Latest News

MCB Major Receive Prestigious Goldwater Scholarships

Three UC Davis students, including two from the College of Biological Sciences, have won the highly prestigious and competitive Barry Goldwater Scholarship. 

Every year, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation honors fewer than 500 undergraduate second- and third-year students from across the country with scholarships recognizing their science, technology, engineering and mathematics research accomplishments and future potential.

One CBS Student’s Mission to Inspire and Uplift the Next Generation of Scientists

Jessica Bolivar, a graduate student in the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (BMCDB) Graduate Group, is investigating the molecular mechanisms that cells use to deal with stress in the lab of Christopher Fraser, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. In the predominately biochemistry-based lab, Bolivar is taking a different angle to examine cell stress—by drawing on her passion and experience with cell imaging.

Plant Researchers and Molecular Biologist Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Walter S. Leal, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is one of the three professors from the University of California, Davis, have been elected as members of the National Academy of Sciences. They are among 120 new members and 24 international members announced by the academy April 30.

How Mathematics Informs Molecular Biology

For many, mathematics exists solely within the confines of a blackboard, a calculator or a textbook. But ask Javier Arsuaga and he’ll tell you that mathematics exists within us, right down to our DNA.

Student-Led Research Reveals “Off-Switch” for Autophagy

A chance observation in an undergraduate laboratory class has shed light on a key cleaning and recycling process carried out by all eukaryotic cells. Autophagy breaks down organelles, proteins and other molecules so their components can be reused and plays a protective role in preventing disease. However, when autophagy doesn’t work correctly, it’s associated with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s. Previous research has uncovered how cells activate autophagy, but little is known about how it is switched off.

Distinguished Professor Walter Leal Receives Academic Senate's 2024 Faculty Research Award

Distinguished Professor Walter Leal has made history as the first UC Davis faculty member to be honored by the Academic Senate with all three of its awards, which celebrate outstanding teaching, public service and research.

In 2020, the Academic Senate awarded Leal the Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching, and in 2022 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. Known internationally for his groundbreaking work in insect olfaction and chemical ecology, Leal's achievements have now earned him the 2024 Faculty Distinguished Research Award.

Celina Juliano Named 2023-24 Chancellor's Fellow

Celina Juliano, an associate professor of molecular and cellular biology who studies the regenerative capabilities of Hydra vulgaris, a small, freshwater relative of the jellyfish, has been named a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow.

Citrus Greening Bacteria Affects Pest's Sense of Smell

A failed field test has led to a major discovery about the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that spreads the devastating citrus greening disease. According to new research, the bacteria that cause citrus greening can interfere with the insect’s sense of smell, rendering some kinds of insect traps useless. The work is currently available as a preprint.

Immune Cells Drive Sex Reversal in Zebrafish – and Perhaps Fertility Loss in Women

Female zebrafish (Danio rerio) have an unusual tendency: if their egg cells are damaged, they can turn into males. Bruce Draper, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) and Florence Marlow, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, have discovered that immune cells called macrophages play a key role in this process. These cells normally keep things “tidy” by removing dead or damaged cells – but in zebrafish they can also remodel the ovaries into sperm-producing testes. “It’s a pretty interesting and novel idea,” says Draper.

CBS DACA Students Awarded American Heart Association Fellowship

Two Ph.D. students in the College of Biological Sciences have been awarded prestigious fellowships from the American Heart Association (AHA) to support their research on Respiratory Complex I, a protein complex that generates energy inside human cells.

Dan Starr Named New CBS Associate Dean of Research

Dan Starr, a cell biologist and professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, has been named the new Associate Dean of Research for the College of Biological Sciences. He has stepped into the role on October 1, 2023.

“I see this position as an opportunity to encourage my colleagues to branch out and expand into new research areas,” said Starr. “Our research portfolio at CBS is already very strong. My goal is to build on our successes and to support future growth in our research programs.”

Using Glowing Fish to Detect Harmful Pesticides

Birth defects related to chromosomal abnormalities often stem from exposure to chemicals early in the mother’s life. But determining which chemicals are at fault poses a serious challenge — akin to solving a hit-and-run case, decades after the fact. Two College of Biological Sciences researchers, Professor Sean Burgess and Professor Bruce Draper in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), are developing a method that could identify harmful chemicals far more quickly, with the help of red- and green-glowing zebrafish.

Using Machine Learning to Detect Coronavirus Threats

An artificial intelligence model has successfully identified coronaviruses capable of infecting humans, out of the thousands of viruses that circulate in wild animals. The model, developed by a team of biologists, mathematicians and physicists at the University of California, Davis, could be used in surveillance for new pandemic threats. The work was published June 8 in Scientific Reports