Science

International Society Honors Memory Research Pioneer

Charan Ranganath, a professor of psychology and director of the UC Davis Memory and Plasticity Program, has been selected for a Psychonomic Society 2022 Mid-Career Award for his research on the science of human memory. Ranganath is one of three scholars worldwide chosen to receive the award from the international society.

Long Ago, Far Away and Hard to See

The ancestors of galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the universe, have been identified by a team of astronomers including Brian Lemaux, who is affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Physics and Astronomy. Galaxies in the newly identified protoclusters are surprisingly sparse and dim, which may be why they have been so difficult to find until now. The work was published June 15 in Nature. The first galaxy clusters formed as matter began to clump together after the Big Bang. Galaxies formed within them and eventually, clusters and superclusters contained thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity. Conditions inside the cluster influence the size, shape and color of galaxies.

Understanding Learning by Inference

Both humans and other animals are good at learning by inference, using information we do have to figure out things we cannot observe directly. New research from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, shows how our brains achieve this by constructing cognitive maps.

Martian Meteorite Upsets Planet Formation Theory

A new study of an old meteorite contradicts current thinking about how rocky planets like the Earth and Mars acquire volatile elements such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and noble gases as they form.

Doctoral Fellow Solving Botswana Water Scarcity Crisis

Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng can vividly remember when she would go without water from domestic pipes for days. Growing up in Kopong, a rural village in Botswana, Ramatlapeng and her family faced a plight that those in surrounding villages knew as well: water scarcity. And when the water did flow, it was salty. Ramatlapeng’s research could help inform the development of sustainable water management policies in the region.

How to Make Chemistry a Gateway — Not a Gatekeeper — to STEM

As a college freshman, Mya Ajanel’s dreams of a veterinary degree were nearly derailed by chemistry. “I barely passed the first quarter, so I definitely had fear of just finishing the general chemistry series,” she said. “I remember crying and thinking I’m not going to be a vet, it’s too hard.”

Alternative Energies, Mentorship and Building Community at UC Davis

The spark for science was always within Jessica Ortiz-Rodríguez. As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, she loved visiting the Discovery Channel Store. And when the holidays rolled around, Ortiz-Rodríguez’s parents always knew there’d be something there that they could gift their daughter. Telescopes, microscopes, chemistry sets, the list went on and on. 

Changing Minds

UC Davis researchers are bringing the benefits of drugs like LSD and cannabis to light. They may be the next big thing in pharmaceuticals for treating a range of problems like depression and anxiety.

Bat Brains Organized for Echolocation and Flight

Anew study shows how the brains of Egyptian fruit bats are highly specialized for echolocation and flight, with motor areas of the cerebral cortex that are dedicated to sonar production and wing control. The work by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and UC Berkeley was published May 25 in Current Biology. Professor Leah Krubitzer’s lab at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience studies how evolution produces variation in brain organization across a wide variety of mammals, including opossums, tree shrews, rodents and primates. This comparative neurobiology approach shows how both evolution and development influence brain organization.

$2.7M Awarded to UC Davis To Find New Addiction Treatments Related to Psychedelics

Evidence from human and animal testing suggests the brain-altering effects of psychedelics could be repurposed for treating addiction. Now, researchers at University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus plan to screen hundreds of compounds to discover new, non-hallucinogenic treatments for substance use disorders.

‘Secrets’ in the Multiverse

To uncover something new, first you must look far into the past. That’s what the producers of the IMAX film Secrets of the Universe did, explaining how physics professor Manuel Calderón de la Barca Sánchez’s hunt for answers about what happened moments after the dawn of time is built upon scientific discoveries of the past.

Jesús Velázquez Receives 2022 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

Assistant professor Jesús Velázquez, a material chemist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science, is one of 18 faculty in the U.S. selected as Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars for 2022. These faculty are within the first five years of their academic careers, have each created an outstanding independent body of scholarship and are deeply committed to education. Each Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar receives an unrestricted research grant of $100,000.