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School of Natural Sciences

NSF Early Career Award Honors Professor’s Research and Potential

The National Science Foundation is honoring UC Merced Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe with a Faculty Early Career Development Award to support her examination of how soil helps regulate the climate.

The awards are given to junior faculty members who “who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations,” the NSF said.

Professor’s Passion for Monkey Flower Leads to Genetic Discoveries

The environment affects the way genetic populations move, and similar environments likely play a bigger role in how a species develops than does geographic distance.

Those are just two of the discoveries Professor Jason Sexton has made while studying the monkey flower, a California native that is practically in his back yard, now that he has joined UC Merced.

Professor’s Paper in Nature Communications Indicates Deep Sea Changes

Large, naturally occurring low-oxygen zones in the Pacific appear to be expanding, and there is a sharp change in the number of bacteria that produce and consume different forms of toxic sulfur, according to a UC Merced researcher’s latest paper in Nature Communications.

These expanding deoxygenated zones could also contribute to climate change, which, in turn, appears to contribute to their growth.

Professor Discovers How to Rein in Power of Tiny Particles with Potentially Big Effect

The heat generated by smartphones and other electronic devices could be harnessed to also power them, according to compelling research out of the University of California, Merced.

Physics Professor Michael Scheibner’s latest work in the emerging field of phononics – the study of quasi-particles that produce heat – indicates phonons can be harnessed to produce energy.

“Usually, phonons dissipate, but using an electric field, we can keep them in place where they are generated, and make them useful,” he said.

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