr.edu or 951-781-5791.

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UCR’s Crime-solving Technology

(Excerpts from this article were taken from an article in UCR Magazine, Published Fall 2013, Volume 8, No. 4)

Within three days of the Boston Marathon bombing, law enforcement officials had found images of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from surveillance footage.  Just over a day later, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was dead after a shootout with police.  Dzhokhar was in custody after he was found hiding in a boat dry-docked in a residential neighborhood.

Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury's research on video analysis, including face and activity recognition, could help save hundreds of lives one day.

Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury’s research on video analysis, including face and activity recognition, could help save hundreds of lives one day.

But what if the three days between the incident and the release of photos had only been one day?  Even better, what if the surveillance video had been hooked up to a powerful computer that was capable of determining that the brothers had brought backpacks to a crowded area, placed them on a sidewalk and then walkied away?  Recognizing suspicious activities used by bombers around the world could be a game-changer.

Nobody knows whether such advances in computer-assisted surveillance one day will be able to prevent such attacks.  But Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury’s (Professor of Electrical Engineering at UC Riverside) research aims to help answer that question and many others by determining just how much you can teach a computer about human behavior – dangerous or otherwise.

UCR Magazine    For the full article, click here.

 

UC Riverside Astronomers Help Discover the Most Distant Known Galaxy

(This article includesw excerpts from the article written by Iqbal Pittalwala on October 23, 2013 and published in UCR Today.)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — University of California, Riverside astronomers Bahram Mobasher and Naveen Reddy are members of a team that has discovered the most distant galaxy ever found. The galaxy is seen as it was just 700 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only about 5 percent of its current age of 13.8 billion years.

An artist's rendition of the newly discovered most distant galaxy z8-GND-5296. (The galaxy looks red in the actual Hubble Space Telescope image because the collective blue light from stars get shifted toward redder colors due to the expansion of the universe and its large distance from Earth.) Image credit: V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, and the Hubble Heritage Team.

An artist’s rendition of the newly discovered most distant galaxy z8-GND-5296. (The galaxy looks red in the actual Hubble Space Telescope image because the collective blue light from stars get shifted toward redder colors due to the expansion of the universe and its large distance from Earth.) Image credit: V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, and the Hubble Heritage Team.

Results appear in the Oct. 24 issue of the journal Nature.

In collaboration with astronomers at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A & M University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, Mobasher and Reddy identified a very distant galaxy candidate using deep optical and infrared images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Follow-up observations of this galaxy by the Keck Telescope in Hawai’i confirmed its distance.  Innovation is always taking place at universities in Riverside.

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope CANDELS survey highlights the most distant galaxy in the universe with a measured distance, dubbed z8-GND-5296. The galaxy’s red color alerted astronomers that it was likely extremely far away, and thus seen at an early time after the Big Bang. The magnified image results from stacks of optical and infrared images taken, respectively, by the Advanced Camera for Survey (ACS) and Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on board the Hubble. The galaxy has a mass of ~109 times the mass of the Sun and is at a distance of ~13 billion light years from us, forming stars nearly 150 times more rapidly than our galaxy. Image credit: V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, A. Koekemoer, CANDELS, and STScI/NASA

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope CANDELS survey highlights the most distant galaxy in the universe with a measured distance, dubbed z8-GND-5296. The galaxy’s red color alerted astronomers that it was likely extremely far away, and thus seen at an early time after the Big Bang. The magnified image results from stacks of optical and infrared images taken, respectively, by the Advanced Camera for Survey (ACS) and Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on board the Hubble. The galaxy has a mass of ~109 times the mass of the Sun and is at a distance of ~13 billion light years from us, forming stars nearly 150 times more rapidly than our galaxy. Image credit: V. Tilvi, S.L. Finkelstein, C. Papovich, A. Koekemoer, CANDELS, and STScI/NASA

In searching for distant galaxies, the team selected several candidates, based on their colors, from the approximately 100,000 galaxies identified in the Hubble Space Telescope images taken as a part of the CANDELS survey, the largest project ever performed by the Hubble Space Telescope, with a total allocated time of roughly 900 hours. However, using colors to sort galaxies is tricky because some nearby objects can masquerade as distant galaxies.

Click here for the full article.

Discovery May Improve Insect Repellants

(This article includes excerpts from the article written by Mark Muckenfuss and published in The Press Enterprise on October 3, 2013.)

UC Riverside researchers say they have found the long-sought receptors in mosquitoes that are affected by DEET, the most common active ingredient used in popular insect repellents.

Identifying the receptors, they say, could lead to more effective and less annoying chemicals for deterring mosquitoes, as well as other insect pests. One compound they’ve identified so far is a grape extract that, unlike DEET, doesn’t damage plastic and nylon. The study appeared Wednesday in the latest online edition of Nature.

(Photo Credit: 2011/File Photo, The Press-Enterprise)

(Photo Credit: 2011/File Photo, The Press-Enterprise)

Anandasankar Ray, pictured above, an associate professor of entomology and the study’s director, said the discovery opens new doors for dealing with mosquito-borne illness as well as other insect-related problems, possibly even as treatments for agricultural crops. Finding better ways to keep the insects at bay is important worldwide, where mosquito-borne diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.

In recent years, Ray’s lab has made other mosquito discoveries, such as finding ways to block a mosquito’s ability to detect carbon dioxide, the primary method it uses to find human or animal prey.  Discoveries such as this demonstrate Riverside as a leader in Catalyst for Innovation, a pillar of Seizing Our Destiny.

This most recent work, he said, “is certainly as important if not, potentially, more important than our earlier discovery.”

Read the full article here.